Category: From the Pastor

First Down with Fr. Eric (May 15, 2022)

Dear Friends,
The beauty of our Catholic faith is that we are connected with other Catholics (and all Christians) through our love of God, our desire to serve him, and caring for all people. Even though we do not have a daily bond of seeing and knowing others who share our faith, our rituals, our common prayers, allows us to have similar experiences in living our faith. The same Mass, the same prayers, the same scripture readings, the same sacramental celebration, reminds us that we are all in the same family.

Our Diocese had their campaign of evangelization called Together Let Us Go Forth, to build up our church to bring the Good News of Christ to others. Finishing up our own past campaign, and the COVID situation, did not allow St. Patrick to participate at that time. As we move forward, we are participating by supporting a good ministry in our Diocese.

The Arizona State University Newman Center is a place where Catholics can gather for community, for sacramental life and living our Christ-centered faith. We have sent many of our own youth to the Newman Center to continue sharing their faith with other young people. Next weekend we have invited Fr. Rob Clements who leads the Newman Center to celebrate the Masses and talk about the great work at the Newman Center.

I look forward to having him with us as many years ago he came and shared with our community in the past. The rituals of our Catholic faith is shared by many and we know Christ is made known by our caring for one another.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (May 1, 2022)

Dear Friends,

At our very baptism we received the gift of the Holy Spirit. That same spirit was present at the beginning of creation, that same spirit descended upon Jesus at the River Jordan, and that very same spirit was given to us at our baptism. Those of us who received the Sacrament of Confirmation were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis has been reminding everyone that the Holy Spirit works in every person. We can forget this at times when we judge that some people do not have the spirit within them, or that others receive more of the Holy Spirit than others or one might think the Holy Spirit has left them.

Soon we will be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit promised to us by Jesus. We remember the speaking of many languages, the works done by the followers of Jesus. The disciples hidden behind locked doors are now filled with courage to go out and baptize all people.

This spirit moves us to serve others, just as the disciples did. This weekend we acknowledge the cooperation with the Holy Spirit with all those who serve the community of St. Patrick and the greater community. We see the Holy Spirit working in all of you in loving not only the people you feel comfortable in loving, but also loving people who are not easy to love and serve. The Holy Spirit works in us to serve others.

So to all ministers of St. Patrick we bless you, to all the baptized who serve the greater community we bless you, to those who struggle to find self worth that the Holy Spirit is working with you, we bless you, that you might come to realize you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit by the One who loves all.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (April 24, 2022)

Dear Friends,

HAPPY EASTER!

Our 40 days of fasting and penance during Lent now changes to 50 days of breaking open the mystery of the Resurrection.

We give thanks for all the people involved in making all of Lent, Holy Week and the Easter Sunday weekend a special celebration for all who attended or watched online. It takes a lot of work from many people to have our rituals be celebrated well, people made to feel welcome, and inspired people on their faith journey.

Our 3rd graders have been preparing for the Sacraments of Confirmation and of First Eucharist. On Friday, April 29 at 6:00 pm and Saturday, April 30 at 10:00 am, we will have our children and their families and friends gather for Mass. We welcome Fr. Don Kline, Pastor from St. Bernadette who will join us for the Masses and celebrate the sacraments with our children. We will keep them in our prayers this week. We are grateful to the parents and families that have journeyed this year with preparing their children, and staff and parishioners who worked with providing a good experience for the children and their families.

We also say goodbye for now to our winter residents, as many have already and will continue to return to their other places they call home. Too bad they are going to miss our wonderful summers of extreme heat! We pray for their safe journeys and a return to our parish next winter.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (April 10, 2022)

Dear Friends,

People of all religions are good at recalling and remembering special events that have deep meaning. Christians treat this coming week like no other week. We call it Holy Week. It remembers the saving events of Jesus Christ and we are invited to enter into this week with hearts open and remembering what really matters in our lives.

Today on Passion (Palm) Sunday, we enter into the story of the triumphant entrance of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. The Gospel of Luke, our main Gospel this year, has Jesus on the path towards Jerusalem. It is the seat of religious power and authority. Jesus is aware that offering something new will not be easily accepted by those in power. They resist change and they are willing to kill Jesus to stop his mission, which they see as dangerous. Jesus goes to Jerusalem anyway, and knows the Father in heaven has given him insight at the transfiguration that he will be victorious. Salvation has been won by Jesus through his death and resurrection. This means we do not die into emptiness, but we will live with God forever.

So we are invited to have a different routine this week. Make time for prayer, attending one of the holy day services this Thursday, Friday or Easter Sunday. We prepare to celebrate the fifty days of Easter, remembering our story that one day sin and death will have no power over us.
Blessings as we enter into the special week of remembrance.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (April 3, 2022)

Dear Friends,

The 50 days of Easter is fast approaching as Lent will soon come to an end. In the meantime, we remember that there are four evenings for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with five Priests each evening, this Wednesday from 6:00 – 8:00 pm and next Wednesday again from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. We invite parishioners and others to view the Lent Penance Service on our YouTube Channel to prepare for confession. Hospitality Ministers will be present both evenings to welcome and guide people to the Priest they wish to see. We hope as many people as possible take advantage of this special sacrament to prepare for Easter.

Next Sunday is Passion (Palm) Sunday which will begin Holy Week. The proclamation of the Passion is important at those weekend Masses. Everyone is invited to Holy Thursday, April 14 at 7:00 pm for Mass, washing of the feet and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until midnight. On Good Friday, Stations of the Cross will be in the church at noon with the Good Friday Service at 7:00 pm.

The Easter Vigil is the Mass where we initiate the elect into our Catholic family, the most beautiful Mass of the entire year at 7:00 pm on Saturday. Then we welcome everyone for

Easter Masses at 8:30 am, 10:30 am, and 12:30 pm.

Easter is central to our faith and we gather to celebrate with the whole world the gift of eternal life offered to us by God.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (March 27, 2022)

Dear Friends,

The beauty of Lent is the ability to look within ourselves and invite the mercy of God into our lives and know the forgiveness that God offers each one of us. Pope Francis reminds us that God never tires in forgiving the sinner, it is just we tire in asking for that forgiveness.

Our parish is offering a number of evenings for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Here is the schedule of confession dates, times and number of priests that will be available on that particular day:

We invite everyone to view the Lenten Penance Service on our YouTube channel to help us prepare to celebrate this Sacrament. When you choose the date you wish to attend, you will be greeted by a Hospitality Minister who will guide you to see which Priest you wish to see. After receiving the forgiveness of sins, one can pray in the church in thanksgiving, and then all is done.

We hope that the good number of times we offer this Sacrament will be helpful to many people.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (March 20, 2022)

Dear Friends,
Our Fish Fry is doing great business on Fridays during Lent in Fenlon Center from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. We have had excellent turnout for people gathering to eat with each other at the tables both inside and outside. A good number of people order take out. It has been great seeing many people both parishioners and guests coming with smiles for the fish dinner. Thank you to staff member Megan Popa who oversees the operation and to the many people who have given their time to make this a great success. The proceeds this year go towards Habitat for Humanity.
Many businesses know that Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent. We want to remember the intent behind this effort. Whether it is meat or something else that causes us to pause and reflect on sacrifice, Lent calls us to enter into the suffering of Jesus by being an authentic disciple. Each time we think we are about to eat meat or partake of whatever we are offering up, it is a great reminder that these small sacrifices draw us closer to God, but also to be aware of the human suffering and challenges around us. We also remind parishioners that on Fridays at 6:00 pm we have the outdoor stations of the cross. The devotion of following in the footsteps of Jesus on his way from being condemned to death to his crucifixion. Recalling the suffering reminds us that it leads us to eternal life.
Blessings on this Lenten Journey.
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (March 13, 2022)

Dear Friends,

St. Patrick is currently underway with what are called “listening sessions.” Pope Francis has called on every Diocese and Parish to conduct some type of way to allow people to be heard. He has asked Church leadership to be willing to hear the thoughts, joys and concerns from the people. A word that describes this process is called “synod,” a word that comes from the Greek meaning same path, direction.

Pope Francis has constantly reminded everyone that listening to one another is important.

St. Patrick has a long history with offering listening sessions and we continue doing so now. The Pope wants to hear what adults, youth and even children have to say. He believes the Holy Spirit works in everyone and to listen is important.

I hope as many people, not just parishioners will want to be heard. We have offered a total of 158 session possibilities right now consisting of a facilitator and up to eight people being part of the group. Participating both in person and online is available. Not only are we asked to share, but we are also asked to listen to others.

Please know your Pastor wants to hear what is important to you. The information will be forwarded to the Diocese and then to Rome for their report. More importantly the Parish Leadership wants to listen and learn what needs to be done in the future for God’s people. One can go on the parish website, stpatcc.org/synod for all the information.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (March 6, 2022)

Dear Friends,

We welcome the Religious Order of the Crosiers. They join us at all our Masses this weekend to speak on the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, the need for many kinds of healing that we need. The Crosiers, Priests and Brothers, have their residence in South Phoenix. Of their many gifts they offer the Church, one is praying for healing. Please remember every 10:30 am Sunday Mass is available on our parish YouTube Channel, Facebook and our website, in case anyone who was unable to be present at the Mass for any reason, can view the Mass and ask God for the blessing of healing. It can be a great comfort to many.

As the season of Lent begins we will be offering our online PARISH LENTEN PENANCE SERVICE. It will be available all throughout Lent. We have a number of evenings for confessions that will be announced, and the daytime confessions are Saturdays 3:00 – 4:00 pm. There will be a good number of opportunities for celebrating this great Sacrament of Reconciliation.

May these 40 days of Lent prepare us to celebrate well the 50 days of Easter.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (February 27, 2022)

Dear Friends,

This Wednesday, March 2 is Ash Wednesday and will begin our spiritual journey through these 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Prayer is central in the life of the disciple according to the Gospel of Luke. His Gospel is the main Gospel we will read for most of the year. To simply be still with the Lord is a most powerful way to pray, or even begin to pray if we have slipped away from that habit. To dedicate some time to be in silence with the Lord is the best place to start for people who feel life is so busy.

Fasting is learning to refrain from things that have become a habit in our daily living. Things that we could learn to do less with, or not allowing certain things to dominate our time, or things we could let go of to free us to do things that really enrich our lives.

Almsgiving is being concerned for our neighbors. It could be giving to the poor, it could be being more aware of our neighbor’s needs, it could be all types of acts of kindness towards strangers or people we encounter regularly in our daily lives.

These 40 days are meant to prepare us to celebrate the 50 days of Easter.

The season of Lent is our journey not our destination. The season of Easter reminds all Christians that Christ has risen from the dead and we share in his resurrection.

Blessings on this Lenten season which is about to begin.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric