Category: From the Pastor

First Down with Fr. Eric ( November 28, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Advent! We are entering into a special time of year. We have a day where we can give thanks to God joined by many people throughout the country. Whether people gathered together for food and conversation, or just took time to give thanks, it is pleasing to God that we reflected on what we are grateful about. We Catholics have been giving thanks to God for a long time. The word “eucharist” in Greek means giving thanks so whenever we gather together at the table of the Lord, we express gratitude.

This Sunday marks the beginning of a new liturgical year with the season of Advent. A time of rejoicing and remembering that our Savior has come and he will come again. The main Gospel this year will be from Luke, a favorite gospel of mine. There is a theme of lots of eating! Nine stories of Jesus eating with people. Jesus being recognized eating with many people after his resurrection. These eating stories recall a time when people who shared a meal shared a bond of being family. No longer strangers, but brothers and sisters.

As we RISE to begin another new year, I think the Gospel of Luke is the perfect one to bring people back to the table. A table of gratitude, a table that reminds us we are all part of the family. A table that nourishes us to go out into the world and bring healing and peace.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Advent!

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (November 21, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Every November we celebrate Stewardship/Commitment Sunday for our parishioners. It is a wonderful reminder that the parish community takes responsibility for forming disciples of Jesus Christ and offering one’s resources and personal gifts to serve the Lord and his people.

The weekend of November 20-21 we will be reintroducing our Offertory Baskets at the altar area. Most of us might be familiar with the practice of having parishioners come forth with their gifts and place them in the basket.

Three things people can bring with them to offer to the Lord. It can be a financial gift that helps meet our expenses. When one already gives financially online, there are two more things to offer the Lord. A card that one writes on by placing their prayer requests and/or what one has prayed about during the week. The other can be writing acts of service from the past week, things we did to serve the Lord and others. It really calls on everyone to reflect on what we can bring to the Lord. It is more than money that one brings: their hearts of love and service matter to God as well. Each Wednesday our Parish Staff prays over the financial envelopes, cards of prayers and cards of service asking the Lord to bless everyone who shared with the community.

To love the Lord with one’s whole heart, mind, soul and strength is much more than giving money: it is offering all we are to the Lord, and the community honors that by allowing the whole community to witness that we come forward to the altar and place our gifts.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (November 14, 2021)

Dear Friends,

The parish has been very busy with ministry, activities, and building relationships. I want to thank everyone on staff and parishioners who worked hard in making our Fall Festival a huge success. There were about 600 people who attended, from all age groups. There was something for every age, candy for the kids in their costumes, parents and grandparents enjoying food, fellowship and activities for them. The youth were in our Youth Garage, dancing, playing volleyball, and a Cake Walk. A tour of our new House of Mercy was included in the evening. The fellowship amongst the people was amazing as some have not seen each other in a long time.

Thank you to parishioners who brought the photos of their deceased loved ones for our blessing of them, and we celebrated Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Days. Parishioners received a Resource Card on Mental Health after Sunday Masses. We talked about the importance of the Church offering guidance and support for the Mental Health of parishioners and everyone in the greater community.

We are preparing for the season of Advent which begins on the last Sunday of November. It prepares us to celebrate the season of Christmas and we expect large crowds for our Christmas Masses.

Each Sunday we are seeing more and more parishioners slowly making their way back to Sunday Mass. It has been a journey for many of them. To get back into the practice of Sunday worship, be in a good place in dealing with COVID in groups, getting used to not being active in the parish community are some of the challenges we face. It is just really good to see more people set up to serve, minister, come to Sunday Mass, and be part of the ministries that meet during the week.

We are grateful for all the blessings that God has given to us, and we are still moving forward as a community.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (November 7, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Most of us are familiar with the healing that Jesus does in the Gospels. Men and women are healed of physical ailments such as blindness, leprosy, paralyzed limbs, deafness and bodily illnesses. The thing about physical healing is that one can see the results of the healing. Right before our eyes, we can determine that one is healed, the illness and physical pain is gone. Over the course of time, humanity has become good at dealing with physical human illnesses.

There is another part of the human body that needs healing, but for some reason we have lagged behind in learning how to heal the human mind. One can hide the effects of mental pain. Since it is not easily visible it can be ignored, not believing there is a problem, or thinking only certain people who are lacking something are the ones who need help or seek professional help. God wants to heal the whole person and that includes the human mind.

