Dear parishioners and friends of St. Patrick,

As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, I think fondly of years past when we made something for our fathers in art class or my Mom took us to the store so we could purchase something for Dad. Little tokens expressing love and appreciation, finite gestures for all of his love and caring. Yet, he would receive every gift with kindness and sincere gratitude.

This example was foundational as I began to understand how God receives our littlest gifts and accepts them with love, warmth, and appreciation. The gifts for Dad (or others who parent us) and our gifts to God pale in comparison to all that is freely and generously bestowed and given to us. They are not mutual exchanges. They can’t—nor should they—be of equal worth. Like God, my father never expected our signs of affection to be anything but sincere and heartfelt. This was our true gift to Dad and it is the true gift we can offer to our Heavenly Father.

On this Father’s Day, may the Lord bless all who assume this paternal role of charity. For new fathers, may they embrace their sacred role. For dads who are struggling, may they be strengthened. For dads who mourn the loss of a child, may they be comforted. For fathers who now are grandparents, may they delight in their posterity. For fathers who have died, may they rest from their labors.

As we lift up our prayers for fathers, we are also aware of other needs these days. We pray for those impacted by COVID-19 as well as those who suffer from isolation due to social distancing and stay-at-home measures. We pray for those suffering from addiction relapse during these challenging days.

And let us continue to pray for an end to racism and all forms of bigotry. May we continue to listen with open hearts and minds to the needs of our community, and to respond with faith, hope, and charity. During these past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to individually meet with several people who shared how recent incidents across the country are impacting their faith and daily life. These conversations will continue over the next couple of weeks and I plan to share with the parish some ideas and plans as we address this issue that affects all of us as a community.

Blessings to you and your loved ones as we officially enter these summer days!

Sincerely yours in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,