This Week’s Message
Our Good Shepherd & His Critics
By Cliff Garvey
Almost twenty years ago, a classmate at Saint John Seminary challenged me for asking about an alternative Catholic perspective on moral theology beyond that preached by Pope John Paul II. It bothered me then (and it bothers me now) that many priests, deacons, and lay ministers leave our schools of theology knowing much about John Paul’s teachings on sexual ethics (abortion, homosexuality, and marriage), but seemingly not nearly enough about the Church’s teachings on social justice (health care, poverty, and peacemaking). Perhaps more disturbing is a new trend among influential Catholic media personalities to label any perspective other than the late pope’s perspective as somehow unorthodox or even heretical.
Consider, for example, how EWTN covers Pope Francis. The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) was founded in 1981, promotes itself as the “Global Catholic Network,” and also owns the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency. It is perhaps best known for programs hosted by Mother Mary Angelica and Father Benedict Groeschel (bothnow deceased). Over the years, EWTN’s worldwide viewership has grown and its influence among many Catholics is considerable. Recently, EWTN has become increasingly political (almost partisan) in its editorial content, especially in its coverage of Pope Francis.
Raymond Arroyo is the managing editor and lead news anchor at EWTN. Mr. Arroyo has no formal training in Church history, spirituality, or theology. He claims no experience in Christian service or parish ministry. But he is perhaps the most recognizable Catholic journalist in the United States. Unfortunately, he also appears regularly at partisan political conferences and on partisan political television shows. His own program, “The World Over,” often provides a forum for commentators who promote conspiracy theories and extreme views that are sometimes inconsistent with the Gospel’s message of love and mercy. In recent months, Mr. Arroyo has welcomed Sebastian Gorka, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Savage to his program. These guests are all well known for their bombastic positions on the issues of the day. And each of them has openly ridiculed Pope Francis as being either a fool, liar, or heretic.
On social media, Mr. Arroyo’s behavior is also troubling. He frequently promotes the scandalous lie that Pope Francis is somehow causing confusion among believers by emphasizing love and mercy, care for the poor and sick, compassion for migrants and refugees, and outreach to our alienated brothers and sisters. Mr. Arroyo’s twitter feed is filled with posts that have little to do with the Catholic Church, but have a great deal to do with promoting a partisan political agenda. At this point, you may be wondering why EWTN is so biased toward one editorial and theological perspective when the Catholic Church contains such a rich and diverse tapestry of views? Why is Raymond Arroyo, whose network is accountable to our bishops, permitted to openly undermine Pope Francis? And why do many Catholics still support EWTN by watching or offering donations? Good questions.
Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, our mission is to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church. Our work is hard and it is good. But it is made more difficult by those who seek to tear down the Vicar of Christ because he does not espouse a particular agenda. Pope Francis is not perfect. He speaks freely and spontaneously. He makes mistakes. He often publicly apologizes for those mistakes with contrition and humility. But his intentions are obviously good and holy. Pope Francis embodies the true spiritof the Good Shepherd. In this week’s gospel, Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for my sheep (John 10:14-15).” This week, let us pray for our good shepherd and his critics. May God bless Pope Francis with the courage, grace, and good health necessary to lead an unruly flock to the gates of heaven. Amen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Grand Annual Collection
Our Goal: $45,000 | Raised So Far: $26,777
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 $26,777 or 60% 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!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Adult Faith Formation
Spring Day of Prayer & Reflection
Saturday, May 5th
MARY: MOTHER OF GOD, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
Earlier this year, Pope Francis announced that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church should be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost and celebrated each year in churches throughout the world. In anticipation of this new feast and as part of our “Year for Vocations,” all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join the Legion of Mary, the Assisi Project, and their spiritual directors, Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, for “Mary: Mother of God, Mother of the Church” on Saturday, May 5th at Saint Anthony Chapel (located at 21 Farrington Avenue in Gloucester).
During this four-hour morning retreat, we will explore the Blessed Virgin Mary’s twin vocations as “Mother of God” and “Mother of the Church.” This special morning of prayer and reflection will proceed according to the following schedule: Celebration of Holy Mass at 8:00am; First Reflection & Faith Sharing at 9:00am; Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 10:00am; Second Reflection & Faith Sharing at 11:00am; Angelus & Closing Prayer at 12:00pm.
Throughout the morning, there will be scheduled breaks and time for faith sharing, fellowship, and refreshments. Coffee, tea, and bottled water will be available throughout the morning. After our closing prayers, all are invited to remain for a picnic lunch. During Mass, a collection will be taken in support of our adult faith formation ministry. If you would like to join us for this special morning of prayer and reflection in honor of our Blessed Mother, please contact Cliff Garvey email@example.com (so that we can adequately plan for food and drink). Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
First Holy Communion
Begins Saturday, April 28th
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faithcommunity’s joy and the center of our life of prayer, fellowship, and service. This spring season, after a year of prayer, preparation, and study, fifty-nine young disciples will receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord for the first time. Our annual celebrations of First Holy Communion begin next weekend. All parishioners are encouraged to be mindful of our upcoming schedule:
- Saint Ann Church Saturday, April 28th at 4:00pm Mass
- Saint Joachim Church Sunday, April 29th at 10:00am Mass
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church Sunday, May 6th at 11:45am Mass
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church Sunday, May 13th at 11:45am Mass
For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we make final preparations for First Holy Communion, please pray for all of our young disciples, their parents, families, and catechists. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and 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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