Our Pastor’s Message
The March for Our Lives
By Father Jim
Father Henri Nouwen writes: “Many voices wonder if humanity can survive its own destructive powers. As we reflect on the increasing poverty and hunger, the rapidly spreading hatred and violence within as well as between countries, and the frightening buildup of nuclear weapons systems, we come to realize that our world has embarked on a suicidal journey….It seems that the darkness is thicker than ever, that the powers of evil are more blatantly visible than ever, and that the children of God are being tested more severely than ever.” These words were not written last year or last month or even last week. They were written thirty-eight years ago. And yet across long years, they speak boldly to us now as we begin this holiest of weeks.
Father Nouwen is right. There is a darkness at loose in our land. Look around. Trash is being dumped on our highways. Litter is being carelessly tossed onto our neighborhood streets. Graf- fiti and violence are returning to our cities. Friendly debates about important issues are breaking friendships and ruining family gatherings. Bullying and bigotry are on the rise in our schools and in the public square. Our leaders are using social media platforms to ruin the reputations of their political opponents. Budgets are being drastically cut for education, food and nutrition, health care, and housing for the poor. At the same time, a new nuclear arms race is now underway and our wealthiest fellow citizens just received a big tax cut. And once thought forever defeated, authoritarianism and political persecution are reemerging both at home and abroad.
Last summer, we watched in horror as a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and left a young woman dead underneath a car. Last fall, fifty-eight concert goers were killed in a shooting during a music festival in Las Vegas; and one month later, twenty-six parishioners were killed in a shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Last month, seventeen people were killed in a shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And believe it or not, the Gun Violence Archive reports that 3,082 Americans have been killed by gun violence during just the first three months of this year.
In the midst of such darkness, we see a bright light shining in the eyes of some young fellow citizens. This weekend, all over the country, high school students and young adults are partici- pating in the “March for Our Lives.” This remarkable movement was inspired by some students who survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida; but it has grown into an international pro-life movement to protect our children and grandchildren from gun violence. In their mission statement, we read: “Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of an assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes…We must make it a top priority to save these lives.” As Catholics, we could do worse than to take some guidance from these young men and women who seem to understand all too well that protecting life means protecting every life: especially the lives of our children and grandchildren. We could do worse than to follow them into the streets (even if only in spirit) to help them change our troubled world.
In the Old Testament, the Book of Wisdom serves as an exhortation to justice and a rebuke of corruption, dishonesty, and the abuse of power. In that ancient book, we find a compelling verse that seems to sing with relevance during these dark and difficult times: “The righteous who have died will condemn the ungodly who are living, and youth that is quickly perfected will condemn the prolonged old age of the unrighteous (Wisdom 4:16).” This Holy Week, let us pray for the safety of these young activists as they march for our lives. Let us pray for the courage to stand with them and with all who stand against darkness and evil in our world. And let us pray for the grace to march with Christ and with all who suffer into the light of the rising sun of new and everlasting life. Peace and blessings to all!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Note: Father Jim wishes to thank our friend, Jody Cole, for allowing permission to use her beautiful icons on our website and newsletter cover. For more information about this talented iconographer, please visit jcoleicons.com.
Divine Mercy Sunday
A Celebration of God’s Love
Sunday, April 8th
In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina Kowalska and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy (popularly known as Divine Mercy Sunday). During the past two decades, the devotion has spread throughout the world and reflects a mystical message that the Risen Christ gave to Saint Faustina which was recorded in her diary: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy. This is the Easter gift that the Church received from the Risen Christ and offers to all people.”
In this spirit, all are invited to join us for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 8th from 2:00pm until 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. This special afternoon of devotion and prayer will proceed according to the following schedule: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:00pm; the Holy Rosary at 2:30pm; the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm; and Daytime Prayer & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 3:30pm. In between these periods of shared prayer, all are invited to pray in silence in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday, all are encouraged to pray with the following prayer which is traditionally recited each day at 3:00pm to commemorate the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Jesus, you died
but the source of life
flowed out for the souls
and the ocean of mercy
opened up for the whole world.
O Fountain of Life,
immeasurable Divine Mercy,
cover the whole world
and empty yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water
which flowed out
from the heart of Jesus,
as a Fountain of Mercy for us,
I trust in you!
Holy God, Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us
and on the whole world!
Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in you!
We are also blessed and pleased to announce that our celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday will include veneration of a sacred relic of Saint Faustina. For more information about Divine Mercy Sunday in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Jane Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or part of this special event! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Annual Fashion Show
Tuesday, April 12th
All are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a Fashion Show on Thursday, April 12th at 7:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Come and see what real women wear with clothing from Dress Barn and Marshalls! Don’t miss this special evening of fun, fashion, fellowship, and refreshments! Tickets are $10.00 each. Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and community. Throughout the year, the Women’s Guild hosts many fundraising events and social gatherings, including seasonal bake sales, the Strawberry Festival, and the Christmas Fair. For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Catholic Kids Camp
The Holy Names of Jesus
Begins Tuesday, April 17th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce that all children (ages 5 through 11) are invited to participate in our next Catholic Kids Camp: “The Holy Names of Jesus” from Tuesday, April 17th through Friday, April 20th from 8:00am until 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer, fun, and fellowship, children will learn about the many names and images of Jesus Christ through active and engaged participation in games, music, skits, and craft projects. Here’s our schedule for the week:
- Day I: Tuesday, April 17th The Light of the World
- Day II: Wednesday, April 18th The Good Shepherd
- Day III: Thursday, April 19th The Teacher
- Day IV: Friday, April 20th The Bread of Life
Each of our Catholic Kids Camp will begin with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. All parents, grandparents, and guardians are welcome to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead the children to Our Lady’s School for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, learning, and good times with friends both old and new. Catholic Kids Camp is an exciting and educational program that your children and grandchildren will love!
The tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program during the spring school vacation week is just $25 per child for the entire week! Scholarships are available for those families that cannot afford tuition. Also, adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are welcome to join us as volunteers! Registration forms are available on our website: ccgronline.com/formation. For more information about the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s next Catholic Kids Camp, please contact Betsy Works 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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