This Week’s Message
Little Details of Love
By Cliff Garvey
Some popes are remembered for their charismatic personalities. Some are remembered for their deep spirituality. Some are remembered for their magisterial teaching. And some are remembered for their sins. At some point, I like to think that Pope Francis will be remembered best for his daily homilies, little talks, and short writings that offer us so much food for thought and prayer. These brief snippets and words of wisdom challenge us, comfort us, and guide us on life’s long journey of discipleship.
This week, for example, the Vatican issued the text of an introduction that Pope Francis wrote for a forthcoming book about Saint John Chrysostom (349-407), Bishop and Doctor of the Church, who was one of the most prolific writers in the Early Christian Church. In fact, the Holy Father’s introduction has very little to do with Saint John Chrysostom! But it has everything to do with living the Christian life with joy, sobriety, and love. It is indeed a fitting message with which to begin this Holy Season of Lent!
First, Pope Francis invites us to find joy in the fact that God loves us “in an unconditional and gratuitous way.” This means that God loves each and every one of us no matter whowe are, no matter what we have done, and no matter where we are from. This divine love is absolute, limitless, and wholehearted. This love is pure, complete, and asks us only to love God in return and love others in the best way we can. This love is showered upon us and the whole world unreservedly, like summer rains feeding a thirsty garden. And in this love, we can find our greatest and most lasting joy!
Second, Pope Francis calls us to sobriety. By this, he does not just mean sobriety from drink or drugs. He means moderation in our ambitions, desires, and passions. He means avoiding excess and extremes in our emotions and opinions. He means calm discernment of our thoughts, words, and deeds; thinking before acting; restraining our tempers; and making the best of our lives as they exist. The Holy Father writes: “The joy of God’s love poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit is preserved through sobriety, which is the ability to surrender the desire for pleasure and personal satisfaction to the measure of righteousness.” Through this kind of sobriety, we learn the joy of submitting our own good to the common good.
Finally, Pope Francis begs us to love; to love like Christ. He writes: “What is the life ofChrist in us if not a victory of love over our fears and selfishness? This victory allows our lives to be daily and simple gifts to the Lord and to our brothers and sisters.” The pope tells us that if we find joy in God’s love and limit our selfish self-love, then we are increasingly free to share real love with others through random acts of kindness. In this way, Lent is not just about giving something up, it is about truly giving ourselves to God and to our families, friends, and fellow parishioners.
This Lent, by all means, fast from candy or coffee or binge watching your favorite series. Atthe same time, make an effort to take care of what Pope Francis calls “the little details of love” because it is in those little details — those small acts of forgiveness, generosity, love, and mercy — that we can create and find and make more room for Jesus in our broken lives, in our struggling communities, in our divided country, and in our suffering world. This Lent, the divine is in the details! May the Lord give you peace!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Our Lady’s Penny Sale
Monday, March 11th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Com- munity of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join OurLady’s Guild for a “Penny Sale” on Monday, March 11th at 7:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. As always, we’ll have greatprizes, a 50-50 raffle, delicious homemade sweetbread, and other fresh foods and snacks. Donations are being accepted at our parish office (located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester). Julia Garcia and Mary Piscitello will serve as co-chairwomen of this event. For more information, please contact Beth Fosberry at email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please spread the word! 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!
Holy Family Parish
Saints Patrick & Joseph Bread Sale
Saturday, March 16th
All Irish and Italian eyes will be smiling on Saturday, March 16th at our 4:00pm Vigil Mass in Saint Ann Church because the Holy Family Women’s Guild will be baking delicious Irish and Italian Breads just for you and your family! These special loaves will be available for purchase before and after Mass in the church vestibule. Special orders for these homemade breads will be accepted by calling Jane Marshall in advance at 978-283-5111. All proceeds will go directly to Holy Family Parish! For more information about the Holy Family Women’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com or 978-281-4279. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Thank you in advance for your generous support!
Feast of Saint Patrick
Patron of the Archdiocese of Boston
Sunday, March 17th
Saint Patrick lived during the second half of the fifth century. He was a convert, then a missionary monk, and ultimately the first bishop of Ireland. Saint Patrick is venerated in the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Roman Catholic Church. He is also venerated as patron saint of Puerto Rico, Spain, and the Archdioceses of Boston, Newark, and New York; and as protector against snakebites and sinfulness. His feast day is celebrated as a solemnity in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Tradition teaches us that the following prayer was writtenby Saint Patrick as part of his ‘Breastplate’ or ‘Lorica.’ The complete prayer, which is much longer, was invoked during times of trial as protection against adversaries of God’s Church who sought to prevent the conversion of the Irish people. In this spirit, let us raise our hearts and voices to the heavens and pray together:
A PRAYER OF SAINT PATRICK
I bind myself this day
to the power of heaven,
the light of the sun,
the brightness of the moon,
the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightning,
the swiftness of wind,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of earth,
and the firmness of rock.
I arise this day
to give witness
to the mighty strength
of God’s power to guide me.
As the Solemnity of Saint Patrick approaches and our Lenten journey continues, let us pray together for God’s guidance, God’s protection, and God’s strength. Let us pray together for the grace to keep our thoughts, words, and deeds focused on Christ. And let us pray for each other: that the Lord will unite all peoples in prayer, fellowship, and service so that each of us, in our own way, may more fully live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild our Church. Saint Patrick, pray for us!
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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