This Week’s Message
Praying with the Martyrs of Tibhirine
By Cliff Garvey
Minister of Evangelization
For the past few weeks, I have been frustrated, grumpy, and irritable. Just ask Father Jim. I have tried to work myself out of this mood by putting in long hours at the computer, meeting with parishioners, and talking with colleagues about various events, programs, and pastoral challenges in our parishes. I tried talking out my frustrations with Father Jim, my parents, my spiritual director, and a good friend and colleague. I even took a few very long walks. Nothing seemed to work. More frustration. More irritations and more irritability.
During this same time, I was reading two books about the Martyrs of Tibhirine, the seven Trappist monks who were assassinated almost twenty years ago by terrorists in Tibhirine, Algeria. The Trappists have been living and ministering to the largely Muslim population in Algeria for almost two hundred years. Although the Monastery of Our Lady of Tibhirine is relatively new (incorporated in 1947 and named for a statue of Our Lady that watches over the village), the monks became a vitally important part of the community. They provided food, medical care, friendship, and counseling to the people; and they gave witness to their Christian faith without proselytizing. They were much loved and much respected by the local citizens. Unfortunately, the Algerian civil way created a culture of prejudice, misunderstanding, and violence that ultimately led to the kidnapping and execution of seven of the nine resident monks.
Father Christian de Cherge was their abbot. He was a tall, thoughtful, and prayerful priest. He was deeply committed to dialogue, mutual accommodation, and peacemaking between peoples of all faiths and traditions. Just reading about his life, ministry, and spirituality made me feel closer to Christ and to all who give of their time and talent to the work of God’s Church. As the hatred and violence increased in Algeria, Father Christian and his brother monks refused to abandon their ministry and the people they had grown to love. Even when it became clear that their lives were in danger, Father Christian and his brother monks re-dedicated themselves to Christ, to Tibhirine, and to its people. After his death, Father Christian’s writings were discovered and published throughout the world. These writings reveal the heart and soul of a man who practiced what he preached; who was not just a good priest but also a good Christian; and who was willing to sacrifice his dreams, hopes, pride, and ultimately his life for the sake of God’s people.
As a “Franciscan in Spirit”, I routinely pray the Prayer of Saint Francis that begins with: “Make me an instrument of your peace…” Of course, it is difficult to be or become an instrument of the Lord’s peace when one’s heart is anxious or angry. However, after finishing the second book about the Martyrs of Tibhirine earlier this week, I was blessed with a very special grace that calmed my restless heart, renewed my faith, and revived my hope for the hard work that God has given me to do in his vineyard. The book simply fell open to a passage that described Father Christian’s five pillars of a peaceful life: patience, poverty, presence, prayer, and forgiveness. These five pillars are meant to be practiced with oneself and with everyone we encounter on life’s blessed, but often challenging, journey.
Patience does not mean simply accepting all things without complaint. Rather, patience implies perseverance: faithfulness in the face of every trial and tragedy. Poverty refers to spiritual (not material) poverty. It means dependence on God. Father Christian explains that our lives belong to God, not to our own ambitions, desires, or plans. He writes: “The future belongs to God, not to us.” Our job is to persevere in the life that God has given us and to recognize that we are completely dependent on Him for all that we are, all that we have, and all that we may become. Presence means that God is present in all of his children, even in those with whom we disagree, even in those we may dislike. Father Christian writes: “Killing can take different forms, as all who live in a community know. A contemptuous attitude, a wounding word, gossip that assassinates are other ways to kill.” In short, we are called to honor, love, and respect all people whether we like them or not. Prayer is about begging God everyday to cleanse us from the dark spirits of division, enmity, and rejection. And Forgiveness that pardon and mercy are central to the peaceful life. Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we must sincerely ask God for forgiveness and for the grace to forgive others.
This Pentecost Sunday and Memorial Day, let us welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives! Let us pray for calm and patient hearts. Let us pray for the grace to become instruments of God’s peace. Let us pray for the strength to practice the “pillars of peace” in our hearts, homes, and parishes. Let us pray for all who have lost their lives in service to their country. And let us pray for the intercession of the Martyrs of Tibhirine and for the intercession of all holy men and women who have gone before us in the name of the Lord. Come, Holy Spirit! Fill us with the fire of your love! Alleluia! Amen!
May the Risen Lord give you peace!
Minister of Evangelization
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Our New Worship Schedule
Begins May 3oth & May 31st
In Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, the celebration of Mass is the source and summit of our community’s joy and the center of our life of prayer, fellowship, and service. Regardless of where we might worship, the Holy Eucharist brings God’s consolation, love, and mercy into our midst; and it brings the Real Presence of Jesus Christ into our lives and hearts! All are welcome to join us for Mass and to participate in Holy Communion in accordance with personal conscience and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Beginning during the weekend of Saturday, May 30th and Sunday, May 31st, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Mass according to the following schedule:
Saturday Vigil Masses
4:00pm Saint Ann Church
6:00pm Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
7:00am Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
8:15am Saint Ann Church
10:00am Saint Joachim Church
11:45am Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
5:00pm Saint Ann Church (Brazilian Community)
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00am
Saint Joachim Church
Saturday at 8:00am
Saint Ann Church
Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation
As sinners, we acknowledge our faults and failures. We also believe deeply in God’s boundless mercy and limitless love for us. The Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confess) offers each of us an opportunity to reconcile ourselves with both God and the Church. The sacrament is comprised of four elements: sorrow for one’s sins, confession of those sins to a priest, absolution by a priest, and an act of penance. Beginning during the weekend of May 30th and May 31st, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation on Saturdays from 3:00pm-3:30pm at Saint Ann Church.
Please note that confessions are also heard by appointment. If you cannot participate in the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation during our regularly scheduled celebrations, please contact our pastoral office at 978-281-4820 or contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions or constructive comments about our new worship schedule, please contact Father Jim or a member of our pastoral team. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support! May God bless you, your family, and all people in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! Saint Ann pray for us! Saint Joachim, pray for us! Saint Anthony, pray for us! Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Holy Family Parish
Annual Strawberry Festival
Saturday, May 30th
The Strawberry Festival is a coming soon! If you are an artist, baker, crafter, knitter, or gardener, please consider sharing your gifts and talents by donating something to the Strawberry Festival on Saturday, May 30th from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Saint Ann Church Hall. Everyone has a special talent that can be shared and offered for sale at the Strawberry Festival! We will also have a great selection of homemade pies and baked goods, jams, pickles, ethnic desserts, spring and summer flowers, plants, and crafts for sale. All proceeds benefit Holy Family Parish!
Donations for the Strawberry Festival are still welcome! Donations of the following items can be brought to the parish center during regular business hours or left in the parish hall before and after all weekend Masses at Saint Ann Church. We are looking for the following items: potted annual or perennial flowers, potted herbs or house plants, container gardens, homemade crocheted or knitted clothing, homemade crocheted or knitted blankets, handmade arts & crafts, homemade desserts and pies, and homemade jams, jellies, or pickles.
If you have flowers, plants, or shrubs for donation but need help digging them up or arranging them in containers, we can help you! For more information about making a donation to the Strawberry Festival, please contact Jane Marshall at 978-283-5111 or email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Mass Intentions Book
Opens Thursday, June 4th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Mass Intentions Book (July 2015-December 2015) will be opened on Thursday, June 4th from 10:00am until 2:00pm at our Pastoral Office (74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester). On that day, parishioners are welcome to book one Sunday and one weekday Mass at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, or Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Please note that on June 4th, all Mass intentions must be booked in person. No email or phone requests will be accepted; no exceptions. Any remaining Masses can be booked on or after June 5th. A donation of $10.00 is requested for each Mass intention. If you have questions or need more information, please see Father Jim or contact Linda Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!
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 email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
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