This Week’s Message
May the Lord Give You Peace!
By Cliff Garvey
In this weekend’s reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20), Jesus sends seventy-two of his new disciples to prepare the people in various villages and towns for his upcoming visits. These seventy-two disciples are the first missionaries, the first evangelists, and the first preachers of the Good News of Christ. And they are given detailed instructions about what to do and what to say during their travels. Jesus tells them that they should enter each house with this greeting: “Peace to this household (Luke 10:5)!” Because these disciples return to Jesus with joyful hearts, tradition teaches us that they faithfully followed the Lord’s instructions!
More than 1,200 years later, Saint Francis of Assisi followed in the footsteps of these seventy-two faithful disciples. When Francis heard the voice of the Lord, either through the gospel reading or through a mystical prayer experience, he tried to conform himself to the example and teaching of Christ. Although Francis was not a “fundamentalist” in the modern sense of that term, he did strive to follow and imitate the Lord as closely as possible. For example, Francis took seriously Christ’s command to share a greeting of peace with those he met throughout his life. Francis traveled on foot (almost always barefoot) throughout Italy, Spain, Egypt, and the Holy Land. And everywhere he went he would proclaim: “May the Lord give you peace!
Eight centuries after Saint Francis experienced his own conversion and began three religious orders that have attracted millions of followers around the world, his greeting of peace is still widely repeated but also widely misunderstood. Nowadays we think of peace as a condition of calm, a sense of serenity, or an absence of violence and war. For Francis, however, peace is not a condition. It is a gift that can be given only by the Lord. Like grace, which is God’s free gift of his favor, love, mercy, and salvation to his children, peace is also God’s gift to us. It is the totality of all goodness that was possessed (and lost) by our first parents in the Garden of Eden; and restored to us by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peace, in this context, is like the biblical understanding of “shalom.” It is the complete fullness of benevolence, friendship, health, joy, kindness, love, mercy, prosperity, reconciliation, and security. In this way, the Franciscan greeting of peace is not just a salutation. It is not about words. It is about actions. It is a way of thinking and a way of life. It is the way of actually living the Gospel and building a culture of real peace in our homes, neighborhoods, parishes, and workplaces. It is the way of becoming a true instrument of God’s peace in the world. It is about rejecting detraction and gossip, and choosing to build up and encourage. It is about rejecting division and resentment, and striving to bring people together through kindness, love, and reconciliation. It is about reaching back, reaching out, and reaching across the aisle. In short, this greeting of peace is about practicing what we preach.
Needless to say, becoming and remaining an instrument of the Lord’s peace requires patience, penance, and perseverance in all that we do, say, and think. Being an instrument of the Lord’s peace beckons us to seek forgiveness and to begin again when we stumble (and we will stumble). And being an instrument of the Lord’s peace calls us to forgive the unforgiveable, to love the unloved, and sometimes even to suffer for God’s sake or for our neighbor’s sake. If this sounds impossible, then consider something else that Saint Francis often said to his followers: “If the Lord can work through me, he can work through anyone.” Like us, Francis was human. He had all the same desires, feelings, and frustrations that we have. But Francis persisted in prayer. He carried on in a true spirit of fellowship with people from all cultures, religions, and points of view. He worked tirelessly to serve the Lord and those he met along the way. If Francis could do it, then we can, too!
As we celebrate our country’s independence and pray for peace around our increasingly troubled world, please join me in sharing the Franciscan greeting of peace with your family, friends, and fellow parishioners. Share it at home. Share it at the supermarket. Share it at work. Share it at Mass during the sign of the Lord’s peace. Like Saint Francis of Assisi and the seventy-two disciples sent to prepare the way of the Lord, let us joyfully say: “May the Lord give you peace!” Try it once! Try is twice! Try it three times! I dare you!
May the Lord give you peace!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Saint Ann Church Hall Fundraiser
Second Collection This Weekend!
GOAL: $7,500 | RAISED SO FAR: $5,855
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 (after necessary repairs to the church tower). But at this point, our renova- tion 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 chair will cost approximately $30 and each new table will cost approximately $100. This month, we have raised $5,855! Thank you! This weekend (July 2nd—July 3rd), we will have another second collection at all weekend Masses in Holy Family Parish (Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church) to help us reach our goal. Additional donations also can be sent directly to the “Pastor’s Challenge” c/o Father Jim at 60 Prospect Street, Gloucester, MA 01930.
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! If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com. Thank you! May God bless you and your family!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
The Assisi Project
Ninth Annual Summer Barbecue
Sunday, July 10th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is an international fellowship of “Franciscans in Spirit” with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Each year, we sponsor a pilgrimage to Assisi and other faith formation opportunities for adults. Our next meeting will begin with Mass at 11:45am on Sunday, July 10th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, we will gather in Our Lady’s Hall for our Ninth Annual Summer Barbecue. We will conclude with the Franciscan Rosary at 3:00pm in Our Lady’s Church. If you would like to join us, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff Garvey at 978-281-4820 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
Third Annual Summer Retreat
The Jesus Prayer
Begins Monday, August 8th
The summer season is a great time of year for stepping back from the business and busy-ness of daily life in order to focus on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, few among us are able to leave work, family, and friends for a real retreat from the world. For this reason, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce our Third Annual Summer Retreat! From Monday, August 8th through Friday, August 12th, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual peace and renewal of a week-long retreat without leaving home! Our retreat will be based on John Michael Talbot’s book, “The Jesus Prayer: A Cry for Mercy, A Path for Renewal.” For centuries, the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!) has led countless disciples toward a deeper and more intimate experience with Christ and his gifts of love and mercy. Talbot’s book offers readers a step-by-step and word-by-word approach for understanding the Jesus Prayer and for making it a central component of our spiritual lives.
Each evening of our retreat will begin promptly at 7:00pm in Saint Anthony Chapel with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After that, Father Jim and Cliff will lead our community in a period of reflection, discussion, and faith sharing. We will conclude each evening at 8:30pm with Night Prayer. Between each retreat session, participants will be asked to read brief selections from John Michael Talbot’s book and to engage in a daily prayer exercise. During each day of the retreat, Saint Anthony Chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent per- sonal prayer and reflection. In order to adequately plan for the retreat, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com if you plan to join us. A donation of $25 is requested from those who can afford it. Copies of the book, along with coffee, tea, and cold water will be provided. Please join us! All are welcome!
Legion of Mary
Now on Wednesdays!
Founded in Ireland in 1921, the Legion of Mary is an international fellowship of lay men and women who volunteer their time, talent, and prayers under the banner of the Blessed Virgin Mary by practicing the spiritual works of mercy in both of our parish communities. The Legion’s primary apostolate is to visit and pray with our aged, dis- abled, homebound, and sick fellow parishioners. Members also serve in many other volunteer ministries in both Holy Family Parish & Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Every Wednesday afternoon at 4:15pm, the Legion of Mary gathers in the parish center, which is located beside Saint Ann Church, to pray the Rosary, share their faith experiences, and participate in a period of faith formation under the guidance of their spiritual director. For more information about the Legion of Mary and its good work in both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Joan Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org; Sue Demetri at email@example.com; or leave a message by calling our pastoral office at 978-281-4820. Please join us! New members are always welcome!
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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline