This Week’s Message
By Pope Francis
Saint Paul instructed the Romans not to repay evil for evil, not to seek revenge, and not to be overcome by evil, but instead to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). This attitude is not a sign of weakness but of true strength, because God himself is slow to anger but great in power. The word of God exhorts us to put away all bitterness and wrath and wrangling and slander, together with all malice (Ephesians 4:31). We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root. When we feel overwhelmed, we can always cling to the anchor of prayer, which puts us back in God’s hands and the source of our peace.
Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forms of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned. The result is a dangerous division, since things can be said there that would be unacceptable in public discourse, and people look to compensate for their own discontent by lashing out at others. It is striking that at times, in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they completely ignore the eighth, which forbids bearing false witness or lying, and ruthlessly vilify others. Here we see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze.
Inner strength, as the work of grace, prevents us from becoming carried away by the violence that is so much a part of life today, because grace defuses vanity and makes possible meekness of heart. The saints do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters, and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others. Saints hesitate to treat others harshly; they consider others better than themselves.
It is not good when we look down on others like heartless judges, lording it over them and always trying to teach them lessons. That is itself a subtle form of violence. Saint John of the Cross proposed a different path: “Always prefer to be taught by all, rather than to desire teaching even the least of all.” And he added advice on how to keep the devil at bay: “Rejoice in the good of others as if it were your own, and desire that they be given precedence over you in all things; this you should do wholeheartedly. You will thereby overcome evil with good, banish the devil, and possess a happy heart. Try to practice this all the more with those who least attract you. Realize that if you do not train yourself in this way, you will not attain real charity or make any progress in it.”
Humility can only take root in the heart through humiliations…Here I am not speaking only about stark situations of martyrdom, but about the daily humiliations of those who keep silent to save their families, who prefer to praise others rather than boast about themselves, or who choose the less welcome tasks, at times choosing even to bear an injustice so as to offer it to the Lord. This does not mean walking around with eyes lowered, not saying a word, and fleeing the company of others. At times, precisely because someone is free of selfishness, he or she can dare to disagree gently, to demand justice or to defend the weak before the powerful, even if it may harm his or her reputation.
About This Week’s Message
This weekend, our weekly message features an excerpt from Pope Francis’s “Rejoice and Be Glad.” Released earlier this year, the Holy Father’s third apostolic exhortation focuses on the universal call to holiness. This means that each of us is called by God to goodness, love, and holiness. This essential part of our individual Christian vocation (whether we are ordained clergy, married, or single) requires ongoing discernment, vigilance, and prayer.
Living a holy life in today’s world is not easy. But Pope Francis offers practical advice that can speak to the heart and change lives. During a time when the Roman Catholic Church is again under scrutiny, it is important for all of us to rededicate ourselvesto living the gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding our wounded Church. All parishioners are invited to reflect on this week’s message and to consider joining us for our summer retreat (see below). Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Saturday, August 11th
An annual tradition returns this summer to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Our Summer Carillon Recitals are scheduled to begin next Saturday, August 4th at 5:15pm (rain or shine). Once again, LuAnn Pallazola, our very talented keyboardist has prepared programs that include familiar classical music, popular hymns, patriotic melodies, and children’s tunes! Installed in 1922, the carillon bells in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church were the first toned set of carillon bells in the United States. Although our bells can be heard from blocks away, the sound is best near the church. Our final carillon recitals of the summer season are scheduled for the following Saturday afternoons at 5:15pm: August 25th and September 1st. These recitals are free and open to the public! So, bring a cold drink or coffee! Bring your family! Bring a friend! Enjoy this wonderful summer tradition! And don’t forget that Mass begins at 6:00pm! Please join us! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome! For more information, please contact LuAnn Pallazola at email@example.com.
Catholic Kids Camp
The Holy Angels of God
Begins Tuesday, August 21st
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 Angels of God” from Tuesday, August 21st through Friday, August 24th from 8:00am until 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer and fellowship, our children will learn about the Holy Angels of God and their ministry to God’s people through active and engaged participation games, music, skits, and craft projects. Here’s our schedule for the week:
- Day I: Tuesday, August 21st The Guardian Angels
- Day II: Wednesday, August 22nd Saint Michael the Archangel
- Day III: Thursday, August 23rd Saint Gabriel the Archangel
- Day IV: Friday, August 24th Saint Raphael the Archangel
Each day 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 invited and encouraged to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of dedicated volunteers will lead the children to Our Lady’s School for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, hands-on learning, and good times with friends both old and new! Catholic Kids Camp is a fun, exciting, and educational program that your children and grandchildren will surely love!
The requested tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program is just $30 per child for the entire week! Scholarships are available for those families who cannot afford tuition. Also, adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are welcome to join us as volunteers and will be most appreciated! For more information about our next Catholic Kids Camp, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration forms are available via the link below. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saturday with Saint Francis
Saturday, August 25th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey during their first pilgrimage and retreat in Italy, the Assisi Project is a “Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit” with members and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to the Catholic Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. On the last Saturday morning of every month, the Assisi Project meets for Mass, formation, fellowship, and faithsharing. Our next “Saturday with Saint Francis” mini- retreat is scheduled for August 25th from 8:00am until 10:00am.
This month, our reflection will focus on discernment, vocation, and personal spiritual renewal. Members of the Assisi Project, all around the world, ranging in age from 16 to 93, pray for those who ask for prayers. If you have a prayer request or would like more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!
Fifth Annual Summer Retreat
Everone’s Vocation to Everyday Holiness
Begins Monday, August 27th
The summer season is a great time of year for stepping back from the business and busy-ness of daily life in order to focus on our personal relationship with Christ, with each other, and with the Church. Unfortunately, few among us are able to leave behind work, family, and friends for a real retreat from the world. For this reason, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce our Fifth Annual Summer Retreat, On Retreat with Pope Francis: Everyone’s Vocation to Everyday Holiness!
From Monday, August 27th through Friday, August 31st, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual peace and renewal of a week-long retreat without leaving home! Each evening of our summer retreat will begin at 7:00pm in Saint Anthony Chapel with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After our shared prayer, Father Jim and Cliff will lead our community in a period of reflection, discussion, and faith sharing. Evening evening will conclude at 8:30pm with Night Prayer. During each day of the retreat, the chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent personal prayer and reflection.
This year, we will explore the universal vocation to holiness that is described by Pope Francis in his book: “Rejoice And Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in the Contemporary World.” In this heartfelt and beautifully written apostolic exhortation, the Holy Father challenges everyone, regardless of their vocation, to live an everyday holiness characterized by humility, kindness, love, and mercy. And he offers practical advice for living out the vocation to holiness regardless of our age, gender, background, and overall life experience.
Between each night of the summer retreat, participants will be asked to read brief selections from “Rejoice And Be Glad” and reflect on a few study questions. If you would like to join us for all or even just part of our Fifth Annual Summer Retreat, please be sure to contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, August 26th. A donation of $30 is requested from those who can afford it. Copies of the book and cold drinks will be provided. Please join us! Bring a friend! 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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