This Week’s Message
The Gentle Whisper of Peace
By Pope Francis
When Jesus saw the crowds (Matthew 5:1), he saw the faces of his followers. What is most remarkable is that they encounter in the gaze of Jesus the echo of their own longings and aspirations. This encounter gives rise to the Beatitudes, that horizon towards which we are called and challenged to set out. The Beatitudes are not the fruit of passivity in the face of reality, nor of a mere onlooker gathering grim statistics about current events. They are not the product of the prophets of doom who seek only to spread dismay. They are not mirages that promise happiness with a single “click.” Rather, the Beatitudes are born of the compassionate heart of Jesus that encounters the hearts of people who seek and yearn for a happy life; who know what it is to suffer, who appreciate the confusion and pain of having the earth shake beneath their feet or seeing their dreams washed away when the work of a lifetime comes to nothing; and who know what it is to persevere and struggle to keep going, what it means to rebuild and start over.
The Beatitudes are not the fruit of the hypercritical attitude or cheap words of those who think they know it all but are unwilling to commit themselves to anything or anyone, and end up preventing any chance of generating change and reconstruction in our communities. The Beatitudes are born in a merciful heart that never loses hope; a heart that experiences as “a new day, a casting out of inertia, a shaking off of weariness and negativity (Pablo Neruda).” By proclaiming blessed are the poor, the grieving, the afflicted, the patient, and the merciful, Jesus casts out the paralysis of those who no longer believe in the transforming power of God or in their brothers and sisters. By proclaiming the Beatitudes, Jesus shakes us out of the negativity, the sense of resignation that prompts us to think that we can have a better life by escaping our problems, shunning others, hiding within our own comforts, and dulling our senses with consumerism. This sense of resignation tends to isolate us, divide us, separate us, and blind us to life around us and to the suffering of others.
The Beatitudes are that “new day” for all who look to the future, who still dream, and who allow themselves to be touched and sent forth by the Holy Spirit…Blessed are you if you are moved by the Holy Spirit and you struggle to work for that new day…for yours will be the kingdom of heaven. Against the negative inaction that undermines our deepest relationships and divides us, Jesus tells us: Blessed are those who work for reconciliation. Blessed are those ready to dirty their hands so that others can live in peace. Blessed are those who do not sow division. This is how the Beatitudes teach us to be peacemakers; to make ever greater room for the spirit of reconciliation in our midst. Do you want to be blessed? Do you want to be happy? Blessed are those who work so that others can be happy!
Do you want peace? Work for peace! Come out of your homes and look into people’s faces. Go out of your way to meet someone having a difficult time, someone who has not been treated as a person, as a worthy son or daughter of this land. This is the only way to forge a future of peace. A peacemaker knows that it is often necessary to overcome great or subtle faults or ambitions born of a desire for power, a desire to be important at the cost of others. A peacemaker knows that it is not enough to simply say: “I am not hurting anybody.” As Saint Alberto Hurtado once said: “It is very good not to do wrong, but very bad to do no good.” Peacemaking is a process that calls us together and stimulates our creativity by encouraging relationships where we see our neighbor not as a stranger, but as a son or daughter of this land. Let us commend ourselves to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception…May she help us to live the Spirit of the Beatitudes, so that on every corner, we will hear like a gentle whisper: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Excerpted from the Holy Father’s Homily in Santiago, Chile; January 16, 2018).”
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, January 27th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is a “Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit” with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to the Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 27th beginning at 8:00am in Saint Ann Church. We will reflect and discuss the Church’s teaching and tradition on social justice. Also, members of our fellowship all around the world, ranging in age from 15 to 92, also pray for those who ask for our prayers. If you would like more information about the Assisi Project or if you would like us to pray for you or your special intention, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
Journey to Portugal & Spain
May 27th through June 6th
All parishioners and friends of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim on a “Journey to Portugal & Spain” from May 27th through June 6th, 2018. Highlights in Portugal include Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Braga, a cruise on the River Douro, and a pilgrimage visit to Fatima. Highlights in Compostela (Spain) include pilgrimage visits to the Shrine of Saint James the Great, the Church of Saint Francis, and Saint Martin Monastery, along with tours of the historic city center and other sites.
The price of this extraordinary tour and vacation to Portugal and Spain is $3,599 per person based on double occupancy. Single occupancy is available for an additional $650 per person. This price includes air travel from Boston to Lisbon and from Porto to Boston; nine nights at four star hotels (seven nights in Portugal; two nights in Spain); deluxe motor coach sightseeing tours; daily breakfast; five lunches; and seven dinners; along with a bi-lingual tour manager. This price does not include optional (but recommended) travel insurance.
A deposit of $1,000 per person is required for each reservation. If you book your trip by December 29, 2017, you can save $100 per person. For more information about “Father Jim’s Journey to Portugal and Spain”, please see Father Jim before or after Mass or contact him at email@example.com; or contact Gomes Travel at 617-354-4499. Please join us for this unique opportunity to join our pastor on vacation in Portugal and Spain! All are invited! All are welcome!
Learn More: Journey to Portugal & Spain
The Assisi Project
Eleventh Annual Fall Pilgrimage
November 8th through November 16th
For the eleventh consecutive year, Father Jim, Cliff Garvey, and the Assisi Project will sponsor a week-long, small-group pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy. Each year, our pilgrims literally walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. This year will be no different! From November 8th through November 16th, we will journey again to Assisi and to the Franciscan Sanctuary at La Verna. In addition, as part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s ‘Year for Vocations’, we will explore how God called Francis and Clare to live the Gospel of Christ in profoundly different ways.
Each morning on pilgrimage will begin with Morning Prayer and Holy Mass. Father Jim will celebrate Masses at the Basilica of Saint Francis, the Basilica of Saint Clare, the Basilica of Our Lady of Angels (Porziuncola Chapel), the Carceri Hermitage, and the Sanctuary at La Verna. Each afternoon, our pilgrims will have free time and guidance to explore Assisi at their own pace and to visit its many churches, museums, cafes, and shops. Each evening, we will gather as a community for Evening Prayer, supper, a spiritual reflection, and faith sharing.
As a fellowship of pilgrims, we will explore the Basilicas of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Each of these blessed shrines contains the tombs of the saints, holy relics, historic frescoes, and other priceless works of art, along with quiet chapels for personal prayer and worship. We will also visit the Cathedral of Saint Rufinus, where Francis and Clare were baptized; the Church of Saint Damian, where Christ spoke to Francis and hastened his conversion; the Carceri Hermitage, where Francis and his first followers retreated for solitude and silent prayer; and the little chapel known as the Porziuncola or “Little Portion”, which is considered the home church of the worldwide Franciscan community.
In addition, we will spend leisurely afternoons in and around the Piazza del Commune, Assisi’s city center, with its ancient Roman temple (now a Catholic Church consecrated to the Blessed Mother), sidewalk cafes, and countless shops. Our more adventurous pilgrims will also have an opportunity to visit the Rocca Maggiore, the great medieval fortress with its stunning views of Assisi, Mount Subasio, and the Spoleto Valley. And finally, we will travel to La Verna, the mountain sanctuary in Tuscany, where Saint Francis received the stigmata. At La Verna, we will celebrate Mass, enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch, and participate in the daily procession that commemorates how Francis received the five wounds of the Crucified Christ.
The cost of this extraordinary pilgrimage is $3,499 per person and includes roundtrip airfare and fees (from Boston Logan Airport); all ground transportation (except personal taxi services in Assisi); seven nights accommodation (single room and bathroom) at Casa Santa Brigida in Assisi; and all meals in the guest house (breakfast, lunch, and supper). Prospective pilgrims should note that this pilgrimage involves some strenuous physical activity; and that access to some pilgrimage sites in Italy is limited for those with physical disabilities. Finally, a portion of each pilgrimage ticket will be donated to the Saint Ann Church Restoration Fund in memory of Deacon Ray Wellbank. For more information about the Assisi Project’s 11th Annual Fall Pilgrimage, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electronic Giving Made Safe & Easy
Available at Both Parishes!
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Donations can be made on a one-time-only or ongoing basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. Just choose the appropriate link below and click “Make a Donation.” Please prayerfully consider supporting your parish by giving electronically! For more information about electronic giving in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim; or contact Claire Murphy at email@example.com. Thank you for your generous and ongoing support!
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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