This Week’s Message
By Pope Francis
How can we know if something comes from the Holy Spirit or if it stems from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil? The only way is through discernment, which calls for something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift which we must implore. If we ask with confidence that the Holy Spirit grant us this gift, and then seek to develop it through prayer, reflection, reading, and good counsel, then surely we will grow in this spiritual discipline (166).
Discernment is necessary not only at extraordinary times, when we need to resolve grave problems and make crucial decisions. It is a means of spiritual combat for helping us to follow the Lord more faithfully. We need it at all times, to help us recognize God’s timetable, lest we fail to heed the promptings of his grace and disregard his invitation to grow. Discernment is often exercised in small and apparently irrelevant things, since greatness of spirit is manifested in simple everyday realities. It involves striving unhampered for all that is great, better, and more beautiful, while at the same time being concerned for the little things, for each day’s responsibilities and commitments. For this reason, I shall ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord, a sincere daily examination of conscience. Discernment also enables us to recognize concrete means that the Lord provides in his mysterious and loving plan, to make us move beyond mere good intentions (169).
An essential condition for progress in discernment is a growing understanding of God’spatience and his timetable, which are never our own. God does not pour down fire upon those who are unfaithful or allow the zealous to uproot the weeds among the wheat. Generosity is also demanded for “it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).” Discernment is not about discovering what more we can get out of this life, but about recognizing how we can better accomplish the mission entrusted to us at our baptism. This entails a readiness to make sacrifices, even to sacrificing everything (174).
When, in God’s presence, we examine our life’s journey, no areas can be off limits. In all aspects of life, we can continue to grow and offer something greater to God, even in those areas we find most difficult. We need, though, to ask the Holy Spirit to liberate us and to expel the fear than makes us ban him from certain parts of our lives. God asks everything of us, yet he also gives everything to us. He does not want to enter our lives to cripple or diminish them, but to bring them to fulfillment. Discernment, then, is not a solipsistic self-analysis or a form of egotistical introspection, but an authentic process of leaving ourselves behind in order to approach the mystery of God, who helps us to carry out the mission to which he has called us, for the good of our brothers and sisters (175).
It is my hope that these [words] will prove helpful by enabling the whole Church to de- vote herself anew to promoting the desire for holiness. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to pourout upon us a fervent longing to be saints for God’s greater glory, and let us encourageone another in this effort. In this way, we will share a happiness that the world will not be able to take from us (175-176).
About This Week’s Message
This weekend, our weekly message features another powerful excerpt from Pope Francis’s “Rejoice and Be Glad.” 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. An essential part of this Christian vocation (whether we are ordained clergy, married, or single) is discernment: the practice of choosing what is good, true, and beautiful; and choosing to act on God’s will for our lives.
Living a life of holiness 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 us to rededicate ourselves to living the gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding our wounded Church. All are invited to reflect on this week’s message and to consider joining us for our summer retreat (see above). 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 25th
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 recital of the summer season is scheduled for Saturday, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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!
Adult Faith Formation
Sacramental Preparation for Adults
I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
“The Way” was among the earliest names for the followers of the Risen Christ. Indeed, the Way appears as a scriptural reference to the earliest Christian communities in the Acts of the Apostles. In addition, both before and after his conversion, tradition holds that Saint Paul referred to the disciples of Christ as part of “The Way.” More than two thousand years later, Catholic Christians are still part of the Way of Jesus Christ. But as we all know, a life of discipleship is not a hobby or pastime. It is a vocation, a way of life that lays claim to our whole heart, mind, and strength. As disciples, our lives should be focused on and inspired by our faith in Jesus Christ, who is our merciful redeemer, friend, and brother. And as disciples, we are called to reach out to those who need our help in growing closer to Christ and the Church.
If you are an adult (age 18 and over) and have not received all of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation), then please consider joining the Way, our adult faith formation program that will meet on Sunday mornings after our 8:15am Mass beginning on October 14th. Typically called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, the Way is a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Roman Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. As part of this same program, we will prepare adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation (to be received at either our local Easter Vigil Mass or at a regional archdiocesan celebration).
Our group will meet twice each month for fellowship, formation, and faith sharing. As a community of disciples, we will learn together about the basic beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic Church. We will explore the methods of prayer that have brought generations of believers closer to Christ and his Church. And we will talk openly and honestly about the challenges of living an authentic life of faith, hope, and love in the modern world. If you would like to learn more about this journey of faith and become part of a unique fellowship in preparation for the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, then 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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