The pandemic has created a very serious crisis for many people, the need for mental health and care. We have been challenged like never before. The level of anxiety, stress, the lack of control, the uncertainty in daily life, has taken a toll on many people. We are seeing people acting out in unhealthy ways. The Church cares about the mental health of its people.

We have asked a parishioner who is a professional in the mental health profession to come speak to us at all our Masses this weekend on this topic. Jill McMahon has spoken to our teens, parents, and parishioners through online presentations and talks to different groups. She will give us some great information on how we can get through these difficult times or help others who might need some support from us.

St. Patrick has long provided groups, support and resources in the parish or in the greater community that provide mental health support for everyone. We hope this talk will help, so everyone will know the parish is offering information on this topic over the next few months. Her talk can be seen on our online Mass so you can listen to it again, or share with others. It is difficult to see mental healing happen, but it does. It is because God wants to heal the entire human body.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (October 31, 2021)

Dear Friends,

As we soon enter into the month of November, there is an emphasis on remembering those who have died. Our Gospels focus on end times as we come to the conclusion of another Liturgical Year and begin a new one in Advent, which begins very soon.

There are three days that have very significant religious emphasis for us as Christians. Halloween, believe it or not, has some religious beginnings and reminders for us. November 1st is the Feast of All Saints and November 2nd is the Feast of All Souls. There is a connected theme with all three days and I would like to preach that weekend at all Masses to give us some uplifting messages and comfort on these special days. (All Saints Day this year falls on a Monday, so the attendance to that Mass is optional.) I thought it would be great for the parish to celebrate these days and learn about how it applies to our everyday lives.

We also have invited parishioners to bring a photo of a loved one who has died and are at home with the Lord. We would have the photos near the altar or in the Narthex that weekend. Our Christian faith has clear and beautiful reasons we remember those who have died.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts on these special days and I hope parishioners can make an effort to attend Mass that weekend or to view our Mass online.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (October 24, 2021)

Dear Friends,

There are some special feast days coming up for the Christian world in early November. On the weekend of October 30-31 at all our Masses we will be doing some teachings on Halloween (All Hallows Eve), All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. November 1st is the feast of All Saints Day, and November 2nd is All Souls Day. I will be preaching at all our Masses that weekend to give us some insights into the beauty and significance of the special days for Christians.

That weekend we are inviting all parishioners to bring a photo of a loved one who has died and risen with the Lord. Our staff members will be at the entrance of the building and will be collecting your photos. They will place them either near the altar or in our Narthex for viewing and remembrance. After Mass parishioners may take their pictures or leave them for the other Masses. I am excited to take this opportunity to remind parishioners of the great history of our Catholic faith and the influence on these significant holy days. So often they can become so secularized that we forget the story of how our faith celebrates life, death, resurrection, and also how we deal with evil in the world.

The entire parish is invited to the FALL FESTIVAL after the October 30 evening Mass (4:30 pm). In the parking lot next to the House of Mercy there will be trick or trunk with goodies, games, some good eats and an open house for the House of Mercy, as we bless our newest building. We hope to bring people together outside for some fellowship and fun.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (October 17, 2021)

Dear Friends,

The month of October is Respect Life Month for our Catholic faith. Every Sunday we listen to the Gospel of Life, and the homilies remind us of what the Gospels say, that our behavior gives witness to Jesus Christ.

We invite all parishioners to view our webpage stpatcc.org/respect life. It is filled with information about the teachings of what respect life means to our faith, a view of the different life issues and information on each issue. There is a Resource Report that gives important information of quotes, teachings and writings on Life Issues in our Catholic faith. What is asked is Prayer, Reflection and Action in whichever issue one wishes to explore. From the moment of conception until the last natural breath, we respect, protect and value all human life.

Each Sunday we have a video to present at Mass after the homily that highlights one of the many life ministries at St. Patrick. Whether you are at Mass in person, or want to view the Mass online, one can see the video. Also, the videos will be sent out on our weekly email Connection. It is the best way for every parishioner to receive the latest information from the parish. When one opens their parish email they are kept up to date with the most current and accurate information about St. Patrick. Without it one can be unaware of important news about what the parish is doing and how we are supporting people during these challenging times. Sign up on our parish website for the weekly email Connection or call the Parish Office to have your name and email address added to the list.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

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

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

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