This Week’s Message
Making the Ground Green
By Cliff Garvey
Millard Solomon was born in Alabama and raised on a farm in Tennessee. He served in the United States Navy during the Second World War; and after the war, he married a young immigrant who had fled the Nazis. Together, they raised four children. Millard Solomon worked hard, played by the rules, served his country, and earned a share in the American Dream. He was also my grandfather. Like so many Americans, then and now, my grandfather’s views on race were complicated. He came of age in the Jim Crow South; but raised his family “up north” during a time of dramatic social and political upheaval. He sometimes spoke his mind. He sometimes said things that his family wished he hadn’t said. He was not always politically correct.
My grandfather died suddenly just months before a long-planned early retirement. As our family gathered for his funeral, our grief was deep and intense. No one could believe that a man who had seemed so strong could succumb so quickly. We were all in shock. But then something amazing happened. A long line of mourners formed at the entrance of the funeral home. Most of those mourners were African-American. They were my grandfather’s co-workers from a nearby factory. Over years, these men and women had worked together; ate lunch together; drank coffee together; and played cards together. They were my grandfather’s friends; and they came to pay their respects. Millard Solomon never gave a speech. He never delivered a sermon. He was neither partisan nor political. He never participated in a protest. He never marched for any side in our country’s long, sad, and sometimes violent debate over civil rights. And yet, despite his sharp tongue, my grandfather made a real difference in the lives of many people. At some point and in some way, he had offered a helping hand or a kind word to these good people who turned out to pay their respects to a son of the south who had worked beside them for decades.
After more than thirty-five years, family memories are not always reliable. They are clouded by age and grief and long years. But I distinctly remember that conversations hushed, tears intensified, and members of our family stood when my grandfather’s co-workers filed past his coffin. It was a remarkable moment for us. And it remains one of the proudest moments of my life. Even though we were young when he died, my cousins and I learned a great many life lessons from our grandfather. We learned about honesty and hard work. We learned about dedication to family and friends. We learned about the true meaning of patriotism and sacrifice for one’s country. We learned about doing good through simple acts of generosity and kindness: actions that bring people together, keep them together, and lead them forth into the world as friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens regardless of race, color, or creed. And we learned these lessons not so much by his words, which were few, but by the witness of a life well lived.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a nineteenth century historian, philosopher, and essayist. He is perhaps best remembered for once writing: “History is nothing but the biography of the Great Man.” But Carlyle also considered those unsung heroes who have the power to change lives and change history. He wrote: “The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.” Needless to say, it is difficult to reconcile our nation’s difficult history with what our church teaches us about the sin of racism. And it is difficult to reconcile what an unknown good man like my grandfather learned during his youth with what he practiced as an adult. But based on the respect that my grandfather earned from his co-workers, it is clear that at some point along the way he embraced the call to love others (John 13:34) and to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). It is also clear that simple acts of loving kindness can change the lives of the people around us and perhaps even change the course of history — for the better. May God bless us with the courage to make the ground green through humble acts of goodness, kindness, and love. May the Lord give you peace!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Saturday, August 26th
Our Summer Carillon Recitals, an annual tradition at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, continue this Saturday, August 26th at 5:15pm (rain or shine)! LuAnn Pallazola, our own very talented organist-keyboardist will perform programs that include classical works, sacred hymns, patriotic melodies, and even children’s tunes! Installed in 1922, the bells at Our Lady’s Church were the first set of toned carillon bells in the United States. Our final Summer Carillon Recital for this season is scheduled for Saturday, September 2nd at 5:15pm. All recitals are free and open to the public! So, please join us for wonderful summer tradition at Our Lady of Good Voyage! In addition, all are invited to join us for Mass at 6:00pm in Our Lady’s Church! For more information, please contact LuAnn Pallazola at email@example.com. All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
Father Jim’s Summer Art Contest
Through Sunday, September 3rd
All young disciples, ages 5 through 12, are invited to participate in Father Jim’s Second Annual Summer Art Con- test by creating an original work of art based on the theme of “Our Blessed Mother Mary.” 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 an image of Our Blessed Mother. All original art projects are due by Sunday, September 3rd and will be judged by Father Jim and a committee of judges! The winning submission will be professionally framed and displayed prominently in our parish offices. For more information about our Second Annual Summer Art Contest for Children, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Calling young disci- ples! All are invited! All are welcome!
Vigil for Peace
Saturday, September 9th
Begins at 8:00am
In recent weeks, it has become clear that the call to prayer is more important than ever. The specter of nuclear war, domestic and international terrorism, and violence in our own country has prompted many among us to reconsider long-held assumptions and opinions about the health and stability of our nation’s political culture and its institu- tions. Additionally, these threats inspire many among us to turn to prayer: to ask the Lord to bless our community, our country, and our troubled world with peace and love.
In this spirit, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim for a four-hour “Vigil for Peace” on Sat- urday, September 9th beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Saint Ann Church. After Mass at 8:45am, all are encouraged to remain in the church for Morning Prayer and Ex- position of the Blessed Sacrament. At 10:00am, we will pray a Rosary for Peace; and at 11:00am, we will pray Daytime Prayer. Our Vigil for Peace will conclude at noon with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
We will gather for this Vigil for Peace on the Feast of Saint Peter Claver (1580-1654), patron of race relations and pastoral ministry to our African-American brothers and sis- ters. So, please join us for all or part of this special morning of prayer, fellowship, and devotion during which we will ask the Lord for the courage, grace, and strength to become instruments of peace. For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Saint Peter Claver, pray for us and for our troubled world!
Youth Faith Formation
Youth Choir & Music Ministry
Begins Tuesday, September 12th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Youth Choir & Music Ministry will resume their weekly rehearsals on Tuesday, September 12th at 5:00pm in Saint Ann Church. Each weekend, the youth choir sings at one of our three churches: Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, or Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. The Youth Choir & Music Ministry welcomes new members, ranging in age from kindergarten through high school. Young musicians are also welcome to join us! Being a part of this ministry is a great way to make new friends and participate more fully in the life of our parishes! For more information, please contact Patty Natti 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. Working together as a Roman Catholic community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, we are committed to living the Gospel of Christ, sharing God’s love and mercy with all people, and rebuilding the Church in Gloucester & Rockport. All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
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