First Down (July 9, 2017)

Dear Friends,

The five ways that our community is formed is through Liturgy, Stewardship, Social Justice, Hospitality, and Formation. St. Patrick sees these areas as ways to grow and strengthen our faith as God’s people.

Formation can be a very challenging way to grow community. As Catholics, we need to remind ourselves that knowledge of God is a lifelong process. That anyone serious about being a follower of Jesus does not say everything is known, or that all that is needed is being a good person or I am familiar with all the rules of being a good Catholic. The word Formation is used rather than

Religious Education. The education part can give an impression to some that one has graduated from having to go to class or learn about stuff that really is more about history than anything current.

The challenge for any Christian community in Scottsdale is that people are busy and have many things to accomplish. To simply offer classes about Church and God is not going to motivate people in their busy lives. That is why we are working hard to improve our outreach and communication to parishioners, offering formation to everyone and in a variety of ways.

Adam Stein, our Coordinator of Communication, is developing a more effective website for anyone all over the world. I have always felt that our parish community has been blessed in so many ways that we have a responsibility to share what we have with everyone. Catholics, and all who want to know more about God need to have a place to go on the internet for resources that are well thought out, balanced and represent our Catholic faith.

We are developing a strong podcast outreach with not only in-house podcasts but soon making available podcasts from many good and credible sources. We currently have links to many Catholic sites that offer a wide range of information, formation and spiritual insights. To simply “Google” Catholic stuff is really playing potluck with formation. Some sites are just not exactly what our faith is about and what our Church leaders really want to present. As Pastor, I know I am dealing with people with all types of experiences, opinions and insights, and I think what is presented on our website is balanced and good spiritual insights.

An example would be when someone wants to know more about our Catholic faith or a student doing a report on Catholicism or someone asked to talk to a group about our faith or someone needing good information to share with a hurting family member or friend, we want our parish website to be a good resource. Even though people may not take the time or have the time to attend classes, they do hunger for knowledge of faith. Through our podcast outreach, people can listen while on their way to work, traveling or having quiet time at home to recharge.

The challenge for some Catholics is they are not in the habit of using technology to grow in their faith. Our faith is ready to inspire, challenge, comfort and form us as better disciples of Christ. How about checking our website and start with the podcasts or links and see the many resources about our faith. It starts with using our fingers to use our website.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric