Author: St. Patrick Catholic Community

First Down with Fr. Eric (October 10, 2021)

Dear Friends,

We are inviting all parishioners to a special celebration we are calling a FALL FESTIVAL (see our flyer in this bulletin). It will be on Saturday, October 30, beginning at 5:30 pm (after the 4:30 pm Mass) outside in our parking lot next to the House of Mercy/Youth Garage. There will be games, food, and trick or treating for our children. It is an opportunity to gather to see our fellow parishioners, enjoy the large parking lot, and enjoy our Open House for the House of Mercy. We will have a special blessing of the House that evening.

That weekend at all the Masses, we will be doing some teaching on the three days that Christians celebrate at this time of year. We remember the Christian roots of Halloween, All Saints Day, which is celebrated on November 1, and All Souls Day on November 2. These three days cover important remembrances for Christians and at my homily time, I want to share with you insights and helpful ways to celebrate these special days.

As more and more parishioners are REGATHERING, we find that celebrating as a community is important, especially these days. Hope you decide to come and check it out and eat some goodies, see inside the new House of Mercy, along with our Youth Garage.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Respecting Life (by Megan Popa)

The Catholic Church honors October as “Respect Life Month,” in which we are called to “cherish, defend and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between.” As Catholics, we believe each of us has inherent dignity. The first chapters of Genesis describe God creating the entire world, including humans. After each creation, we read: “and it was good.” We are inherently good because we were created by a good and loving God. Jesus also revealed for us the profound dignity of every human person in taking on human flesh himself, in dwelling among us and in sacrificing his life for us. Clearly “respecting life” is not only something we should think about in October, but this seems to be the underlying theme of everything we believe as Catholics!

I grew up and am still closely involved in the life of my uncle, Art, who has gone through life with various developmental disabilities and suffered from mental illness. Art is funny, empathetic, loves music and he’s the king of trivia when it comes to actors and musicians. He’s also extremely difficult, temperamental, paranoid and often the cause of much stress and anxiety within our family. Yet as a 63 year old man who’s been in and out of group homes and never held a job for more than a few months, he continues to share stories with us each week at family dinner about getting married and having his own family, becoming a famous writer and actor, or opening up his own nightclub. My uncle isn’t what anyone would consider “successful” or a productive member of society and he most likely won’t accomplish any of these goals he talks about. Yet, for those of us that know him and love him, we see his inherent dignity, as a human being and as a child of God.

Respecting life is a broad challenge. It means we welcome the outsider, ensure the poor have the necessities of life, provide support to those suffering from mental illness, stand up against racism, accept those who are different from us, support victims of trafficking or violence, say the immigrant life has value, honor the lives of those with different abilities, show mercy and compassion to those who have done wrong, protect the environment that supports all life… and the list goes on and on!

This October, let’s take this opportunity to reflect on those life issues that are near and dear to our own hearts. And let’s also accept the challenge to broaden our view of respecting life. Where do you notice the dignity of life not being honored with love and compassion? Is there something you can do to help? God invites us this month, and every day of our lives, to view each and every life as sacred and holy, just as he does.

– Megan.

First Down with Fr. Eric (October 3, 2021)

Dear Friends,

The gift of our Catholic faith is having many great writings from the past Popes from the last century until the present time. In my lifetime, from Pope John XXIII to Pope Francis, one finds many writings on the sacredness of human life. Each Pope has clearly written about the protection of life at all stages. Each Pope has the understanding that Christians are to open their hearts to the Gospel of Life, and it widens our hearts to include many life issues.
Every Sunday the Gospel of Life is preached. Every Gospel demands that our behavior is the way we show our faith and give witness to the world. Love of neighbor is what Jesus calls the heart of all commandments.

The month of October for Catholics is Respect Life Month. It is the call for the Church to closely reflect on how we are respecting all life and how our behavior reflects that. Our preaching will remain the same, as every homily is the Gospel of Life. We will be adding another layer in our actions. Each Sunday in October we will have video testimony from parishioners making a difference, as they live the Gospel of life in various different issues. We will show those after each homily.

We also will have a resource page on our website, stpatcc.org/respectlife, on the different issues of life. Also, on what we call a “white paper report,” it will give great teaching and information for us to understand even more what our faith teaches about how we serve and protect human life.
Here is what all the Popes, the Bishops Conference website, and the teaching of our Catholic faith say, “we protect all life from the moment of conception to natural death.” So life issues are more than one issue, yet we can be passionate about one issue without forgetting that all life matters to God.
My preaching will not change for the month of October, it will continue to be the same, the Gospel of Life and how our behavior serves all humanity.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Three Questions (by Gerri Porteous)

Keep these words, that I am commanding you today, in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home.
– Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Our changing world has allowed me time to reflect on my growing up years and the times my family spent together at meals, watching TV, playing games, going on family outings, visiting relatives and friends, solving family issues and attending Mass. My needs were always met with love and care. My wants were not always given to me, but I loved and trusted my parents and knew they loved me just the same. I am so very grateful for the love, care and guidance my parents provided for my siblings and me.

With my own children, I worked hard to provide them with that same solid foundation and taught them to be thankful for what they have and to share with others. I believe that part of the process to happiness is in time spent with family and friends and caring for others and their needs.
More often than not, today’s families look to material things as the process that will make their children truly happy and caring adults … the latest outfit by Juicy and Hollister, the newest items from Tiffany’s and Coach, Play Stations, iPod’s, and cell phones.

The sad reality is that, when these items become a substitute for parental time and nurturing, I witness good families with children who are not in a process to true happiness … children who lack social skills, respect for themselves and others, and who are not liked by their peers no matter how many trendy items they have in their collections. I see children who are lost in a lack of gratefulness and caring for others.

Children of all ages are entering a new school year and some will begin a year of preparing to receive sacraments. I encourage everyone to set aside some family time to answer three questions each week: What am I grateful for? What am I sorry for? Whom did I help today? This little practice can define your family as one that cares. This practice can be the start of helping your children to develop their character, courage, and conscience for an ever-challenging world awaiting them. Reflecting on your day or week may be a start to true to happiness and making the world a better place for all.

– Gerri

First Down with Fr. Eric (September 26, 2021)

Dear Friends,

We are proud to offer parishioners a beautiful Prayer Journal, filled with the Sunday scripture readings, special prayers and space to write down reflections. They are still available in the Narthex after Masses, or stop by the Parish Office. One can give a small $5 donation, or can download it free from our parish website.

A prayer journal can be a guide on how Christians can enter prayer, meditation and reflection. Prayer can be simply spending time with the Lord, taking time to be present to God, even if our minds are racing with all that has to be done. God is pleased when we simply stop for a moment and God takes our minds and hearts and blesses our effort to be still, even for a few minutes.

We continue to invite parishioners into our Blessed Sacrament Chapel (follow the signs near the entrance of the church to enter the chapel). It is open during the hours when our campus is open, beginning early in the morning when our maintenance team arrives, and it stays open until the last event on campus in the evening. The space is designated for prayer in silence before the Blessed Sacrament. One can see parishioners throughout the day and evening coming and going into and from the chapel. When life gets so busy it is great to have a sacred space to go to and be still with the Lord. This also might be a great time to bring our Prayer Journals along to pray and reflect.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Humility Makes Us Real (by Adam Stein)

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”
Thomas Merton

In the Gospel today, Jesus teaches us about humility. He says, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Greatness does not come from position or status, but rather, greatness is found in service. Humble service places us hand in hand with everyone around us. Humility is a way of life, authentic life.

