This Week’s Message
Divine Mercy in Action
By Cliff Garvey
In 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that the Second Sunday of Easter would be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. Since then, God’s faithful people have rallied around a devotion to this feast, to the image of the Risen Christ who appeared in avision to Saint Faustina, and to the chaplet that begs God’s mercy for us and for the whole world. Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet six mornings each week before Mass.
But why? Why does this devotion call to so many people? What can we learn from it? And perhaps most importantly, how can we share its special grace with the world around us? Pope Francis can help us better understand our longing for God’s mercy and our obligation to share it with our brothers and sisters in need. During last year’s celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, the Holy Father said: “Let us never forget that mercy is the keystone to the life of faith and the concrete way through which we make visible the Resurrection of Jesus.” In this way, mercy is not simply for forgiveness or the remission of punishment. Mercy is instead basic goodness, kindness, and generosity. It the core ingredient of the love that we express to our families and friends; the consideration that we show to our colleagues and neighbors; and the charity that we give to the helpless, the lonely, and the poor.
Pope Francis also said: “Mercy makes us understand that violence, resentment, andrevenge have no meaning; and that the first victim is whoever lives these sentimentsbecause it deprives them of their own dignity.” We can see the hard truth in this admonition when we watch cable news or scroll through a social media feed. When we engage in bigotry, bitterness, calumny, and scandalmongering, we exchange mercy for meanness. We become agents of both destruction and self-destruction. We fail as disciples to live the Gospel in all that we think, say, and do. We fail to share God’s mercy in our homes, workplaces, and communities. And we fail to build up the world around us at a time when so many seem so intent on tearing it down.
For some among us, our devotion to Divine Mercy may involve the daily devotion in church. But for all of us, our truest devotion must not be to the ritual of a chaplet or to a sacred image. It should be a resolution to practice what we preach. It should be a resolution to see the Risen Christ in all people, in all situations, and in all things created by God’s love. It should be a resolution to respect all people regardless oftheir race, religion, or life experience. It should be a resolution to reach out to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the unwanted. It should be a resolution to rise above the dark shadows of anger, bitterness, and division that creep into our lives and into our communities. It should be a resolution to love God and love others.
Earlier this week, our country marked the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). This fateful and sad anniversary can help us to consider and reconsider how we think about each other and how we treat eachother during a time of division and extremism. Dr. King once wrote: “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will webe extremists for hate or for love?” What better time to become “extremists for love” than Divine Mercy Sunday? What better time to renew our devotion to sharingGod’s mercy with our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers? What bettertime to pray: “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world!” May the Risen Lord give you peace during this Easter Sea-son and always!
Divine Mercy Sunday
A Celebration of God’s Love
Sunday, April 8th
FEATURING RELIC OF SAINT FAUSTINA
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!
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 at the link below. For more information about the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s next Catholic Kids Camp, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Spring Mission & Retreat
Called to Fullness of Life
April 18th-April 20th
SPECIAL GUEST: SISTER ELIZABETH WAGNER
All are invited to join us for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Spring Mission & Retreat: “Called to Fullness of Life” from Wednesday, April 18th through Friday, April 20th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Mass at 7:00pm. We will be blessed to welcome back Sister Elizabeth Wagner as our special guest and spiritual director, who will lead us in prayer and reflection each evening after Mass.
As part of our “Year for Vocations,” Sister Elizabeth will talk with us about finding meaning in daily life through God’s abiding presence; discovering our true selves through God’s grace; and growing into wholeness and purity of heart through God’s love. In this way, our Spring Mission & Retreat is based on the promise that God calls each of us (heart, body, and soul) to live the Christian life. But because of our fallen natures, we spend our lives working our way back to God through an often painful process of discipleship and reintegration. According to Sister Elizabeth, the ancient monastics would counsel us that our ultimate goal is purity of heart or what we might call wholeness or the true self. Ultimately, this year’s Spring Mission & Retreat is about our individual faith journey and the “great walk back” fromunlikeness to the fullness of life with God.
Sister Elizabeth Wagner lives a contemplative life at Transfiguration Hermitage in Windsor, Maine, which she founded as a semi-eremitical community devoted to prayer and solitude according to the Rule of Saint Benedict. She is a hermit, award-winning writer, spiritual director, and retreat leader. Sister Elizabeth is also formation direc- tor, gardener, and groundskeeper of the hermitage. Our Spring Mission & Retreat is free but donations will be gratefully accepted during Mass to support our adult faith formation programs. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey 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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