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May 22,2020

May 22, 2020 Letter From Bishops of Washington
On the Reopening of Mass


May 22, 2020

To the Faithful of St. Catherines,

“Love is patient, love is kind.”

Some may have noticed that in the last couple weeks my homilies and weekly reflections have focused quite a bit on faith and hope. Faith is the bedrock of God’s covenant action on earth by which we have life, and hope is the confidence our faith gives us that God will ultimately deliver a fallen world back to restoration and healing. Of course, this glaringly omits the third of the theological virtues: love, which St. Paul says is the crown of the virtues in his famous passage from the first letter to the Corinthians. Many people probably read that passage from St. Paul’s letter and hear wedding bells. It is a wonderful explication of what love is (and is not).

First, though, what do we mean when we say that love, as well as faith and hope, is a “theological” virtue? Theological virtues are the virtues that are primarily directed to the good of our spiritual lives, which is different than the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice which are concerned with the ordering of the goods of the world. Theological virtues are stable dispositions (as all virtues are) which order our relationship with God. To love someone in a theologically virtuous way is to act toward their good as a fellow human being made in the image of God, and so to love them is also to love the God that created them. As St. John reminds us, God is love and so to love another in a way that draws them into deeper communion with the divine love is to “put on God” so to speak in an even higher way than we do when we express even our faith and our hope. Faith and hope both come from God and lead us back to God, but love is God.

Fortunately, the Greeks had more than one word for love. What is the Greek word that St. Paul uses for love in this passage? Agape. Agape is the highest form of love, it is Christ’s love for the world, totally self-giving. It is the kind of love that compels one person to give their life for another. It is the highest virtue we can reach for.

St. Paul lists several characteristics of this love, but I have highlighted merely two because they are the first two that he lists before he delves into several attributes that agape is not. Perhaps pray over and reflect on these two characteristics of love for this coming week.

Love is patient. Where might I be experiencing a lack of patience right now? Is the frustration that I am experiencing proportional to the issue in front of me? The patient person is able to deal well with the faults and imperfections of others, to surrender to God’s timing in a situation rather than our own and to allow a less than ideal situation to exist where a higher good is attempting to come out. What are concrete steps that I can take to put myself in a position to be able to extend my patience when a difficult situation comes before me?

Love is kind. Where have I been sharper of tongue than I needed to be recently, perhaps in spoken word or over the computer? Have I surrendered the space I reserve for kindness in order to simply get my point across or more visibly manifest my frustration to another person and so to make myself feel more understood? In moments of great mutual stress oftentimes it just takes one person to be sensitive with their choice of words or expressions to take a conversation that could wound someone and to turn it to more positive and productive outcomes. When we are kind, we win a friend rather than winning an argument. Am I sometimes more concerned about being right than helping people?

Stay patient and keep room for kindness. We will get through this. I will see you all soon.

Blessings,

Fr. Patrick


May 20, 2020 St. Catherine Newsletter  (LINK)


May 15, 2020

“Sufficient for a day are its own troubles.”

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s,

The Gospels do many things. They look backward with understanding. They look forward with resolve and hope. They challenge and they encourage. But one thing they also occasionally do which we may not normally think about is offer practical daily wisdom. I cannot count the number of times the above quote has come into my head. It did so again when I was thinking about our current situation, especially in this month which is Mental Health Awareness month. In last week’s letter I listed psychological health as one of the major casualties of this pandemic. In the last couple weeks I’ve read several articles expressing major concerns about developing psychological illnesses for those who did not previously struggle with mental health as well as the worsening conditions of those who do. Families who are suddenly seriously concerned about their futures, people who live by themselves who already struggle with loneliness and depression and parents at their breaking point with having to continue to manage work responsibilities with no home sanctuary while also suddenly being the primary facilitator of their child’s education has exhausted some to the point of giving up. I recently read one article where an exasperated mother called her child’s teacher and said, “We’re done. It’s over. I can’t do it anymore.” Many, many people can surely empathize with that feeling. Extraordinary stress having to be carried for extended periods of time is its own threat to mental (and physical) health.

The above quote comes from the sixth chapter of Matthew’s gospel. In the wider context of the passage Jesus is exhorting his listeners to trust that God will provide for their needs, specifically for their need of Him and the life that He gives. Therefore “do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day are its own troubles."

To God, all things exist in a kind of present moment. The Almighty is outside of time, he does not have a past like we have a past nor a future like we have a future. He just Is. The present is the moment of privilege. The present is the moment when we can act. Too much time is often spent brooding on events of the past which may have shaped a better present (“If only I would have done this…if only I would have said that…”). Too much time is also spent worrying about future events of which we have no control. Within the context of this passage in Matthew 6 are several exhortations not to worry and to have no anxiety (an exhortation many of us have to remember to always strive toward even while we’re not able to perfectly live it). For myself, this passage from Matthew gives me a kind of license in moments of extraordinary stress to focus only on the things that come before me today, the things before me in my present reality with God. It is unrealistic to suppose that I will be able to come up with the final solution to any of my long-term problems or struggles today, but can I point to something that went well today? Can I say that I gave the best effort and attention that I had to managing the issue for this day only? Can I allow myself not to focus on bearing all the things I am carrying around with me to the top of the mountain today, but rather just moving them a few paces forward?

When situations get complicated and the path that the Lord is calling us to is not clear I find it helpful simply to return to basics: love of God and our neighbor. As our Lord reminds us, the commandments come down to those. That is everyone’s call every day. The life that Jesus is offering us through faith and love is available today and it is not dependent on our own ability to solve our problems or those of the world.

So, perhaps we just ask ourselves: did I spend time with God today expressing thanks, petitioning for my needs and those of others, or even just in simple rest and adoration? Did I give help to others the best that I was able to today?

Let yesterday go. Let tomorrow happen tomorrow. Sufficient for a day are its own troubles. 

Blessings,

Fr. Patrick

P.S.  Please see the Parish newsletter which will be sent out soon.  It will include an article from St. Vincent de Paul telling about the work they are doing with your tremendous donations. 


May 8 ,2020

Dear Parishioners,

Please view Archbishop’s video message to the People of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

UPDATE:
In the video, Archbishop Etienne references the review of how we might be able to experience “drive-in spiritual services”. 

This afternoon the diocese informed us, after thorough review of the actual guidance from the state, it became clear “drive-in spiritual services” present many obstacles that could compromise the integrity, sacredness, and reverence of our Catholic worship.  To ensure the reverence and respect for the Sacred Liturgy of the Mass, especially the Blessed Sacrament, and after consultation with the Presbyteral Council, the Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishops have unanimously decided to postpone any celebration of “drive-in” Masses. They indicate, “As much as we would like to join in community as the Body of Christ in sacred worship, we must be patient as our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has instructed.”

 

Video from Archbishop Etienne addresses sacraments 
and parish openings during coronavirus

As COVID-19 restrictions begin easing in the state, Catholics in Western Washington should remain patient, stay vigilant and keep their focus on Jesus while awaiting the return of public Masses, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne said in a May 7 video message.

“Please keep the Lord a priority,” the archbishop said. “Please consciously be aware of his presence and how he is sustaining us during these days."

Highlights

  • Other dioceses are starting to open up, but our situation is different.
  • We are at the epicenter of COVID-19 and must be more patient and vigilant.
  • The Lord can help us keep all things in proper balance and perspective.
  • Bishops have initiated communications with the governor’s office on a plan to reopen parishes and make sacraments available. 
  • In the meantime, a team of priests and leaders are determining how the governor’s “drive-in spiritual services” best applies to our parishes.
  • To minimize risk of exposing others, please don’t travel to other states where Masses are being offered.
  • Many of our churches remain open for prayer.
  • Gratitude to priests for making live stream Masses, confession and
    anointing available.
  • Please be patient, pray, stay close to the Lord and Our Lady.

Resources for parishioners:

New issue of At Home with Faith

Parishioner Prayers and Resources

Vimeo Channel   |   Facebook   |   Instragram   |   Northwest Catholic Story


May 8, 2020

To the Faithful of St. Catherine,

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Resurrection lately. Perhaps it’s because we’re still in the Easter season. Perhaps it’s because the weather feels like it’s brought out the springtime flora, nature’s sign that winter is definitely over. Perhaps it’s because governments are finally loosening coronavirus restrictions and we may be in a place where we can start thinking (only thinking) about the end of all of this. I’ve wondered sometimes whether in the wisdom of the divine ordering of the world the reason we experience the changing of seasons is precisely to foster in us regular reflections on death and life, a kind of catechesis given to us from nature itself which helps us think about our personal final end as well as that of the world as a whole.

What has happened (and is currently happening) to individuals and the world is significant on a level that I think few can really wrap their minds around when considering the sum total: physical, social, economic, political, psychological, spiritual. And yet, this virus, and everything that it has brought with it, too has an end. And life on the other side of it will have a beginning.

It simply will not do to think about the Resurrection as a kind of final and everlasting reward for getting through a long and difficult journey in the world. As easy and tempting as it is simply to think, “well, this is really painful, but God will set it right in the end so it doesn’t really matter,” we know in the parts of our being where we find and live in meaning that if the tragedies of our life don’t matter because God is inexorably moving it all toward one final end anyway then neither do the joys matter. Who among us would really believe that?

No, what’s happening does matter in just the same way as when we’re personally wounded by the sin of another person and we say to them, “I forgive you” we are not saying that what they did to us does not matter. Rather, we are saying that we are going to be spiritually oriented to reconciliation and life despite the obstacle that has been put before us. The Resurrection situates the Christian to look at death in much the same way. We don’t casually dismiss it, we stare at it with boldness, girded by hope, looking through it, as it were, rather than around it.

The Resurrection is not only true for our own bodies but for all of creation. It’s the Holy Spirit’s sign to us that, although death entered the picture through sin, and all the earth became subject to decay, creation itself, the world and all the human beings in it, was not a mistake. Jesus Christ’s emergence from the tomb and his presentation to the disciples gives Christians permission to see behind the veil (as it were) to a new order of creation emerging before us right now. Baptism gives us spiritual access to that new reality and it encourages us to have an imagination alive and pointed forward to the Resurrection. In his fantastic and pivotal eighth chapter of the letter to the Romans, St. Paul says that, “All creation is groaning in labor pains even until now…we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” Through pain, new life is coming.

What’s part of this new life, according to the book of Revelation? Healing. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). In every part of life in which we see the futility of sin and death working its course, the Christian stands as God’s light-bearing witness to healing. In every way in which this event that we are going through has wounded human beings, Christians are called to be part of the process of healing and reconciliation as members of the body of Christ, the greatest and final healer. With an eye on what a Resurrected world looks like through the New Testament, we foster reconciliation which we can only do by engaging every aspect of the pain that is presented before us. Where does healing and reconciliation need to happen in your life, in your family’s life? What can you do to start or aid in the process? What may you need to let go of in order for that to happen?

We do not bypass tragedy, we enter into it with hope, confident that the Spirit can and will bring about new order from suffering and we can be participants in it. No room for despair, and no room for indifference. Let’s keep moving forward.

See you all soon,

Fr. Patrick


May 1, 2020

Grace and Peace to all! 

On Wednesday we celebrated the feast of our patroness, St. Catherine of Siena, the 14th century Dominican mystic who moved papacies with her holiness and insight.

St. Catherine also lived during the worst years of the Bubonic plague in Europe, years when many could not participate in the liturgical life of the Church in the way that they would have liked. One of the gifts of the mystical theologians of the Church, like St. Catherine, is their attentiveness to the hidden reality of life that undergirds the visible order of creation. Our Lord reminds us in the Gospel of St. Matthew to not be afraid of the one who can kill the body but not the soul. In other words, the life of God which animates the visible order of creation is, in fact, invisible, and the invisible life of communion with God is expressed in faith, which is accessible to us anywhere we are. The covenant life of God in both Old Testament and New is a covenant of faith. Faith is what makes the entire sacramental order come alive. Sacraments build our faith and they build on our faith.

Has there been anything recently which has built up your faith? Have you seen the actions of others that have built up your faith? Are we praying for the eyes of God to see signs of his divine life everywhere, not just in our parish, but in the sacrificial care that many are showing for others out of love for the other as a child of God. That’s the outworking of faith. The life that the Eucharist gives us is in fact all around us in the created order being restored by God, like the Spirit of God that breathed on the waters of creation in the book of Genesis.

Try to be attentive to one place where faith is alive today and give thanks to God for it.

I will see you all again soon,

Fr. Patrick

 

April 24, 2020

“I’m ready for this to be over so we can go back to normal,” was an expression I heard this last week around the rectory where I live. I would say that I have sensed more restlessness and frustration in the air now than at any point in our new reality so far, which, of course, makes sense. The longer we are asked to sacrifice the more difficult it becomes. For myself, I can sense the disciplines that I adopted to “do my part” starting to wane. I have been less conscientious about wearing a mask in public or wearing gloves around the office when I have to go in, for instance. As I thought about this, I was reminded of the expression used by football players to “play through the whistle,” that is, to keep playing with maximum effort until the official says that it is time to stop. It is time for me to recommit myself to my “stay at home” disciplines. How are you doing with it? Are you having the same experience?

This is not easy. None of us asked for this. But we are being asked to consent to this nonetheless. I have regularly returned to the words of Fr. Jacques Philippe on the subject of consenting to difficulty in his book “Interior Freedom”, which I heartily recommend. Fr. Philippe’s words are worth presenting at length:

“The exercise of freedom as a choice among options, plainly is important. However, to avoid making painful mistakes we also need to understand that there is another way of exercising freedom: less immediately exciting, poorer, humbler, but much more common, and one immensely fruitful, both humanly and spiritually. It is consenting to what we did not originally choose…It is natural and easy to go along with pleasant situations that arise without our choosing them. It becomes a problem, obviously, when things are unpleasant, go against us, or make us suffer. But it is precisely then that, in order to become truly free, we are often called to choose to accept what we did not want, and even what we would not have wanted at any price. There is a paradoxical law of human life here: one cannot become truly free unless one accepts not always being free!...This means consenting to our personal limitations, our weaknesses, our powerlessness, this or that situation that life imposes on us, and so on. We find it difficult to do this, because we feel a natural revulsion for situations we cannot control. But the fact is that the situations that really make us grow are precisely those we do not control.”

“When we are faced with things that we find unpleasant or consider negative, in ourselves or in situations, there are three possible attitudes. The first is rebellion…True, rebellion is not always negative—it may be an instinctive and necessary reaction in certain situations of desperate suffering; then it is a healthy reaction, provided that we do not remain fixated on it. Rebellion can also be positive as the rejection of an unacceptable situation, against which one takes action, for just motives, and using legitimate and proportionate means. What we are considering here, however, is rebellion as a rejection of reality…All this sort of rebellion does is add another wrong to the existing one. It is the source of despair, violence and resentment.”

“Rebellion may be followed by resignation. We realize we cannot change this situation, or cannot change ourselves, and end up by resigning ourselves…[Resignation] is not a Christian virtue, since it doesn’t include hope. Resignation is a declaration of powerlessness that goes no further. The attitude to aim for is consent. Compared with resignation, consent leads to a completely different interior attitude. We say yes to a reality we initially saw as negative, because we realize that something positive may arise from it. This hints at hope…We can say yes to the poorest and most disappointing human raw materials, because we believe that ‘love is so powerful in deeds that it is able to draw good out of everything, both the good and the bad that it finds in me,’ as St. Therese of Lisieux said…The act of consent, therefore, contains faith in God, confidence toward him, and hence also love, since trusting someone is already a way of loving him.”

How can we apply Fr. Philippe’s words to our situation? What in our lives is  the Lord calling us to consent to? Where is our disposition toward that thing now? How can we move (or allow the Lord to move us) toward consent?

Let’s give thanks to the Lord for the gift of the day.

Talk to you again soon,

Fr. Patrick


April 17, 2020


Dear St. Catherine community -

Peace be with you! In this difficult time, we are praying for you and yours. Please spend a moment to respond to this brief survey in the link below to help us meet your needs and grow as a faith community together.

-St. Catherine Parish Council

(Please don't confuse this with the link to the archdiocesan survey that was sent out yesterday.)   

