Author: St. Patrick Catholic Community

The Spirit is Lit – Bari Bellard

Bari Bellard is a college graduate of Loyola University of New Orleans and currently works within the theater world. Growing up Catholic and Gay he has had some interesting experiences. This conversation focuses on his experiences within the church and the ways in which he has found spiritual comfort.

The Spirit is Lit – Bari Bellard

Bari Bellard is a college graduate of Loyola University of New Orleans and currently works within the theater world. Growing up Catholic and Gay he has had some interesting experiences. This conversation focuses on his experiences within the church and the ways in which he has found spiritual comfort.

Necessary Endings & Navigating New Pathways (by Megan Popa)

Growing up, I remember the excitement of waking up on Easter morning and finding whatever I had given up for Lent in my Easter basket (that Easter Bunny sure was smart!). For me, it was usually chocolate or Mountain Dew. There was a joy and renewed excitement in that first taste of something that I had not enjoyed for so long! As I’ve grown up, I still enjoy making that Lenten sacrifice and then experiencing that renewed appreciation on Easter morning. However, more often than not, I also find myself trying to permanently break with things that perhaps I just want to leave behind for good, and not necessarily pick up again on Easter.

I read a book at the beginning of the year called Necessary Endings. It sheds light upon knowing when to let go, when to say goodbye, and when to move on from things or habits that are no longer needed in our lives. Sometimes we need to let go of something because it’s clearly not good for us. Other times it’s simply because there’s a season for everything and it’s time for this particular season to come to an end. Endings are not always easy and can be uncomfortable, but they are usually necessary to make room for new beginnings to come forth.

In Easter, we celebrate Jesus’s new, transformed, and resurrected life. However, this never would have been possible if first there had not been an ending to his old life. No Easter Sunday without Good Friday.

This pandemic has been like an extended, forced-upon-us type of “Lent”. We’ve had to “give-up” and sacrifice many of the things we love, but we’ve also had the opportunity to reflect on our lives and what’s really important. As life continues to progress back towards normal, we will slowly start being able to re-experience those things that we missed so much… hugs, airplanes, seeing people smile… Hopefully, it will be as exciting and fulfilling as my Easter basket was to me as a kid. But, I imagine that many of us will also reflect upon our old lives and the old ways of doing things, and choose not to return to certain habits or ways of being. Perhaps, some of the changes we’ve experienced this past year were, in fact, necessary endings. In this season of resurrection, may we also find joy in allowing things to end that need to end. May we see the promise and excitement God offers, have the courage to let go, and make room for the new as we journey forth towards navigating new pathways.

– Megan Popa

First Down with Fr. Eric (April 18, 2021)

Dear Friends,

I am grateful that we made it through our second Easter with the challenges that have been placed before us. It has not been easy for many of us, yet we went from our first Easter with no one present to having a good number of people at our four-hour Sunday Communion and the three Easter Masses.

As we move forward, we are putting our plans into place about the upcoming future. With the vaccine helping to protect many people, health experts are expressing hope that late this summer people will be out and about. Even though plans may change, we are expecting to increase our Masses, ministries and outreach in September. So this means that we are asking our lay ministers to consider the possibility of being ready to minister by informing us, doing good training and making sure their Safe Environment Training is completed. In order to increase our ministries, we need our people ready to return when it is safe.

In the weeks ahead we will inform the parishioners of the next steps. It will be different for a while, but we will find our way through and reimagine how our community will continue its mission of serving the Lord.
Again we are looking at September, the time when many people return from vacations and rest, to restart fully our mission. I am hopeful we can get there, and our staff will continue to do what we can to keep moving forward. Your support has meant the world to us and it has been vital in keeping the spirit of many strong. I am very grateful to the many who have remained steady.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

The Spirit is Lit – Joe Twiner

Joe Twiner is a recent graduate from the school of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. He recently wrote a paper for a conference on the process of discernment in civic duties, specifically voting. He breaks down some of Aquinas’ philosophical thought to give a comprehensive guide to listening to our moral compass in the process of being active citizens.

Obviously this is a monumental time in the life of our Church… Again!

This Easter season, its definite and deep meaning will be unveiled to us at the Lord’s perfect time and in such a simple way as all HIS teachings are.

As we continue to work our way through the thoughts, sentiments and teachings left behind by 2020, I, like most of you, find myself at times re-imagining how my world, my family, my relationships and my Catholic Community here at St. Patrick and throughout the Diocese will look like from the rearview mirror of a post-pandemic era – What have we learned?

What did Jesus mean by saying: “God doesn’t call the equipped but rather equips the chosen”.

I believe that by and large we were not equipped to live through this time; however, I’m certain that we were chosen for it so that we may reevaluate what’s truly important and what is just dead weight.

In his 2014 Easter address, Pope Francis said:

“Why do you seek the living one among the dead? How often do we look for life among dead things, things that cannot give life, that are here today and gone tomorrow? Why do you seek the living one among the dead?”

We need [these words] when we close ourselves within many forms of selfishness or self-complacency; when we allow ourselves to be seduced by the earthly powers and the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbor; when we place our trust in worldly vanities, in money, in success.

Then the Word of God tells us: “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” Why are you looking there? It can’t give you life. It will give you joy for a day, a week, a month, a year – and then? Why do you seek the living one among the dead?

Maybe this time… this monumental time in our Church is God’s invitation to respond with Stewardship gratitude. What if we seize every moment throughout our day to respond to God in gratitude, compassion and eagerness.

Respond with living actions for what matters the most and discard those which are in essence “Dead”.

Let us celebrate this glorious day with prayer and feasting, for Christ is risen! Happy Easter!

– Fernando Gomez

We Find Hope

“In the Resurrection of Jesus we find the hope of eternal life.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Last year was an Easter like no other, celebrated at home. In our desire to cling to tradition, we dressed up, wanting to give Christ our best. We viewed Mass on TV which we took the time to decorate with candles and flowers, hiding the PlayStation and Nintendo Switch below. No matter the effort it seemed so surreal to be celebrating Mass on our couch. We pushed through, knowing that the resurrection was bigger than even a global pandemic. Now a year later, we again encounter the risen Christ. Though the pandemic is far from over, we no longer live in the chaos of 2020, wondering where to get toilet paper or if a vaccine will be created.

As I prepared to celebrate Easter this year, more than reflecting on our pandemic Easter, I am reminded of 1994. Pope John Paul II courageously proclaimed, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” It is easy in 2021 to succumb to despair. In fact, watch the news on any given evening and regardless as to your political bent, you can probably find real reason to lean deep into despair, fear, sadness. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. But we are Easter people. Our story does not end with Good Friday, but instead with a God that conquers death and offers new life. It is with this conviction that I will commit myself to living Easter in my own life like never before. In the forty days leading up to Easter, I fasted and prayed. In these fifty days of Easter, I will live Easter indeed and prayer as well. I will take time in sacred scripture to journey with the early Christians as they walked through the uncertainty of the time after Jesus’s resurrection. I will pray joyfully for the many gifts in my life. I will engage with others who are different from me, free from any personal agenda, seeking only to understand. I will make certain that this Easter, it is easy to see that Hallelujah is in fact my song.

– Sharon Fabyanic

Let us dream

So this has been my first year coordinating the High School Life Teen program and I can tell you we have had a lot of ups and downs. From switching locations, to not knowing when we would be able to gather again in person safely, to being flexible and adjusting as we went. Along this journey I have been thoroughly impressed by the high school leadership team within our program. This group of high school seniors has kept such a positive attitude throughout, which in turn spread around to the whole program/community. I can only imagine what it would be like to go through this pandemic as a high school student and have the feeling that I was missing out on some of the major staples that make up the high school experience. I don’t know about you, but this past year was certainly different than any other I have ever experienced. But we didn’t just stand still and do nothing. We were tasked with reimagining.

As leaders (we all are) we are faced with life’s varying circumstances and sometimes those circumstances are more difficult than others. Over this past year I have become more aware that we have the capacity to make a decision in our own heart to allow God to transform and use this moment as one of resurrecting new life. This is what I have witnessed within the Life Teen program this past year. A resurrection into new life, a reimagining of what community is and can be, and a newly appreciated gratitude for the small things that are often overlooked.

Pope Francis recently released a book entitled “Let Us Dream,” in which he shares his thoughts around the pandemic and the state of the world. In it he shares his hope to not simply return to the way things were pre-covid but rather to learn from these experiences and move forward together as a better people. So in the words of Francis, “Let us Dream.”

– Jacob DeRusha

God is calling us all into the community game.

“Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” From the basketball movie Coach Carter

If any of us are just sitting on the sidelines of life waiting for the world to change on its own, then chances are the coach may not be putting us in the game. As an athlete ages, it takes extra focus and effort to fine tune their skills. Some say they become even more focused on honing their abilities to share their talents with the world who see them. The world around them keeps moving and they need to grasp the opportunities when they have the chance.

Leading up to Easter, many of us looked to transform a piece of our lives or make a change that signifies a form of spiritual or inner growth. Are we honing our skills in serving the greater community to bring new life to those who feel like they are outcast and always on the sidelines? Now is the opportunity to share your talents with others.

God is calling us all into the community game. And the best part… there are no limitations to the amount of players allowed on the field of social ministry. Jesus has risen. Rise and re-imagine how you can manifest your skills towards the playing field in the area of Social Justice and Outreach! Happy Easter to all of you!

– Richard DiCarlo