This Week’s Message
Their Most Exalted Service
By Cliff Garvey
On Thursday, November 1st, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation for all Roman Catholics (see below). As we prepare for this special day, we should prayerfully reflect on the role of the saints in ourlives. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us about three states of life: “At the present time, some of the Lord’s disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified (in purgatory), while still others are in glory, contemplating in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is (CCC 954).” Those in glory are the saints.
Beyond their canonization, a saint is remembered as a person of extraordinary holiness; a person who was faithful, hopeful, and loving (without counting the costs); and a person who was honest, righteous, and virtuous (regardless of the consequences). A saint is remembered as generous, humble, merciful, and self-sacrificing (regardless of what the world might think); and as someone who owned their brokenness and offered it to the Lord as an instrument of conversion, discipleship, and evangelization (for God’s sake, for their own sake, and for the sake of others).
All of us are called to holiness. All of us are called to be saints. And all of us are abused, broken, cracked, or shattered to one degree or another. And yet, the Catechism says: “All of us, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors; and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God (CCC 491).” For these reasons, we gather together, we pray together, and we work together in the Lord’s vineyard. And we beg the saints to pray for us, so that each one of us, each in our own limited way, might become what Pope Francis has called one of the “everyday saints.”
In Lumen Gentium, perhaps the most important document generated by the Second Vatican Council, we read: “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the wholeChurch more firmly in holiness…The saints do not cease to intercede with the Father for us…So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped (LG 49).” What does this mean? Itmeans that all of the saints think of themselves as our brothers and sisters. It means that the saints look upon us in our weakness. They love us. They care for us. And they suffer with us. It means that the saints never stop praying for us: never, no matter who we are, no matter where we are from, and no matter what we have done in our lives.
Some of the saints knew this even before they passed from this life. Saint Therese of Lisieux wrote: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.” The Little Flower dreamed of doing good on earth by loving us, by praying for us, and by interceding for us as she spends all eternity in adoration of God’s Holy Face. Likewise, Saint Dominic is credited with saying before his death: “Do not weep for me because I will be more useful to you after my death; I will help you then even more effectively than during my life.”
The Catechism affirms these spiritual truths. It states: “The saints contemplate God, praise himand constantly care for those whom they have left on earth…Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world (CCC 2683).” Now more than ever, let us beg the saints to pray for us, for our divided country, for our wounded church, and for our suffering world. All saints, pray for us!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Solemnity of All Saints
Vigil for the Healing of God’s Family
Thursday, November 1st
The Holy Father recently issued a special request for prayers to Catholics around the world. It said: “Pope Francis has decided to invite all the faithful, of the entire world, to pray the Holy Rosary ever day during the Marian month of October and to join together in prayer and penance, as the people of God, in asking the Mother of God and Saint Michael the Archangel to protect the church from the devil, that always aims to divide us from God and among ourselves.” In response to the Holy Father’s unprecedented request, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will continue to pray the Rosary every morning after Mass for the healing and protection of the church throughout the world. For the rest of this month, we will also conclude all daily and weekend Masses with this powerful prayer for the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our defense against
the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan
and the other evil spirits
who prowl about the world
for the ruin of souls.
In addition to these powerful prayer for the protection of the church, I believe that concrete steps must be taken by church leaders to protect God’s family (children and adults alike) from the horrors of sexual abuse and harassment and from the conspiracies to conceal these crimes from law enforcement authorities. I also believe that we must come together as neighbors, friends, and fellow parishioners to heal God’s family by rededicating ourselves to living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding our wounded Church.
In this spirit, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join me on Thursday, November 1st, the Solemnity of All Saints for a Vigil for the Healing of God’sFamily. This vigil will begin with Mass at 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, followed by Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At 3:00pm, we will pray the Rosary for the healing of God’s Family. We will conclude at 6:30pm with Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Please join us! All are welcome! Peace and blessings!— Father Jim
Solemnity of All Saints
Holy Day of Obligaton
Thursday, November 1st
Since late antiquity, the People of God have honored the holy men and women who have been canonized as saints in the Roman Catholic Church. The Solemnity of All Saints honors all saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us in faith, hope, and love; and who now pray for the salvation of souls. In commemoration of this Holy Day of Obligation, on Thursday, November 1st, our parishes will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:
Wednesday, October 31st· Vigil Mass
Saint Ann Church at 4:00pm
Thursday, November 1st· Holy Day Masses
Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 12:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00pm
For more information about the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us as we pray for the intercession of all saints for our divided country, our wounded church, and our suffering world! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Parish
Annual Christmas Fair
Saturday, November 17th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Holy Family Parish for our Annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, November 17th from 9:00am until 2:00pm in Saint AnnChurch Hall. This year’s fair will feature various tables,including homemade baked goods and cookies, Christmas decorations, Santa’s Corner, Chinese Raffle, WhiteElephant, and our famous Basket Wheel! In addition, raffles tickets are now available for cash prizes, an Apple iPad, and a Red Sox Game Package.
We gratefully accept donations! We are especially thankful to Greely Funeral Home and Pike-Newhall Funeral Home for their donation of raffle prizes. The Christmas Fair Committee and Holy Family Women’s Guild are working overtime to make this year’s fair another great success! So, please support this all-important fundraising event by joining us on Saturday, November 17th! For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com. 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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