St. Catherine Parish Survey


April 17, 2020

Calmer. Slower. Less.

My Apple Watch broke the other day. The face of the watch fell right off, which was somewhat bittersweet. I had always had a bit of a conflicted relationship with my timepiece. It was a gift from my sister for my ordination, useful in telling me things that were nice to know, but it was also frequently calling for my attention (I could never figure out how to get the right balance of notifications). It also had a function that mysteriously showed up one day where it would discern (somehow?) that I was stressed out and would tell me to take a minute of deep breathing to relax. I’m not sure if this was automated to go off randomly or if it sensed changes in my body that cued it, but this started happening so frequently I just automatically started to select “mute for today” when it first popped up because I knew that it would surely buzz me at least six more times that day. Now my Apple Watch is broken, and I think that it’s curiously appropriate that it happened at a time in my life where I’ve almost never been more disconnected from needing to know the time of day. What appointments do I have today? Usually none. Where do I need to be? Nowhere. Is there work to be done? Surely. Is there time enough to do it? Of course. So why does it matter exactly what time it is? 

We’re in our fourth or so week of life with Covid-19 restrictions. This last week I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my experiences of life now compared to my life a year ago or at any point in my adult life, for that matter. The three descriptors that came to my mind immediately were calmer, slower and less. My day is no longer extremely tightly structured. Many events, activities and concerns have dropped out so that the contents that remain (maybe the contents that are essential?) have space to breathe. For me, time was always the most precious of resources. Never enough of it to go around, always difficult decisions to make. Feelings of guilt for not having more time for this thing or that thing running rampant. Stress abounding.

Was there too much in my life? Sure. That’s easy enough to see. But the more important question is why was there too much in my life?

Maybe at some point busyness became its own source of pride for me. To tell people that I was busy was perhaps a way of showing that I was in-demand (i.e., valuable, intelligent, useful, etc.). Or maybe at some point hard work for me became synonymous with long work, to keep a very full schedule morning, afternoon and evening warded off the accusation of being lazy, a sin in American culture if there ever was one. Maybe it emerged from a competitive culture that we see in business and society that tells us that we need to be always setting goals and striving for growth in every aspect of our lives, to have more and to be more, until we drop with exhaustion. Maybe it just came from a good desire to help as much as possible until it got a little out of control. I don’t know.

But so far my “stay at home” life has been a kind of addition by subtraction. I’ve focused more on depth, not breadth. I’m not checking my watch all the time (can’t, in fact), thinking of where I have to be next or preparing mentally for the next event. My attention doesn’t feel diced into a hundred pieces. I’m grateful that Jesus is the Savior of the world so I don’t have to be.

It’s created an interesting question for me: when we get back to “normal”, what will I allow back into my life? What will not make the cut?

Have you had similar experiences? How might we invite God (and others!) into that conversation?

Only a recommendation: pray with St. Irenaeus great insight, “the glory of God is a human being fully alive!” What gives you fullness of life? How do you know? I’ve had people comment that I appear different to them when I’m doing this thing or that thing, that I look happier, more energetic. Do other people notice changes in you when you’re “fully alive”? How might you express thanks to God for that gift?

Let’s keep praying for each other.

Happy Easter everyone,
Fr. Patrick 

P.S., The Facebook live broadcasts of Mass do not require a Facebook account to access. Just pull up St. Catherine’s Facebook page.     


April 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

There are two important items in this email.  Please read and respond.  Thank you!

1. Parish and Mission Effectiveness - survey from our Archdiocese of Seattle, part of the long-term pastoral planning process:

All practicing lay Catholics in the Archdiocese are invited to complete an online survey that seeks to better understand the experiences, beliefs, needs, desires and faith trajectories of Catholics across western Washington.   Your responses are anonymous and confidential.

CatholicSurvey2020.org
Archbishop Etienne - Invitation to the Catholic Survey

 


2. URGENT INVITATION TO JOIN OUR CCS SEWING BEE  AND HELP MAKE  10,000 MASKS!  
Catholic Community Services of Western Washington is asking for your support.  For more information:  https://ccsww.org/sewing-bee/ (see this link also for a substitute for elastic)

Wow! This is your chance to join our CCS SEWING BEE to help make 10,000 masks for the safety of CCS/CHS front line staff who are working around the clock to provide essential services to our vulnerable neighbors in need.

It’s easy and fun…follow the links for sewing instructions, watch a video tutorial (below) and find your nearest CCS location where you can drop off or mail your mask donation.

Please share this need with your friends.
 

How to make a Face Mask

 


April 9, 2020

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s:

Happy Triduum! Is it unusual this year? Of course, but it is still Triduum. The liturgical life of the Church never stops.

Just a note for those who will be tuning into the livestream at St. Catherine’s (or any livestream in the Archdiocese for that matter): The Archbishop has made a number of modifications for the Triduum in consideration of the limited resources that parishes are facing as well as the need to maintain social distancing. You will notice, for instance, the foot washing on Holy Thursday is omitted (technically it is an optional part of the ritual in any year), the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday night is omitted, veneration of the cross will only occur for the priest, as well as other modifications. So you will not be watching the “usual” Easter Triduum celebrations. But, onward!

Below I’m going to include a link for the stations of the cross for folks who would like to pray them on Friday. 3pm is a traditional time to do that.

In terms of Easter, perhaps it’s a year to include a new Easter tradition for the family? If you have family traditions and rituals around Easter that you do at home, I encourage you to keep those up this year. Keeping something old and adding something new can make Easter 2020 special. Perhaps reading the Passion and Resurrection from the Gospel of Matthew or John and discussing it as a family? What does it mean to you this year? Just a thought.

Also, many will be praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3pm on Good Friday and continuing each day leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday with special intentions for each day. I have attached relevant links below. I encourage you to take part!

I’m praying for you all. Please pray for me too.

Triduum blessings,

Fr. Patrick

Stations of the cross: 
http://www.kofc.org/en/resources/cis/cis363.pdf

How to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet: 
https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/pray-the-chaplet

Intentions for the Divine Mercy Chaplet: 
https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/novena-13366 


RE: Request for Lectors and Cantors

April 4, 2020

Greetings St. Catherine’s parishioners,

As I mentioned in my previous communication, I will be livestreaming the liturgies of Holy Week through our Facebook page. It’s been a journey for me personally to consider if and how I should livestream Masses from St. Catherine’s during the pandemic with the rapidly changing situation and requirements from the government and the Archdiocese of Seattle, as well as my own personal sense of conscience and responsibility. Some of you may notice that you do not recognize some of the liturgical ministers who are helping me out with the initial livestream broadcasts. In the short amount of time for decision making and organizing that I had, I reached out to friends of mine who are trained liturgical ministers that I know do not belong to the vulnerable population and that are also comforting presences to me as I organize a quick, dignified Holy Week under extraordinary and, at times, stressful circumstances.

Beginning on Easter Sunday, I would like to open up the liturgical ministries of lector and cantor to our St. Catherine’s ministers. However, I must follow the policies of the Archdiocese, the government and the dictates of my own conscience as I do so. Since the definition of someone who is part of the “vulnerable population” is somewhat fluid, I am setting slightly more rigorous criteria than others might. Therefore, if you meet each of the following criteria and you would like to help out, please contact me by email:

  • 49 years old or younger
  • No underlying health conditions
  • Have not as recently as the last two weeks experienced symptoms of any illness
  • Do not live with someone who belongs to the vulnerable population
  • Are not of a heightened risk for exposure to COVID-19 through work or home
  • Are a trained lector or cantor

If you would like to help out on Easter Sunday, please contact me by Wednesday. I hope to celebrate these liturgies the best that I can. As some of you know, I volunteered to take the early lead on COVID-19 anointings in north Seattle. I am therefore going to be extremely cautious in monitoring my own health during this time. If my body doesn’t feel right or I think that I may be getting sick, I will be staying home and the livestream will be cancelled on potentially short notice. I hope that does not happen, but I am ready if it should.

I hope to see you all soon.

Blessings,

Fr. Patrick



April 3, 2020

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s,

Peace and good health to all!

Weeks have now gone by and normalcy does not yet seem on the horizon. It will get here, but it is not quite ready to show itself. How is everyone holding up? I have heard back from a few folks who are enjoying the content on Formed.org. I hope that you have had a chance to check it out. Remember, just click “I belong to a parish”, find our parish on the drop down menu by searching for it, sign up with your email, and it’s as simple as that.

A new rhythm of life has taken hold for me. Now that the priests that I live with and I are not able to be at our parishes as much as we normally are, we are able to be at the rectory often for dinner. I have enjoyed making dinner for the guys and trying new recipes. My days have hardly been empty, but they have been slower at times which has caused me to engage the contents of my life in different ways. One of the side effects of this curious age that we are living in is that it has caused me to develop a deeper appreciation for the gift of food and making good meals. When my old order of life still ruled, food that was made quickly was more important to me than food that was made well. This often caused me to cook on a higher heat than would otherwise be recommended because I wanted to get dinner done faster so that I could move on to “more important” things. Eating a dinner by myself that is overdone on the outside and underdone on the inside is one thing, but inflicting that suffering on another person is something else entirely. So, I have sought to cook well instead of fast. As a result, I have realized in the last couple weeks that my attentiveness to food has multiplied. Dinner has become for me less utilitarian, more social, more communal, more artistic. In other words: more human. How many other objects (or relationships) in my life, that I haven’t paid as much attention to because of the many “important” demands on me, need to become more human, as dining has become for me? Have you noticed similar things in your life?

We are a couple days away from celebrating Holy Week. Beginning this Sunday, Palm Sunday, I will be arranging to have the liturgies of holy week and the Sundays thereafter live-streamed from St. Catherine’s. You can check it out via our Facebook page. It’s a technology that I am unfamiliar with, but others are helping me. I hope that it goes well. Our schedule for the liturgies will be:

Palm Sunday: 9:30 am
Holy Thursday: 7:00 pm
Good Friday: 7:00 pm

Easter Vigil: 8:30 pm
Easter Sunday (and every Sunday thereafter): 9:30 am

Jesus is coming through the gates of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. A place of joy, sorrow, health, brokenness, gratitude, rejection, every human experience. He’s coming to witness to perfect love, God’s love for the people that he has made his own. As Paul says in Romans, “What can separate us from the love of Christ?” We might not be able to receive physical communion right now, but nothing can ever stop the spiritual communion we have with our Lord in the prayer of the faithful. That can never be taken from us. Thursday was supposed to be the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, and so in lieu of that the Archbishop asked all the priests of the Archdiocese to pray a holy hour at 7pm, the time the Chrism Mass was supposed to start. I’ll leave you all with the object of my meditation during that time, from that same letter from the Apostle:

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” –Romans 8:26

I’m praying for you all. I hope you that you will pray for me too.

-Fr. Patrick

1. FORMED.ORG

2. To view St. Catherine Masses, find the link on the front page of our parish website, 

www.stcatherineparish.net, or go to the Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/St.Catherine.Seattle/  

3. Check out the options on the Spiritual Resources page on our parish website

at https://www.stcatherineparish.net/189


March 27, 2020

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s,

Peace to all!

With every passing week much seems to change. When I wrote to you all last week, we did not yet have the Governor’s stay at home order. Now we have reached a different phase of our response to the virus. Situations are different for everyone, as well the challenges that are being wrought by it. Some may be feeling a level of boredom or restlessness from being “trapped” in the house with no where to go and not much to do. Others may be feeling overwhelmed at transitioning their responsibilities to the home while also managing childcare and perhaps also their children’s education, a life one could hardly have imagined many weeks ago. Perhaps getting through the demands of the day is difficult enough. Maybe others are somewhere in between.

If you can manage it, I encourage everyone to reach out by phone to someone that you may have not talked to in a while to see how they are holding up, or if they need anything that you can help provide for them, especially prayer. This week I reached out to my grandmother whom I do not talk with as much as I should. It was good for both of us.

This week I purchased a parish subscription to FORMED, a Catholic media outlet run by the Augustine Institute. They are used by many parishes for things like sacramental preparation and faith formation. All parishioners of St. Catherine’s now have access to it. All you have to do is go to Formed.org and click “sign up”. From there, indicate that you “belong to a parish” and type in “St. Catherine’s, Seattle” and find us on the drop-down list. Then you can sign up with a name and an email address and voila! There is a lot of great content on there. They also have an app that is accessible through your apple device or Roku player. They have content for kids and adults, movies and shows, as well as Bible studies, streaming Masses and prayer, lots of great stuff. Enjoy!

We at the parish are trying to be as obedient as possible to the Governor’s stay at home order, only coming in for essential items such as security and details needed to maintain the functioning of the parish which cannot be done remotely. It is a transition for us, much as it is for everyone else. Certain items might take a little longer than they normally do, but we will manage.  

I encourage everyone to take extended breaks from media coverage of COVID-19. Feeling trapped inside often causes us to turn to internet and television media outlets to pass the time which can seem like a never-ending loop of coverage of the virus. This can easily create a lot of anxiety in people over global and national situations that they can do little to affect. Turning devices and tv’s off for a few hours, or maybe flipping to a movie or a good book can be calming. Perhaps start a family book group where everyone reads a book at the same time and talks about it? My family started that last year and it has had a bonding effect on us, it gives us something to talk about and relate to.

Many who have been less impacted by the financial fallout of the pandemic have been looking for ways to help. To that end, our St. Vincent de Paul group indicated to me that their biggest need right now is monetary aid for rent support. While evictions have been deterred during the outbreak, rent will still be owed by many who have lost their income. St. Vincent de Paul financially supports those needs the best that they are able. Please consider a donation.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, you all are in my prayers now more than ever. Right now I am currently working on some remote faith formation opportunities. There will be more to come on that end. Please reach out to me if I can help you in any way. I will talk to you all soon.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Patrick

NOTES:

1. The link is here:  FORMED.org 
Hit "sign up",   select "Belong to a parish",  type in "St. Catherine, Seattle"

2. Donations to St. Vincent dePaul or gifts to our parish can be made by

Email Carolyn Foster with any questions at cfoster@st-c.org.


March 24 ,2020

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s,

I hope that everyone is holding up ok during these trying times.

In response to Governor Inslee’s Stay at Home order which takes effect tomorrow, I am closing St. Catherine’s parish church and office for the duration of the order. We will still be performing the essential functions and maintaining security, but the staff will be working remotely as far as it is possible.

I know this time is going to be difficult to some, but as the Jewish prophets reminded Israel when the nation went into exile, God is everywhere, and He hears our prayers everywhere. On Friday I will send out another communication to everyone with some thoughts. Please be assured that the faithful of St. Catherine’s are in my prayers each day. I wait with anticipation for the moment when we will all be able to return to our space again to pray and celebrate the sacraments. In the interim, we must all diligently do our part in this struggle out of concern for our neighbors as well as ourselves.

Please remember that I am available by phone if you would like to talk. I can still get voice mail messages from the parish office remotely. If you would like to set up a phone conversation for prayer, pastoral counseling, or another need, please feel free to call me at the parish office or send me an email. I am, of course, still available for sacramental emergencies by calling 206-384-2632. If you would like to meet for the sacrament of reconciliation or the anointing of the sick in a non-emergency situation, that is available by appointment as well by calling me at the parish office or also sending an email.

Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation when Mary said “Let it be done unto me according to Thy word.” Without knowing how, the Blessed Virgin trusted that all things work toward God for those who love him. Jesus is with us in moments of joy as well as moments of trial. We will get through this because our Lord will give us the strength to do so. The love of the Cross still gives joy to the world, and the Church soldiers forth in our mission.

Grace to you and peace,

Fr. Patrick Sherrard


The most recent guidance from Archbishope Etienne is on the archdiocese of Seattle website. Currently dated March 17, 2020 - click on " Covid-19 Guidance"  http://www.seattlearchdiocese.org/


March 23, 2020  

Scheduled at this time:

  • Private prayer: the church is open 9 am to 1 pm Monday through Friday,
    and Saturday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
    • While in the church please stay at least 6 feet from other persons
    • We encourage those over 60 and those with underlying medical conditions to stay at home
    • Please wash your hands or use the hand sanitizer when you arrive and when you leave. 
  • Adoration on Tuesdays at St. Catherine, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Stations of the Cross:  A disposable handout will be available in the church next week to do stations on our own.
  • Reconciliation on Saturdays from 3:30 - 4:30 pm at the back of the church

All other events and groups are cancelled, postponed, or meeting online.  Contact your ministry or group leader with any questions.



March 20, 2020

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s:

It is doubtless by now that everyone’s lives have been impacted in some way by the global pandemic, some in more extreme ways than others. The government restrictions on our lives have tightened many times over the last couple weeks. The restrictions on the celebrations of the sacraments do not appear as if they will be lifted any time soon. In light of all of this, I would like to share a few thoughts with everyone.

This is not a Lent experience that I think anyone expected when we began on Ash Wednesday, but it is the one that we have been given. I encourage everyone to continue your disciplines of praying, fasting and almsgiving leading into Easter to the extent that you are able and to the extent that makes sense. Many are processing now what may be a very different financial situation in the coming months, so perhaps certain aspects of Lent may need to be re-evaluated and adjusted based on our new reality. The same can obviously be said for those who may have made a special commitment to come to Mass at certain times during Lent. I encourage you to think: how am I able to adjust this in a way that makes sense? What am I able to do instead if a certain practice needs to pause for a while? What about praying the rosary, the divine mercy chaplet, or times of quiet reflection with the Gospels? If I find myself unable to make financial donations, am I able to give perhaps a little more of my time? Am I able to check in with a neighbor or family member who may need some help?

I encourage everyone to make sure that Sunday is still the Lord’s day and that you and your household are taking special time for prayer and reflection on our faith. Continuing the habit of Sunday celebration of our faith is especially important in abnormal times. Links are on the website for livestreamed Masses as well as copies of the Sunday readings if that is helpful. Homilies will also be posted every week around midweek. As a reminder, during the duration of the outbreak, the faithful are dispensed from their obligation to attend Mass on Sundays. Church bells across the Archdiocese will be ringing at noon each day as a sign of solidarity. I encourage families to pray the Angelus at noon as a sign of spiritual communion.

As we may not be done with government restrictions put forward in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, I was reminded of St. Paul’s words to the Romans: “Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1). The Apostle saw it as the duty of Christians to be obedient to justly established government. In that light, Christians have a responsibility to be responsible citizens and to do our part in the effort our governments at the state and federal level are making to slow the spread of the virus. It is very difficult since it does constitute a major disruption to normal life for most, but please be conscientious.

I encourage those who have not yet switched over to online giving to consider it as a way to continue giving to the parish while many operations have been suspended. By way of being just and caring to our employees, the Archdiocese has told parishes to continue to pay our employees their regular salaries and wages during the outbreak, so our expenses are still near normal levels while Mass is suspended. Please consider doing what you are able to do. Registration for Online Giving is on the front page of our parish website.  It can be used for a one-time gift as well as ongoing giving, and for donating to St. Vincent de Paul.

Our St. Vincent de Paul group has been very active during this time period. The city of Seattle has issued an eviction moratorium which is helpful to the immediate needs of many, but the economic impact of the pandemic is only just being felt by many others. Food donations are a need right now and can still be dropped off at the parish during the posted hours I sent out last week. The church is still open Monday-Saturday.

During this period of social distancing, if you have a need that the parish may be able to help out with, please give us a call and we will do our best to help.

In Christ,

Fr. Patrick Sherrard

 

Please continue to visit our webite for resources at www.stcatherineparish.net

The Angelus prayer

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary...

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary...

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen.


March 13, 2020

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s,

I would like to give you an update on where our parish is right now in this rapidly changing situation.

Beginning this week, we are inviting those who would like to come to pray the stations of the cross to come during the hours that the church is open for private prayer. We will include disposable copies of the stations of the cross which we ask people to use and then dispose of in order to cease the spread of germs.

Please visit the website for updates regarding which ministries are still operational at this point during the outbreak. You can also call the parish office as well for that information, the number will be listed below. The parish website will be updated with opportunities to stay connected with the Mass remotely, including the Pope and the Archbishop’s livestream of the celebration of Mass, as well as gospel reflections for the week. I will continue to post homilies each week as normal which you can also find on the website under the “homilies” tab.

The church will be open for private prayer according to the schedule listed below. Our parishes offices will also be open according to that same schedule, excluding Saturday. In the event of an emergency, you can reach me by calling the number listed below.

Confessions will still be heard at the normal time on Saturday, 3:30pm-4:30pm. We will also be emailing bulletins to those who requested it.

Please remember to pray during this time, especially for those who have been most impacted by the pandemic.

In Christ,

Fr. Patrick Sherrard

Parish phone number: 206-524-8800

Sacramental emergency number: 206-384-2632

Parish website: stcatherineparish.net

Church office hours:
Monday: 9am-1pm
Tuesday: 9am-3pm
Wednesday: 9am-1pm
Thursday: 9am-1pm
Friday: 9am-1pm
Saturday: 1pm-5pm
Sunday: Closed


March 11, 2020
A message from Fr. Patrick Sherrard

To the faithful of St. Catherine’s:

This has been a difficult and unprecedented time in our region. Out of charity for our neighbor and in the interest of public health, extreme measures are being taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

By order of Archbishop Etienne, all public celebrations of the Mass across the entire Archdiocese have been suspended.

