Category: From the Pastor

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 23, 2022)

Dear Friends,

Some Catholics might be aware from other Dioceses that when a Bishop reaches the age of 75, they submit their resignation to the Pope. The Pope may accept that resignation right away or may have the Bishop stay a little longer.

You might have heard, or will be hearing, that our own Bishop Thomas Olmsted will be turning 75 years old this month. So he will do what other Bishops do reaching that age to submit his resignation. Bishop Olmsted has been the Bishop of Phoenix since April,1999. We will keep him in our prayers whenever he finishes his service to our Diocese.

We also turn our thoughts toward praying for our Diocese, that the Holy Spirit will help guide those making the decision for our next Bishop of Phoenix. In the coming weeks there will be more information shared with everyone about the process of choosing a new Bishop, why things are done a certain way, and other information that will answer people’s questions.

Our Diocese was formed in 1969 and our next Bishop will be the fifth Bishop of Phoenix. Bishop Edward McCarthy was the first Bishop of Phoenix, followed by Bishop James Rausch, Bishop Thomas O’Brien and Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 16, 2022)

Dear Friends,

Many years ago the country of South Africa was dealing with apartheid, the policy of separation based on race. Out of many important leaders that fought against that policy was Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It was a turbulent time for that country. Archbishop Tutu reflected on those days and he mentioned three things that kept him grounded. He stated prayer, quiet time and the third thing was regular reception of the Eucharist.
For Christians, that needs to be a great reminder that the Eucharist keeps us grounded when everything else around us is not stable. This gift of the Eucharist needs to be seen as more than just going to church, receiving a host, or fulfilling an obligation. Rather, it reveals to us that receiving the Eucharist is central to being close to the Lord and strengthened in dealing with daily life.

Right now a significant number of people have forgotten the strength of the Eucharist. We go on with our lives empty of that gift from Christ, and it loses the central part of our lives that it once had. How do people live their lives without Eucharist? It is taking the most difficult path that many take.

This new year is an invitation to reprioritize our lives to be strengthened by Eucharist. For those who are needing to protect their health, the Sunday Communion has not stopped. Communion is available to anyone who is not sure with health concerns, from 9:15-10:15 am in the Daily Mass Chapel. For others it might be the call to recapture that great invitation to be intimate with the Lord at meal, at table.

It has to be more than just hearing a message of going to Mass. It is our call, just like Archbishop Tutu, that regular receiving of Eucharist sustains us.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 9, 2022)

Dear Friends,

As our Christmas season comes to an end in our Catholic family, I want to offer my thanks to everyone who came forward and served the community in helping people experience a special Christmas celebration. These Christmas rituals take a lot of effort to welcome people and help the experience be uplifting, safe and inspiring. The willingness of a number of parishioners to step forward was a gift to the many who came to the parish for Advent/Christmas.

This time of year finds many parishioners and many others throughout the Valley offering charity to people in need. The beauty of this time of year is that the spirit of generosity, self giving and caring for others, is always a great witness to the joy of our humanity. So many people gave generously. And to our staff and ministry members who worked hard to gather and distribute the gifts to those in need. It is vital for people to receive their gifts.

I want to also thank our Parish Staff. For many years our staff has met many challenges of offering events and meeting the needs of the parish. The challenge is that the staff goes from one event to the next event or season. There is a cycle to the life of the Church and our staff does an excellent job in helping our events and efforts be productive.

Offering blessings to everyone at this time as we now move into the beginning of another year.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (January 2, 2022)

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

As human beings, there is something about our lives that is special when we hit milestones; the milestones that we have completed another year, and that we are now in the midst of a new year. We can take time to reflect on this past year, the lessons we learned, the joys and sorrows we endured, and see where God was with us in all moments.

As we now enter the new year of 2022, I would offer one reflection to all parishioners that I think God would want us to do even better. It is to take better care of one another. The central call to following Jesus Christ is to love our neighbor. The actions of the disciples of Jesus is to make sure we do everything possible to protect, love and care for each other. That means dying to an individualism that only has concerns about oneself. We are to rise in making sure everything we do benefits those around us. From giving dignity to people we encounter, to responding to a need when people are hurting, to protecting the health of others. The Christian Disciple In Mission is reminded in God’s Word that the road to salvation is found in the way that we care for one another. We belong to the human family and Christianity can obtain an important role in the world only by one way: that we give evidence we see a connection to the human family and we care for every person in that family. It is by seeking to serve that we have a profound influence in our society.

I feel helpless many times in confronting the suffering of people from this past year. So many things are hurting people in many different ways. As I reflect on this past year, that is the one thought that I keep thinking about, that we belong to one another. We belong to the human family. And when we remember every action we take affects others, what decisions can we make this year that will be best for the common good.

My prayer today is not that this year is better than last year. Rather I pray that everyone does better in taking care of others. That is how we can begin to address the suffering and give a better hope to others.

Blessing and peace this New Year.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (December 26, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas Season!

What a blessing it was to be able to gather for the celebration of Christmas this year. We rejoice with everyone who came and partook at the table of the Lord, and we also are grateful to those who continue to view our Masses online.

The history of Christmas reveals to us the power of this deep mystery that has caused wars to stop for a while, reconciled relationships, and brought forward the best of our humanity in caring for each other. There is something about Christmas and our memories of Christmas that can open our hearts to care for others. We are surrounded by such brokenness in our world, now more visible than ever before, and we wonder who or what can save us from such selfish ways?

Today we remember it is the coming of Jesus who has come to save humanity from its own sins. To remind everyone, we have been created by God as good, we are all inherently good. Jesus and his teachings clearly show the path we can all follow, and be freed from behaviors that turn us outwardly ugly and cause pain in many hearts.

This Christmas season we recall the coming of Christ, God becoming one of us, loving us and showing us the way. To know the peace of Christ, we do not have to wait to die to experience it, we can do so now by making a choice to follow him. Those who do, are called disciples, and when we realize we are disciples of Jesus Christ, we remember we are in mission. I find great comfort in the mystery of Christmas, God saving us from all we are experiencing right now. In the end, the ways of God will prevail and Christmas reminds us that God is with us.

Blessings to everyone this Christmas Day and season as our Church celebrates Christmas the next two plus weeks.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Merry Christmas from Fr. Eric

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas!

I am currently enjoying a television series about the life of Jesus of Nazareth titled, “The Chosen.” It is written and directed by Dallas Jenkins and is really well done. It centers on the human situations of Jesus, the men and women of that time, and how they struggled to understand God working in their midst. The renewal of my faith in watching this series is that my humanity and struggles are something Jesus and everyone who encountered him on earth, dealt with. One is able to use their vision and minds to imagine what it might have been like, and how God works through our humanity, even through his Son, Jesus. I think we all understand right now that all around us there are people who have forgotten that humanity has been created good, and Jesus, taking on lowly human flesh, has made humanity sacred. We see right before our eyes an increase of things that make us behave less than human. It has weighed on us in recent years, and we see people really dedicated to continue this sinful behavior. Even though I see it everyday, I am so hopeful that more people, including Christians, recall their human dignity and recapture how God has called us to treat one another. Either with people we call friends or people we find it difficult to respect.

Everyday there are more good acts in the world than evil or sinful acts. It’s just the sinful acts get all the attention while all the good works are not valued or honored. I invite everyone during this Christmas season to remember how sacred our humanity is to God. He created us as good and, yes, we all are. We can learn to make better choices in our behavior.

The Chosen has inspired me to love my humanity even more, and I hope this Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ does the same for everyone one of you. Blessings to all of you this Christmas and a Blessed New Year as well.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric.

First Down with Fr. Eric (December 19, 2021)

Dear Friends,

I reminded everyone in my homily on the First Sunday of Advent that the penance during this season centered on joy and rejoicing. It is meant to be different from the season of Lent, which centers on fasting and acts of penance. During Advent there is joy in preparing our hearts to receive the Lord anew as we begin a new year. This might be something new for some Catholics, as joy is not a word that some think of when celebrating Confession. Yet the end result of confessing our sins is always the absolution of ALL our sins. That is what brings joy.

Our Advent Penance Service is on demand for your viewing (parish YouTube channel, Facebook page, and website), and there are two more evenings for confessions after viewing the penance service. Monday, two priests are available 6:00-7:30 pm, and Wednesday, five priests are available 6:00-7:30 pm. Welcoming hosts will be present to guide everyone for confessions.

Hospitality is central to any Christian community, and we invite all parishioners to be a welcoming Christ-like spirit to everyone we encounter at our Christmas Masses. There are a number of hurting people whose stories we do not know, and it can make a huge difference when Christians welcome, smile, greet and celebrate Christmas well. We look forward to seeing many of you at our Christmas Masses this coming weekend.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (December 12, 2021)

Dear Friends,

We have been preparing for those who will be joining us for Christmas in two weeks. Our parishioners are currently experiencing the season of Advent, where we remember Christ has come and he will come again. To the guests and family members of our parishioners who join us at this time of year and throughout the entire year, welcome! So many guests and friends know about St. Patrick, and often share the joy of being at Mass with us. Also we prepare for the guest who might be here for the first time, looking for comfort during these days, or maybe a place to thank God for all the blessings this past year. I invite parishioners to be ready to welcome everyone who will be joining us for Christmas. Our faith reminds us that it is Christ in each person that we welcome, and we seek to learn this lesson when the innkeeper invites Mary and Joseph into his place. We make room for Jesus in our spiritual home.

Click here to Download our Christmas Mass Schedule

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (December 5, 2021)

Dear Friends,

There are two seasons in the Church where there is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the mercy of God. The seasons of Advent and Lent are times that we examine our hearts and look to the Lord for grace to change the areas that need to be changed and to also remind us of our call to forgive others. This Advent season at St. Patrick sees our theme continue with RISE. We might recall the story where Jesus heals a paralyzed man by also telling him his sins were forgiven. He is asked to rise, pick up his mat and walk.

This Advent we can hear the call of Jesus to rise and walk into a world filled with darkness and bring it light by our lives. This Advent we will have our Penance Service online and everyone is invited to tune in, as it will be available live stream and on demand afterwards. The live streamed Penance Service will be shown on Monday, December 13 at 4:00 pm. It will be available on demand throughout the Advent season.

Confessions with a priest will be offered at the parish on these four dates: Monday, December 13, Wednesday, December 15 and Monday, December 20 with two priests available for confessions from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, and on Wednesday, December 22, we will have five priests available for confessions from 6:00 – 7:30 pm (we will hear confessions as long as there are people in line after 7:30 pm). We encourage everyone to consider the earlier dates so that the lines on the last night are not long. Yet whatever one you choose to come to, we are glad to celebrate the mercy of God with all of you.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric ( November 28, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Advent! We are entering into a special time of year. We have a day where we can give thanks to God joined by many people throughout the country. Whether people gathered together for food and conversation, or just took time to give thanks, it is pleasing to God that we reflected on what we are grateful about. We Catholics have been giving thanks to God for a long time. The word “eucharist” in Greek means giving thanks so whenever we gather together at the table of the Lord, we express gratitude.

This Sunday marks the beginning of a new liturgical year with the season of Advent. A time of rejoicing and remembering that our Savior has come and he will come again. The main Gospel this year will be from Luke, a favorite gospel of mine. There is a theme of lots of eating! Nine stories of Jesus eating with people. Jesus being recognized eating with many people after his resurrection. These eating stories recall a time when people who shared a meal shared a bond of being family. No longer strangers, but brothers and sisters.

As we RISE to begin another new year, I think the Gospel of Luke is the perfect one to bring people back to the table. A table of gratitude, a table that reminds us we are all part of the family. A table that nourishes us to go out into the world and bring healing and peace.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Advent!

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric