Category: From the Pastor

First Down (December 10, 2017)

Dear Friends,

I love looking into the faces of those attending a wedding at St. Patrick. As the couple shares vows and begins a new understanding of their love, I see the minds working in the married guests attending. Some have been happily married for many years, while others have endured, or are currently dealing with, finding meaning and understanding in their married relationship. When the vows are exchanged, it can be a moment of renewal, challenge, insight or reflection. A marriage just can’t stay at one constant level; it needs to deepen, reflect on its hidden meaning, and it needs renewal. Every marriage needs this.

For Catholics, the Mass needs to be approached in the same way. Our understanding of the Mass, with its deep mystery, what is supposed to happen as we gather and what words God wants us to hear, needs to be renewed. To have our experience of Mass be at one constant level easily leads to boredom.

This is why our Parish Liturgy Team always seeks to help all Catholics know the deeper meaning of the Mass. We strive to go beyond just knowing all the liturgical article names, or why certain prayers are done or not done, or why only a certain style of music is played. It really is about why we should want to go to Mass in the first place.

What religion does well up front for people is seek to answer the ego questions. What is in it for me? What does this mean to me? What am I getting out of this? These are all important questions at an early stage of faith formation. It gives meaning and direction in our faith lives.

The second part that religion does not always express well, and keeps many Christians from ever moving past the first part, is seeking union with God. To be other-centered rather than solely what does religion/faith do for me? The ego is put aside, and we begin to seek a deep relationship with God that serves others.

Going to Mass is not about what I get out of it, what I agree with or shopping for the best time, message or music at Mass. It is about bringing the Christ in you to others. When Christians only think of answering the ego questions, then talking to others, shaking hands and welcoming others, attending Mass and having no interaction with others leads to boredom, spiritual death and leaving community.

The crucifix here at church and in your homes does not give the message, what’s it all about for me? No, it says how do we lay our lives down for others? Maybe offering our Sundays for others will help all Catholics know that it’s been in our documents for many decades, it’s just never achieved.

Come to Mass for others as a single purpose, you might experience a renewal regarding why we need Eucharist.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (December 3, 2017)

Dear Friends,

As a child I looked forward to the holiday season with the anticipation of wondering what my presents would be, decorating the Christmas tree and knowing a wonderful meal would be enjoyed by our family. Memories still exist of a different time when Christmas was filled with awe and wonder. As we get older, some of these past joys could possibly turn into stress: dealing with crowds, countless parties to attend and wondering if the dinner experience will be a good one. We all can have different experiences this time of year, whether good things will be happening or the season will become a challenge.

Here is what I know is good each and every year: the amazing spirit of generosity. It seems like overnight the hearts of many people turn to making sure others are taken care of this time of year. If children are involved, it can be the desire to be sure that their experience of Christmas will be somewhat like the ones we experienced. Families can be more open to having other people join them at their own dinner table. We have a desire to make sure that no one would be alone at this time of year.

I really can’t explain why people go from a busy schedule, that at times can make us blind to the needs of others, and almost by magic, people stop and begin to focus on other people’s needs. Some would call this the spirit of the holiday of Christmas. It is hard to deny that generosity flows from many hearts. Even if we dread this time of year, we can find some comfort that many will be taken care of by others.

Once this time of year ends, it almost seems like over night the pressures of life and its demands on our time turn us away from helping one another. Somehow I wish the “spirit” could last longer. I suppose if Christians would consider the “Holy Spirit” a way that we watch out for one another, be generous with our time for those in need and give the gifts of ourselves to others, then we might understand that the “spirit” we feel at this time of year really comes from God.

I would invite each of us to consider that everything that makes this time of year special for us might be carried over deep into the new year. It does not have to be a holiday type feeling, rather, we can listen to the spirit of generosity, giving and caring. These are the things that are the hallmark of being Christian Disciples in Mission, Living Beyond the Christmas season.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Homily, Christ the King Sunday, November 26, 2017, Fr. Eric Tellez

The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25 shares a judgement parable from Jesus that says the criterion to enter eternal life is love of neighbor, especially those who are not seen as valued or important. That would be the poor. Who are the poor? What are some steps to give importance to those who are not always valued?


Download this episode (right click and save)

First Down (November 26, 2017)

Dear Friends,

Next Sunday begins the Season of Advent. Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas. What sometimes happens is we prepare for just one single day December 25. Rather, our preparation is for our experience of God taking on your humanity and goes beyond just honoring the mystery for one day. The days after Christmas Day are when we reflect on the mystery of God reminding us that our humanity is sacred and holy because He created humanity, and with the coming of Jesus, He blesses our humanity. Sometimes it seems the new holiday tradition is to remind people to prepare for Christmas shopping the day after Halloween. It would be better for Christians to expand their mindset of preparing for Christmas. Our celebrating Christmas goes “beyond” one day and is a living reminder of what Jesus’ coming means to us today.

A theme that will be central to us at St. Patrick this Advent/Christmas is Living Beyond Sunday. Many in the world believe Christmas is only for one day, and on December 26, we are thankful it is over. Some Christians may think their faith is only lived or experienced on one day, Sunday. Living Beyond Sunday reminds us that everything we believe about Jesus Christ must be lived fully each and every day. God becoming fully human means everything we do as human beings is to be sacred, holy and valued. Going beyond Sunday means we do not keep our faith hidden when we go out into the world. People try to pressure us in to hiding our prayers, our morals and our living the truth in Christ. We Live Beyond Sunday by not being ashamed or afraid to live our faith.

For some Christians, they think that “church” stuff only happens on church grounds, at Mass, at formation classes, weddings, baptisms and funerals. They do not remember that every act of caring for another human being is Living Beyond Sunday. The simple acts of caring for a neighbor, kindness in driving, showing dignity and respect to those who serve you, forgiving another, letting go of the need to be right and still grow a healthy relationship are some of the many ways we Live Beyond Sunday. For many, it is a reminder to Christians that every moment of one’s life, every activity is sacred, holy and belongs to God.

We make sure our faith experience is not just contained in a book, a catechism, a Mass, devotion, a bible study, a prayer group or an official church ministry. Rather, it is these things and beyond. It is knowing everything you do Sunday, flows from Sunday and finds its source on Sunday.

Happy Advent!

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (November 19, 2017)

Dear Friends,

Many of us want to make and keep a tradition. The tradition of giving thanks has been important to humanity. A tradition this time of year might be food and football, as these outward signs can be reminders that the weeks ahead can touch the human heart. There can be a realization of how thankful we are for everything we have received, and we then have a spirit of generosity towards others. My prayer for all of you is safe travels, peaceful gatherings, welcoming guests, great food and good conversations. Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend at all our Masses we will be reminded of our baptismal call to serve and share the abundance of blessings that God has blessed us with. As we all reflect this Thanksgiving on everything we have received, we also reflect on our need to share with others.

Please give serious thought regarding what commitment we can make to share, serve and praise God. I will be praying for all parishioners to share God’s goodness with all of those this Parish Community serves. I look forward to seeing many of you at the 9:00 am Mass on Thanksgiving Day. There will be hospitality of coffee and muffins after the Mass.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Homily, Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 12, 2017, Fr. Eric Tellez

“The forgiveness of sins for the Anointing of the Sick reminds us that sin can blind us to God working in such challenging moments. Lack of oil for the lamps of the 5 foolish maidens reminds us it is hard to see in darkness. The oil (good works) for our lamps helps us see God in such difficult moments”.

Download this episode (right click and save)

 

First Down (November 12, 2017)

Dear Friends,

How many organizations would we say are known to be very successful? There are groups that sometimes serve the needs of people in beautiful ways, groups whose goal is to make money and groups that are well run and people want to work there. People give these groups the highest regard, and they see value in what they do. One should also be aware that such groups are in the business to ask for money, volunteers and support. I think most people would expect such asking from these important groups. Tactics are used to inspire people to give, and people from many walks of life give generously. Many surveys have shown us data that say Americans are the most generous people anywhere. This is such good news.

For some reason Catholics do not have this same positive outlook towards their own faith communities. A perception amongst a good percentage of Catholics is that the Church is always asking for money. Catholics become annoyed and maybe feel shamed into giving and feel forced to give. On the list of a number of surveys of religious givers, Catholics rank one of the lowest giving of any denomination. So this pastor’s letter is relaying what many in Church leadership know, that there can be a perception that there should not be a process that a Parish, no matter how successful, should not always be asking for money, support or even involvement. There is a fear among many clergy regarding “asking for money”.

It can feel like the secular world gets it, that to ask for money/support is expected, even if the cause does not have the purest of intention. People choose to give or not to give. The people who bear Christ’s name would rather not be bothered by being asked for money. This has been my personal experience from “Day 1” as a priest. Is there something wrong with this picture?

Fr. André Dargis, our biblical scholar, gives us numerous texts where Jesus and his followers needed the financial support of those they encountered. He needed resources to minister to His people. The scriptures give more than enough evidence of the need for Christians to be generous with what they have. So, for me as a Catholic priest, I will never be ashamed or be shamed by fellow Catholics when asking our parish family to give. The Catholic Church does more good worldwide than many groups, and it depends on the generosity of its people. Jesus has something in common with those in Church leadership. While on earth, He depended on the generosity of others and the leaders that served Him.

Next Sunday is Stewardship Sunday, and I hope the true response by many is not, “Oh no, another money talk,” but rather, “Yes, this parish family depends on the generosity of its people.”

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Homily, Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 5, 2017, Fr. Eric Tellez

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has something to say about everything humanity experiences. Recently in the news, stories about people misusing their power, authority and leadership against people who are vulnerable, powerless, dreams, naive. What does God think of people who misuse their power against the people? Jesus reminds us of what leadership should be like.


Download this episode (right click and save)