The urgency of the laity is needed as together we work to heal the church and the wounds left by the scandal of abuse.
March 17, 2019 | Homily from the 10:30 am Mass
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted
At birth, my father was given the name Dale Willey. It wasn’t a name he liked. So, at the age of 20, when he decided to become a Catholic and be baptized, he seized the opportunity to take a new name: Patrick. Several months later, he proposed marriage to my mother who is 100% Irish. As you might guess, my family loves St. Patrick. Being baptized in a small church in Nebraska, where the pastor was straight from Ireland, we were delighted that on St. Patrick’s Day, even though it was Lent, Father Daly replaced the purple vestments with green. Last night, when I called my mother to let her know I was coming to St. Patrick’s Parish, she also thought it was a great place to celebrate this great Irish saint. Thank you for inviting me to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with you in this 50th Year of the Diocese of Phoenix.
It seems fitting that the Gospel today recounts the Transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of Peter, James and John. What Jesus provided for the three Apostles, He also provided to St. Patrick, 500 years later. Born and raised in England, during his teen years, Patrick was kidnapped and sold as a slave to a Chieftain in Ireland. Brutally separated from family, friends, familiar food and language, compelled to labor in squalor and treated like dirt, Patrick barely survived until, six years later, he managed to escape and return to England. What happened upon his arrival and over the course of the next decade of his life remains largely unknown, except that he eventually became a monk, was ordained a priest and asked his superiors to be sent back to Ireland, to bring the Good News of Christ to the people who had treated him so harshly and were most likely to do so again. We don’t know what happened in Patrick’s soul; why he wanted to return to Ireland–not to seek revenge but to bring them the Gospel of Christ. He must have experienced something like what Peter, James and John discovered at the Transfiguration: in the face of terrible suffering, he found the love of Christ; in all that he had endured he found more than meaningless brutality. Christ was at work in that suffering, not only giving him courage to endure but also preparing Patrick for a mission to the same people who treated him so badly.
In parallel fashion, consider what happened to the three Apostles during the mystery of the Transfiguration. Eight days before the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain, He did something that left the Apostles discouraged and near despair. Jesus told them that He was going to be betrayed, scourged and crucified, and on the third day, rise again. He also told them, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” They could not imagine how death by crucifixion could possibly be good news. So, “Jesus took Peter, James, and John and went up the mountain to pray…” there, He was transfigured before them” (Luke 9:28ff). Jesus led them beyond agony into the mystery of God. On a mountain top, He gave them a glimpse into the inner life of the Blessed Trinity. The voice of God the Father was heard speaking of His Son Jesus: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” And the Spirit was present in the form of a cloud. Here is the most profound of all mysteries; God who is a communion of three divine Persons united in life and love.
There is nothing more glorious than the Blessed Trinity, nothing more wondrous than the Love that constantly flows from the Father, through the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, constantly creating and restoring life, even overcoming death by suffering death. Through the Father’s gift of the Son, and the Son’s and Father’s gift of the Spirit, we learn that the dynamic of God’s relationships with each person is always self-gift. Because we are made in God’s image, we can receive His love and can give this love in turn by making a sincere gift of self. This may explain why St. Patrick was so enthralled by the shamrock; seeing in the one plant with three leaves a symbol of the Blessed Trinity. Wherever he came upon a shamrock, Patrick was reminded of God’s unending love and moved to strive always to make a gift of self for love of others.
Dear brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in Christ, think of when you have suffered injustice or passed through terrible sorrow. Did you see it, in the beginning, as totally meaningless? Did you come to see it as a moment of grace?
After Patrick escaped the cruel slavery of Ireland, God’s love opened his heart in a new way. Instead of harboring revenge for his former slave-holders, Patrick came to a keen sense of his own sinfulness, combined with a deep trust in God’s merciful love. The Lord opened his eyes to see the spiritual poverty of his Irish slave holders, i.e. that they had never heard of Jesus and His Gospel. No one had witnessed to them the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ.
In this way, Christ called Patrick to return to Ireland to bring them the Good News of God’s Triune love. Patrick made his own the words of Psalm 27 “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” What followed is one of the greatest missionary successes: Over the next 30+ years, Patrick walked the green fields and rocky hills of Ireland, using the shamrock to teach them of the Blessed Trinity, and using the Cross to open hearts to Christ. Through the witness of St. Patrick, and God’s amazing grace, the emerald isle became Catholic in half a century. In his own lifetime, dioceses and monasteries were established, marriage and family life flourished; religious life and consecrated virginity blossomed, and many young men were ordained priests, not only to serve Christ in Ireland but even far beyond.
While many legends about this saint abound, making it hard to establish fact from fiction, most scholars agree that a document called the Confessions of St. Patrick is authentic. Like the Confessions of St. Augustine, it offers faith-filled thanksgiving and praise to the Blessed Trinity for the privilege of suffering for Christ’s Name.
The priestly heart of St. Patrick was filled with awe and wonder at the Trinitarian nature of God: how total gift of self is the constant dynamic of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In addition, Patrick composed a famous prayer known as THE BREASTPLATE OF ST. PATRICK I shall conclude with that prayer:
“I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
I arise today through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism, through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial, through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension…Christ to shield me this day: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.”
Great teams know what it means to have a home field advantage. We built ours by strengthening the pillars of our community – Hospitality, Liturgy, Stewardship, Social Justice, and Formation – through engaging talks and workshops. This half day conference was a time to build our home field advantage. Use the players below to listen to the workshops from this day.
An Update on Fr. Eric:
Please continue to keep our Pastor, Fr. Eric, in your prayers.
On Monday, February 11, he underwent bypass surgery. The surgery went well and he is recovering. He is in good spirits, and looking forward to getting back to St. Patrick and the football field.
Dear Heavenly Father, restore to full health, mind, and body all those in need. Amen.
Please note: Fr. Eric will not be checking email or returning phone calls while he recovers. If you need anything immediately, contact the front office, otherwise, Fr. Eric looks forward to hearing from everyone when he returns. We ask that there be no visitors or flowers. Cards can be sent to the church. Thank you for your respect and understanding as he recovers.
Extended Love: Migration and the Church
Fr. Eric wishes to share with everyone this resource guide. “Extended Love: Migration and the Church” is a quick reference resource to help everyone reflect on Church teachings, scripture, and quotes regarding the issue of migration and how the Church is called to respond.
If you would like to dive further into this topic, you are invited to join VIP (Valley Interfaith Project) and us as we co-host a Civic Academy on the topic, Wednesday, January 16. Click here to download the flyer.
Click here to visit a webpage with all the information we currently have on our Matthew 25 Project which is the way we are answering the call to Welcome the Stranger.
Bishop Olmsted has heard from many in the Diocese about how the current scandals surrounding the Church have affected you, and now he would like to hear from all of you. The Diocese of Phoenix has built a new website and invites everyone to take a few minutes to share your thoughts. Bishop Olmsted will review your responses and share the information with his brother Bishops. Click here to visit the website and use the player below to watch a message from Bishop Olmsted.
Joel Stepanek, Director of Resource Development for LIFE TEEN, speaker, and author, joined the men gathered at St. Patrick Catholic Community’s Men’s Mass & Breakfast on March 10, 2018. He shares some practical insights on living a life of faith using Ignatian spirituality.
We are one family. Right now, many of our family members are suffering greatly from the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
If you are looking for a way to help in response to Hurricane Harvey and the devastating effect it is having on Houston and the surrounding area, you can do so through Catholic Charities.
Donate through Catholic Charities: As the country continues to see the devastating and heartbreaking images from Hurricane Harvey, Catholic Charities agencies are rolling their sleeves and providing on the ground support. Catholic Charities USA is working in conjunction with the local agencies and parishes to setup shelters, distribute supplies, and are creating canvassing teams to go door to door to check on families. In addition, Catholic Charities USA is sending their newly commissioned Mobile Response Center vehicle to provide further disaster relief assistance. Catholic Charities USA is the official domestic relief agency of the Catholic Church. Block by block and brick by brick Catholic Charities is committed to providing help, healing, and hope to the people and communities who have lost homes and loved ones, but we cannot do it alone.
Here is how you can help:
Pray: God of hope and mercy, we lift up to you all victims of Hurricane Harvey, and those responding with assistance and aid. Protect all who are in any form of danger; provide practical help to all those in need; strengthen the weary; console the grieving and heal the suffering; and bless those engaged in disaster relief efforts with safety and courage. Help all people of goodwill to respond with compassion and generous hearts. Amen.
Give: Help relief efforts in wake of Hurricane Harvey by texting CCUSADISASTER to 71777 or click below. You can also give by calling 1-800-919-9338 or by mail: PO Box 17066 Baltimore, MD 21297-1066 and put “Hurricane Harvey” in the memo line of the check, or online at http://igfn.us/vf/CCUSADISASTER. Funds raised will go towards Catholic Charities agencies’ efforts to assist families and individuals with shelter, food, and other immediate and long-term recovery needs.
We thank you for your time and generosity. Your donation to CCUSA’s Disaster fund supports disaster response and recovery efforts including direct assistance, rebuilding, and health care services.
In Christian marriage, spouses model the love and self-gift of Christ. By giving of themselves and serving one another, their family, and community, they help one another live out Christ’s call to discipleship, love, and service. The Sacrament of Marriage provides a foundation for a family committed to community, solidarity, and Jesus’ mission in the world.
In the Church’s Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.
The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.
When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.