Category: From the Pastor

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

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

Dear Friends,

The season of Lent begins in March. As many people think of what they may decide to “give up” for Lent, there is also a great devotion to take on something new and/or different. The goal of the six weeks of Lent is not just to endure sacrifice and self-suffering; rather all that we do is meant to deepen our faith commitment beyond Lent towards the Easter season and beyond.

Parish Leadership is inviting parishioners to consider being part of a Seasonal Small Group during the Lenten season. Seasonal Small Groups gather with people and share the scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass or dive deeper into a topic, pray with each other and share stories and experiences with each other. Either in person or by zoom, it allows people the opportunity to share faith in a smaller group, and to know more people in the parish family while building community.

Look for all the information in the bulletin, parish email Connection sent weekly, or the announcement at Mass on how to sign up for Seasonal Small Groups. It really is great to see parishioners come forward to make the six-week commitment. Sometimes people love the groups so much they decide to continue gathering. You can also visit stpatcc.org/smallgroups to get more information and to sign ip now.

This year we pray that our Lenten journey will be one that lifts our faith journey to a new level in being transformed.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

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

Dear Friends,

The Crosiers are a religious community who have their house and center in South Phoenix. For a number of years their Priests have come to preside at Masses with us, celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and have worked in other areas with our parishioners.

The season of Lent begins on March 2 with Ash Wednesday. That upcoming Sunday will be the 1st Sunday of Lent, March 5-6. At all our weekend Masses the Crosiers will preside at our Masses, and offer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick after all the weekend Masses.

They will explain the Sacrament, and the discerning of who comes forward for the Sacrament. I wanted to let our parishioners know about this upcoming Sacrament so those needing this Sacrament are aware.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

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

Dear Friends,

Many times people’s reaction to finding out there was a need to help others and they did not realize it, usually respond with why didn’t anyone tell me? This is why it is important in every good service-oriented group that the word is shared with people because there is a need for a great cause that helps people. There can be a thought that money should really not be talked about in church, yet if there is a need for a good cause, how will people know?

Each year in our Diocese there is a great appeal called the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) that supports works of charity as well as faith development throughout the entire Diocese. Serving the elderly who are in need, the hungry, children, families in crisis, and counseling for mental health needs. There are also parishes that need extra support in serving their people, the formation of men for Priesthood, and formation for leaders in church communities. Next month parishioners will be mailed information and a pledge card to support CDA. Our parish will take time on a Sunday to remind everyone of the great works of CDA. Millions and millions of dollars have been generously given by Catholics in this Diocese since the 1970’s when this Appeal began. I am a firm believer in this Appeal as so many people benefit from the good works of people on the front lines supporting many people in need.

I ask all of you to join me to think about what gift you can give to support this important appeal. Our Diocese reaches the people at the Colorado River boundary, to the mountains in Flagstaff, to the Verde Valley communities and to those who live on the reservations.

I look forward to sharing with all of you the good news of serving ALL people who come to us in need.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 30, 2022)

Dear Friends,

We are in the midst of a rising number of COVID cases. We know this variant is spreading pretty quickly. It can concern a number of parishioners who are vulnerable, have loved ones that are vulnerable and other concerns that affect people.

Just a reminder for those who are avoiding large crowds for the time being, we have three options to help respond to the needs of parishioners. Mass online is still available and maybe, for a few weeks, we may choose to pray online with the community. We invite people to pray along with the community, as one can participate in praying with the whole Church throughout the world.

Secondly, we still offer Sunday Communion every Sunday from 9:15 – 10:15 am in our Daily Mass Chapel. Signs and greeters are present at our entrance to guide parishioners to Sunday Communion. We have kept this offering since we started dealing with COVID. It keeps everyone safe. It is a very brief entrance into our building to receive communion, pray at home, and of course view the Mass online. Receiving the Eucharist is central to our faith even during uncertain times.

The third choice is to attend a weekday Mass here or another parish. Monday thru Friday 8:00 am in our church is a safe way to participate in Mass. The entire church is open to sit anywhere in the church, and we usually have 100 people attend weekday Mass. One can be at a very safe distance and receive communion.

For most of us we will get through this variant soon and we can resume attendance if we choose. For others, it will still be a situation of protecting themselves and loved ones and we will still offer these options. Nothing is ideal for now but in the

Lord’s eyes our efforts to stay close to him in any way possible is pleasing to him.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric