Category: From the Pastor

First Down with Fr. Eric (July 18, 2021)

Dear Friends,

March, 2020 found St. Patrick and many other churches scrambling to have the Mass online for people to view. Our “tech team” worked very hard for many months to have the Mass available online. We used two iPhones and a lot of hours making the Mass a prayerful and inviting production. It was not easy work behind the scenes, yet the beauty is people could simply engage with the Mass without thinking of all that went into providing it to everyone.

We now have great equipment, with more on the way to update our projectors, screens and other technical offerings. We can now provide even better quality to our live streams.

We were so honored to have the Prison Ministry at the Diocese ask us to provide on DVD our Sunday Masses to the prisons throughout the Valley. Since they could not be visited, many in prison prayed the Mass with our community. They have now reopened the prisons for visits from clergy, so there is no longer a need to provide this service to the prisons.

Prior to this pandemic, I would visit the prison to celebrate the sacraments with them. It was so humbling to be invited into their place, to be accepted with great humility as they strived to know that God was with them even in their most difficult moments. The Mass, the sacraments meant everything to them and many never took it for granted. So I am grateful that we could use our blessings to share with our brothers and sisters in prison. I pray that our messages over the past 18 months provided them comfort, assurances of God’s grace, and to know they are important to the entire Body of Christ.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (July 11, 2021)

Dear Friends,

We have been hosting ministry meetings and other functions on campus. In September we will REGATHER fully with opening the campus for full use.

With the enlarged parking lot, one can see the large HOUSE OF MERCY which houses our YOUTH GARAGE, STORAGE GARAGE and meeting spaces in our House of Mercy. We have been using rooms for some gatherings and are planning to host an Open House in September as people return in the fall season. We want everyone to see for themselves the space for our youth and all their many activities. The meeting spaces will host meetings of all types. We desire to offer good support to ministries for all age groups. We have been blessed with such a wonderful building for many gatherings.

We are now back to ALL our Sunday Masses with the Saturday evening Mass happening at a new time of 4:30 pm. Confessions are now on Saturdays from 3:00-4:00 pm. The Sunday Masses continue at 8:30 am, 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. There is no limit for attendance. For those still not ready to return to Sunday Masses, we are still offering Sunday Communion in the Daily Mass Chapel from 9:15-10:15 am. Watching the Mass online is encouraged for those who cannot return for the time being.

Thank you to all of you who donated to our Water Drive. Many agencies that support the population that do need access to basic needs are always thankful for the water that is donated. This heat is extremely dangerous and your generous support helps save lives.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (July 4, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Many of us are familiar with the idea that parents want to give to their children a life that is much better than what they experienced. There was a time where parents struggled with many challenges in life, and they would sacrifice so much to give their children opportunities that they may not have had. Sometimes the gift they give their children is appreciated and valued. Other times the gift is received with little awareness or appreciation of the sacrifice made in giving the gift. The gift is given, but not valued. It can be human nature that when things are simply given to us, we just take some things for granted.

The gift of freedom is one of those gifts. We see clearly that freedom is understood as doing whatever one chooses to do and no one should have the right to tell anyone what to do. There is little awareness of how one’s behavior might affect others. This narrow view of freedom usually does not see the responsibility to use freedom wisely and to protect this precious gift.

July 4th is a reminder that when one reads the history of the beginning of our nation, it was a lot of luck that things worked out. So much was working against the formation of this nation, yet there was a time that this country was a great model of people sacrificing and defending our freedom. This 4th of July we might recall that freedom is not just handed out and we do whatever we want to do with it. Rather it is to be valued, cherished and shared with many people in the world looking for freedom. We give thanks to God for the human freedom we have been blessed with, and we pray for the wisdom to use it properly.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (June 27, 2021)

Dear Friends,

On the 1st of July, Bishop Olmsted, will have lifted the dispensation on in-person Mass attendance. The letter that was sent by the Bishop reminded us of the importance of regathering for public worship, and at the same time, was very pastoral that not everyone will feel safe returning, or for serious and good reasons, cannot come back for public worship. With that in mind, our parish will continue to offer Sunday Communion for now on Sundays 9:15-10:15 am in Fenlon Hospitality Center. This has been an important outreach to many parishioners during this challenging time.

Of course, our online Masses will continue so that people may stay connected to the community worship no matter what their situation.

We will begin our Saturday evening Mass on July 3. After hearing back from parishioners and asking if an earlier time will be beneficial to a majority of parishioners, WE WILL MOVE THE SATURDAY EVENING MASS TO 4:30 PM. For many places, the attendance is better as people are able to continue their activities earlier, in the winter the extra daylight might help some who are most comfortable driving during the daylight. The survey we took showed a majority response in favor of 4:30 pm. All other Mass times will remain the same on Sunday.

During July and August we will continue to move forward in our liturgies as we REGATHER to offer public worship to God.

This year, July 4th falls on a Sunday and most people will be with family on the 4th. We will move the Sunday evening Mass to 12:30 pm for that Sunday. Attendance will be much better at that time than having an evening Mass with very little attendance. We know most people, including those who serve at our liturgies, will be enjoying the holiday.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (June 20, 2021)

Dear Friends,

The time to REGATHERis now upon us. It has been a long journey for many of us and we now begin the process of welcoming people back to public worship when each person feels they are ready.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted sent a letter to Catholics in our Diocese announcing that the Dispensation for Catholics from in-person Mass will be lifted on July 1. You may view the letter on our parish website. In his letter, the Bishop calls all Catholics who can safely gather to come to our in-person Masses again. The letter is also sensitive to those who, for serious reasons, are not able to return in person at this time. People should come back when they feel they are ready to return.

In July we will return the Saturday evening Mass and Confessions. All Masses are now fully open, and there are NO reservations required. We remind everyone that those who are fully vaccinated have the option of deciding to wear masks or not. COVID19 is not gone so we still care for those who are vulnerable or have people in their lives who are vulnerable. We will be dealing with this for a while, but as Disciples of Jesus Christ we know how to watch out for each other.

The process of REGATHERING will take some time. We are reaching out to all parishioners and past ministers to take their places in service, and we hope by the fall season there will be a good number of people already in place to serve. We move forward with patience, and at the same time be joyful that we can reconnect with the many we have missed for quite a while.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (June 13, 2021)

Dear Friends,

The Church finds itself in the position of learning how to serve a community that is ready to regather and move forward, while another part of the community will take a little more time before feeling safe to return. The ability to serve the in-person community and the online community is the new reality for the Church today.

St. Patrick is opening up more and more with on-campus meetings, gatherings and other ministry presence. The full opening is planned for this September and we are scheduling with that in mind.

Our online Mass will now be live-streamed every Sunday during our 10:30 am Mass. We are now at a point where we are able to have our Sunday liturgy at our parish be viewed by those who choose to view the Mass. The Mass can be viewed LIVE on our website, on Facebook and our YouTube channel. Once Mass is completed, it will be sent by our Sunday Email Connection so that anyone can click once to view the Mass. Mass will still continue to be available on demand so that at any time people may view the Mass.

Sunday Communion in Fenlon Hospitality Center from 9:15-10:15 am is still continuing. The people who are not yet ready to return to public liturgy are thanking us for making this possible. We will patiently guide them until everyone can feel safe gathering again.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down with Fr. Eric (June 6, 2021)

Dear Friends,

Starting today, Sunday, June 6, we will have our 10:30 am Mass livestreamed. Our Sunday email with one click to see our Sunday Mass will continue, but will be sent out later. The Sunday Mass can still be seen on our YouTube Channel, Facebook page and on our Parish Website. It is time for people to begin to have a fuller experience of our Mass by livestream. This is the Mass that will be livestreamed every Sunday from now on. It is important that we continue to stay connected to everyone who can not come to Mass on campus.

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Phoenix contacted me (Fr. Reggie) and asked us if we could help them in finishing their new building. We might remember that their church caught on fire and was destroyed. They needed some extra funds to finish off some work before they moved into their new space. Our parish sets aside $25,000 a month for a “rainy day fund.” Our Parish Finance Council voted to donate to St. Joseph Parish one month’s rainy day amount to support them. A great reminder for us that stewardship is not just practiced with our surplus, but also giving from our daily gifts. We are honored to help our neighboring parish.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric