This Week’s Message
The Path of Lent
By Saint Oscar Romero
Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of the Christian Passover. We celebrate our redemption; and our celebration of Lent cannot be separated from the concrete situations in which people and Christians celebrate such a significant season, namely, it is the time of our redemption. Redemption is the same as liberation and salvation. And all people are in need of liberation and salvation. In the celebration of the Easter Passover, our Holy Week, the mystery of human redemption is so profoundly incarnated in the history of our people that we can now say that Lent and Holy Week have been made especially for us. This is the celebration of our redemption. Today’s gospel presents us with the figure of the transfigured Jesus in whom is personified the redemption of humankind and the hope of all peoples. Saint Luke uses the scene of the transfiguration as a preamble to Jesus’ going up to Jerusalem. The gospel tells us that Jesus spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. This is a warning for all of us: the path of redemption will lead to the cross and the path of the resurrection must first be the path of Calvary. All the blood of our people ought to be united to the blood of Jesus that was shed on the sorrowful journey to Calvary.
This Lent, which we observe amid blood and sorrow, ought to foreshadow a transformation of our people, a resurrection of our nation. The Church invites us to modern forms of penance — fasting and prayer — which are traditional Christian practices that can be adapted to the circumstances of every people. Lenten fasting is not the same thing in those lands where people eat well as it is among third-world peoples, who are always undernourished and always fasting, living in a perpetual Lent. For those who eat well, Lent is a call to austerity, a call to give away in order to share with those in need. But in poor lands, in homes where there is so much hunger, Lent should be observed in order to give meaning to the cross that is the sacrifice of everyday life. But this should not be done with a mistaken sense of surrender. God does not want that. Rather, feeling in our own flesh the consequences of sin and injustice, we are encouraged to work for social justice and a genuine love for the poor.
Our Lent should awaken a sense of social justice. Let us observe our Lent in this way: giving our suffering, our bloodshed, and our sorrow the same value that Christ gave to his condition of poverty, oppression, abandonment, and injustice. Let us change it all into the cross of salvation that redeems the world. With hatred for none, let us be converted and share from our poverty both our joy and charity with those who are more needy…My brothers and sisters, let us pray for the difficult situation that our country confronts and realize that the person of the transfigured Christ, presented to us during Lent, is not far from us but points out the path that we ought to follow. The path for the transformation of our people is not some far off distant path, but a path that the Word of God points out now: the path of the cross; the path of blood, sacrifice, and sorrow. As we walk this path, may our sight be focused on the glory of Christ, who is the chosen Son of the Father, the One chosen to save the world. Let us listen to him!
This weekend, we hear readings for the Second Sunday of Lent from the Book of Genesis, Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, and Saint Luke’s Gospel. In 1980, just three weeks before he died, Archbishop Oscar Romero reflected on these readings and offered the beautiful and challenging homily which is excerpted as this week’s message (see above). As the Church prepares to celebrate the Feast of Saint Oscar Romero (March 24th), it seemed fitting to share his words with all of our readers and fellow parishioners.
Oscar Romero (1917-1980) served as Archbishop of San Salvador. On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Romero was assassinated by a right-wing death squad while celebrating Mass. His murderers have never been brought to justice. Saint Oscar Romero is remembered as an ardent defender of the Church, a true friend of the poor, and an outspoken opponent of hatred, violence, and social injustice. He was canonized last fall by Pope Francis and is venerated as patron of El Salvador, as well as patron of both persecuted Christians and the Americas.
Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Patron & Protector of God’s Family
Tuesday, March 19th
For more than 1,000 years, the Roman Catholic Church has venerated Saint Joseph as patron of fathers, protector of children, and guardian of single mothers. He is also venerated as patron of carpenters, laborers, immigrants, and those who doubt their faith. Traditional devotions to Saint Joseph remain strong here in the Catholic Commu- nity of Gloucester & Rockport. In this spirit, let us raise our hearts and voices in prayer to Saint Joseph, especially for the protection of all children, for the healing of God’s family, and for the rebuilding of our Church.
A PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH
whose protection is so great,
so strong, and so close to the throne of God,
we entrust you with all our hopes and prayers.
Help us by your powerful intercession,
and obtain for us divine spiritual blessings
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So that, having engaged your heavenly help,
we may offer our praise and thanksgiving to you,
the most loving of all fathers.
we never weary of thinking of you
and of Jesus asleep in your arms.
We hesitate to approach you
as he rests near your heart.
Hold our Lord close to you,
kiss him upon the head for us,
and ask him to return the kiss
as we approach our final breath.
We ask this through Christ Jesus,
our Lord and Savior. Amen.
As the Solemnity of Saint Joseph draws near and our Lenten journey continues, let us pray for God’s guidance, God’s protection, and God’s strength. Let us pray 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 faithfully live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild our Church. May Saint Joseph, Patron and Protector of God’s Family, pray for us!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. Please spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Saint Oscar Romero
An Evening of Prayer & Reflection
Friday, March 22nd
More than eight centuries ago, the Crucified Christ called out to the young man who would become Saint Francis of Assisi: “Go! Rebuild my church which as you can see is falling into ruin!” Francis took the Lord’s command literally and set out to repair and rebuild small chapels in and around his hometown. Over the years, however, Francis came to understand that his commitment to living the Gospel and sharing God’s love were vital parts of rebuilding the Church throughout the world. In this spirit and in appreciation for the crisis facing the Roman Catholic Church in our own time, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will gather on important feast days throughout the year to pray for the healing of God’s family and for the courage to rebuild our wounded Church. In addition, we will also beg the saints to pray for us and guide us in the hard work of discipleship during these difficult times.
All are invited to join us for our next Evening of Prayer for the Healing of God’s Family on Friday, March 22nd in anticipation of the Feast of Saint Oscar Romero, Bishop & Martyr. This special evening of prayer will begin at 5:00pm with Evening Prayer and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. At 6:30pm, we will pray the Holy Rosary for the healing of God’s family. And at 7:00pm, we will conclude with Night Prayer and Benediction. During Evening Prayer, Cliff Garvey will offer a reflection on the life and legacy of Saint Oscar Romero (1917-1980), who was assassinated while celebrating Holy Mass and is remembered as an ardent defender of the Church, a true friend of the poor, and an outspoken opponent of hatred, injustice, and violence. He has much to teach us about living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding our Church! We hope that you and your family will be able to join us for all or even just part of this special evening of prayer, reflection, and devotion. For more information, 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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline