Even though we were not able to celebrate Holy week and Easter gathered in our St. Patrick church, I pray that you and your families had a blessed and happy Easter. I look forward to the day when we can gather in worship around the table of the Eucharist and share once again in the Body and Blood of Christ.
Our society is facing an extraordinary challenge. The COVID-19 global pandemic is impacting every one of our families in some way – the way we worship, work, socialize, study and more has all changed in such a drastic way, in such a short period of time. I would like to share a special acknowledgement of and extend my sincerest “Thank You” to all essential workers that have stepped up in so many ways to keep us going. From first responders, to nurses and doctors and EMTs, to law enforcement and firefighting personnel, to grocery store clerks, restaurant owners and workers, mail carriers, workers who dispose of our waste, and everyone else performing essential duties while the majority of our society is sheltering at home trying to flatten the curve – thank you! They are all playing a tremendous role in supporting our families and our livelihood. If you are one of these essential workers, I personally thank you. If you know someone who is one of these heroes, or interact with one, please join me in sharing special thanks and showing and extra kindness to these people as much as you can – they certainly deserve it!
If there is a silver lining to this crisis, it’s that we’re learning, we’re adapting, we’re reflecting. We may not be physically together, but we are all together in this together. And most importantly, our loving God is with us every step of the way. He has not – and will not – abandon us.
I wish you and your loved ones safety and health, and an abundance of blessings and grace from God during this holy Easter Season!
Fr. Richard Pentello
CREATE A FAMILY SPACE AT HOME
In the coming weeks, families will continue to spend more time together at home. One good use of this time would be to pray more together on a regular basis. This prayer time together will strengthen family and can be enhanced by creating a place in your home dedicated to prayer. Making a place for prayer in your home can help us do what the Gospel tells us, to go into an “inner room” and to pray (Matthew 6:6). Make your prayer place as quiet and uncluttered as possible. It can be the corner of a room or some unused space. Furnish your prayer place with a Bible, a crucifix or cross, statue, prayer books, rosary, icons, and candle – be creative! Encourage family members to use the prayer place throughout the day for personal prayer as well as family prayer. You may wish to bless your family place of prayer with the following:
Come, Holy God, dwell in this place of prayer for our family,
and bless it with your healing peace and presence.
Bless all who seek you here
in quiet reflection and voiced prayer.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Holy Week Videos
Sunday, 12 April 2020 00:03
Easter Mass from St. Patrick Parish April 12, 2020
As we enter into the most sacred Three Days (Triduum) of our Church Year – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter – Jessica DeFrange, cantor and Music Director at St.Patrick Parish, provides us with a different meditative hymn for each of these days. May this musical gift inspire your soul and heart so that you and your loved ones may have a most fruitful and blessed Triddum and Easter Season.
He is Risen – Easter Sunday
Via Dolorosa – Good Friday
Blessings – Holy Thursday
Easter Blessings from Our Pastor
Monday, 06 April 2020 11:11
Dear St. Patrick Parishioners,
Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia! The Easter message of joy echoes through the whole world proclaiming Christ’s ultimate victory of light over darkness, grace over sin, and life over death. It is the message upon which we build our lives and to which we anchor our own hope of victory with him. During this solemn Easter season of 50-days we joyfully give thanks to God for the many blessings bestowed on us as individuals and as a faith community these many years. Because Jesus has died and risen again, conquering sin and death, we believe that with him we too shall live. In this spirit of faith and hope, I wish you and your families a most holy and blessed Easter Season!
Like you, I am painfully aware that our celebration of Easter might seem incomplete this year. Who could ever have thought, or even imagined, that the liturgies of Holy Week – Holy Thursday’s Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday’s Passion of the Lord, and Easter Vigil’s and Sunday’s Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord – would be suspended. In our lifetime, this is unheard of. Who among us could even remember a time when we did not have the opportunity to celebrate Easter Mass?! But, the decision – the right decision – was made for us to help keep us all safe. In my private Mass for Easter I will lovingly remember all of you, the good people of St. Patrick parish, in a special way. I will ask our risen Savior to be with us and sustain us in the days ahead as we do our best to be faithful people of a loving God. My prayers also include your intentions and the intentions of all our hearts – for those affected in any way by the coronavirus, for their families, for doctors, nurses, EMTs and all health care workers, for those who are on the front lines as police officers, fire fighters and other emergency personnel, for those who still work and encounter the public on a daily basis in our stores and service agencies, for those who have survived the virus, for those who are currently battling the disease, and for those who have died. Our prayers are many – our needs are great. But God’s healing and comforting love and presence are even greater.
I take this opportunity to thank all who have called me or sent emails, texts, cards and notes to me during these days of isolation. Your support and prayers (and your offer of food!) mean more to me than you will ever know. I miss you! I miss celebrating the Eucharist with you! I miss praying with you, laughing with you, and just being with you. But I do not despair. . . and I invite you to not despair either. God always has the last word. Just look at the Easter event! On Good Friday the world of darkness had thrown everything it had on the Anointed One and buried Him in a tomb – thinking it had the final word. But the final word belonged to God. On Easter Sunday God overturned the world’s verdict, as our Savior Jesus Christ rose from that tomb and conquered the darkness of the world forever.
My friends, this is still God’s world. You have heard me preach that many, many times. God will not leave us orphaned. He will see us through these days where it seems always to be Good Friday. But Easter is triumphant. God has the last word – always! May you and our faith family of St. Patrick, along with all of our loved ones, have a most blessed and Happy Easter.
Fr. Richard Pentello
Confirmation and Communion Parent Letter
Sunday, 05 April 2020 13:52
I hope that you and your family are doing well during these days of sacrifice. Please know that you are remembered in my daily prayers.
I am writing to you because you have a child who is either in the 2nd grade and preparing to celebrate First Communion or a child in the 8th grade preparing to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. At our St. Patrick Parish, Confirmation was previously scheduled for April 23, 2020 and First Communion was previously scheduled for May 2, 2020. The Ohio Catholic Conference of Bishops announced Thursday, April 2, that the temporary suspension of all publicly celebrated Masses and liturgies has been extended through and including Sunday, May 3, 2020. The Catholic Conference Chairman Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said in a prepared statement,
“Out of deep concern for the common good, as well as the physical and spiritual well-being of all the people of Ohio, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio have agreed once again to cooperate with the governor’s direction. To that end, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio extend the temporary suspension of all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies at least through and including Sunday May 3rd. This decision has not been taken lightly and, as your bishops, together with you, we recognize the sacrifice we are called to make by being physically distanced from the Holy Eucharist and from one another.”
Therefore, in light of the decision of the Bishops of Ohio, I am informing you that the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion are postponed until a later date. Of course, I am unable to say when we will celebrate these Sacraments with your child, but please know that I will be in communication with our school principal, Mr. Howard Mancini, and our PSR Director of Religious Education, Ms. Carol Wallington, to keep you informed of any further developments and information. Only when it is safe and in everyone’s best interest will we choose dates for these celebrations. (For our 8th grade Confirmation students, Bishop Murry has already delegated the pastors of the parish to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation.)
I understand that this decision might prove to be a hardship, but I appreciate your understanding during these unprecedented times. Please assure your child that they will be confirmed and they will make their First Communion – just at a later date then previously scheduled. Feel free to contact Mr. Mancini, Ms. Wallington or myself if you have any questions or concerns. In the meantime, my prayers go out to you and to our faith family of St. Patrick Parish.
Rev. Richard J. Pentello, V.F.
Priests Without People
Sunday, 29 March 2020 13:09
Dear St. Patrick Parishioners,
I share the following article with you because it speaks of my heart and perhaps gives you a different perspective – the perspective of a priest, as we all do our best to get through these Lenten days of sacrifice. Like you my heart aches, and I also long to be with you, and I pray for that day to come “sooner” rather than “later” when we can be together again in worship as the faith-family of St. Patrick. Until then, my love and prayers are with you – always!
Fr. Richard Pentello
Priests Without People
Fr. Paul D. Scalia
Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy
“The priest came in. . .and took out the altar stone and put it in his bag; then he burned the wads of wool with the holy oil on them and threw the ash outside; he emptied the holy water stoup and blew out the lamp in the sanctuary and left the tabernacle open and empty, as though from now on it was always to be Good Friday.”
Last Tuesday – the first day of no public Masses in our diocese – I was reminded of this scene from Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, when the priest came to close up the Marchmain family’s chapel. That last line in particular rang in my mind: as though from now on it was always to be Good Friday. Granted, the analogy is not perfect. Our situation is not exactly like Good Friday. The Mass is still being offered (albeit privately), our Eucharistic Lord is still present, and our churches are still open for people to come and pray. Still, although necessary, the suspension of public Mass does create a sorrow not unlike Good Friday’s. It is like being exiled from a loved one: you know where He is, but you cannot be with Him.
Here is another painful exile: that of the priest from his people. The faithful throughout the world suffer the pain of life without the Mass. Priests suffer the pain of life without their people. Those men have given their lives for Christ’s flock. Now they struggle to understand their lives apart from that flock. Tend the flock of God in your midst, Saint Peter exhorts the Church’s pastors. (1Pt 5:2) But what to do when the flock is no longer in your midst. . .and not allowed to be?
The whole situation sets in stark relief this truth about us parish priests: we are ordained propter homines – to serve the people of God. Our lives don’t make sense without a people to serve or a flock to tend. When asked what he thought about the laity, Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman famously observed that “the Church would look foolish without them.” As it turns out, it is we priests who look most foolish in that scenario.
We are painfully aware of what happens when a priest loses the supernatural outlook and sense of the sacred. He becomes not just useless but dangerous. A priest must be oriented toward and attentive to the divine first of all. But now we see the other part of the equation more clearly. The priest maintains an orientation toward and focus on the divine not for himself but for others. For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (Heb 5:1) Without the presence of those for whom he acts, a priest can lose sight of his purpose. The suspension of public Mass, like any cross we endure, can and should become an occasion for spiritual growth. We need to draw what good we can from this suffering. What might this mean for a priest?
Well, for starters, the absence of a congregation can remind priests that at Mass we stand before the Lord on behalf of our people. Of course, they are not there. But we are there in their place and on their behalf. This highlights the difference between a prayer-leader and a priest. The former simply coordinates and guides a communal action. All he needs is delegation, not divine sanction.
But a priest is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God. He stands before the Almighty as the embodiment of the prayers and sacrifices of his people – whether they are there or not. Their absence should increase our appreciation of this truth.
Another bright light is the evangelical generosity and ingenuity of so many flockless priests. During the bombing of England in World War II, Monsignor Ronald Knox retired to Mells to work on scripture translations. He suddenly found himself chaplain to a girls’ school that had been evacuated from London to that sleepy town. Not the best scenario for the bookish Knox. Not what he would have looked for. But his response was generous, innovative, and lasting. From that ad hoc chaplaincy come two of his best works: The Creed in Slow Motion and The Mass in Slow Motion.
So also, many priests apart from their congregations are making the most of things. The situation is sad, and not what they would have chosen. But they are not giving up. They are finding how to evangelize in other, unexpected ways. The Internet makes possible creative solutions, and many have found opportunities there to reach the flock no longer in their midst. Further, this whole situation reveals the true nature of priestly ministry – that it is really a matter of spiritual fatherhood, of a father being present to his people. The inability to be present in that way painfully highlights the need to be.
This also reveals that all our technology, which we tend to see as the evangelical solution, is insufficient, just a stopgap. It is a fascinating paradox that in this situation we both depend more on our technology and more deeply know its limits. As useful as it is (email, live-streaming, posted videos, etc.), it cannot actually put us in touch with one another. It only tides us over until authentic human communication – unmediated, face-to-face, person-to-person – can be recovered. There is no substitute for the shepherd’s presence among his people. And a priest’s heart cannot be content with a virtual connection. It longs for the real.
One last rose drawn from these thorns: an increased appreciation for our people’s devotion. The lack of a public Mass on Sunday will greatly impact the lives of all Catholics, whether they realize it or not. But many do realize it. They long for the Mass, they still come to the church to pray, and they desire to receive all that a priest desires to give. To see their pain and longing should encourage us to be worthy of them.
Ours is an unexpected advent in the midst of Lent. We are waiting – and thus preparing – for when the priest of Christ can again be with his people.