St. Patricks: A Happy Family

[img_assist|nid=141154|title=St. Patrick’s Sign|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=179]Summary
A warm and friendly church, Muldoon-sited St. Patrick’s offers a vibrant spiritual community, outstanding folk-oriented music, restful architecture, meaningful homilies, and a reverent atmosphere. I experienced a sense of coming home during a mid-April visit.

A Little Child Shall Lead Them
During a 4th grade teaching stint in April, a young girl in my classroom, upon discovering I blogged church visits for the Daily News, asked if I’d visited St. Patrick’s. After telling her no, she invited me to attend. I moved St. Patrick’s up on my visit list to accommodate her request and I’m glad I did. I was “made” as I slipped into the back of the church just as Mass was starting. She flew back, gave me a smile, a quick hug, and showed me to a pew, a wonderful way for a visitor to be greeted in any church.

Exceptional Musical Experience
The musical portion of the service was seamlessly interwoven by the Praise Group led by Ed Grantier. Situated unobtrusively in the front of the sanctuary but on the right side, this group provided meaningful leadership in liturgy music, and special musical renditions. Clearly not entertainment, but an essential part of the service, voices, guitars, keyboard, percussion, and other instruments gave clear musical expression to the service. Jennifer Hughes’ beautiful vocal solo “Give Thanks to the Lord” lifted my heart early in the Mass. During congregational singing, looking around, I noted many people deeply involved in singing the music as well.
[img_assist|nid=141155|title=St Patrick’s Stained Glass|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=331]
Looks and Feels Like a Real Church
Not overbuilt like so many churches today, St. Patrick’s offers a contemporary but quiet simplicity that invites worship. A wonderfully colorful, modern round stained glass window is centered in the front of the church behind the crucifix. Due to it’s high location, it does not distract but offers a glimpse of beauty. Father Scott started the Mass with a compassionate prayer that you could actually hear. Unlike some other Catholic churches I’ve visited, I observed utmost reverence and respect in this church. An added bonus is an awesome view of the Chugach from a window wall on the east side of the church.
[img_assist|nid=141156|title=St Patrick’s Sanctuary|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=263]
Interesting Homily
Father Scott noted he would not be delivering a homily at Mass, only the 2nd time in seven years. In its place he articulated the history of the church, and some pressing needs to further St. Patrick’s master plan. Faith formation space, a dedicated youth center, community gathering spaces, a Marian shrine, and a covered drop off area for seniors were important needs he outlined. Specific short-term needs he mentioned were church damage repair, organ replacement, and piano replacement. I’m not offended as a visitor when churches take care of important issues during services. To me it suggests a growing and active community, which St. Patrick’s obviously represents.

Warm, Family-Oriented Mass
Accompanied by more beautiful music, the Eucharist commenced. Quickly and efficiently served, whole families participated in this portion of the service. I was particularly moved by the song during the serving of the wafer and wine, “Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord”, fitting words for the sacraments.

Mass concluded with a wonderfully bouncy and singable song, “Resurrection Day”. If you are of the Catholic persuasion, you will not regret visiting this vibrant congregation. I was warmly greeted by many people, and made to feel at home as in a new church. Thank you St. Patrick’s community.
[img_assist|nid=141157|title=St. Patrick’s Exterior from Muldoon Rd.|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=232]

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