This Week’s Message
Memorial Day: Remembering Uncle Bobby
By Cliff Garvey
Private First Class Robert G. Solomon was born on August 8, 1949. He was my mom’s younger brother and my uncle. He grew up in a red house on a tree-lined street with his parents and his three siblings. He was handsome and something of a hell raiser in high school. After graduation, he joined the United States Army. Some of my earliest memories are of Uncle Bobby. I remember him playing with me in my grandmother’s living room. I remember him holding me, dressed in uniform, on a cold winter day. Uncle Bobby survived his first tour of duty in Vietnam. But on August 19, 1969, shortly after choosing to return there, he was killed by friendly fire. He was just twenty years old.
Although my parents tried to protect me from the tragedy of my uncle’s death and the nightmare of that war, I remember our family’s grief. I remember seeing my grandfather’s tears. I remember waking up during the night to the sound of my mom crying. I remember that sometime after my uncle’s death, a memorial was built in his hometown. I remember the day of its dedication. And again, I remember my family’s mourning. During just the span of my lifetime, thousands of American families like mine have experienced the overwhelming sorrow of losing a loved one to war in a country on the other side of the world. And thousands of families have experienced the challenge of loving a veteran who returned home with permanent injuries.
This Sunday, our Church commemorates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, its annual celebration of the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. And on Monday, May 30th, our country celebrates Memorial Day, its annual remembrance of those who served their country and gave what Abraham Lincoln once called “the last full measure of devotion.” As we gather this weekend for prayer and worship, let us pay tribute to those who fought and died for their country. Let us pray for them and for all who grieve. Let us wipe away the tears of those who still mourn. Let us pray for peace in our troubled world. And let us pray that the healing balm of Christ’s Body and Blood will lead us and all people into the true peace of heaven.
Over the years, my parents have lived in several homes in several different states. But two things remain constant. There are always two photographs of Uncle Bobby. In one, he is alone, dressed in uniform, and smiling into the camera. In another, he stands with my mom, my grandmother, and a family friend. He is again dressed in uniform and smiling into the camera; and he is holding me, his three year old nephew, who still remembers that day so long ago: before the grief, before the tears, before the last full measure of devotion.
May the Lord give you peace!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Memorial Day Prayers
Monday, May 26th
On Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th, we remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in service to their country and to the causes of freedom, peace, and justice around the world. As a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, let us raise our hearts and voices in prayer for all who have served our nation, for all who have died, and for the cause of peace:
A Memorial Day Prayer
Almighty God and Father,
on this Memorial Day, we pray for those
who courageously gave their lives
for the cause of freedom.
May their example of sacrifice inspire in us
the selfless love of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
We also pray for the families of our fallen troops.
We ask you to fill their hearts with strength and peace.
In union with people of goodwill throughout the world,
help us to answer the call to work for peace and justice,
and to seek an end to conflict and violence.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
A Prayer for Our Troops
Almighty God and Father,
those who take refuge in you will be glad
and forever shout for joy.
Protect our troops as they discharge their duties.
Protect them with the shield of your strength
and keep them safe from all evil and harm.
May the power of your love enable them
to return home safely,
so that all who love them
may always praise you for your loving care.
We offer these prayers through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for Our Enemies
Jesus, Prince of Peace,
you asked us to love our enemies
and to pray for those who persecute us.
We pray for our enemies and for those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit,
may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
To you be glory and honor for ever and ever. Amen.
Saint Ann, pray for us! Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Saint Anthony, pray for us!
Saint Peter, pray for us!
Saint George, Patron of All Who Serve, pray for us!
Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Chairs & Tables Fundraiser
Since last fall, Michael Horgan, our buildings and facilities manager, and a team of dedicated local carpenters, masons, painters, and technicians have been working hard to repair and renovate Saint Ann Church Hall for both our use and for future generations of parishioners. During the last six months, our team identified and repaired cracks in the foundation of the church that allowed moisture and water to leak into the church building threatening to undermine both the structural integrity of the hall and our priceless stained glass windows. They painted the hall for the first time in many decades. A new heating system and a new tile floor were professionally installed. This project was funded largely by rental income from the former parish school and was unanimously approved by our finance council. Please keep in mind that renovations to the entrances, bathrooms, and kitchen will come next. But at this point, our renovation of the church hall is nearly complete!
