Dear St Patrick Parishioners,
I pray that this letter finds you safe and well. As faithful Christians, we acknowledge that all good gifts come from God, and that we are called to share our gifts of time, talent, and material resources at all times. During this time of uncertainty, Catholic parishes around the world, including St. Patrick Parish, have felt the effects of COVID-19 and our call as citizens to shelter in place. It is my hope that we will all be together soon to celebrate Mass and engage in our parish ministries and activities! Until that time, our parish office continues to operate, though with limited hours (Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) and I am still here to serve you.
In order to maintain our current levels of ministry and staffing, it is my duty as pastor to ask you to consider your contributions to St. Patrick Parish. Your regular contributions are vital for us to thrive as a parish faith community; without them, we would not be able to meet your spiritual needs, minister to the sick and homebound, and provide a place in our often-divisive world for all to know the love of Christ. In this time when the Church is needed the most, we have had to adapt to the changing landscape of ministering from a distance. (I would like to acknowledge here the wonderful work our St. Patrick School administrator, faculty and school staff are doing during this unprecedented time. I am grateful that both teachers and students have adapted well during these challenging days.)
Though public Masses and parish events have been temporarily suspended, you can still connect and stay up-to-date with the parish online through the parish website www.stpatrickkent.org and on our parish Facebook page.
While I know that some parishioners have been financially impacted by this crisis and this may not be the best time to talk about finances, it is my duty as pastor of our beloved St. Patrick Parish to address our financial needs. After all, we still acknowledge that at all times, we must give thanks to God. We are taught that there is much more to stewardship than financial support, and sharing our time and talent are important as well. Additional ways you can be good stewards might include reaching out to another parishioner, family member, or friend to talk; virtually participating in online Mass or following Bishop Barronʼs Word on Fire page; taking additional time out of your day to pray for those affected by the virus and for frontline workers; or complete an act of kindness for a neighbor, a stranger, or someone you know. You have no idea how grateful and humbled I am by all the phone calls, notes, emails and texts I have received from parishioners who have expressed loving and prayerful support. These simple acts of kindness mean more to me than you will ever know.
Again, it is my hope that we will be together soon. Many of my favorite events have been postponed too: not being able to celebrate First Communion with our school and PSR second-grade students, Confirmation with our school and PSR eighth-grade students, and initiating our parish R.C.I.A. Elect as new Catholics into the Church during the Easter Vigil liturgy. These have taken their toll on my own spiritual life. Please remember that this is temporary, and it is in the best interest for our health and safety. Know that you and your intentions are remembered in my daily prayers. May God keep you safe and healthy until we can all be together again!
God’s blessing – always,
Fr. Richard Pentello