Confession will be offered at its normal time on Saturday at 3:30pm. In light of this new announcement from the Archbishop, the plan to institute confession on Sundays during Lent from 9:30am-10:20am is postponed.

While Masses have been suspended, a link to the daily Mass reading will be on the front page of the parish website on top of the right column.  Sunday homilies will continue to be posted on the website under the homily tab. I strongly encourage everyone to set aside particular time on Sunday to pray, read the Mass readings and take time to reflect on them and offer your own petitions and a prayer of thanksgiving.

Please watch the personal message from Archbishop Etienne. The link is on the front page of our website at www.stcatherineparish.net.  

I know that for many this will come as a shock and sadness. In both good times and in moments of turmoil, prayer that comes from our faith remains our surest support. In that spirit, I will offer to you the prayer to Our Lady of Seattle provided by Archbishop Etienne:

Holy Mary,

We come before you as spiritual children in great need, seeking your intercession, and asking that your mantle of love surround us to console, protect, and lead us to your son Jesus.

We entrust all of God’s family, especially the church in Western Washington, into your immaculate hands. With your son Jesus’ gentle power you can undo any knot in our church, and in the lives of believers who entrust themselves to your care. Today I ask that –through your intercession, and that of St. James, our guardian angels, and the faithful in our Archdiocese – we may be free from every spiritual and temporal ill, and be safely led to encounter your son’s merciful, sacred heart.

Our Lady of Seattle, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!

 

Below are listed other opportunities to listen to and/or watch the celebration of Mass:

Spiritual Communion and Daily Mass on the Radio

Spiritual Communion and daily Mass can be heard on all Sacred Heart Radio stations and on the App.

5:00am LIVE and 9:00am Encore

Sacred Heart Radio Schedule for Review and Posting

SHR Radio Stations

Seattle:  AM 1050, FM 100.3

Spokane: AM 970, FM 106.1

Yakima:   FM 88.1

Olympia:  AM 1240, FM 104.7

Tacoma:  AM 1180

 

     EWTN Global Catholic Television Network: Catholic News, TV ...
 

And Mass can be viewed on EWTN everyday at 5:00 am, 9:00 am, 4:00 pm, and 9:00 pm.  

Watch EWTN live: https://www.ewtn.com/tv/watch-live

 


March 6, 2020

We are concerned with the spread of coronavirus and want to make sure we are guided by clear information to be responsible and prudent in decision-making in response to this virus.  Please read below for our current measures.

EVENTS, GATHERINGS AND MEETINGS

Per diocesan recommendations, we are following guidelines from the King County Public Health department in canceling or postponing any non-essential meetings or gatherings, particularly those that entail the gathering of over 10 people

At this time this applies to:

  • St. Catherine coffee hours
  • CLOW
  • Sunday School
  • Fr. Patrick’s bible study
  • St. Catherine Pub Night scheduled for March 14
  • Lenten Family Movie Night scheduled for March 20
  • St. Catherine School Mother/Son event
  • Confirmation classes for week of March 8-14.
  • CYO sports at our King County and Snohomish County parishes and school gyms for Friday, March 6th-Sunday March 8th.
  • The St Vincent DePaul meeting on March 9
  • St Vincent DePaul Helping Hands this weekend, March 7-8, 2020

Check back for updates to this list.

If you belong to a small St. Catherine group, please contact your ministry leader for information on your regular meetings.

We will continue to celebrate Mass as scheduled, implementing the protocols listed below.

You may fall into a category for which the health department recommends you not attend large gatherings.   For those who have vulnerable health conditions and cannot not attend Mass, you may consider yourselves dispensed from attending Mass during the duration of the coronavirus outbreak in our area.

MASS

We recently emailed changes to protocols at Mass as recommended by the Archdiocese.  We have already implemented these practices:

  • If you are sick or feel you are getting sick, stay at home and do NOT attend Mass. Missing Mass due to illness is not sinful; it is prudent and shows care for your brothers and sisters.
     
  • During Mass, at the Sign of Peace, simply say, “Peace be with you,” instead of offering your hand.
     
  • During Communion, the Eucharist will only be offered in your hand, rather than on your tongue. Additionally, we will refrain from offering the Precious Blood from the chalice at this time.

We ask parishioners:

  • Please assure your contact information is up to date at the parish office, especially email addresses for newsletter updates.
  • Consider bookmarking our website to stay up-to-date on communications.
  • Consider using electronic giving options in lieu of weekly envelopes.
  • Remember to pray - Catholics have always joined together in prayer during difficult and challenging times. May we do the same today, loving God and our neighbor. In times like this, we have the opportunity to live out Jesus’s command to love God and our neighbor. Let’s continue to pray for everyone involved – especially as we continue our Lenten journey.

May we take our inspiration from St. Clement of Rome:

We beg you, Lord, to help and to defend us. Deliver the oppressed, pity the insignificant, raise the fallen, show yourself to the needy, heal the sick, bring back those of your people who have gone astray, feed the hungry, lift up the weak, take off the prisoners’ chains. May every nation come to know that you alone are God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, that we are your people, the sheep that you pasture. Amen.”


March 4, 2020

Dear parish community,

With an increasing focus on the coronavirus around the world, we wanted to assure you that our team continues to monitor the situation. Without causing alarm, we believe it is prudent to remind you of our customary health precautions whenever there is an outbreak.

Our response to this spreading virus must reflect how we, as disciples of Jesus, love our neighbor and love God. In caring for all members of our community — especially the elderly and the vulnerable — we are carrying out the mission of the church. We must do our part to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Thank you

 
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