On Saturday, June 3, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, Eric Patrick was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Jaime Soto. Follows are Bishop Soto's remarks to the newly ordained Fr. Eric Patrick:
When Jesus asked his friend, Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” (Jn. 21.15-17), those words were infused with the events that had transpired only days before their breakfast on the shore by the Sea of Tiberius. The death of Jesus defined the meaning of love about which the Lord asked his dear friend, “Do you love me?” As these two friends sat together by the fire with the morning light sparkling over the waters, Simon Peter could clearly see the meaning of love in the wounds of the nails on the glorified hands of Christ. “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” The humble fisherman could hear the pounding of the nails through the flesh of Christ and into the wood of the cross each time the Lord Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Fr. Eric, Jesus asked Simon Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Throughout your many years of preparation, the Lord Jesus has asked you multiple times, “Do you love me?” The Lord Jesus and all the Church rejoices in the generous and heartfelt answer you have given him today.
Know that your good friend, the Lord Jesus, will repeat this question to you, not just three times, many times, countless times, until the day you stand before his glorious throne. Visiting the sick and the imprisoned, hearing the penitent’s plea for mercy, through the cries of the restless child held by the parents over the baptismal fount, in the aching eyes of the lonely and forgotten. “Fr. Eric, do you love me?”
Most especially the Lord will draw near to you and whisper his question as you offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, “Fr. Eric, do you love me?” While the sacramental mystery brings you simultaneously to the table of the Last Supper and the foot of the cross, the Lord’s real presence will command your presence with him. “Fr. Eric, do you love me?” As you hold him, he will have a stronger hold of you.
This awesome, merciful, and embracing presence will urge you always to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, a call that comes from the cross. You now join your brothers in the fraternity that together comes to full stature only in the manner that we unite ourselves to Christ crucified, the wisdom of God, the glory of God. Only in loving him, we will find the fullness of joy.