Category: From the Pastor

First Down with Fr. Eric (February 16, 2020)

Dear Friends,

In about two weeks we will begin the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday is February 26. The ashes that we receive are outward reminders that we are called to conversion, meaning to turn away from sin in our lives.

There is something about Christians wanting to receive a sign from God. Many churches are filled with people wanting the ashes placed on their foreheads. Parishioners might begin the day with ashes and wear that sign to work, school, or even the marketplace. Even people on television wear the ashes. It is a powerful day of sign and symbol to the world.
Whether one is Christian or not, most know about the 40 days of Lent. It is a time of fasting, maybe giving up or taking on things in our lives. A large majority of people are aware that Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent. (Even McDonald’s, with their fish sandwiches knows this).

I am inviting everyone to start thinking about what spiritual things will happen during the Lenten season. It might begin with attending a Word Service or a Mass on Ash Wednesday. There will be Liturgy of the Word Services at 6:30 am, 10:00 am and 4:15 pm with ashes and Masses at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm with ashes.

Our hope is that the ashes we receive become powerful reminders of hearing the call to die to sin and to selfishness in our lives. These 40 days are preparation for the great season of Easter.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (February 9, 2020)

Dear Friends,

The beauty of our Catholic faith is that parents bring their children to learn about Jesus and how to live out their faith, either through Mass, formation or family activities. There is something in parents that tugs at their hearts that their children need a foundation for good values and knowing God loves them.

Anyone in parish formation ministry knows that not only do children need to learn, it is also the parents who need ongoing formation as well. The great mystery of sharing our faith is children are many times the ones who bring their parents back into living our faith. Those darn children bring us back time and time again. What a joy. Yesterday, to help parents and other family members, we offered a half day of Formation. We hold this annually and call it Home Field Advantage. It’s the advantage we need to know God is walking with us in our life journey.

Discipleship is planting the seed, and God does the growing in our hearts. We had another great turnout for our Formation event. Topics are chosen that can help all family members live out their faith in real ways.

We have podcasts available of our talks for everyone to listen to. Please go to our parish website stpatcc.org and listen to the different talks. Grounded in Prayer and Mission is our theme, how do busy people make this happen? I think we all are busy and could use some guidance on how to make room for God, Formation and Community in our lives. Please enjoy our podcasts.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Our children do this many times, what a joy!

First Down with Fr. Eric (February 2, 2020)

Dear Friends,

We are so blessed to have a Parish Nurse on our staff, Sandy Meyers. She has many years of experience in her field, as well as being an instructor. Parishioners do work on their spiritual well being, but that goes hand in hand with our emotional and mental health.

An area of great service is the Parish Nurse Ministry. In this ministry nurses step forward when an emergency happens here during a Mass or event. This really is important for everyone, especially the person experiencing the emergency. We are asking nurses to contact Sandy at the Parish Office at 480-998-3843 or smeyers(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)stpatcc.org to learn more about becoming a part of the Parish Nurse Ministry.

Sandy also oversees the outreach to our seniors and, grief support groups, and once a year we hold a Behavioral Health Conference that hosts speakers and leaders of multiple health organizations to help understand mental health. With our new house about to open, we can expect even more outreach and support to the ministry of well being.

Parishioners, thank you for your support to the Beyond Sunday Capital Campaign. This allows us to create a space at the new house to help the entire Scottsdale community and beyond. Soon, when our house opens, we can all see the fruits of our giving, praying and serving.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 26, 2020)

Dear Friends,

It is really not possible for anyone to know everything that is happening at St. Patrick. One can wonder if our Catholic community is in relationship with other Christian denominations/communities. The answer would be yes.

This Thursday the parish will be hosting its annual Interfaith Breakfast in Fenlon Hospitality Center. We invite clergy, staff members and church members to join us for breakfast and a presentation that builds relationships and working in ministry together. Thanks to your support we can host this event and so many others free of charge. City and State Government meetings/conferences, Diocese meetings, non-profit organizations, among other groups use our facility, and also partner with St. Patrick in many areas.

Our recent Matthew 25 project of meeting the serious needs of asylum seekers involved working with other Christian communities. Valley Interfaith Project meets here as well. I personally attend those meetings when possible, and I find it life giving meeting clergy from other Christian families, and I am always reminded of how much we have in common.

St. Patrick and our Catholic faith cannot be an island, being isolated, doing its own ministry. We are called to work together with others. When we do, we see God working through many groups, many events and through many people. It honors the presence of God when we see Him in places that sometimes we might not think to look.

Thank you for your support in allowing such good things to happen here and beyond.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 19, 2020)

Dear Friends,

January 12, 1969 is the day that my heart was broken. My Baltimore Colts, a team that I fell in love with, were heavily favored to beat the New York Jets. Joe Namath led the Jets to an upset over the Colts 16-7. I was so disappointed, a team that I gave my heart to lost, and for the next 25 years I could never read or watch highlights of that game. I refused to relive that event. What a lesson I learned, even though it would take a long time for me to realize that.

How often do people, a group of people or an institution disappoint us or break our hearts? We risk believing, we risk our entire love and then something happens that causes great pain for ourselves.

Even as a boy experiencing such sadness in my early life, for some reason, did not stop me from offering my heart again and again. Maybe the innocence of being young helped me not be paralyzed in my heartbreak. Sometimes it feels, as we get older, we hold on to the brokenness much longer than we need to. Over the years my heart has been broken, and at the same time I experienced great love and joy that would have never happened if I had let fear grip my life.

At times the pain can take a long time to go away and we strive to be sure that it does not consume us in unhealthy ways. As we begin this New Year, our prayer might be that we are not afraid to risk loving others, even though there might be the possibility of heart break.

I was so thankful that as a boy I did not stop living life afraid of heartbreak, I guess I was too naive. Maybe we need to know that our youth can teach us experienced people a thing or two.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 12, 2020)

Dear Friends,

Many people can be drawn to a favorite super hero who helps others. Just like super heroes, our Christian faith is meant to use our gifts to protect others, care for the vulnerable and for those who are victims to other’s selfish motives. For Catholics it is our Social Teachings that come from the Gospel message.

In the year 2020 we find that people can still be slaves to the evil designs of others. Sex trafficking is a horrible sin against humanity. Taking innocent people and ruining their lives. Our baptismal call is to care for all of God’s creation, most especially humanity.

Our Parish is offering an evening of awareness and action on January 16 at 6:30 pm in the Fenlon Hospitality Center. There will be a presentation on Sex Trafficking, to help raise our awareness and discern how we might be instruments of change in this serious issue. We hope everyone will find the evening informative and become aware this can touch the lives of people around us.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Eric