Our Pastor’s Message
The Only Authentic Measure
By Father Jim
As Roman Catholics, we believe that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. We believe that Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose from death for every one of us. We believe that each person, without exception, is sacred and loved unconditionally by our Creator. And we believe in a consistent ethic of life that seeks to ensure that every human life is nurtured and protected from the moment of conception until natural death.
Over the years, Pope Francis has spoken out forcefully against modern society’s various attacks on the sanctity of life. He has preached against abortion, bigotry, capital punishment, environmental exploitation, euthanasia, and every form of violence. He has urged world leaders to guarantee universal health care and improve social services for the poor, the sick, and the elderly. He has implored all countries to welcome and generously care for immigrants and refugees. Put simply, the Holy Father has declared over and over again that it is never right to terminate a single human life in order to address any one of the world’s countless challenges.
Last Wednesday, Pope Francis offered a compelling lesson on the Fifth Commandment’s prohibition against taking human life. The official transcript is only seven sentences long. But the pope spoke off-the-cuff and those unscripted comments contain the living heart of his teaching. PopeFrancis began his catechesis with these words: “Every evil is caused by a disregard for human life.Assaults on life occur in many situations, from war and exploitation to the suppression of the vulnerable, elderly, and unborn.” He suggested that society’s ambivalence about life is caused by our selfishness, fear of suffering, and lack of empathy for the less fortunate. He then asked: “What leads us to refuse life? It is the idols of this world: money, power, and success.” These idols, heargued, lead us astray. They trick us into believing that affluence and convenience are more important than the lives that have been entrusted into our collective care.
Pope Francis then offered a powerful remedy for society’s sick indifference to life: love. Love is primary. Love is paramount. Love is the central teaching of the gospel. Love is what it’s all about. According to the pope: “The only authentic measure of life is love!” Are our thoughts, words, andactions motivated by love? Do we love God? Do we love others? The Holy Father then said: “Vulnerable life shows us the way to save ourselves from an existence bent on itself; and to discover the joy of love.” In this way, we are beckoned by Christ to respect every human life: the unborn child, the migrant teenager, the convicted felon, the single parent, the disabled veteran, thedying patient, and the aging neighbor. The pope continued: “In every sick child, in every weakold person, in every desperate migrant, in every fragile and threatened life, Christ is looking forus. He is looking for us in order to open our hearts to the joy of love.”
Pope Francis concluded by calling attention to the well-known passage from the Gospel of John: “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” From this foundation of divine love, the Holy Father reminds us that the secret of love is revealed by our Risen Lord. Jesus came into this broken world for our sake. He now looks for us and calls us to follow him. He beckons us to love each other as he loves us — without counting the cost. Because God so loved the world, let us pray for the strength to love him back by loving each other and by defending every human life. Peace and blessings to all!
Light & Darkness
A Workshop on Spiritual Combat
October 24th-October 26th
During the last week of August, a large group of parishioners gathered at Saint AnthonyChapel for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Fifth Annual Summer Retreat: “Everyone’s Vocation to Everyday Holiness.” During this intense five-night retreat, parishioners and friends ranging in age from 16 to 94 read and reflected on Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation: “Rejoice and Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World.” Without question, the most compelling evening of the retreat focused on the Holy Father’s advice and guidance about spiritual combat, vigilance, and discernment. He writes: “The Christian life is a constant battle. We need strength and courage to withstand the temptations of the devil and to proclaim the Gospel. This battle is sweet, for it allows us to rejoice each time the Lord triumphs in our lives.”
In this spirit, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester& Rockport are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for “Light & Darkness: A Workshop on Spiritual Combat, Vigilance & Discernment” from Wednesday, October 24th through Friday, October 26th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this three-night mini-course, we will read and reflect together on the sacred scriptures, the wisdom of the saints, and the writings of Pope Francis. Overall, our goal will be to learn about how darkness works in our world and how we can work against that darkness with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Light of the World.
Each evening of this special adult faith formation program will begin at 7:00pm with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After this time of shared prayer, Father Jim and Cliff will lead our community in a period of reflection, discussion, and faith sharing. Each evening will conclude by 8:30pm with Night Prayer. If you would like to join us for all or even part of this special workshop on spiritual combat, vigilance, and discernment, please be sure to contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com by Sunday, October 21st. A donation of $30 is requested from those who can afford it in support of our adult faith formation ministries. All reading materials will be provided. Please join us! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, October 27th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Africa, and Europe. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to the Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
The Assisi Project meets on the last Saturday of every month in Saint Ann Church for Mass, formation, fellowship, and faith sharing. Our next “Saturday Morning with Saint Francis” is October 27th beginning at 8:00am. Thismonth, we will continue our reading and reflection on the saints, including Saint Padre Pio and Saint Pope John XXIII. All fellow parishioners are invited to join the Assisi Project! You do not need to travel with us to Assisi to be a member of the Assisi Project!
Members of our fellowship all around the world, who range in age from 16 to 93, also pray for those who ask for our prayers. If you would like to join us or if you would like us to pray for your special intention, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! All are invited! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
Solemnity of All Saints
Vigil for the Healing of God’s Family
Thursday, November 1st
The Holy Father recently issued a special request for prayers to Catholics around the world. It said: “Pope Francis has decided to invite all the faithful, of the entire world, to pray the Holy Rosary ever day during the Marian month of October and to join together in prayer and penance, as the people of God, in asking the Mother of God and Saint Michael the Archangel to protect the church from the devil, that always aims to divide us from God and among ourselves.” In response to the Holy Father’s unprecedented request, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will continue to pray the Rosary every morning after Mass for the healing and protection of the church throughout the world. For the rest of this month, we will also conclude all daily and weekend Masses with this powerful prayer for the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our defense against
the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and the other evil spirits
who prowl about the world
for the ruin of souls. Amen.
In addition to these powerful prayer for the protection of the church, I believe that concrete steps must be taken by church leaders to protect God’s family (children and adults alike) from the horrors of sexual abuse and harassment and from the conspiracies to conceal these crimes from law enforcement authorities. I also believe that we must come together as neighbors, friends, and fellow parishioners to heal God’s family by rededicating ourselves to living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding our wounded Church.
In this spirit, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join me on Thursday, November 1st, the Solemnity of All Saints for a Vigil for the Healing of God’sFamily. This vigil will begin with Mass at 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, followed by Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At 3:00pm, we will pray the Rosary for the healing of God’s Family. We will conclude at 6:30pm with Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Please join us! All are welcome! Peace and blessings!— Father Jim
Solemnity of All Saints
Holy Day of Obligaton
Thursday, November 1st
Since late antiquity, the People of God have honored the holy men and women who have been canonized as saints in the Roman Catholic Church. The Solemnity of All Saints honors all saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us in faith, hope, and love; and who now pray for the salvation of souls. In commemoration of this Holy Day of Obligation, on Thursday, November 1st, our parishes will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:
Wednesday, October 31st· Vigil Mass
Saint Ann Church at 4:00pm
Thursday, November 1st· Holy Day Masses
Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 12:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00pm
For more information about the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at email@example.com. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us as we pray for the intercession of all saints for our divided country, our wounded church, and our suffering world! All are invited! All are welcome!
Established in 2014, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is a collaborative of two historic parishes: Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Working together as a Roman Catholic community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, we are committed to living the Gospel of Christ, sharing God’s love and mercy with all people, and rebuilding the Church in Gloucester & Rockport. All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
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