Category: From the Pastor

First Down (October 21, 2018)

Dear Friends,

It is always important to remember what the times were like when Jesus was physically present to humanity. Biblical scholars, including our own Fr. André Dargis, know that Jesus challenged the cultural mindset of how women were viewed. Women would sit at the feet of Jesus the Teacher, which was amazing for that time. Women were to be seen as equal to their husbands, as marriage was to be a mirror of divine love. Women were also disciples of Jesus and the first to see the empty tomb. Church historians

would also acknowledge that the Roman Empire found it strange that early Christians treated women with respect and a place of sharing in the mission of Jesus. Some of the persecution towards Christians by Romans happened because of how they valued the role of women.

Tension is part of our world as some women want to remind others, that women have value and are to be treated with dignity and respect. For others there is a tired feeling of what can be called political correctness and a feeling of mistrust as to what people really want. The Gospel of Jesus does remind us that women have an important role in serving the Kingdom of God. There is strong evidence in scripture to support this understanding.

Today, women serve St. Patrick Community in ways that are important to the mission of serving God’s people. Women in leadership, is alive in our Church. The majority of our Parish Staff are women, beginning with Mary Permoda, our Director of Pastoral Activities, who really runs the Parish. She serves the community in working with personnel, ministry leaders, budget matters, being present to the community activities and making sure all levels of the Parish mission run correctly. Barb Nicol, Coordinator of Social Justice/Outreach. When she first arrived last year she was overwhelmed with the magnitude of what we do in Social Justice/ Outreach and we told her it would take a year just to see how things work. She coordinates and collaborates with SJO work in the Parish. Diane Kar is Coordinator of Stewardship, involving Praying, Giving and Serving. Whatever increase that is happening in these areas, are in part because of the leadership she brings. The Parish scheduling is under the direction of Carol Campbell as we are open 365 days a year with space being very tight.

There are more women involved in leadership through either being staff members or serving in leadership roles in the many ministries (135+) of the parish. There are too many to mention by name but are still valued.

The Church misses out when we see pictures of just men gathering for important meetings to make decisions. One could think where are all the women? Well one could simply look around and see many women in leadership roles, doing simply what Jesus encouraged centuries ago.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Homily: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Eric Tellez (with an invitation from Adam Stein)

The teachings of Jesus can confuse us as we try to make sense of what he asks and how it fits into our way of thinking. It takes time to reflect on what he is asking. This week’s Gospel, and the Beatitudes (our theme for the year) really turn our world upside down, but does not Jesus do that already?

Fr. Eric breaks this open during his homily this weekend and invites Adam Stein, our Coordinator of Communications, to share more about our theme and a very special event that is happening next week.



Here is the video that was shown at all the Masses this weekend:


Click here for a flyer on the Beatitudes project events that is happening next week and mark your calendars for these important dates:

“The Beatitudes Project”
Saturday – Tuesday, October 20 – 23

October 20 & 21:
Stu G will be speaking at all Masses

Monday, October 22:
a night of stories & song
6:30 pm in the Church

Tuesday, October 23:
“A View from the Hill” – Film & Q&A
Two Showings:
9:30 am in the Daily Mass Chapel
6:30 pm in Fenlon Hospitality Center


Finally, you can click here to download the Beatitudes card & calendar of events here at St. Patrick that takes us through the rest of this year. Thank you! Together we are Christian Disciples in Mission who are Living Beyond Sunday through the Beatitudes!

First Down (October 14, 2018)

Dear Friends,

Here is what St. Patrick Community does well, have our youth involved in our Liturgies. At our Sunday Night Youth/Young Adult Mass at 5pm, (attended by all ages!), one sees our teens offering all the hospitality to those who enter, taking the collection and guiding everyone to Communion. Led by our adult leaders, our teens every Sunday do a great job in service for the Lord and His people. Our Proclaimers of the Word, Lectors, find our teens being prepared to proclaim that Sunday’s Scripture Readings. Adult leaders work with our teens and they really do a great job. For some reason, teens are so open to instructions on the way to proclaim God’s word. It is powerful and always well done. Our music ministry has teens leading the community in voice and playing instruments, while other teens and young adults are Eucharistic Ministers.

Singing Angels are made up of 1st through 8th grade children who sing at selected Masses and other events for the parish. Brought to practice by their parents, these children are prepared well to lead the community in singing. Some come forward to the Ambo and lead in the singing of our Responsorial Psalm response and it is amazing that different children have courage to get up before a group of people. This year the Masses that the Singing Angels will sing at, there will be three children that will proclaim the Readings and Prayers of the Faithful.

The point here is that our youth are not going to Mass just sitting in the pews and watching. They are involved. Can parents really get their kids to Mass if they just sit there? The ideal to work for is parents modeling being involved in service at Mass or after Mass with other projects. This can be hard work. This just does not happen because we put a request in the bulletin, (between you and me that rarely works). It is having dedicated staff members and parishioners calling, inviting and then being rejected, being told no way, calling again and finally getting a yes! It’s hard work for parents and its hard work for parishes.

Sometimes it is disheartening to be told, NO! Yet, we should never be afraid and give up, because it is the risk of asking that more people say YES! We simply do the best we can and our numbers show that there is a large involvement with young people in serving this community. It is not everyone but we keep striving to invite more.

So your support on every level makes it possible to have youth/children not just on the sidelines watching Mass when they go, rather, youth/ children are involved serving, praying and doing.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

From the Diocese of Phoenix

Bishop Olmsted has heard from many in the Diocese about how the current scandals surrounding the Church have affected you, and now he would like to hear from all of you. The Diocese of Phoenix has built a new website and invites everyone to take a few minutes to share your thoughts. Bishop Olmsted will review your responses and share the information with his brother Bishops. Click here to visit the website and use the player below to watch a message from Bishop Olmsted.


First Down (October 7, 2018)

Dear Friends,

There is so much activity at St. Patrick. With many people serving, being formed as Disciples of Jesus Christ and developing future plans to better serve our people and the greater community, our work never stops. The challenge for any organization that serves and involves many people is how to effectively communicate information to those people.

After many years in ministry I am no longer surprised when someone says they never knew or even heard about important things going on at the parish. It might even be something that we have talked about for months and communicated through different mediums and still there are some who will not know what might be important to the parish. In many churches the traditional form of communication would be the use of a bulletin. For older generations it might still be the most comfortable way to stay informed. For others today, there are many other technological ways to stay informed.

I would like to encourage as many parishioners as possible to stay informed about our parish by signing up and receiving our weekly email blast. So many people do use email as a way to communicate and receive information that is important. The parish wants to keep all parishioners apprised of important information about parish activities and decisions that are made that will have a huge impact on St. Patrick.

Once a week, on Thursdays, our parish sends out an email with important information that we would want parishioners to know. Not only the written words, but graphics, photos, podcasts and brief videos that relay information as quickly and easily as possible, to as many people as possible. If you are a parishioner who is not currently receiving our email, please sign up by either emailing the parish office or going on our parish website to sign up.

It is the desire of parish leadership to keep everyone informed with the important information. Receiving this email may be the best way to get the greatest amount of information regarding what is really happening in the parish and to let you know how the challenges of the parish are being addressed.

I hope many sign up for this weekly email blast. It is an effective way to communicate to our people.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (September 30, 2018)

Dear Friends,

Raising our children can be hard work. It takes a lot of energy to watch over them, guide them, teach them and correct them. They can be our greatest joy and at the same time make us feel tired in trying to live our lives by including them. We can see this on Sundays when families strive to bring their children to Mass. The word “Liturgy,” from the Greek means the “people’s work” and it does take work to get to Mass and even more work to bring our children along. Children might motivate us to make sure God is important and at the same time it can be a battle to make it on time or struggle with the feeling is it really all worth it.

At Communion time there is joy for me in blessing the children who come up with family for Communion. They are not ready yet to receive and many of the children expect to be blessed by the priest or Eucharistic Minister. For many of the children I love using these words to let them know they are loved. I say, as I bless them, “I am so glad you’re in God’s house to pray today. Well done.” Sometimes the parents will hear those words and I hope that comforts and inspires them that it really is important and worth it, that they are in God’s house to pray.

I am grateful to those parishioners who remember what it was like to raise their children and bring them to Mass. They can relate to feelings such as, people annoyed with the extra noise from the kids, trying to make sure they are not too much of a distraction for others or not being able to concentrate at Mass or even listen to the homily, (Oh no! ). When other parishioners outwardly support and encourage such families it has a huge impact on our faith community.

For others who might struggle with the extra noise from the kids, and maybe even adults, let’s try to remember that at times one’s ministry at Mass might simply be to be present to those around us. It could be the kind word or gesture. Maybe in conversation you may find out that some encouragement or sharing your similar experiences from the past could be helpful. The Lord will never think you wasted time in not “getting anything out of Mass”. Mass is community worship and many times the focus might need to be on another Body of Christ, His people. To neglect this part is forgetting God’s desire to see Him in others. When we remember He resides in people, even the noisy little ones, then we plant a wonderful seed that parents feel welcomed with the entire family and that parishioners have understanding and patience.

I enjoy seeing the children in God’s house on Sunday, praying and singing to God.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (September 23, 2018)

Dear Friends,

I always enjoy being with people who have passion for things in life. It could be a passion for a hobby, a passion for a vocation in their lives, a passion for always improving their knowledge, a passion for life or a relationship. A person with real passion does not want to settle for just good enough or simply getting by. They “feel” that there is more to do, experience or learn. Simply doing enough just does not do it for them.

Our faith experience can be similar. When one has passion for God, there can be a desire to do more than just enough. To live one’s life with purpose, meaning and real direction is what every believer in God should desire.

Jesus asks more of his followers than just doing the minimum or just following the rules that one would believe satisfies our desire to follow him. In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5, we have what is called the Sermon on the Mount. Whenever the teacher sits his disciples down, it is a sign that an important teaching is about to happen. We have what we call the Beatitudes, the blessings that Jesus speaks of for his followers.

We hear of the blessings for those poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for what is right, the merciful, the clean of heart and the peacemakers. What Jesus is asking of all of us is to know there is a path even more important than simply knowing and following religious rules. It is having passion for the Kingdom of God, living beyond a life that says this is all I can or want to do. Beginning this month until next June our parish will make the Beatitudes a central theme. Christians can be very familiar with the Ten Commandments and other commands from God, and yet be very unaware that Jesus asks us to live the life of the Beatitudes.

Parishioners will continue to receive information throughout the year about the teachings of the Beatitudes and the events that will break open the blessings of Jesus, by helping every parishioner know what Jesus means by living a life that can seem so counter-cultural.

I invite everyone to journey with us for the coming months, to sit at the Teacher’s feet and learn from Him, Jesus Christ.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (September 16, 2018)

Dear Friends,

A few weekends ago I asked the community to raise their hands if there were any Catechists in the pews. A few did the first time.; I asked again, and a few more. I asked again and a few more raised their hands. I asked again and slowly the community began to understand that if they were baptized, they are indeed Catechists. These are people who teach the faith to others. Finally everyone did raise their hands. I hope every parishioner remembers that teaching moment.

We asked for Catechists to offer their time to lead our Children’s Liturgy of the Word and Young Disciples for the little children. Our Children’s Liturgy of the Word, (CLOW) is the first part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, for children to understand God’s Word on their level. It is the Mass for children. After the opening prayer in our main sanctuary, we send forth our children from pre-school up until 5th grade to gather for their own Liturgy. This year we are adding music and prayers of petition, the same things we do at Mass with the adults. At the offertory our children rejoin the community for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the second part of the Mass. We offer this at every weekend Mass, and believe that it is an important commitment to our children by the parish community.

So why does our faith remind us that we are all Catechists? Because, if we are already living the life of Christ, that makes us witnesses to Jesus Christ. Simply by modeling a life of faith in God we teach people by our example and by the choices we make. Is it important that Catechists be trained? Well the first part of the answer would be “yes”. If one is to learn to teach others, it helps knowing about the subject and how to present. We need on-going formation to know more about our Catholic faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ. The other part of the answer is, if one is simply following Jesus and setting a powerful example, then one teaches by modeling and telling others why you live the way you do. It is simply telling one’s own story. Why is one Catholic? Why does one follow Jesus Christ? What are some examples in one’s own life that gives others evidence that we love God and neighbor?

We need some trained Catechists who can go deeper in Formation to help others deepen their knowledge of God. We also need Catechists who are already living faith-filled lives that will share their story with others. Simply report what one is doing in life to love God more. Sometimes people who work in church can create a feeling that if something is not said or done correctly then it is all wrong. It makes people afraid to step forward and share their faith with others for fear of being told one is wrong or one is not smart enough. There is no room for the Holy Spirit to help everyone tell the story of our faith. My goodness, the only reason my Priesthood is effective is because of the Holy Spirit, not so much that I am the smartest cookie out there. So if the Holy Spirit helps me out, it is alright for the Holy Spirit to do the same for all of you Catechists out there.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (September 9, 2018)

Dear Friends,

Former Bishop of Phoenix Thomas O’Brien, died on August 26th after dealing with a long illness. From 1982 until 2003 he served the people in this Diocese. As time moves forward and more people move into the Valley, there are people who really never knew about Bishop O’Brien.

There was a time in our Diocese that people across the country would come to experience the Liturgies celebrated here. NALR, a Liturgical Music Company was headquartered in Phoenix and the music was sought out by many.

Formation of faith was lead by our very own Deacon John Meyer. He can tell you stories of people from all over coming to find out what Phoenix was doing in formation and initiation. I was a personal witness to this as were many people. Funny how time moves on and people forget the good of the past or feeling that now it is much better. But I suppose that is human nature.

For myself, Bishop O’Brien gave me the great gift of Ordination to the Priesthood on June 7, 1986, at our Cathedral. I was able to serve this Diocese under his direction on committees and I even served as Vocation Director for one year. Thankfully he released me from that position to return to parish life, my first love of ministry. So indeed he was part of some of the greatest joys of my life.

At the same time, he also was involved in some of the most painful and lowest times in my faith life. The revelation of how he handled cases of sexual abuse amongst the priests and the inability to get a handle on doing the right thing for this Diocese to address the issues made it a difficult time for me. To rely on the County Attorney to set a moral course, for me was the saddest day as a Catholic. To see him resign was indeed sad and an end of an era of some of the good things our Diocese was doing.

After reflection I decided to keep praying publicly for Bishop O’Brien at the Eucharistic prayer as our retired Bishop. Sometimes the Church is not very good at reminding the wounded and those who have done wrong that they are still brothers and sisters. Sometimes people who are to live the Gospel just abandon people at their most critical time. To simply pray for him means that no one, no matter what should be forgotten. Those who fail us, even as leaders, those who feel they have been hurt by leadership and feel like no one remembers them should also be remembered. One day, after starting this, a woman came to me saying she did not like us praying for him at Mass. Then she said she thought about it and was now praying for her ex husband every day. She got it!

I did not pray his name because he was my favorite Bishop or I like his style better or whatever one thinks. It was simply, he was a brother always, just as everyone who comes searching for God. I pray that the people of our Diocese remember this as well.

Rest in peace Bishop O’Brien.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (September 2, 2018)

Dear Friends,

My very first job was at Burger Chef in Flagstaff. My view of the job was one of being happy getting some spending money. Over time I learned some great lessons. One, was I enjoyed a work ethic of being dependable, using my hours of work to do my best, enjoying the people I worked with and the bonding of friendships after work. Rather than just being a job to get money to spend, the work ethic that my Father instilled in me eventually helped me see the up side to working at a job.

My father worked long hours at the bank. He saw his job as a vocation of providing for his family, having pride in his work and seeing his personal gifts used to make every branch he worked at the best. What I find interesting, is that his work ethic somehow touched my life and that without thinking about it, I just followed his modeling of work. To this day all my siblings have a work ethic that is having pride in a job well done going beyond what is expected and know that the ability to work is a gift from God.

As our country celebrates Labor Day on Monday, it is a good reminder that work is vital for us as humans. It can give us purpose, direction and gifts that can be used to serve others.

Now I understand for some, their experiences of work are not always pleasant. The stress that can come with some occupations can make the experience difficult. For others, supervisors can fall short in offering good guidance and support. And still for others, layoffs or firings can happen often and can be a fearful experience.

This Labor Day might be an opportunity to look again at the purpose of work and how we might find meaning or even joy in our jobs and efforts of work.

Each morning when I wake up I offer my entire day to the Lord. I ask him to use me as his instrument to help me accomplish his mission on earth. Some days I can see his hands guiding me and helping me succeed. Other days I find it difficult to see God when difficult challenges face me at work. Yet through good or bad days I always offer my job, my work and my life to God. This might help us as Christians to know that our jobs can be more than just getting a paycheck. Rather, it can be a vocation where God uses us, even in very difficult positions, to do great things for ourselves and others.

This Labor Day can be a day where we can renew our efforts at our job, our work place or our vocation. To offer our work days over to God and asking Him to use us for His good might be an insight that can give us a deeper meaning to our work. More than just a paycheck, it can be a way that helps us find fulfillment in our lives.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric