This Week’s Message
Solemnity of Christ the King
By Cliff Garvey
This weekend throughout the world, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (sometimes simply known as the Solemnity of Christ the King). This relatively new feast day was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in response to three challenges facing the Church: secularism, clericalism, and the political turmoil that threatened the independence of the Holy See. This feast also emphasizes two important theological and spiritual components: the coming nativity of the Newborn King at Christmas and the Kingdom of God that will culminate at the end of time.
All of these topics weighed heavily upon the thoughts and prayers of Pope Pius XI during the 1920s. Pius was a scholarly figure. He held three doctoral degrees, was an expert in ancient and medieval manuscripts, and served as a church librarian for almost two decades. As pope, he normalized relations between the Republic of Italy and the Vatican City State; abandoned the Church’s longstanding preference for monarchical governments; and made peace with the rising tide of democracy and egalitarianism around the world. In addition, he harshly criticized both clericalism in the Catholic Church and secularism around the world.
In the encyclical letter entitled “Quas Primas” (which translates as “In the First Place”), Pope Pius XI argues that because Jesus Christ is composed of the same divine substance as God the Father, he necessarily comes first. Christ is sovereign and supreme over all things with absolute dominion over all creation — including all of us. He reminds us of the Lord’s own words: “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me (Matthew 28:18).” In this context, all human beings, especially those who wield civil or ecclesial power, are called to humility and to appreciate that they serve a higher power, not their own narrow interests.
Years later, the theological foundations of the Solemnity of Christ the King would inspire Pope Pius XI to speak out forcefully against fascism and nationalism in Nazi Germany. In 1937, his encyclical letter entitled “Mit Brennender Sorge” (which translates as “With Burning Concern”) was written in German, smuggled into the country, and preached from pulpits nationwide. In this timeless document, Pius XI condemned the paganism of Hitler’s ideology of bigotry, hatred, and racism. And in one striking and haunting passage, he wrote:
“Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the state, or a particular form of the state, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of human community — however neces- sary and honorable be their function in worldly things — whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from theconcept of life which that faith upholds.”
Eight decades letter, Pope Pius XI and the Solemnity of Christ the King remind us that there is no place in our world for bigotry, division, and elitism. And there is no place in our church for privilege, power games, or the proverbial passing of the buck. We are all God’s children. We are all God’s family. We are all accountable (especially our bishops and pastors) to Christ the King, who humbled himself, lived among us, suffered for us, died for us, rose from death for the salvation of the world, and calls us to love and to serve without ever counting the cost.
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Christmas Giving Trees
Sharing the Gift of Christmas
This year, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society will once again sponsor the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Christmas Giving Trees which share the Gift of Christmas with local families in need. During the weekend of November 24th and November 25th, the Giving Trees will be at the entrances of our three churches. Each tree will be decorated with stars that include a special Christmas wish. If you can fulfill this wish, please take a star! Every donated gift should be new, unused, and un-wrapped and placed under the tree or delivered to our parish office by Tuesday, December 11th. The Giving Trees will remain in our churches through Sunday, December 9th. For more information, please contact Barbara Frontiero at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your generous support! May God bless us, everyone!
Advent Scripture Study
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Begins Friday, November 30th
During the Holy Season of Advent, all adult parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a weekly lunchtime scripture study based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” On four consecutive Fridays from November 30th through December 21st at 12:00pm in Our Lady’s Church, Father Jim and Cliff will lead a one-hour discussion on this Christmas classic and related scripture passages about compassion, forgiveness, transformation, and redemption.
In preparation for each week’s gathering, participants will be asked to read from “A Christmas Carol: Book & Bible Study Guide” by Alan Vermilye. All are welcome to bring their own lunch and join us for as many sessions as possible. A donation of $25.00 is requested from those who can afford it. Coffee, tea, bottled water, and copies of the book will be provided. If you plan to join us for this special series, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Annual Christmas Fair
Saturday, December 1st
All are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for our Annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 1st from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Highlights will include a fried dough breakfast, a linguiça and hot dog lunch, coffee, and soft drinks! Sale tables will feature Christmas decorations, religious goods, jewelry, plants, fudge, homemade sweetbread and other baked goods, and the general store. We will also have a Mega Raffle with great prizes! Santa will appear at 11:30am with treats for our children and grandchildren! Volunteers are needed for set-up and clean-up! For more information, please contact Beth Fosberry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
Advent Faith & Family Mass
Saturday, December 1st
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all children, parents, grandparents, godparents, and guardians are invited to join Father Jim for our Fourth Annual Advent Faith & Family Mass on Saturday, December 1st at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily about the Advent Wreath and a special blessing for all of God’s children and their families. In addition, every child will receive a small gift from our pastor.
Please save these dates for these upcoming Faith & Family Masses: Saturday, January 5th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; Sunday, March 10th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and Saturday, May 11th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. For more information about our Advent Faith & Family Mass, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Let us affirm that Mass is our class! Jesus is our Teacher! Every child is a precious gift from God! And all families are always welcome to join us for Mass! Please spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent & Christmas Concert
An Annual Holiday Tradition
Sunday, December 2nd
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Tom Misuraca, LuAnn Pallazola, and the Adult & Youth Choir Ministries for our Fourteenth Annual Advent & Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 2nd at 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church. As always, this year’s musical selections have been carefully chosen to help prepare our hearts to celebrate more faithfully the Holy Season of Advent and the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. For more information about this holiday tradition, please contact Tom Misuraca at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us as we share the gift of sacred music during the upcoming holiday season! Spread the good news! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent Mission & Retreat
Discernment Day By Day
Begins Wednesday, December 5th
SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER: SISTER ELIZABETH WAGNER
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockportare invited to join Father Jim and Sister Elizabeth Wagner for our “Advent Mission & Re- treat: Discernment Day By Day” from Wednesday, December 5th through Friday, December7th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Mass at 7:00pm. We are blessed to welcome back Sister Elizabeth Wagner as our special guest and spiritual di- rector, who will lead us in prayer and reflection each evening after Mass.
What is God’s will for our lives? How can we be sure? How do we make sound decisions?Questions like these can both tantalize and torment us throughout our lives! As we con- clude our year-long focus on discernment, our three-night mission and retreat will seek to unfold some basic principles about good discernment; offer guidance about making every- day decisions; and share sound wisdom about making major life decisions. Sister Elizabeth will also be selling and signing copies of her best-selling book, “Seasons in My Garden”,along with homemade fruit cake, jam, and hot sauce.
Sister Elizabeth Wagner lives a contemplative life at Transfiguration Hermitage in Windsor, Maine, which she founded as a semi-eremitical community devoted to work, prayer, and solitude in accordance with the ancient Rule of Saint Benedict. Sister Elizabeth is a hermit, award-winning author, spiritual director, and retreat leader. She is also the formation direc- tor, gardener, and groundskeeper of the hermitage. Our Advent Mission & Retreat is free but donations will be gratefully accepted during Mass to support our adult faith formation ministry. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! Spread the word! 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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