Our Pastor’s Message
The Beams of Hypocrisy
By Father Jim
In the Gospel of Luke, the mountain for Jesus is a place for prayer; the place where he chooses the twelve disciples. But in this week’s reading (Luke 6:39-45), we find Jesus in the midst of what is sometimes called the “Sermon on the Plain.” In this passage, Jesus moves to the plain, to level ground, to be with the people. Those who gather here belong to three groups: the apostles, the disciples, and the people — everyday men and women like you and me who come to hear the message of this new preacher from Galilee. Among them are Jews and Gentiles, the young and the old, the poor and sick (for whom Jesus shows special concern). This setting strongly suggests that the sermon is intended for all people: not just for those who follow Jesus, not just for those who are guilty of some sin.
Jesus preaches to this universal audience a sermon about five important subjects: blessings and hardship; love of enemies; integrity; hearing and doing; and finally, the hypocrisy of judging others. These are hard lessons. They demand that we pause and think before we speak. They require that we pray and consider the consequences before we act. They call us to self-examination and self-knowledge. They admonish us to think twice before judging others. And especially during these troubled times, they offer us a counter-cultural way of living that is based on a Gospel mentality rather than a reality show mentality. Jesus asks of us a difficult thing. He asks us to look directly and honestly into the mirror and reflect on our own sins and shortcomings before we accuse and judge others.
Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have high ethical or moral standards, but failing to practice those standards in our own lives. Hypocrisy is deceitful, dishonest, insincere, and pretentious. The hypocrite claims the high ground, but all too often falls into the deepest depths of rigidity, sanctimony, and judgment. The hypocrite is a fake, a phony, and a liar. Earlier this week, I watched with annoyance (and some amusement) as one politician attacked another politician for exaggerating his military service in Vietnam while seeming to forget that he himself had avoided military service on five separate occasions!
This is the kind of hypocrisy that has plagued God’s family since the dawn of time. This is the kind of hypocrisy that has causes so much anger in our divided country, so much pain in our wounded church, and so much grief in our suffering world. This is the wooden beam that Jesus preaches about in this weekend’s Gospel. It is the heavy beam of hypocrisy that Jesus asks us to remove from our own eye before bringing attention to the splinter in our neighbor’s eye. It is the heavy beam that Jesus asks all of us to see and accept and put down before we hurt someone else and before we make fools of ourselves. Avoiding hypocrisy is the challenge of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is the challenge of a lifetime. All of us, myself included, are guilty! For this reason, as Lent approaches, let us pray for the courage and grace to examine our consciences, approach the Lord in a true spirit of repentance, and meet each other with love, mercy, and mutual acceptance. Peace and blessings to all!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Our Mass & Worship Schedule
Wednesday, March 6th
The Holy Season of Lent is a time for prayer, penance, and almsgiving during which all Christian disciples are called to renew their faith in preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 6th, which is a Holy Day of Abstinence and Fasting for all Roman Catholics. In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate Mass and distribute ashes according to the following schedule: Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; Mass at 12:00pm in Saint Ann Church; and Mass at 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. In addition, we will cele- brate a Service of the Word (with the distribution of ashes) at 5:00pm in Saint Joachim Church. For more information about the Holy Season of Lent in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Stations of the Cross
A Traditional Lenten Devotion
Fridays During Lent
For more than five hundred years, the Stations of the Cross are one of the most enduring and moving traditional devotions of the Roman Catholic Church. By uniting our prayers with those of the suffering Christ through both word and imagery, we make a spiritual pilgrimage with our Lord as he experiences the Passion of the Cross. During Lent, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in praying the Stations of the Cross on six consecutive Friday afternoons (March 8th through April 12th) at 3:00pm in Saint Ann Church. For more information about the Holy Season of Lent in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at email@example.com. Please spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Light Is On For You!
Confessions & Eucharistic Adoration
Wednesdays During Lent
During the Holy Season of Lent, all Catholics are invited to experience Christ’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession). On five consecutive Wednesday evenings during Lent (March 13th through April 10th), all are invited to join us for “The Light Is On For You!” from 6:00pm until 8:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. These special evenings of prayer will include Evening Prayer and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours; Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; and two full hours of confessions for those who feel called to participate. For some, this may be a time for confession and sacramental reconciliation. For some, it may be a time for silent prayer and adoration. And for others, it may be a time to begin or renew a spiritual journey. For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
Lent Mass for Families
Sunday, March 10th
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 (Matthew19:14).” In this spirit and in response to the Lord’s call, all children, parents, grandparents, godparents, and guardians are invited to join Father Jim for a Lent Mass for Families on Sunday, March 10th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily and blessing for all of our parish children. In addition, because Lent is a season for prayer, penance, and charity, all families will be asked to help Father Jim raise $1,000 for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, a service organization that provides food and financial assistance to local families in need. For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Grand Annual Collections
Every Dollar Makes a Difference
Last year, thanks to your generous support, both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish were able to balance their respective budgets. Two big reasons for this accomplishment is the success of our Grand Annual Collections. In each of our parishes, the Grand Annual Collection bridges the gap between our weekly gifts and our financial obligations (such as salaries and benefits, insurance premiums, utility bills, snow plowing, and essential parish programs). The Grand Annual Collections also help us to maintain our historic church buildings.
In order for each parish to balance its budget and ensure its long-term financial stability, we must meet our goals of $75,000 for Holy Family Parish and $45,000 for Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. These fundraising campaigns are essential components of our annual parish budgets. Each year, we ask all parishioners to contribute what they can to our Grand Annual Collections. Every gift, large or small, helps us to achieve our goals and balance our budgets. Offertory envelopes are located at the doors of all of our churches. Please place your offering in the collection basket during Mass or mail it directly to me.
Although we have made good progress toward reaching our goal, we have much work ahead before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. As we begin the final quarter of the fiscal year, all parishioners are encouraged to prayerfully consider giving to the Grand Annual Collection at either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Every penny raised goes directly to the parish of your choice. Please join me in praying that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to one of these all-important fundraising efforts. Thank you in advance for your generous and ongoing support of our amazing parishes! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
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