The Epiphany of the Lord
Our Pastor’s Message: Searching for the Newborn King
This weekend, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek word “to reveal” or “to make known.” Originally, this feast intended to remind us of four ways by which the divinity of Christ Jesus was revealed to the world: the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the Baptism of the Lord, and the Miracle at Cana. In modern times, however, the Feast of the Epiphany focuses our prayer and reflection on the Magi or Wise Men, who followed the star and discovered the Christ Child, whose divinity was revealed to them by God himself.
In Matthew’s Gospel, the Magi arrive in Jerusalem and ask: “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? (Matthew 2:2). The Gospel recounts their ominous interaction with Herod, their vision of the star, homage to the Christ Child, and gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Most often, we concentrate on Herod’s plot, the star, or the giving of gifts. But this year, let us consider their initial question: “Where is the newborn king…?” Our faith teaches us that the “newborn king” is the Son of God, who is, was, and will be forever the Word of God made incarnate in human form. Our faith teaches us that this king is the Christ who lived, died, and was resurrected for our eternal salvation. Christ is the divine savior of all people who confess their faith in his redeeming power and resurrection. And our faith teaches us that Christ is always with us when we gather in prayer, with us in the sacraments, and with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Although we know by faith that Christ is ever present, we still spend our lives searching for him. We beg for his comfort, consolation, and peace. We search for him in prayer, in good works, in fellowship with others. Our Lord can seem so elusive. All too often, he seems just beyond our meager grasp. In his Christmas Eve homily, Pope Francis reminds us that we need not search in vain! We find Christ Jesus not by searching for him, but by opening our hearts to his love. He says: “What is most important is not seeking him, but rather allowing him to seek me, find me, and caress me with tenderness. The question put to us simply by the Christ Child’s presence is: do I allow God to love me?” In this way, Christ is not elusive, we are. The Holy Father continues: “When we realize that God is in love with our smallness, that he made himself in order to encounter us, we cannot help but open our hearts to him.”
As we begin this new year, let us not search for the newborn king. Instead, let us simply open our hearts to his friendship, love, and endless mercy. Let us not ask: where is the newborn king? Instead, let us proclaim together with confidence: Lord, we are here and we welcome you! Amen! May God bless you and your family with a Happy New Year!
Peace and blessings to all,
Winter Mini-Course: “The Good Life”
Begins Saturday, January 24th
What makes a “good life” in today’s busy and competitive world? In his book, “The Good Life”, Robert Benson answers that question by turning to the enduring wisdom of Saint Benedict, a sixth century monk and the founder of western monasticism. Both compassionate and practical, Saint Benedict created a plan of life that has helped countless men and women lead better, more fulfilling lives. Benedict’s ancient rule is based on achieving a balance between prayer, work, rest, and community. In “The Good Life”, Benson offers a way of achieving this balance in our everyday lives, here and now.
All adult parishioners are invited to participate in a four-week mini-course during which we will read, study, and discuss Robert Benson’s book, Saint Benedict’s monastic rule, and their timeless and faith-filled messages. Participants will be asked to read approximately 25 pages per week.
We will meet on four consecutive Saturday mornings from January 24th through February 14th in Our Lady’s Parish Hall from 9:30am until 11:00am (weather permitting). An offering of $25.00 per person is requested and includes a copy of the book and a hot cup of coffee or tea. Those will fixed incomes or living with limited means are not expected to make an offering. If you would like to enroll in the new year’s first mini-course, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Holy Family Grand Annual Collection
Goal: $75,000 | Donations: $79,886 | 106.5%
Each year, we ask parishioners to contribute what they can to our “Grand Annual Collection.” This collection is a vitally important component of our annual budget. It helps us to balance the budget by bridging the gap between the weekly collection and our overall financial obligations. It helps us to pay for the benefits and salaries of our priests and pastoral team. It helps us to pay our insurance and utility bills. It helps us maintain our buildings and plow our parking lots. And it helps fund essential parish programs like adult and youth faith formation.
This year, our goal was to raise $75,000 during the Grand Annual Collection. Thanks to parishioners like you, we reached our goal just before Christmas! Additional donations are always welcome and benefit only Holy Family Parish. Please make checks payable to “Holy Family Parish” and write “Grand Annual” in your check’s memo line. For more information about the Grand Annual Collection and its importance to our parish, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your ongoing generosity and support! May God bless you and your family!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Celebrating 125 Years | 1889-2014
In 1989, in a beautiful booklet commemorating the centennial anniversary of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, Father Eugene Alves, our pastor emeritus, wrote: “As we begin this important centennial year in our history, we place our lives and our parish under the protection and care of our patroness, Mary, the Mother of God, under the title of Our Lady of Good Voyage, lifting our voices praying: ‘O Mary, protect us on our journey, for all of your ways are beautiful, and all of your paths are of peace.'” As Our Lady’s celebrates its 125th anniversary, let us give God thanks and praise for the continued gift of Father Alves in our lives; let us pray for Father Jim, our new pastor, and let us renew our prayer to the patroness of our parish: Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us — now and always! Amen!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Commemorative Anniversary Calendars
As a way of celebrating the parish’s 125th anniversary, Our Lady’s Guild has produced a limited edition 2015 commemorative anniversary calendar. These calendars feature professional photographs of our historic church’s stained glass windows. Proceeds of the sale of these calendars benefit Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. And they make great Christmas gifts! A donation of $10 is requested. If you would like to purchase one (or more) of these beautiful commemorative anniversary calendars (while supplies last), please contact Linda Galvin at email@example.com.
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
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. 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 about becoming a member of one of our parishes, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
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