This Week’s Message
Mary, Mother of God
By Cliff Garvey
As Catholics, we believe that God calls us to live as faithful disciples. But in what form of life are we called to live our discipleship? As a woman, are you called to marriage, motherhood, religious life, or the single life? As a man, are you called to marriage, fatherhood, priesthood, or the diaconate? What is your calling? What is your vocation? Who are you called to be? What are you called to do with this one life that you are blessed to live? These are timeless questions that can sometimes take a lifetime to answer. But with hearts and minds open to prayer and discernment, 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 respond to God’s plan for our lives.
Like us, the Virgin Mary had a vocation. She was chosen by God to serve as the Mother of God. Think of it! As Mary comes of age in the house of her parents, Ann and Joachim, she is visitedby Gabriel, an Angel of God. Gabriel tells Mary about her vocation, about God’s plan for her life. She will conceive and give birth to a son and that her son will be God’s son, too. In response to this miraculous message, Mary responds: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).” In this divine context, becoming God’s handmaid means that Mary embraces her nearness to God. She embraces her vocation as a disciple, follower, and servant of the Lord. She embraces an intimate relationship with the Lord. Most profoundly, she embraces her vocation as Mother of God.
Put simply, in response to the angel’s message, Mary says “yes” to God. In an instant, a vocation is offered, discerned, chosen, and accepted. In his book, “Waking up Catholic,” Chad Torgerson writes: “Mary was chosen, but she still had choices to make. Like us, Mary had the free will tomake these choices on her own. When faced with one of the greatest challenges humankind has ever known (being the Mother of God), Mary responded with strength, grace, and a steadfastheart.” Take a moment to pray about Mary’s choices. Mary chose to listen to God’s messenger. Mary chose to believe with her whole heart. Mary chose to serve God without counting the cost. Mary chose to do God’s will without complaint or questions. Mary chose to suffer at the foot of the Cross. Mary chose to surrender her entire life to God’s plan for salvation.
At the moment of the annunciation, Mary accepted her vocation with great joy. But she did not turn away from that vocation when her joy turned to grief, pain, and sorrow. Chad Torgerson writes: “In Christ, Mary was given the greatest gift the world has ever known. And with Christ’s death on the Cross, she was given one of the greatest sorrows the world has ever known.” In theface of such suffering, Mary did not turn away. She did not run. She did not hide. She did notreject God’s plan for her life. Instead, Mary clung to the Crucified Christ with the same love with which she cradled the Christ Child: a mother’s love; a love that knows no boundaries, noexceptions, and no limits; a love that transcends time and place; a love that never ends.
Throughout her life and for all time, Mary embraced her vocation as the Mother of God. She listened. She prayed. She discerned. She chose. She acted. We, too, can join in her blessed vocation. Saint Francis of Assisi writes: “We are spouses of Christ when a faithful soul is joined bythe Holy Spirit to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are siblings of Christ when we do the will of our Father in heaven. And we are mothers of Christ when we carry Him in our hearts and bodies through divine love; and when pure and sincere consciences give birth to Him in our worldthrough holy deeds that shine as good examples to others.” During May, Mary’s Month, let us show our devotion to the Blessed Mother by discerning our vocations, embracing God’s plan forour lives, and choosing to love without counting the cost. Let us join the Mother of God in giving birth to the Eternal Word through all of our thoughts, words, and actions. May the Risen Lord give you peace! And may Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and always! Amen!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Youth Faith Formation
First Holy Communion
Blessings & Congratulations!
On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Father Jim wishes to congratulate all of the children from Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish who have successfully completed our program of preparation and who will receive their First Holy Communion during the next few weekends. During the past seven months, these sixty-four young parishioners and their parents have prayed, studied, and grown together in prayer, fellowship, and service. They have learned together that disciples of all ages are called to live the Gospel, share God’s love and mercy, and rebuild the Church. They are all well-prepared to receive the Body & Blood of the Risen Lord and to become faithful and faith-filled disciples!
The children who are receiving their First Holy Communion this year wish to thank their parents, families, and friends for their love, prayers, and support. In particular, they wish to express their appreciation to those who helped them prepare for their First Holy Communion: Father Jim Achadinha, Olga Alves, Rizza Anderson, Fernanda Brown, Phyllis Comeau, Carol Conlon, John Conlon, Angelica Duran, Mary Duran, Jenn Dort, Grace Figurido, Gerry Kippen, Yvonne LeBlanc, Sean Lilly, Jean Madruga, Mary Ellen McLeod, Marilyn Smith, Chris Smith, and especially Betsy Works. Finally, please pray for all of our young fellow parishioners, their parents, and families so that they will continue to grow in faith, hope, and love; and that they will continue to join us for Mass on a regular basis. Please also pray in thanksgiving for our pastoral team and our dedicated volunteers who make these celebrations possible. Thank you for your prayers and support! May God bless you and your family!
The Ascension of the Lord
A Holy Day of Obligation
Thursday, May 10th
On Thursday, May 10th, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which commemorates Christ’s elevation into heaven in the presence of the disciples on the fortieth day after his resurrection. On this Holy Day of Obligation, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:
- Wednesday, May 9th at 7:00pm (Saint Ann Church)
- Thursday, May 10th at 8:00am (Saint Joachim Church)
- Thursday, May 10th at 12:00pm (Our Lady of Good Voyage Church)
For more information about the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, please see Father Jim or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We pray that you and your family will consider celebrating this Holy Day in Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
Mother’s Day Mass for Families
Saturday, May 12th
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Mt 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all parents, grandparents, godparents, and children of all ages are invited to join Father Jim for our annual Mother’s Day Mass for families on Saturday, May 12th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. During Mass, Father Jim will preach about Mother’s Day and offer a special blessing for all mothers, families, and children. In addition, those who gather for this Mass will join the Legion of Mary in the Annual Crowning of theBlessed Virgin Mary. As our Mother’s Day Mass for Families draws near, let us reaffirm that Mass is our class! Jesus is our Teacher! Mary is our Mother! And every family that joins us is a gift from God! For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Electronic Giving Made Safe & Easy
Available at Both Parishes
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Donations can be made on a one-time-only or ongoing basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. Just choose the appropriate link below and click “Make a Donation.” Please prayerfully consider supporting your parish by giving electronically! For more information about electronic giving in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous and ongoing 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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline