Our Pastor’s Message
An Angry Jesus?
The banner image above and the cover of this week’s newsletter features a compelling and iconic rendering of the face of Christ, hand painted by Allie Nicastro, an eleven year old girl from Holy Family Parish, who is the winner of this year’s summer art contest. Allie’s painting will be professionally framed and displayed during the coming year in our pastoral office, then returned to her and her family. But what about this image and others like it? Do you find them disturbing? Is Jesus angry? And if so, is Jesus angry at us because of our sins, faults, or lack of faith? The answer to these questions should and must always be a resounding no! Jesus is not angry. His love is limitless. His mercy is boundless. His friendship is forever. But again, what about this image? Are we kidding ourselves? Jesus surely looks angry!
The original image is considered the first icon of Jesus Christ and is called either the “Image of Edessa” or the “Mandylion.” It appeared on cloth, dates back to the first century, and was first revealed in Edessa (a city in southern Turkey known now as Urfa). Tradition holds that King Abgar, an Arab monarch who lived during the first decades after the Resurrection of Christ, was converted to Christianity by one of the Seventy Disciples mentioned in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 10:1-24). Suffering from a mysterious and serious illness, King Abgar wrote to Jesus and begged him to both visit him and cure him. Miraculously, Jesus responded! He declined the invitation to visit but sent an emissary, who might have been Saint Jude the Apostle. This emissary cured the king from the illness and delivered an image of the face of Christ that is known now as the “Image of Edessa.”
For centuries, the original icon was lost, but it reappeared in Edessa during the sixth century, was moved to Constantinople during the 10th century, reappeared in France during the 13th century, and disappeared again sometime during the French Revolution (1789-1799). Although it has not been seen since, many copies survive. The Easter Orthodox Church celebrates its transfer from Edessa to Con- stantinople as a feast day on August 16th. In our tradition, many Roman Catholics believe that the “Image of Edessa” actually could be the Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Veronica, or one of the countless icons of the face of Christ that call us to prayer and to faith in the miraculous power of God.
We may never know the truth about the origins and current whereabouts of the “Image of Edessa.” What we know with certainty is that for centuries, Christians have believed that the original icon and the countless copies rendered of it were not made by human hands alone. Rather, they were made by the hand and inspiration of God, who works through ordinary souls to accomplish extraordinary graces. History and tradition are filled with testimonies about conversions, cures, and other miracles that have been accomplished through these iconic images of the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When we look at these images, when we dare to look into the eyes of the Lord, we should not see anger. Instead, we should see the awesome glory and power of our God who humbled himself, was born poor in a stable, walked among us, healed the sick, forgave sinners, and suffered, died, and rose again to life for each and every one of us. Ours is a God of real and radical friendship, healing, love, mercy and welcome. This weekend, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King and begin the final week of Ordinary Time, let us look deeply into the eyes of Jesus, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Prince of Peace. Let us look into his eyes and see his love for each and every one of us and let us share that love with the world.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Thanksgiving Mass Schedule
All parishioners, friends, and guests are welcome to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport as we gather for Holy Mass in celebration of the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. All are welcome to join us for Mass on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24th at 8:00am in Saint Joachim Church. Please join us as we gather to give praise and thanks for God’s abundant blessings! Peace and blessings to all for a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Christmas Giving Trees
Begins November 26th-27th
This year, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society will once again sponsor the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Annual Christmas Giving Trees which help share the blessings of Christmas with local families in need. The Giving Trees will be placed at the entrances of Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church during the weekend of November 26-November 27th. Each tree will be decorated with colored stars that indicate a particular Christmas wish. If you can help fulfill this wish, please take a star! Each donated gift should be new, unused, and unwrapped; and placed under the tree with the original star or delivered to our parish offices. The Christmas Giving Trees will remain at our church entrances through Sunday, December 11th. All gifts should be returned to our parish offices by Tuesday, December 13th at noon. Gifts will be wrapped and delivered to families in need on Thursday, December 15th. For more information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society’s Giving Tree Program, please contact Barbara Frontiero at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your generous support of the Christmas Giving Trees! May God bless us, everyone!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Our Lady’s Guild Christmas Fair
Saturday, December 3rd
All are welcome to join Our Lady’s Guild for their Annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 3rd from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Parish Hall. Highlights will include a fried dough breakfast, a linguiça & hot dog lunch, coffee & soft drinks, and all the fixings! Sale tables will include the general store, Christmas decorations, religious items, jewelry, plants, homemade sweetbread, cookies & fudge, and other baked goods. We will also have a Mega Raffle Table with many items & a painting by Theresa Wonson! Volunteers are still needed for set-up and clean-up! For more information, please contact Linda Galvin at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent & Christmas Concert
Sunday, December 4th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Tom Misuraca, LuAnn Pallazola, and the Holy Family Parish Music Ministry for its Twelfth Annual Advent & Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 4th at 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church. All of this year’s musical selections have been chosen to help prepare our hearts to celebrate more fully the Holy Season of Advent and the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. As always, both our adult and youth choirs will perform with talented instrumentalists. In addition, members of our Brazilian Community will perform with us, too! So, please join us as we share the gift of music! For more information, please contact Tom Misuraca at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are 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 email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
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