Author: St. Patrick Catholic Community

First Down with Fr. Eric (August 15, 2021)

Dear Friends,

One of the greatest testimonies to community faith lived out is when parishioners see a need of another person in the pews and they respond. I have heard countless stories of how parishioners have taken it upon themselves to offer friendship and welcome to others or how they met an emergency situation with car trouble or assisting the family when the paramedics are called. Friendships grow by checking on others, comforting people who are afraid or need support of listening. When parishioners take care of each other or simply are open to creating a safe and welcoming environment, that is exactly what faith community living should be.

During this challenging time we find ourselves in again, there is the opportunity for each parishioner to see the needs or comfort in others. For people who have children not vaccinated yet, people with vulnerable people in their lives, when people who are simply fearful of what is happening, it is amazing when parishioners go the extra step to care for one another.

Wearing a mask can be annoying for some. For others there is a willingness to be inconvenienced to help people to come to Mass safely. This is not the easiest of times for us. Yet this time has been made for Christians who care for one another. This is what we do. So the CDC has recommended in large gatherings that masks should be worn. At St. Patrick we are stating it is Highly Recommended that we wear masks out of concern for others. Please pray about discerning what we can do for others who need our extra support.

When I am in close contact with others I will wear a mask so that anyone feels they can approach me. We move forward knowing that all our lives are important to God, to our faith community and to our loved ones.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (August 8, 2021)

Dear Friends,

This summer as families approach me after Mass, they inform me that one or more of their children are preparing to head off to college this fall. What feelings go through the family members when one of their own is ready to move out of the house and begin a journey of moving away from the everyday presence of other family members. We are so blessed in our community and area to have our young people be able to attend some great learning institutions across this land.

We are so hopeful this year as schools begin to regather their students onto their campuses. As the college students leave for school soon, please feel free to ask for a blessing from me after the Masses. We offer a school blessing every year and some college students might leave early or have already left for school. We ask God to bless all our students, instructors, and all who work in a school setting for this coming school year.

In August we will have a school year blessing at all our Masses and we ask for protection for everyone in the school setting.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Participation (by Paul Hillebrand)

It was so nice to see such a large crowd come to celebrate Fr. Mark Harrington’s life as a Priest on July 16 and also a couple weeks before for Deacon John Meyers’ Celebration of Life. Both these men were “all in,” living lives of service and giving glory to God by the way they lived their ministry. It was so great to hear everyone singing and joining their voices to celebrate their wonderful well-lived lives. Such a beautiful sound and it brought the church alive!!!

I know I can sometimes take for granted how well we sing and participate here at St. Patrick. I am very grateful for all the people who have offered their gifts to serve at the table of the Lord, especially in all the Liturgical ministries, not just music. On a regular Sunday, I do have to mention though, from my viewpoint in the music area, I get to see those who are singing from the bottom of their hearts and also, on the other hand, I get to see how many mouths actually move when we sing. I just want to offer this encouragement…EVERY VOICE MATTERS!!! We need everyone to participate and sing and pray from the bottom of their hearts.

In the first part of this blog I mentioned that it was nice to hear “everyone” sing. This usually happens when we are gathered to celebrate something special. I’m not sure it happens every Sunday like it could though. To have full, conscious, active, participation in singing and praying, (as we are called b Vatican II documents) that is our goal, that is our higher calling, our mission to transform the world by our participation, especially in song. We inspire each other by our “all-in-ness,” that we sing what we believe! I understand that at St. Patrick the singing is probably better than 80% of the parishes in the country, but we all can set the bar higher, so that all who enter will remember not just that the music was good but that everyone sang!!!

So again, if you are one of our regulars who sing their hearts out, thank you for your witness, it is inspiring. And if you are a sometimes singer, we just encourage you to use your gifts to help our praise and worship of God become outstanding, because we know that our St. Patrick Voice is not the same without yours, (even if it is not the most well trained!) Thanks for being such a great parish, there is a lot to be proud of here, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead you in Prayer and Song.

– Paul

What I did on my summer vacation (by Mary Permoda)

What I did on my summer vacation….I can remember writing these stories or drawing pictures of my summer vacation almost every year that first week we were back to school. I am not sure it meant anything to me as I did the assignment. Back then it was just busy work for me or maybe an opportunity for my teacher to regain control of students that thought they were still on summer vacation! Now that I am older and supposedly wiser (ha!), I find myself reflecting on what I did on my summer vacation and looking for meaning.

I just returned from a family vacation – that we lovingly call the Chevy Chase Vacation! My son Andy wanted to have some distraction for me as we came up on the 1st year anniversary of the death of my son Christopher. Distraction for sure! They planned a road trip to Chicago in a motor home. My son, his wife and three of their four children and I, trekked across the tundra straight through so we would have more time in Chicago to see the sights. Nine days in close quarters 24/7 and we came out of it stronger than when we left. Now, there was a moment when it could have gone either way, but we prevailed! My 17-year-old granddaughter said “it was the best vacation we ever had”. Coming from her, who went kicking and screaming, says something.

Well, that is what I did, now on to my pondering. The older I get the more I want to know about myself, my family and God not necessarily in that order. For myself, I learned I let myself get caught up in a rat race, I need fun and recreation, I want to explore and COVID played a number on me. Regarding my family, I deepened the understanding that I love them more than life itself…and I miss Christopher deeper than I thought possible. Love and forgiveness are everyday experiences and just because you are family, doesn’t protect you from the pain and work all relationships require. Even family relationships are a lot of work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Never take them for granted, you do not know what tomorrow brings. What did I learn about God? God can be found in the sunrise even after driving for 24 hours straight, God has more patience than a saint, and can be found in the most obscure places if you carve out the time and space.
What did you do on your summer vacation?

First Down with Fr. Eric (August 1, 2021)

Dear Friends,

The Lord and our parishioners have blessed us with an abundance of resources at St. Patrick. The giving of the people to be Christian Disciples in Mission has been ongoing even in this challenging time. In being good stewards with these gifts, we make sure that we spend with care on the things that help our Parish bring Christ into the world.

We also strive to make sure we have a reserve to help when unforeseen events come forth. There is so much equipment and building maintenance that is required to maintain and avoid being caught off guard and having to spend a large sum of money.
Being proactive and responsible is a must in being good stewards of people’s gifts.

We are also able to share our resources with those who need our support. One example is that we gave a $25,000 gift to St. Joseph Parish in Phoenix, who is building a new worship space as they recover from the fire that destroyed their former space. We have set aside for years this amount to make sure we have a resource to turn towards when unexpected things occur. We are donating one month’s savings to St. Joseph Parish to help in their need for items inside their new space.

St. Patrick also shares with other parishes, groups or organizations when a need is presented and we can support them. As we ask parishioners to be generous in their stewardship, it is important that our Parish also be generous to support others. Support is not only financial, but with spiritual, physical presence, and other resources we have to share.

We are grateful for the continuing giving from many parishioners and we look forward to more parishioners sharing generously their blessings with the Parish family to bring Christ to all people.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER OF THANKS FROM ST. JOSEPH PARISH

First Down with Fr. Eric (July 25, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Statistics tell us that there is still a significant number of people who use Facebook for their social media. St. Patrick has a good number of followers on our Facebook account.

I am very grateful to the staff members who have helped with our weekday 3 o’clock prayer on Facebook. It is a wonderful opportunity to take a brief moment in our day to stop, reflect and pray together. Each staff person brings in great insights into our spirituality, the scriptures, prayer, devotions and personal stories. I would invite parishioners to know they can join in at 3:00 pm every weekday, or view the prayer at any time after 3:00 pm.

YouTube is a well known app and St. Patrick has its own channel on YouTube to which you can subscribe. Our Sunday Mass, videos from St. Patrick Studio guest speakers, and formation videos are some of the options to view.

We will be inviting parishioners to sign-up for our Instagram account for updates on parish happenings, spiritual insights, homily highlights and lots of pictures of what is going on at the parish. You can go on our parish website and click the Instagram icon to use your Instagram account to view St. Patrick social media.

Our Parish Website will be getting a much-needed update and new look this fall. Our staff members have been working with a website and social media company to update our website so that it will be more effective on phones and other devices.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Hate Gets More Clicks Than Love (by Brian Cannon)

I think that there is a certain gravitational pull, a sorting out of sorts, associated with spending time online. Every tap and every click that we register is a statement of preference, and pretty soon, the digital universe starts putting things in front of us that align with these statements. Let’s just say that I see a lot of posts and ads about Notre Dame Football and Disneyland. But I also see other things – politics, morality, belief systems, and such. It’s all well and good, but I know that these posts, articles and videos are designed to drag me further down the rabbit hole of division that we are all living in. The people whose job it is to get us to engage in their content know something about us that they use to their advantage. They know that hate gets more clicks than love.

Jesus can tell us all day long not to be afraid, and not to worry, but there will always be someone ready to pounce on our fears and anxieties to exploit them. Where Christ would seek to transform fear into trust, others would like to see it fuel outrage. Outrage spreads like wildfire, which is great for ad revenues, but often less great for discipleship.

Hatred stirs up disputes, but love covers all offenses. -Proverbs 10:12

We know that love is ultimately more powerful than hate if we can just get to the depth in which it lives. Hatred is a quick fix. It readily allows us to assign blame to the other leaving our own responsibilities and shortcomings unexamined. Like any other drug, hatred calls us back again and again, demanding more of us each time.

Jesus invites us into freedom out of the slavery of sin and hatred. What if, for a week or two, you were more intentional about what you clicked on? What if you started to use those algorithms to your advantage, sending them the message that you’d rather be surrounded by goodness, kindness, and beauty than hatred and division? Let’s take an active role in shaping the surroundings that help shape us.

– Brian

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

Dear Friends,

March, 2020 found St. Patrick and many other churches scrambling to have the Mass online for people to view. Our “tech team” worked very hard for many months to have the Mass available online. We used two iPhones and a lot of hours making the Mass a prayerful and inviting production. It was not easy work behind the scenes, yet the beauty is people could simply engage with the Mass without thinking of all that went into providing it to everyone.

We now have great equipment, with more on the way to update our projectors, screens and other technical offerings. We can now provide even better quality to our live streams.

We were so honored to have the Prison Ministry at the Diocese ask us to provide on DVD our Sunday Masses to the prisons throughout the Valley. Since they could not be visited, many in prison prayed the Mass with our community. They have now reopened the prisons for visits from clergy, so there is no longer a need to provide this service to the prisons.

Prior to this pandemic, I would visit the prison to celebrate the sacraments with them. It was so humbling to be invited into their place, to be accepted with great humility as they strived to know that God was with them even in their most difficult moments. The Mass, the sacraments meant everything to them and many never took it for granted. So I am grateful that we could use our blessings to share with our brothers and sisters in prison. I pray that our messages over the past 18 months provided them comfort, assurances of God’s grace, and to know they are important to the entire Body of Christ.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric