This Week’s Message
Learning to Pray: A Grandmother’s Gift
By Cliff Garvey
Last Saturday evening, I sat in a crowded pew in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church and watched in wonder as dozens of children came forward to listen to Father Jim’s homily, receive his blessing, and accept a little book of prayers. So many families, so many children, and so many generations of good and faithful people were gathered at one time to be fed by the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ. It was truly an unforgettable Mass!
Throughout that Mass, I sat behind a family that filled an entire pew: grandparents, parents, and children. For me, this was a bittersweet event because it was that I rarely experienced as a child. Growing up, my parents and I rarely attended Mass. We usually went on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, but only sometimes on Easter and Christmas. The holidays somehow seemed just too busy for my parents and our extended family. And sadly, we almost never attended Mass on Sunday.
Even though our family did not attend Mass very often, I always felt close to the Church because I knew my prayers. And I knew them because my paternal grandmother, my “Mommom”, taught them to me. When I would visit on weekends, sometimes just for the day and sometimes for the whole weekend, Mommom would pray with me. Sometimes before naps and always before bedtime, she would recite the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and a Prayer Before Bedtime. We would then pray them together. Over time, Mommom would add other prayers to our little litany. I learned an Act of Contrition, the Salve Regina, and the Twenty-Third Psalm. Sometimes she would even read aloud bible stories or reflections from one of the magazines or little books that filled a drawer in her sewing cabinet.
Of course, learning these prayers was not a substitute for regularly receiving Holy Communion at Mass. But these childhood prayers provided me with a firm foundation of faith during difficult times in my childhood, like when my parents separated briefly or when my grandfather died suddenly. And when I rediscovered the Church as a young adult, these childhood prayers reminded me that my relationship with Christ Jesus and His Church had been lifelong and was simply growing closer and deeper. Over the years, my grandmother gave me so much love and attention that it is difficult to describe her immeasurable influence on my life. I still miss her beyond words. But it is easy to identify my grandmother’s greatest gift to me, her eldest grandchild: the gift of prayer.
May the Lord give you peace — now and always!
Cliff Garvey, Associate Minister
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Message of Thanks to Parents & Children
As part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s groundbreaking effort to reimagine, rebuild, and restructure our youth faith formation programs, we celebrated a “Mass for Families” last weekend at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Both of these Masses were tremendous blessings to our parish communities! It was exciting and heartwarming to see so many families with young children join us for the celebration of Mass. One fellow parishioner who attended both Masses told me that more than 100 children came forward to participate in my homily, receive a special blessing, and accept the gift of a family prayer book.
Our next “Mass for Families” will be celebrated to coincide with the Feast of Saint Nicholas: Saturday, December 5th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church or Sunday, December 6th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Until then, let us remember and reaffirm these timeless truths: Mass is our class! Jesus is our teacher! Please continue to pray for all of our young fellow parishioners and their parents, grandparents, and godparents! And please continue to invite them in love and friendship to join us for Mass! All are welcome!
Last Week’s Pastor’s Message:
Mass Is Our Class. Christ Is Our Teacher
Assisi Project Fall Pilgrimage
On Friday, October 30th, fourteen pilgrims (including me) from the United States and Canada will journey to Assisi, Italy and literally walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. During this annual small-group pilgrimage, we will celebrate Mass at the tomb of Saint Francis, venerate the uncorrupted relics of Saint Clare, and travel to Greccio (where Francis created the first Christmas crèche) and La Verna (where Francis received the stigmata).
At each and every holy site along the way, our pilgrims (most of whom are from the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport) will offer prayers and petitions for all who live, work, and worship in our parishes: that through the intercessions of Saint Francis, Saint Clare, and Our Lady of Angels, the Lord will continue to unite us in prayer, fellowship, and service; and to give us the courage and strength to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church.
As we pray for our fellow parishioners during this pilgrimage, please pray for us and for our safe travels. For more information about the Assisi Project, please see me before or after Mass, contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com, or visit our website at assisiproject.com. Saint Francis, pray for us! Saint Clare, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! Pax et bonum!
Welcome Father Gerald Flater, OMI!
Missionary Visit to Our Lady of Good Voyage
During the weekend of October 31st and November 1st, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is blessed to welcome Father Gerald Flater of the Oblates of Mary, who celebrate Masses at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church and preach about his missionary work. In support of the good work of the Oblates of Mary and their missionary ministries around the world, a second collection will be taken next weekend at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Your generous support will be much appreciated! Please join me in welcoming Father Flater to our parish!
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 worship sites include Saint Ann Church in Gloucester, Saint Anthony 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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