This Week’s Message:
The Baptism of the Lord: A Lesson in Humility

By Cliff Garvey
Minister of Evangelization

Readers of our parish bulletin may recall reading about my planned “Pilgrim’s Christmas in Italy” which was all about a longstanding desire to “get away” and search for the true meaning of Christmas in Assisi, the hometown of Saint Francis. Due to an error made in booking the flights, however, I remained at home and enjoyed Christmas here on the island.

When my friend, Sister Marcellina of the Sisters of Saint Bridget in Assisi, learned that I would not be joining them for Christmas, she wrote: “Man proposes and God disposes.” By this, Sister Marcellina meant that despite whatever we might plan, God ultimately makes the final decisions for us. Indeed, throughout this Christmas season, friends and fellow parishioners have been asking me why God decided that I should remain home for the holidays. Some speculated that it was to save me from a terrible accident. Some speculated that it was to spend Christmas with family and friends. And some speculated that there was some hidden grace to be found in these abruptly changed plans.

As I pray about these possibilities, Sister Marcellina’s comment constantly comes to mind: “Man proposes and God disposes.” Certainly, a hidden grace can be found in the cancelation of my Christmas plans. And that is the grace of humility, which the dictionary defines simply as “a modest view of one’s own importance.” Looking back, I cringe at the audacity that one can plan to find the true meaning of Christmas on the other side of the world! In fact, I am now convinced that the true meaning of Christmas is right here – in every nativity scene in our homes or in our churches. It can be found in the manger where God humbles himself and becomes one of us in the form of a child. It can be found in the shepherds who set aside their work and humbly follow an angel to Bethlehem. It can be found in the Magi who leave their kingdoms, follow a star, and humbly prostrate themselves before that same poor child. For me, at least, the true meaning of Christmas is a lesson in humility.

At Mass during this last weekend of the Christmas season, we hear about another lesson in humility as we commemorate the Baptism of the Lord. We hear how John the Baptist, who was regarded then as a great prophet or perhaps even the Messiah, stands aside and humbles himself before the crowd awaiting baptism at the Jordan River. John knows and humbly embraces, the reality that God has other plans – that Jesus is both the Beloved Son of God and Merciful Savior. As Christmas concludes and a new year begins, let us pray for the grace of humility in our lives. Let us pray for the courage and strength to acknowledge and humbly embrace the truth that “Man proposes and God disposes.” Amen!

May the Lord give you peace!


Winter Mini-Course:
Saint Benedict and 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 Please join us! All are welcome!


An Evening with Leo Buscaglia
Valentine’s Day | February 14th

All are welcome to join Father Jim for “An Evening with Leo Buscaglia” on Saint Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14th, from 5:15pm until 7:15pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Dr. Leo Buscaglia (1922-1998) was an internationally famous author, educator, and motivational speaker. His books sold more than ten million copies worldwide and his lecture raised millions of dollars for public television nationwide. Throughout his long career, Dr. Buscaglia told his audiences over and over that love is the basic and essential ingredient in all human relationships — families, friendships, marriages, and communities.

On Saint Valentine’s Day, let’s share a glass of wine, enjoy some light refreshments (cheese, crackers, and fruit), watch and discuss one of Dr. Buscaglia’s classic and entertaining lectures on the power of love in human life. Come alone! Come with your Valentine! Come with friends or family! This special event is free but donations will be gratefully accepted. Please RSVP by contacting Father Jim at Please join us!


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 Please join us! All are welcome!

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