The other readings we hear today support the Gospel and reveal further what the gift of humility is and the challenge it is to live this virtue. Our own passions can betray us. We can begin to think that what we do is who we are, but, it is not the “what” but the “who we are doing it for” that counts. When we put the other first and serve them, we serve God. Humility honors God, and God will always be with us along the way, because Jesus walked the road before us. Humility is a realization that we can do nothing without the gifts of God in our life, and we can do all things through God who gives us strength.

Pope Francis is an example of humility for us to follow. Here are his words from the homily he gave at the inauguration of his pontificate, “Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross.” He continued to share ways he will try and be an example of humility for others, “[The Pope] must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”

This year, we RISE. It is more than just a word and a theme, but a call to service. It may seem contrary, but, one way we RISE is to humble ourselves. Our prayer journal poses two questions to help us respond to this call: “Who are the unvalued in society today? How will we build up the dignity and value of someone else this week?”

I’m working on my answer.

-adam.

First Down with Fr. Eric (September 19, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Our property has expanded with a larger parking lot and the large building called the House of Mercy. When one comes onto our property, large signs clearly guide people to the House of Mercy. It has our new meeting rooms, our large Youth Garage and our storage garage. Our House has been in use for meetings and gatherings and we will soon be inviting the entire parish to gather to celebrate and see the House of Mercy.

On October 30 (Saturday) after the 4:30 pm Mass, we will have a FALL FESTIVAL. There will be a host of activities for all ages, including the children. It will be outside in our large parking lot. Also some activities will be inside the House of Mercy and will allow more parishioners to see the inside and be aware of the gatherings that will be happening inside the House. It is a place of outreach to everyone, with support groups, counseling, formation sessions, mental health sessions and other outreach ministries.

This will be a great opportunity for parishioners to gather to celebrate outside and to see what a great new space we have to gather for support. We will be providing more information as the time gets closer. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on that special evening.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Christian Disciples in Mission… Let’s Go! (by Torri Winn)

Our Mission Statement at St. Patrick is that we are CHRISTIAN DISCIPLES IN MISSION and today we are being Commissioned to take our “sandals” and go out into the world and be about the mission of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ! There is a passage from the Gospel of John 1:40-45, that gives a beautiful example of a Christian Disciple in Mission in Philip, who goes to his friend Nathanael and says to him that he has found the “one about whom Moses wrote…it’s Jesus of Nazareth.” Nathanael responds, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” And Philip’s answer is easy – all he said was, COME AND SEE.

Nathanael’s eventual encounter with Jesus began with something that any of us would find very natural, one friend seeking out another to share exciting news with them. But as we know, their innocent conversation ended up with life changing consequences. But what caught my attention was that the scripture passage very clearly says, PHILIP WENT TO LOOK FOR NATHANAEL. I took note of the phrase ‘went to look’ because that is a precise and deliberate action. It means he went in search of, he left the comfort of where he was, for a friend. As you read more of this passage, you’ll begin to see a pattern of discipleship in mission. It says, “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John (the Baptizer) said and then followed Jesus.” Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah”…Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus….The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me….Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him…” And so on…Can you see the pattern? Once they are called and have that ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS, it is like the Spirit enters them and they eagerly go out to call the next person!

Sometimes I think that I assume that God should be bringing the people who are in need of an encounter with Jesus Christ to us at the church, (we have so many wonderful ministries, why wouldn’t they just come here?!), instead of me being out in the world, out of my comfort zone, where I can share the stories of my own encounter with Jesus, with those who are in need of an encounter with Jesus themselves. Testimony is one of the most powerful evangelizers, because the Jesus we encountered is now encountering the person with whom we are sharing our story. There may be people who never wanted to have anything to do with Jesus, who will want to know Him because of their relationship with you.

And while today’s readings, first from Isaiah (I gave my back to those who beat me…) and the Gospel from Mark (take up our cross and follow [Jesus]…) lets us know that this Disciple in Mission stuff might not always be a piece of cake, (like Nathanael’s possibly negative comment to Phillip about nothing good coming out of Nazareth), just the thought of a world that truly knows and loves Jesus is definitely worth “hoofing it” for!!!

So, we are being Commissioned today to go out to wherever our sandals take us, and invite others to COME AND SEE the Jesus we know and who wants to have a relationship with each and every one of us. As it it written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!!!!

– Torri

First Down with Fr. Eric (September 12, 2021)

Dear Friends,

I want to invite more parishioners to follow St. Patrick on Instagram. One can begin to follow us through @stpatrickscottsdale. Our Parish Instagram has daily Bible verses, inspirational messages, photos of events at the parish and throughout the community, Fr. Eric’s homily highlights and other items to keep our followers connected to our parish family. Next Sunday we will invite parishioners to get on their phones before Mass begins and connect to our parish Instagram account.

This Sunday we have commissioned our parishioners to be disciples who go out into the world and serve God’s people. The Gospel of St. Mark, the main Gospel we hear during this current liturgical year, uses the sandal as a metaphor for discipleship. We have invited parishioners to bring or wear their sandals, or their work shoes, or shoes they use to serve others. We are blessing the sandals/shoes after the homily to commission all parishioners to go into a world where it is most in need of God’s mercy and love. Many church studies state that churches/parishes that concern themselves with people outside the building are ones that are alive and grow. It’s hard work, yet we are reminded that Christian Disciples are servants of all. This Sunday’s blessings give encouragement, grace and strength to deal with many challenges that people find in their lives.

Today’s homily can be seen on our online Mass (our YouTube channel, Facebook or website) and the homily gives more details of the significance of the sandal and the mission of disciples. Those who watch the Mass online may also hold their sandals/shoes as we bless them during our online Mass. May God bless the feet of those who bring the Good News.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Joy of Giving, Praying & Serving (by Fernando Gomez)

In his 2016 world youth day conference, Pope Francis reminded a crowd of over three million attendees that: “We must always be in preparation to receive God’s call” and that when he calls, he pays no attention to our limitations but rather reassures us that we are on a constant mission to make the world a better place and be a living witness to the Gospel.

This last sentence makes me think about how when we’ve allowed our self-imposed limitations from answering God’s call and as you’re reading this, I ask that you take a minute to think about it too and also reflect on how to overcome them.

There’s no denying that this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo were unlike any in memory – with complications that we hope will never be repeated. This current pandemic forced a one year delay and officials found themselves agreeing to hold all the events we’ve grown to love and admire to be held in empty buildings and with a limited capacity to support these great athletes with superb stories of strength, discipline, determination and yes, Faith.

Through a wide variety of disciplines and sports, the USA team brought home 113 medals by individuals who face their limitations just like all of us but found the inspiration to keep on their journey to model after the best of athletic ability and in cases, like the one from Ms. Sydney McLaughlin, a living testament of gratitude, stewardship and in a constant living relationship with Jesus Christ.
At 21 years of age, Sydney has set a new world record of completing the 400 meter hurdle race at an astounding 51.46 seconds, that’s four times the length of a soccer field.

Shortly after she was awarded her gold medal, Sydney posted this on her Instagram Feed:

“I no longer run for self recognition, but to reflect HIS perfect will that is already set in stone and through the gifts HE has given me to point all the attention back to HIM. I don’t deserve anything. But by grace, through faith, Jesus. Records come and go. The Glory of God is eternal. What I have in Christ is far greater than what I have or don’t have in life.”

Although the day to day struggles may try to trick us to believe that we are not ONE in Christ and that our limitations set us apart from each other and from His grace and mercy, let us be reminded that Christ has nobody now but you and me to spread His good news of salvation, love, acceptance, mercy without hesitation or limitation – to do great and awesome acts of kindness with ourselves and our neighbors everyday.

Pay attention to His call and let it inflame your joy of Giving, Praying & Serving as this is the only way we can together advance our mission of discipleship evangelism.

– Fernando Gomez