This Week’s Message
Transformed By Easter
By Father Richard Rohr, OFM
Christian history reaches its crescendo in the resurrection. The Risen Jesus is the final revelation of the heart of God—a God who teaches love rather than hate, forgiveness rather than blame, non-violence rather than violence. Recall Jesus’s encounters with his disciples after his resurrection. He came to his followers with whom he had spent three years, the people closest to him who had nevertheless rejected, betrayed, and abandoned him. Following his resurrection, Jesus had the opportunity to chastise them. And yet, in all four Gospel accounts, we see that the Risen Jesus neither berates nor blames his disciples. Indeed, Peter, who had betrayed him three times, is given three chances to say “I love you” to his master.
There is nothing to fear in the Risen Christ. We have in him the perfect icon of a God who is safe. We have a God who does not blame, punish, threaten, or dominate. We have a God who breathes forgiveness. The entire biblical tradition has been moving to this moment where God is identified with universal forgiveness.Jesus’s resurrection tells us that there is no victory through domination. There is nosuch thing as triumph by force. By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus stops the cycle of violence, challenging the notion of dominating power. He invites us to relational or spiritual power, where we are not changed but transformed.
Many of us identify more easily with the judging God we have encountered in childhood: the one who knows our every sin and metes out punishments, the one we must attempt to placate and please. We are often more comfortable living with a fearsome God than one whose love is boundless. But by his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus challenges us to new heights of redemptive forgiveness. Most of us cannot go for long without thinking a judgmental or accusatory thought about others. So often, there is someone we are judging, accusing, blaming. To live in the good, to live in the love, to live without a need to judge—that’s major surgery! None of usreaches that point early in life, but when we are there, we know that we are transformed. We are free. We are at one with the Risen Jesus. Once we have a personal experience in our own life with the Risen Christ (upholding, love, and freeing us), then we have nothing to fear. That is how secure Christ makes us, because we have a center point. We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
During a retreat, my fellow retreatants and I were asked to list the adjectives that each of us would use to describe Jesus. My list included words such as compassionate, self-confident, humble, and forgiving. When our leader brought us back together as a group, she suggested that the qualities we had identified represented not so much what Jesus was like, but what each of us wanted in ourselves. Jesus is the divine lure who invites us forward in our humanity, enticing us into these virtues by his own full living of them. The qualities I had on my list are indeed qualities Jesus possessed. But the reason we want to embrace them is because Jesus has set the standard, the ideal for humanity. In Jesus, we see the divine being who is also the perfect human being. Jesus comes in human form to show us the face of God, who is eternally compassionate and joyous, standing with us in our sufferings and joys. As Christians, our vocation is to unite with Christ—crucified and risen.
About the Author
Richard Rohr is a Roman Catholic Priest and Franciscan Friar. In addition to being a best-selling author, Father Rohr is an internationally known retreat leader, spiritual director, and social activist. If you enjoyed this week’s message, checkout “Bringing Home the Word” every Saturday at ccgronline.com.
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Grand Annual Collection
Our Goal: $45,000 | Raised So Far: $25,467
Earlier this month, I wrote to all parishioners at Our Lady of Good Voyage about ourgoal of raising $45,000 for this year’s Grand Annual Collection. This fundraising campaign is a crucial component of our parish budget because it bridges the gap between weekly offertory and our ongoing financial obligations. If we fail to reach our goal, it will be virtually impossible to balance our budget and it could threaten the long-term financial stability of our beloved parish.
The Grand Annual Collection helps us to pay for the benefits and salaries of our pastor, senior priests, and hard-working pastoral team members (including maintenance staff and music ministers). It helps to pay for insurance premiums and utility bills. It helps to maintain, repair, and preserve our historic church, rectory, school, and parish hall. And it helps to support popular parish programs like adult and youth faith formation.
Although part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we should all remember that Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish is both canonically and financially independent. It maintains its own bank accounts and accounting procedures; and it remains completely and solely responsible for its own expenses, building maintenance, and pastoral programs. Every single penny raised by the Grand Annual Collection goes directly to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. And every contribution, large or small, goes a long way toward helping us to meet our financial obligations and balance our parish budget for the current fiscal year.
At this point, we have raised more than $25,467 or 57% of our goal. This is a solid start! Thank you! In order to balance our budget, however, we simply must reach our goal by the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. During the weekend of April 21st and 22nd, we will take up a second collection in support of the Grand Annual Collection. Donation envelopes are available in the church vestibule or from our parish office. Overall, our challenge is to raise another $20,000 in less than three months! This will require the joyful participation and generous support of every single parishioner! If every person who worships at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on a typical weekend gave $25 over the course of the next three months, we would not just meet but exceed our goal!
As our Grand Annual Collection enters its final weeks, please join me in praying that each and every one of us, according to our means, will give as generously as possible to this all-important fundraising effort. Please also pray for me, our senior priests, and our pastoral team. And be assured always of our daily prayers for you and your family. May God bless you, your family, and all who live, work, and worship in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Thank you in advance for your generous support! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
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!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Our Lady’s Guild Spring Fair
Saturday, April 21st
All are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for the Annual Spring Fair on Saturday, April 21st from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Parish Hall. Highlights include ourfamous fried dough breakfast and our equally famous linguiça and hot dog lunch! Sale tables will include jewelry, religious items, and the general store. We will also have raffles and prizes throughout the day! Donations and volunteers are always welcome! For more information Our Lady’s Guild and the Spring Fair, please contact Joyce Lacerda at 978-283-3465 or Jean Madruga at 978-281-4820. Since 1944, Our Lady’s Guild has worked to build community among women of all ages in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish through prayer, good works, social activities, and fundraising events. The Guild meets on the first Monday evening of each month in the Our Lady’s Parish Hall at 6:30pm. New members are always welcome! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Sacramental Preparation for Adults
Congratulations & Thanks
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport congratulates the following parishioners who received the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and/or Confirmation) at the Easter Vigil: David Dolloff, Amy Gallagher, Jennifer Knight, Robert Ladd, Andrea Novello, David Rano, and Brittany Tarrantino. Since last fall, these adults met regularly after Sunday Mass. They prayed and studied together. And they grew in appreciation for and knowledge of the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. We congratulate them for their accomplishments and we thank them for their sincere commitment to their faith formation.
We also thank Cliff Garvey, Associate Minister, for his dedication and hard work and for serving as lead catechist and spiritual director for candidates and catechumens. In addition, Cliff and I sincerely thank Patricia Natti and Margaret Wiberg for their gifts of time, talent, and prayer without which this program may not have been possible. Finally, if you are an adult (age 18 and over) and you have not received the Sacraments of Initiation, and wish to join us on “The Way,” please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Our next program begins in the fall! 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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