Our Pastor’s Message
The Seamless Garment of Life
The Roman Catholic Church professes what is called a “consistent ethic of life” because we believe in our hearts that each and every human being is created in the image and likeness of God; and that Jesus Christ suffered, died, and was resurrected for each and every one of us. In this way, every human being, without exception, is sacred and loved unconditionally by our God who is Master of the Universe and Creator of heaven and earth. In 1971, Eileen Egan (1912-2000), the founder of the organization that would become known as Pax Christi USA, first likened this consistent ethic of life to the “seamless garment” that Jesus wore but was not torn by his executioners (John 19:23). And in 1984, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (1928-1996), Archbishop of Chicago, delivered a series of lectures that gave full voice to the Church’s belief in the sanctity of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Cardinal Bernardin, a soft-spoken and deeply prayerful priest, spoke initially against the legalization of abortion and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But he soon expanded the scope of the “seamless garment” to include assisted suicide, capital punishment, education, euthanasia, health care, poverty, torture, and unjust war. Cardinal Bernardin argued that each of these issues is complex and different, but that they are all linked because the intrinsic value of human life is at the center of each one. He said: “When human life is considered ‘cheap’ or easily expendable in one area, eventually nothing is held as sacred and all lives are in jeopardy.” As a Catholic and as a citizen, I couldn’t agree more.
In a few weeks, we will be faced with the challenge of entering the privacy of the voting booth to choose a new president. Although I have been asked many times in recent months about which candidate we, as Catholics, should support, I agree with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that it is not the place of either priest or bishop to endorse one candidate or one party over another. At the same time, it is part of my charism and obligation as a priest to share the teachings and traditions of the Church with my fellow parishioners. Needless to say, this poses a real test for me and for my brother priests and pastors.
Overall, it seems clear that none of the major political parties in the United States professes a consistent ethic of life that reflects the fullness of the Church’s teachings. Likewise, neither of the leading presidential candidates represents the prin- ciples of the seamless garment as advocated by Catholic theologians like Eileen Egan and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. On some level, this is understandable because politics is a human endeavor and human beings are imperfect. At the same time, Catholics are called to be “moved by mercy” to accept differences, forgive and love each other, and preach the Gospel to the whole world.
In this way, before we enter the voting booth next month, we can pray with the following questions: Do we believe in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death? Do we believe in defending the lives of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters: the aged, the condemned, the disabled, the poor, the sick, the stranger, and the unborn? Do we believe that taking a human life through neglect, punishment, or torture is unjust? Do we believe that a wholehearted respect for life involves sharing God’s love and mercy with all people, no matter who they are, what they are, or where they’re from? If we answer “yes” to these questions, then we take one step closer toward preserving the seamless garment of life. As the election draws near, let us pray together for our country, for our leaders, and for each other.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Moved By Mercy: A Vigil for Life
Friday, October 21st
Each October, the Roman Catholic Church prays in a special way for the respect of all human life. As Pope Francis reminds us: “We are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our society and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment.” This year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has chosen “Moved By Mercy” as the theme of Respect Life Month. Throughout the month of October, all are invited and encouraged to join in praying the following prayer for the protection of all human life from the moment of conception until natural death:
Father and Maker of All,
you adorn all creation
with splendor and beauty,
and fashion human lives
in your image and likeness.
Awaken in every heart reverence
for the work of your hands,
and renew among your people
a readiness to nurture and sustain
your precious gift of life.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In addition, in communion and solidarity with Pope Francis, Cardinal Seán, and the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for “Moved By Mercy: A Prayer Vigil for Life” on Friday, October 21st in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Our vigil will begin at 12:00pm with Daytime Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Throughout the afternoon, all are welcome to join us in silent prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At 3:00pm, we will pray a Rosary for Life in honor of the Holy Father’s call to reach out and respect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. The Vigil for Life will conclude at 5:00pm with Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. We pray that you will be able to join us for all or part of this special afternoon of prayer with certain knowledge that God hears and answers our prayers for all human life. All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Our Lady’s Guild Baked Bean Supper
Friday, October 21st
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for its Annual Baked Bean Supper on Friday, October 21st from 5:30pm until 8:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. A donation of $10 is requested for adults; and $6 for children (ages 10 and under). Tickets will be available at the door. Our menu includes hot dogs, linguiça, baked beans, coffee, soda, and a variety of delicious homemade desserts. Entertainment will be provided by our very own LuAnn Pallazola! Since 1944, Our Lady’s Guild has worked to build community among women of all ages in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish through prayer, good works, social activities, and fundraising events. The Guild meets on the first Monday evening of each month in the Our Lady’s Parish Hall at 6:30pm. For more information about Our Lady’s Guild and all upcoming events, please contact Linda Galvin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! New members are always welcome!
Year of Mercy Special Event
The Jesus Prayer: Fall Mini-Retreat
October 27th-October 28th
In early August, sixty-five parishioners joined Father Jim and Cliff for our Third Annual Summer Retreat: The Jesus Prayer. Since then, many parishioners have asked for more information about desert spirituality and the ancient practice of calling on the name of Jesus. In response to this profound spiritual hunger, all are invited to join us for ‘The Jesus Prayer: A Reprise, a two-night mini-retreat on Thursday, October 27th and Friday, October 28th from 6:30pm until 8:00pm in Saint Anthony Chapel. Each evening will begin with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After praying together, we will watch and discuss the highly acclaimed film, ‘The Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer’; learn about praying with the Jesus Prayer; and explore how praying with this timeless prayer can bring you closer to our Risen Lord. You need not have participated in the Summer Retreat to join us for this special program! All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us! For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. This program is free (but donations will be gratefully accepted). Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
November: Month of All Souls
Masses of Remembrance
In November, the Month of All Souls, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate three Masses of Remembrance for those friends, family members, and fellow parishioners who have journeyed home to the Lord during the past year and whose funerals were celebrated in our churches. These Masses will be celebrated according to the following schedule: Saturday, October 29th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; Sunday, November 13th at 10:00am in Saint Joachim Church; and Sunday, November 20th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. At each Mass of Remembrance, the names of our dearly departed loved ones and friends will be read aloud. For more information about these Masses, please see Fr. Jim before or after Mass. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace!
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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