Category: First Down

Homily – 2nd Sunday of Advent (Fr. Edward Beck, CP)

This week we welcome Fr. Edward Beck to St. Patrick Catholic Community. Fr. Beck is a Roman Catholic priest of the Passionist Congregation. He is an author, playwright and on-air commentator for CNN on issues of faith, religion and ethics. Through his books, Fr. Beck shares experiences of his mission with God’s people across a wide spectrum of challenges: ministering to people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, walking with those struggling with addiction and counseling those navigating painful relationships.

His books include God Underneath, Soul Provider, and Unlikely Ways Home.

Here is his homily from this past weekend. Please join us Monday & Tuesday for our Advent Mission.

Evening Presentations:

Monday, December 9 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Tuesday, December 10 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

(in the Church)

* Please note… These presentations will NOT be recorded or podcasted. 

First Down with Fr. Eric (December 8, 2019)

Dear Friends,

There is a belief that we need to get something out of everything we do. If we do not see or experience the immediate results of our time invested, we say it is not worth our time. Catholics can find themselves with that same attitude. I can see the struggle when parents bring their children to Mass. As I distribute Communion, I see parents trying to herd their children forward, keeping them going in the right direction. There are many feelings that parents can have in bringing their children to Mass.
First of all when I bless the little ones in the Communion line, I use these words to bless them, “I am so glad you are here praying in God’s house today, well done.” Yes they are received, loved and welcomed in God’s house. Secondly, I want the parents to remember it is not the goal to get an exact message at every Mass and it is not a failure if you can’t concentrate or listen.

The parents are models of sharing faith for the community. Parents choosing to have children calls all the baptized to surround them with love, encouragement and for some parishioners, patience. If anyone feels a little one is making them lose concentration I would invite you after Mass or even during, to offer encouraging words that the family has chosen to be present in God’s house. Your joy, your acceptance, your understanding, is the most powerful example that there is much more to Mass than just getting something out of it. It is also what we bring to others.

Parents, your children are the future, and also the here and now of the Church. Do not always think you need to get something out of Mass – many times it’s more about what we bring and give. You give witness to loving and raising God’s children.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (December 1, 2019)

Dear Friends,

Even though I preach for a living, I, too, need to be inspired and fed. I have always looked for good speakers that present well thought out ideas, give me some great insights and call me to act upon my faith. There have been many that I have enjoyed listening to. One in particular, years ago, on Sunday morning TV Mass, a Passionist Priest by the name of Fr. Edward Beck gave wonderful homilies.

Later on, I came across him being a Commentator on Cable News about the Catholic faith and religious issues. He has a fantastic way of presenting complicated ideas in simple terms. At our Pastor’s Advisory Meeting, we decided to reach out to Fr. Beck to come to our parish for Advent, and he accepted.

Next Sunday he will preach at all our Masses. You will have another opportunity to hear him on Monday and Tuesday night, December 9 and December 10 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

This new Liturgical Year is bringing our parish new challenges and a call to strengthen our prayer and mission. I hope everyone will be as inspired by Fr. Beck as I have been for many years.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (November 24, 2019)

Dear Friends,

Someone recently told me in a conversation that I always talk about food. I suppose there is enough physical evidence to convict me. Yet the act of eating is such an important part of the human experience.

In the scriptures, eating sealed the covenant with God. Jesus really does eat his way through Galilee, as he participates in such a powerful way of sharing a meal as a Jew in his time. Even the image of a banquet is used to describe what living with God can be like. So if people think I talk a lot about food, it must be because it is in the job description!

This Thursday, our country will be gathered around the table to eat, drink and be invited into communion with others. What unites us is our common gratitude for all of life’s blessings. Friends of God would say it is God who provides for us what we need. Our most human response is to say thank you to God for every blessing, and we do that at table.

The Catholic Community gathers always around the table to share in the sacred meal. Jesus becomes for us, food for our long journey.
As your table is used this Thanksgiving, remember that God uses the image of eating and drinking to reveal his care and love for us. This

Thursday, I invite all of us to do as God does.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (November 17, 2019)

Dear Friends,

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center offered some numbers regarding people identifying their religious affiliation. Ten years ago Catholics were about 23% of the population, with the current percentage down to 20%. “Nones,” those who have no affiliation, are around 25% of the population. No doubt there are changes happening in Christian Communities.

Even though these changes are happening, there is still life among many communities. The first weekend of November our parish celebrated the Rite of Welcome for those seeking full communion with our Catholic family. Adults seeking Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, (others already baptized as Christians seek Confirmation and Eucharist), and those in Family Initiation are on a journey to being in full communion with us at Easter. The number of people interested in Initiation is so great, we needed to add a second Rite.

That same weekend we had six infant baptisms at 10:30 Mass and two more at 5:00 pm Mass. These families recognized the importance of having their children baptized in the faith to begin their journey in following Jesus. My words at the conclusion of the baptisms were, “Move over Church, make room for six more.” Like in any family we simply move down the table to make room for more and the image is perfect for any Christian Community.

So even though we know people are struggling in seeing the need to belong actively to community, there is still life ongoing in our parish and in other communities.

I hope all parishioners realize people come to the faith because they see the life that you are living. They are attracted to how you treat them, care for others, and are willing to serve. Do not undervalue your part in attracting people to our faith.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (November 10, 2019)

Dear Friends,

Many Christians and other people are open to praying for many things in life. When difficult circumstances arise, many people are open to having others offer prayers on their behalf. What is true is that prayer can be offered out loud for serious topics and events happening in our country and in the world. Not too many people are offended when such prayers are offered. Christians can pray for national leaders, important issues being debated and even issues that find people on opposite sides. I suppose it is good that “Church people do the praying.” It really does not hurt or offend too many people.

Now if the Christians desire to put prayer into action, which is the response to prayer, then some resistance can happen. When Christians seek to enter into the arena of working with real people and real issues, not everyone is understanding or even supportive. The resistance comes when some feel their side or opinion is not being supported by others, or that Christians really should not express their opinions or get involved in such messy issues. Even the misunderstanding of separation of Church and State is offered in a way that makes it seem Christians should just pray and let other people do the hard work.

My friends, what good is the Gospel of Jesus Christ if Christians do not engage in the world? Prayer without action and involvement in the world is a wasted act. You heard me. The Spirit calls us to be bold, courageous, wise, active and compassionate.

People who want Christians just to pray and do nothing do not know what it means to be Christian Disciples in Mission. St. Patrick and the Catholic Church will continue to enter the arena, wrestle with the issues and seek the common good.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric