Seven summers ago, Cliff Garvey, our Minister of Evangelization, and I journeyed on pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in Italy for the first time. In Rome, our journey took us to holy sites like the Basilicas of Saint Peter, Saint Mary Major, and Saint John Lateran. In Assisi, we literally walked in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare.
After that pilgrimage, we talked with our pastor, fellow parishioners, and spiritual directors about the trip and its effect on our lives, especially our spiritual lives. In particular, our visit to Assisi, where we were blessed to encounter Pope Benedict XVI, inspired us to consider new ways to better share the gospel message in our parish and beyond.
After much prayer, planning, and discernment, we founded a ministry called the Assisi Project with its mission to bring people closer to Christ Jesus through the example, inspiration, and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Since 2008, the Assisi Project has met monthly for Mass, a home-cooked meal, and a period of faith formation and sharing in the Franciscan spiritual tradition. Each year, this program culminates in a week-long, small-group pilgrimage and retreat in Assisi and Rome.
On October 31st, the Vigil of All Saints, Cliff and I, along with thirteen other pilgrims from the United States and Canada (including three pilgrims from the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport) will depart for the Assisi Project’s Seventh Annual Fall Pilgrimage. We will pray and celebrate Mass at some of the world’s holiest pilgrimage sites: the Basilica of Saint Francis, the Basilica of Saint Clare, the Porziuncola, and the Church of Saint Damian (all in Assisi); and Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Church of Saint Francis at Rest (both in Rome). In addition, we will visit Vatican City in Rome and join Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus and Address to Pilgrims.
Throughout this blessed week of pilgrimage and prayer, we will walk again in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, pray at their tombs, and hopefully grow closer to the Lord under their guidance and spiritual friendship. We will also pray for all of you, our friends and fellow parishioners, who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Please pray for us and for our safe travels!
For those interested in learning more about the Assisi Project and its other opportunities for prayer, fellowship, and formation in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please visit our new website at assisiproject.com (still under construction). In addition, please continue to read our parish bulletin and this website an announcement about an upcoming meeting about next year’s fall pilgrimage. Saint Francis and Saint Clare, pray for us! Peace and blessings to all!
Founded 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. Our collaborative is comprised of Saint Ann Church in Gloucester, Saint Anthony’s Chapel in Gloucester, Saint Joachim Church in Rockport, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church in Gloucester. We are a Roman Catholic faith community united in prayer, fellowship, and service. For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
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