This Week’s Message
Who Am I?
By Pope Francis
This week begins with the festive procession of palms when the entire people welcomes Jesus. Even the children and young people sing, praising Jesus. But this week continues with the mystery of Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection. When we listen to the Passion of the Lord, we might ask ourselves just one question: Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid the enthusiasm of the crowd? Am I ready to express my joy and praise him? Or do I stand back? Who am I before the suffering Jesus?
In the Gospel, we hear many names. We hear about leaders, priests, and teachers of the law who decide to kill Jesus. They were waiting for the chance to arrest him. Am I like one of them? We also hear another name: Judas. We hear about thirty pieces of silver. Am I like Judas? We hear other names, too. We hear about the disciples who understand nothing; who fall asleep while the Lord was suffering. Has my life fallen asleep? Am I like the disciples who do not understand what it means to betray Jesus? Am I like the other disciple who wants to settle everything with a sword? Am I like them? Am I like Judas who feigns love and then kisses the Master in order to betray him and hand him over? Am I a traitor?
Am I like those people in power who summon a hasty trial and seek false witnesses? Am I like them? And if I do such things, do I think that I am somehow helping people? Am I like Pilate? When I see that the situation is difficult, do I wash my hands and dodge my responsibilities? Do I just allow others to be condemned? Do I condemn them myself? Am I like the crowd that is not sure whether they were at a religious service, a trial, or a circus? Did I choose Barabbas? For all of them, it was just more entertaining to humiliate Jesus. Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit on him, and insult him? Do I find it funny to shame him?
Am I like Simon of Cyrene, who is returning home from work, tired and weary, but was good enough to help Jesus carry his cross? Am I like those who walk by this crucifixion and mock the Lord: “He was once so courageous! Let him come down from that cross and then we will believe in him!” Am I like those fearless women, among them the Mother of our Lord, who remain with him and suffer in silence? Am I like Joseph of Arimathea, the hidden disciple, who lovingly cares for the Lord’s body and prepares it for burial? Am I like the two Marys who remain at the tomb? Did I pray and weep with them?
Am I like those leaders who go to the empty tomb and then say to Pilate: “Look! This man said that he would rise again! We cannot allow this fraud to take place!” Am I like those who block life and block the tomb in order to maintain doctrine so that new life might not come forth? Where is my heart? Which of these persons am I like? May this question remain with us throughout this entire coming week!
Pastor’s Note: This week’s message is a complete transcript of the Holy Father’s Palm Sunday Homily (2014). As we journey together through this holiest of weeks, may God bless us with the grace to discern our answer to the pope’s difficult questions. Who am I? Do I believe? Do I doubt? Do I stand with Jesus? Do I run when times are tough? Do I love Jesus with my whole heart? Do I love my neighbor as myself? Do I forgive? Do I make peace? Do I care for the poor? Do I welcome the stranger? Perhaps most importantly, do I pray for the courage and grace to answer “Yes!” to these hard questions? Also, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport wishes to thank our dear friend, Jody Cole, for allowing us to use her beautiful hand painted icons on our website and the cover of our weekly newsletter. The image above is a detail from her icon entitled “Extreme Humility.” Fore more information about Jody and her work, please visit jcoleicons.com. Peace and blessings! — Father Jim
Our Lady of Good Voyage
An Evening with North Shore Acapella
Saturday, April 27th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are cordially invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for an Evening with Northshore Acapella on Saturday, April 27th from 7:00pm until 10:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. For more than thirty-five years, Northshore Acapella has been entertaining audiences throughout all of New England and adding a delightful blend of harmony, rhythm, and tempo to popular songs from the 1940s through the present day. Tickets are $25 per person and include a light buffet. We will also have a cash bar, a 50-50 raffle, and other raffles with prizes! All proceeds benefits the parish. For more information, please contact Beth Fosberry at email@example.com. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring your family and friends! All are invited! All are welcome!
Divine Mercy Sunday
Sunday, April 28th
In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina Kow- alska and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy (popularly known as Divine Mercy Sunday). During the past two decades, the devotion has spread throughout the world and reflects a mystical message that the Risen Christ gave to Saint Faustina which was recorded in her diary: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy. This is the Easter gift that the Church received from the Risen Christ and offers to all people.”
In this spirit, all are invited to join us for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 28th from 2:30pm until 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. This special afternoon of devotion and prayer will proceed according to the following schedule: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:30pm; the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm; the Holy Rosary at 3:30pm; and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 4:00pm. In between these periods of shared prayer, all are invited to pray in silence in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday, all are encouraged to pray with the following prayer which is traditionally recited each day at 3:00pm to commemorate the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Jesus, you died
but the source of life flowed out for souls
and an ocean of mercy
opened up for the whole world.
O Fountain of Life,
immeasurable Divine Mercy,
cover the whole world
and empty yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water
which flowed out
from the heart of Jesus,
as a Fountain of Mercy for us,
I trust in you!
Holy God, Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us
and on the whole world!
Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in you!
For more information about Divine Mercy Sunday in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Jane Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or part of this special event! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Adult Faith Formation
Spring Day of Prayer & Reflection
Mary, Mother of All Peoples
Saturday, May 4th
The Blessed Virgin Mary is known and venerated by countless names and titles throughout the world. Some of these titles are dogmatic; some are artistic; and some are the result of popular piety. Through these titles, we learn about Mary’s life, legacy, and loving care for God’s people; we learn about our Lord Jesus Christ; and we learn something about ourselves and God’s Holy Church. Whether we think of her as Theotokos (Mother of God), Panagia (Mother of Mercy), or as Our Lady of Good Voyage, Mary lives in our hearts and in the Church as the Blessed Mother of All Peoples.
In this spirit and in celebration of the various devotions to Our Lady during the month of May, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a “Spring Day of Prayer & Reflection: Mary, Mother of All Peoples” on Saturday, May 4th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this four-hour morning retreat, we will explore the Blessed Mother’s loving intercession and protection of God’s family across the centuries. We will also consider how our devotion to Mary can help us overcome the growing darkness of bigotry, hatred, and division that seems so prevalent in our own time.
This program is sponsored by the Legion of Mary and the Assisi Project and will proceed according to the following schedule: Celebration of Mass at 8:00am; First Reflection & Faith Sharing at 9:00am; Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 10:00am; Second Reflection & Faith Sharing at 11:15am; Angelus & Closing Prayers at 12:00pm. After our program, all are invited to join us for a delicious potluck lunch in the parish hall.
Throughout the morning, there will be scheduled breaks and time for faith sharing, fellowship, and questions. Coffee, tea, bottled water, and refreshments will be served, too. During Mass, a collection will be taken up in support of the adult and youth faith formation programs in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. If you would like to join us, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Family Faith Formation
Mother’s Day Mass for Families
Saturday, May 11th
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little chil-dren come to me, and do not stop them; for it is such asthese that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Mt 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all parents, grandparents, godparents, and children of all ages are invited to join Father Jim for our Mother’s Day Mass for Families on Saturday, May 11th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. During Mass, Father Jim will preach about Mother’s Day and offer a special blessing for all mothers, families, and children. In addition, those who gather for this Mass will join the Legion of Mary in the Annual Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As our Mother’s Day Mass for Families approaches, let us reaffirm that Mass is our best class! Jesus is our best teacher! And every family that joins us is a gift from God! For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
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