This Week’s Message
Lost & Found
By Richard Rohr, OFM
Of all Jesus’ parables, the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) is perhaps the most profound. The story is more that of the prodigal father, who is extravagant when it comes to his sons. The sons are prodigal in failure; the father in generosity. The story is familiar. The younger son asks for a share of his father’s estate. He wants a life apart. In effect, he says: “Give me my part of your stuff, Dad. I’m going to take off and live alone.” His father obliges and the young man departs for a distant country, quickly squandering his inheritance. He is soon destitute and chastened by his intemperance. He returns home, prepared to acknowledge to his father that he has failed and no longer deserves to be called his son. The younger son has come to his senses. He is content, even eager, to be treated as no more than a hire hand. But he is in for a big surprise, as we will all be. God is greater than our sins.
Luke writes that while the younger son “was still a long way off, his father caught sight ofhim, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him (Luke 15:20).” He calls for a feast to celebrate his son’s return. The older son protests that hehas never disobeyed his father or given him grief. This is true, but the older son is trying to find his legitimacy in obedience, not love. He does not know about simple relationships; and the Bible is all about relationship. When we do not have a living relationship, we often try to substitute it with duty and obligation.
“Everything I have is yours (Luke 15:31),” the father insists. What a marvelous response andimage of God! God is like a prodigal father who welcomes his son without explanation. No questions are asked about why the son is returning home; no apology is requested. He throws his arms around him and invited everyone to celebrate because his son who “was dead has come to life again; he was lost and has been found (Luke 15:24).” This is not just a son, but a returned son. It is when we return that we know how important union is, what strength and joy relationship gives. It is one of the most consistent messages of the Bible. It is in losing that we discover what we have. Alienation is not the end of the world. It is the way we commonly come to God. Most biblical figures are transformed sinners, not people who walk a straight line to God. That is not the path.
This parable of the prodigal son and father has power to change us because it names human relationships so perfectly. We see ourselves in both sons. We try to live autonomously, yet that eventually leads to alienation and unhappiness. Slowly we gather our truth and our identity. But we are also capable of being the older son who prides himself on his orthodoxy but is unable to celebrate and enjoy a free gift. So we end with an amazing story of one son who does it all right and is wrong, and another son who does it all wrong and is right! In the end, we never learn whether the elder son attends the banquet, but we do know that the Father continues hoping that his son will come and not live in resentment or superiority toward his brother who has done it all wrong. It is an invitation to all who have perhaps been good Catholics (a.k.a older sons) but may also lack compassion and forgiveness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar, spiritual director, and best-selling author. His columns appear regularly in “Bringing Home the Word.” A new edition of this weekly resource for prayer and reflection based on the weekly lectionary readings is posted every weekend via the link below.
The Assisi Project
A Franciscan Way of the Cross
Friday, April 12th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim, Cliff Garvey, and the Assisi Project for a “Franciscan Way of the Cross” on Friday, April 12th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. This special evening of prayer and devotion will include Evening Prayer (with Reflection) and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:00pm; a Franciscan Way of the Cross at 7:00pm; and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 8:00pm. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us as we adore the Real Presence of the Crucified Christ! Bring a friend! 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!
Catholic Kids Camp
Walking with Jesus During Holy Week
Begins Tuesday, April 16th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce that all children (ages 5 through 11)are invited to participate in our next “Catholic Kids Camp: Walking with Jesus During Holy Week” from Tuesday, April 16th through Friday, April 19th from 8:00am until 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer, fun, and fellowship, children will learn about Jesus and his disciples and the heartbreaking and triumphant events of Holy Week. Here’s our schedule for the week:
- Day I: Tuesday, April 16th
What Is Holy Week?
- Day II: Wednesday, April 17th
Jesus and the Entry into Jerusalem
- Day III: Holy Thursday, April 18th
Jesus and the Last Supper
- Day IV: Good Friday, April 19th
Jesus and the Way of the Cross
Each day of our Catholic Kids Camp will begin with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. All parents, grandparents, and guardians are encouraged to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers willlead the children to Our Lady’s School for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, learning, and good times with friends both old and new. Catholic Kids Camp is an exciting and educational program that your children and grandchildren will love!
The tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program is just $30 per child for the entire week! Scholarships are available for those families who cannot afford tuition. Adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are also welcome to join us as volunteers! Their help will be much appreciated! For more information about our next Catholic Kids Camp, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! Spread the word! 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!
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