This Week’s Message
Confronting Works of Wickedness
By Cliff Garvey
Every Sunday, Pope Francis prays the Angelus with the crowds that gather in Saint Peter’s Square. The Angelus is a traditional devotion that commemorates God’s sending of the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary with the news that she will conceive and bear the Christ Child. Each week, the Angelus is also a moment of catechesis when the Holy Father calls God’s people to pray, discern, and respond to some message based on the scriptures or the issues of the day.
Last week, Pope Francis said: “Lent is a time of spiritual training, of spiritual combat. We are called to face the evil one through prayer; and with God’s help, to overcome him in our daily lives. Unfortunately, we know that evil is at work all around us, wherever violence, rejection of our neighbors, closed mindedness, war, or injustice occur. All of these things are works of wickedness. All of these things are works of evil.” Pope Francis then said that we must find the courage to reject what leads us astray and to choose what leads our hearts and minds back to God.
So, what leads us astray? Pope Francis is pretty clear. He points to brutality, exclusion, prejudice, rigidity, and a lack of charity in our world. He points to the sad reality that we live during a time when the vices of anger, greed, and pride seem to hold increasing sway over the virtues of faith, hope, and love. Likewise, we live during a time when politicians argue like junkyard dogs; when faith leaders often fail to speak out against injustice; when too many of our brothers and sisters turn their backs on people who live, look, sound, or think differently than we do. We live during a time when a mentally ill young man can walk into a gun store, buy an assault weapon, and open fire in a crowded classroom.
So, what can we do to confront these “works of wickedness?” First, we can pray: for ourselves, our families and friends, our communities and parishes, our country, and our world. Prayer is never an empty exercise. Rather, it is a powerful force for goodness, healing, and reconciliation. Prayer changes hearts. Prayer changes minds. Prayer makes miracles. When we ask God to guide all of our thoughts, words, and actions, we can truly become instruments of love, mercy, and peace during these troubled times.
Second, we can be more discerning about whom we listen to, what we buy, what we watch, where we go online, and how we obtain news and information. Just because someone claims to be “Catholic” or “fair and balanced” does not mean that their programming or reporting brings us closer to Christ, closer to the Church, or closer to each other. When Pope Francis talks about the “works of wickedness” in our world, he refers not just to actions or policies, but also to the false rumors, fake reporting, and scurrilous slurs that sow the seeds of anger, confusion, and doubt. During an age when the noises and voices in our lives are countless, we owe it to ourselves and to our children to be more vigilant in both prayer and discernment.
Third, we can respond by logging off, tuning out, and turning away from whoever and whatever leads us astray, away from God, and away from each other. We can respond by rejecting whatever leads us to pride and anger; whatever hardens our hearts and closes our minds; and whatever feeds the fires of bigotry, hatred, and violence. We can respond by living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding our church, our community, and our country into places where the Golden Rule is the foundation of all that we think, say, and do. We can respond by supporting causes and candidates that protect our children, our grandparents, and our most vulnerable neighbors.
Finally, we can respond by demanding that the weapons of war be used sparingly to enforce the law and keep the peace, not to cause unspeakable suffering for families just like yours and mine. As our Lenten journey continues, may God help us to confront the “works of wickedness” with hearts filled with courage, love, and peace. Many lives may depend on it.
The Light Is On For You!
Confessions & Eucharistic Adoration
Wednesday, February 28th
During the Holy Season of Lent, all Catholics are invited to experience Christ’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession). On four consecutive Wednesday evenings during Lent (February 21st through March 14th), all are invited to join us for “The Light Is On For You!” from 6:00pm until 8:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. These special evenings of prayer will include Evening Prayer and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours; Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; and confessions for those who feel called to participate.
For some among us, this may be a time for confession and sacramental reconciliation. For some, it may be a time for silent prayer and reflection. And for some, it may be a time to begin or renew a life of faith. Our “Guide for Making a Good Confession” is available below and at the entrances of all of our churches. For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wherever you are on your faith journey, the light is on for you! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Stations of the Cross
A Traditional Lenten Devotion
Friday, March 2nd
The Stations of the Cross are one of the most enduring and moving devotions of the Roman Catholic Church. By uniting our prayers with those of the suffering Christ through both word and imagery, we make a spiritual pilgrimage with our Lord as he experiences the Passion of the Cross. During Lent, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in praying the Stations of the Cross on six consecutive Fridays (February 16th through March 23rd) according to the following schedule: Fridays at 3:00pm in Saint Ann Church and Fridays at 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. For more information about Lent in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Year for Vocations
Friday, March 2nd
As Catholic Christians, we believe that God calls us to live as faithful disciples. But in what way of life are we called to live our discipleship? What is your calling? What is your vocation? These questions can sometimes take a lifetime to answer. But with hearts open to discernment and prayer, God can help us find our way in the world. Each and every one of us (regardless of age, gender, or life experience) can discover, rediscover, and re- spond to God’s plan for our lives.
This year, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rock- port is celebrating a ‘Year for Vocations,’ a time to pray and reflect on who God calls us to be and what God calls us to do with the one life that we are blessed to live on this earth. In this spirit, we will gather on Friday, March 2nd for ‘Vocation Friday’ in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Our vigil of prayer will begin at 5:00pm with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. At 6:00pm, we will pray the Rosary for an increase in vocations to the priesthood. And we will conclude at 6:45pm with Benediction. All are also invited join us for the Stations of the Cross at 7:00pm.
These ‘Vocation Fridays’ will be held throughout the year on the First Friday of each month. Our hope is that all parishioners and their families will be able to join us for at least one of these special days of prayer, discernment, and devotion. If you are not able to join us this month, please take a few moments to pray this powerful prayer for vocations by Cardinal Joseph Bernadin:
Lord of the harvest,
your Word finds a home in our hearts,
calls us into community,
and invites us to generous service to the human family.
Bless with courage and spirit your priestly people,
called to full participation
in the one Body of Christ.
May many choose to respond
in public service to your call
offered in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Throughout this ‘Year for Vocations,’ let us pray together that each one of us, in our own way, will learn to pray, discern, and respond to God’s call with faith, hope, and love in our hearts. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
New Youth Altar Servers
Answering God’s Call
The Holy Season of Lent is time for prayer and penance. It is also a time to perform good works and to count our many blessings. In this spirit, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is blessed with a rising generation of young disciples who are preparing to answer the call to serve our parishes. Among these are five young disciples who have volunteered as altar servers in both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish: Lauren Brau, Thomas Dort, Rafael Jabba, Anthony Rano, and David Rano. As they begin their service, we thank them and we give God great thanks and praise for them and for the blessing of every young family that joins us for Mass each week! If your child would like join this growing corps of young disciples, please see me before or after Mass; or contact me at email@example.com. May God bless our young disciples and their families! Peace and blessings to all — Father Jim
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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