Author: St. Patrick Catholic Community

Pull up a chair at the table (by Richard DiCarlo)

My wife Debbie and I recently drove to San Pedro, California to visit my 94 year old mother. There are certain cities that have drastically changed over the years, but San Pedro is one of those places that, at its core, is the same old place. Located 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, San Pedro was built upon the blue-collar, hard-nosed working class of folks who labored in the fishing industry or on the docks in some capacity. Of course, as time progressed, the span of employment opportunities expanded and school choices changed. My four older brothers and I, for example, went to Loyola High School in downtown LA rather than the local schools. I think it was my parents’ first step and forethought to expose us to life outside of San Pedro.

But, one person in particular from San Pedro who has not changed her resident city is my mother. She has lived in SP all of her 94 years! Two of the five brothers still live there as well about five minutes away. Another unchanged trait is her absolute joy when we are all able to gather with our spouses and the grandchildren. One of her biggest delights is to sit down for a family dinner. Growing up, our friends were always invited to the table. This last time that Debbie and I went to visit, the immediate family went to an Italian restaurant in Torrance called Primo. We were fortunate enough to have our own space in the restaurant where we could sit and enjoy conversation with each other. Never wanting to be the center of attention, we placed my mom at the head of the table anyway.

The table at home is an extension of the table at Church from which we all gather. We bring our whole selves to commune and share in some capacity. It is a place to relax with each other and step away from the busyness and the noise of the outside world. It brings respite and connectivity to share our joys and sorrows. We give thanks for having this capacity to gather and pause. Let us all remember those who do not have a table to share with family or friends.

– Richard

First Down with Fr. Eric (September 5, 2021)

Dear Friends,

All Christians can be familiar with the term, “service for others.” Jesus often speaks of offering oneself for the service of God’s people. To be great in the Kingdom of God is to place oneself at the service of others. Keeping this in mind, we Christians can see our work as placing our lives at the service of others. To have a healthy outlook on our work, our profession, our vocation, is to know there is value to others in what we offer.

There are times when our work, our jobs, can be stressful, not fulfilling, maybe only seeing it as a means to pay bills or care for our families. Over a lifetime we might have experienced such emotions or outlook. We might need a renewal in our outlook of serving others in our jobs. We might need to recall the value we can bring to others. We might even need to pray for courage to think that maybe changing jobs could be the path to find fulfillment in what can bring us joy. Whatever you and I bring to the table to serve others is blessed by God. Even if we are tired, bored, feeling lost, overwhelmed or not valued, God knows our hearts. He sees everything we do, and he is ready to bless what we do to serve others.

Today we celebrate Labor Day, an opportunity for Christians to reflect on our work and to know that God blesses our work that we offer for others. I pray that we can know the blessings of God in our daily work. Blessings on this Labor Day.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (August 29, 2021)

Dear Friends,

For the year 2021, our Catholic faith has been hearing mainly from the Gospel of St. Mark. Mark is the earliest written Gospel and the shortest. Jesus is making his way towards the city of Jerusalem where he will meet his destiny, the cross. Those who follow Jesus are to follow him to meet our destiny, the cross, which leads to resurrection.

In Mark’s Gospel, sandals are used as a metaphor for discipleship. He sends the disciples out by two’s to bring the Good News to the world.

We are Christian Disciples in Mission and we are planning a special commissioning of all Disciples the weekend of September 11-12 at all our Masses. We are asking parishioners to bring their sandals, work shoes, shoes they use to do ministry out in the world. We will talk about our sandals and how disciples live the Gospel in the world. We will bless all sandals, work shoes, shoes we minister in, at our Masses to commission us for another year of ministry into the world. No doubt our ministry is needed in our world today, and we look forward to blessing everyone’s shoes to minister to others.

SUNDAY COMMUNION – with COVID numbers rising again and some parishioners who are vulnerable or have vulnerable people in their lives, we will CONTINUE SUNDAY COMMUNION for the time being. Every Sunday, 9:15-10:15 am in our Daily Mass Chapel, we will offer communion. Parishioners can follow the signs to the Chapel, receive communion and even pray before returning home. We encourage you to watch our Sunday Mass later on that day to pray with the community online. We are offering this for people who still are not ready to be in large crowds at this time.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

All Shall Be Well (by Kylie Popa)

“All shall be well. All shall be well. All manner of things shall be well.”
– St. Julian of Norwich-

Every year around this time, a little sadness would set in as a dark cloud would loom in over the final days of summer. It was inevitable. The new school year was around the corner and there was no escaping it. Even as someone who really liked school growing up and then chose to stay in the school setting as a teacher for several years, the end of the summer always felt the same way. It was just a little sad. The freshly stocked school supplies and new back-to-school shoes my mom made us wait to wear until that first day definitely helped build the excitement, but what is it about endings and new beginnings that get us feeling a little low?

For me, the close of the summer meant that I had not accomplished everything I had planned for during my time off, even though it was probably full of wonderful experiences I was choosing to overlook. I had reached my limit for summer. Time was up. And then on the other hand, the beginning of the school year was brimming with several unknowns, stacked high with expectations I wasn’t sure I could live up to. No wonder it left me feeling a little heavy!

Here’s the truth of it all: in all my years as a student and then as a teacher, that feeling always came at the end of the summer, but in a few weeks time, it also always went away. It would slowly fade with each new day as I got to know my new teachers better and remembered how much I missed seeing my friends and got back into the groove of the school year. Routines are tough to start again, but when we do, we’re reminded and empowered by how capable we truly are.

Since last March, a lot of us, myself included, have lost our routines and fallen away from some of the things that used to bring us so much life. The hardest part now is starting again. And unlike a new school year, which comes each August whether our children want it to or not, sometimes we need that nudge to dive back in. We need the encouragement of our loved ones and those around us to put on that new “back-to-school” mindset and dive all in. But the reality is we need each other. It’s the familiar face of an old friend, the kind gesture of a new teacher, and the encouragement of those around us to get back involved that makes the transition into any new season possible. Just as Jesus needed his disciples, we truly need each other. So say goodbye to those end of summer blues. A new beginning–a new hope–is on the horizon. Are you ready? Tap into your inner child–that one that is a month into the new school year–and let them remind you, “All shall be well!”

– Kylie

First Down with Fr. Eric (August 22, 2021)

Dear Friends,

The seven sacraments of our Catholic faith are powerful ways we encounter God in the midst of our community. These sacraments are not the only way we experience the presence of God, yet the seven sacraments are unique moments that the community has a role in participating. They welcome the newly baptized, eat at the table with others, witness the sealing of the Holy Spirit, know that the community is reconciled with the penitent, the ill are prayed for, the married witness to the community, the ordained serve the community.

The sacraments were still celebrated at St. Patrick when the pandemic began, and it still continues today. We are reminding parishioners that sacramental preparation continues for baptisms, confirmation, reconciliation, marriage and eucharist. The Formation Registration is ongoing, and we are inviting parents to register their children. We are moving forward and still use creative ways to form our parishioners if the pandemic is still a struggle. The parish still celebrates the sacraments for its people and will continue to do so.

For those who are participating in Sunday Communion from 9:15-10:15 am in our Daily Mass Chapel, with the COVID numbers rising and some feeling they need to be careful, we will continue with Sunday Communion for the time being. For now we still need to offer this for those who need to avoid large crowds because of health concerns. We will keep the community updated on any changes that may arrive.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Reflection (by Jacob DeRusha)

August 8th was my birthday and as I reflect on the past year I look back on all the changes that happened in and around me because of the circumstances. As I look back to a year ago I remember the deep uncertainty many of us were in and still might be. Amidst this uncertainty I am drawn to the scripture story from the gospels where Jesus calls Peter to walk on the water.

What is striking to me from this passage is that Peter could have easily stayed in the boat because it was what he knew was safe… Peter didn’t stay in the boat though. He stepped out into the unknown, doing something no (non-divine) human being had ever done before. He walked on water. I think this past year we were given a choice. We could have either continued our same old routines, even if they weren’t working, simply because they were what were easy. Or we could have stepped out of the safety of the boat and into the water.

Much like Peter I think we have been called to step into the unknown and do things that may have been unimaginable before because it is in that walking into the unknown that we encounter Christ. Maybe this past year you realized that you need to reach out to old friends and family members more often. Maybe you realized that you wanted to be more active and pick up some exercise routines. Maybe you realized that you need to slow down and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. As we rise this coming year I know I personally will continue to be aware of the ways in which Christ is calling me to step out onto the water and I invite you to do the same. The water is fine 😉

– Jacob

First Days (by Sharon Fabyanic)

When I was young, getting ready for school was all about the new shoes. School supplies were up to my mom, but shoes were for me to pick out. Stride Rite Mary Jane’s for Kindergarten, saddle shoes for second grade, tennis shoes for sixth grade, Birkenstocks for sophomore year. The excitement for the new shoes masked my true concern and worry for those first days. Many nights before school I would not even be able to sleep, instead worrying about a litany of questions, would I like my teacher? Would my teacher like me? Would I have friends? Would I be able to open my locker? As a mom sending our four children off to school this week, my concerns are not much different. Sometimes I wake up around 3 am just to consider my concerns. I don’t really pick this time, but my body seems to know that this is the ideal time to ponder the following: Will my child be loved and accepted? Will he/she be challenged, yet appreciated for his/her differences? Will they make friends? Will they remember to bring home the right books from their locker?

After all these years my first day worries have not really changed. I know that God promises to be with us always, but I think we all need the reminder on the first day of school, or any new beginning really. When Jesus left the apostles he told them “I am with you always.” Those apostles were facing a new beginning without their teacher, Jesus to guide them in their daily life. They struggled with worry and concern just like we do. Just like those early apostles, we all need that reminder from time to time. We are never alone. When we have doubts and worries, God is always with us. Not only do we have the Holy Spirit, the advocate, but also we have our community; friends for the journey. Friends help us, laugh with us, hug us, pick us up on a bad day, to remind us we are not alone. Hopefully friends that pray for us, and remind us that God is with us always. This year on your first day, know that your entire St. Patrick Catholic Community is praying with you. We hope it is the best day ever. And remember most of all, that God is with you always.

– Sharon