We now need your help to finish the job! Our current stock of folding chairs and event tables are in poor condition and should be replaced for both aesthetic and safety reasons. Each new folding chair will cost approximately $30 and each new table will cost approximately $100. During the weekend of June 4th and June 5th, a second collection will be taken at all weekend Masses in Holy Family Parish (Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church). Our goal is to raise at least $7,500 for new folding chairs and lightweight (but durable) folding event tables for Saint Ann Church Hall. Your prayers and generous support for this “Pastor’s Challenge” fundraiser will be much appreciated by all who visit our hall and by all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! Thank you in advance for your prayers and support! As always, if you have questions, please remember that you are always welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Banking for the Community Campaign
Cast Your Vote!
For the ninth consecutive year, BankGloucester is sponsoring its “Banking for the Community” campaign, which could potentially provide much needed funds to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Since 2007, BankGloucester has donated more than $130,000 to community organizations through its “Banking for the Community” program. This year, they will donate $20,000 to nineteen local charities and community service organizations, including our Saint Vincent de Paul Society! All parishioners, friends, and visitors of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are encouraged to cast your vote for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society! Just visit BankGloucester.com, click on “Banking for the Community”, and vote for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society! It’s easy, free, and for a very good cause! Voting ends at 5:00pm on May 31st! Thank you in advance for your assis- tance and support! For more information, please contact Annette Kennedy at 978-283-1268 or Harry Miller at 978-281-2701. For assistance, please contact the Saint Vincent de Paul Society Hotline at 978-281-8672. Thank you! Don’t forget to vote at BankGloucester.com!
Learn More: BankGloucester’s Banking for the Community
Youth Faith Formation
Father Jim’s Summer Art Contest
All young disciples (ages 5 through 11) are invited to participate in Father Jim’s Summer Art Contest by creating an original work of art based on the theme that “Jesus Is Our Teacher!” Submissions should be no smaller than 8 by 11 inches and no larger than 18 by 24 inches; created, colored, drawn, or painted by hand; and depicting one of the following images of Jesus: Christ the Teacher, Christ the Good Shepherd, the Divine Mercy, or the Face of Christ. All original art projects are due by Friday, September 2nd and will be judged by Father Jim and a committee of local judges! The winning submission will be professionally framed and displayed prominently in our pastoral office! Line drawings (which can be used as coloring pages by younger children) and icons (which can be used as inspiration by older children) can be viewed at ccgronline.com/formation. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Saturday, June 4th
On Saturday, June 4th from 9:00am until 2:00pm, the Holy Family Women’s Guild will host the Annual Strawberry Festival in Saint Ann Church Hall. For the second year, the Guild will honor the Gloucester Fishermen with the Lobstermen’s “mug up” served in ceramic mugs made by local potters along with delicious homemade biscotti. Homemade muffins will also be available for sale. We will also have decorative lobster buoys for sale (which will be paired with a gift certificate). The buoys are a new item and will look great hung on a door or shed! Family and friends who live away from the island will also love a piece of authentic Gloucester! Along with Grannie’s Attic, Italian cookies, pies, and other homemade baked goods, we’ll also have a Bread Board with Irish Bread, Nisu, Sweet Bread, Lebanese Bread, and an assortment of quick breads. We’ll also have homemade jam, spring wreaths, note cards, and other crafts! Finally, we’ll have Strawberry Shortcake to boost your strength while you shop! For more information, please contact Janet Lucido at 978-526-1543. Join us! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Still Accepting Donations!
The Holy Family Women’s Guild is now accepting donations for the upcoming Strawberry Festival. If you are able to donate potted plants or potted spring or summer flowers, please contact Jane Marshall at 978-283-5111. If you are able to donate unwanted household treasures for Granny’s Attic (dishes, glassware, kitchen items, table linens, etc.), please contact Patti Wellbank at 215-837-7010. Please note that we cannot accept any electronic items! Please help us make this year’s Strawberry Festival a great success! Thank you for your generous support!
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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