Our Pastor’s Message
In the Eye of the Storm
Some weeks before Hurricane Harvey landed upon the shores of Texas, a parishioner told me before Mass that she was feeling anxious and fearful about the future. As a mother and grandmother, she has lived during times of war and peace. She has lived through times of economic, political, and social upheaval; and she has lived during times of relative calm and prosperity. She has lived during times when friendly neighbors and vast oceans protected us from terrorism; and she lives now in a world where terrorism can strike a church, a dance club, or a neighborhood school. She has celebrated the birth of her children and grandchildren; and she has mourned the passing of family and friends. Despite this vast life experience, she feels frightened, nervous, and on-edge about what might happen next.
This fellow parishioner told me that she worries about the harsh nature of our political debates; how we demonize those with whom we disagree; how meanness has replaced respectful debate; how we roll our eyes in resignation as old outrages become the new normal in our country. She told me that she fears that what happened in Sandy Hook or Orlando or Charlottesville could happen here. She told me that she is genuinely afraid that what is happening now in Texas and Louisiana could also happen here: a natural disaster for which no one is prepared. She told me that she feels like we are in the eye of the storm; that we are experiencing a deceiving calm while all around us a whirlwind of destruction and hate and violence blows with increasing force.
This parishioner is not alone. I have heard sentiments like these many times in recent months. But such feelings are ancient and timeless. They are as old as the human experience itself. We fear death and destruction and disaster because we are human beings and we cherish life. We fear bigotry and hatred and violence because we wish for a bright future for our children and grandchildren. We sometimes fear the future because it represents the unknown and the unpredictable. At the same time, we are a people of faith, a Christian people, an Easter people. We know, in the depths of our hearts, that God is good, that God loves us, that God saves us, and that God will not bring upon us any trial that we cannot handle. We know also, in the depths of our souls, that God stands with us, suffers with us, dies with us, and will raise us up, no matter what.
It is difficult to make sense or offer good advice to those who fear the future. And it is difficult to know how to respond to events like those in Charlottesville and Texas. Of course, we should speak and work and vote for goodwill and justice and peace. We should live the gospel, share God’s love, and work together to build up the Church in our community. We should prepare as best we can for blizzards and hurricanes and power outages. But how should we respond to the almost unimaginable destruction and suffering that we now see on television and read about online and in the newspaper? What can we do to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Texas and other places who have been brought low by violence, war, or natural disaster?
First, we should pray for the first responders and volunteers and victims of such events. We should pray tirelessly for them as they work to rebuild their lives, their homes, and their communities. Second, we should give generously to charities like the Red Cross and Catholic Charities that give direct care, comfort, and support to those in need during times of crisis. Indeed, Cardinal Sean has asked all parishes to take up a special collection next weekend (September 9th-10th) for Catholic Charities USA which is on the ground in Texas and Louisiana. Please give generous- ly to this all important special collection! Finally, as we pray and think globally about crises in our country and around the world, we should also act locally by generously supporting the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Every single penny that you give to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society goes directly to help those in need right here on Cape Ann. Your prayers and support for these causes could literally save a life or a whole family in Texas or in your own neighborhood.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Vigil for Peace
Saturday, September 9th
In recent weeks, it has become clear that the call to prayer is more important than ever. The threat of war, domestic and international terrorism, and violence in our own country has prompted many of us to reconsider long-held assumptions and opinions about the health and stability of our nation’s political culture and institutions. Additionally, these threats inspire many of 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 Saturday, 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 Exposition 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 sisters. So, please bring your family or a friend and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Saint Peter Claver, pray for us, for our country, and for our troubled world!
Holy Family Parish
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Tuesday, September 5th
Established in 2005, the Holy Family Parish Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and the community. Throughout the year, the Women’s Guild hosts various fundraising and social gatherings, including our famous bake sales, the Strawberry Festival (June), and the upcoming Christmas Fair (November 18th) which is Holy Family’s largest fundraising event of the year. The Guild’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5th at 7:00pm in Saint Ann Church Hall. Our special guest will be Lenny Linquata of the Gloucester House. All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catho- lic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us! Refreshments will be served! For more information about the Holy Family Women’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! New members are always welcome!
Fall Day of Prayer
Learning to Love with Saint Francis
Saturday, September 30th
Nights are growing cooler. Gardens are fading. Leaves are beginning to show a hint of fall color. One season ends, another begins. Autumn is a great time to refresh and renew our spir- itual lives. This year, in celebration of the Assisi Project’s 10th Anniversary (2007-2017), Father Jim and Cliff Garvey are offering a series of adult faith formation programs designed to help us better understand the life and legacy of Saint Francis of Assisi, his influence on Pope Fran- cis and the Catholic Church, and the timeless traditions of Franciscan prayer and spirituality.
In this spirit, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim, Cliff, and the Assisi Project for a Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection: “Learning to Love with Saint Francis of Assisi” on Saturday, September 30th in Saint Anthony Chapel. During this four-hour mini-retreat, we will explore what Saint Francis of Assisi, who lived eight centuries ago, can teach contemporary Christians like us how to love God and love others in an increasingly troubled world. This special morning of prayer and reflection will proceed according to the following schedule:
9:00am Morning Prayer & Reflection
10:00am Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary
11:00am Daytime Prayer & Reflection
12:00pm Angelus & Closing Prayers
Throughout the morning, there will be breaks, times for silent prayer, and periods for faith sharing and fellowship. Coffee, tea, and bottled water will be served. After our closing pray- ers, all are invited to remain for a picnic lunch. During Mass, a free-will donation will be taken in support of our adult faith formation ministry. If you would like to join us for this special faith formation program for adults, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important to register for this program in advance so that we can plan adequately for food and drink. 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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