This Week’s Message
Called to Be Peacemakers
By Kathy Coffey
As we know from family squabbles, genuine peacemaking does not simply gloss over differences. If those aren’t addressed, they will surface again like dandelions on a lawn. Instead, peacemaking explores areas of disagreement and seeks common ground. We who prefer a quick fix may discover that creating peace is a slow process that some compare to the building of medieval cathedrals. Chartres or Notre Dame took about four hundred years, sixteen generations in medieval lifespans. Those who laid the foundations never expected to see the final arches. Yet they knew that their children and grandchildren would continue their work. In the same way, peacemakers know that they may never see the outcome, but they encourage the next generation to seize the baton.
So we look over the centuries to Jesus as our model. He came into a country brutally ruled by Caesar, a world that worshipped the power of the sword. Boldly, Jesus offered two different kinds of power. He told the oppressed that they are God’s children who will inherit the kingdom. To those who can bring about change, he proposed a way of living that would make them happier than privilege ever had. He asked them to do what they could for some in overwhelming need, as he did, and not run away as we might be tempted to do. He suggested that they spend time figuring out what was bothering the difficult child, not just ignore him. Hewanted them to listen through the family conflict, not turn away because it’s too draining. Hetold them to look at unrest and try to discover the underlying neglect or injustice.
Jesus did not just talk about peacemaking; he lived it. He began by making peace with himself. Jesus had the internal tensions we all have. When he wanted to preach, people demanded healing. When he wanted solitude, Peter and his companions interrupted. When he sought time apart with his disciples, the crowds surrounded him. Yet he never exploded in a rage. Despite the turmoil surging around him, he left a legacy of peace. Jesus forged within him self a splendid balance between meeting his own needs and revitalizing them for God’s work. Hetook time for prayer. But he could also be so moved by the crowds that he set aside his origi- nal intent in order to teach and feed them. While criticizing the Pharisees, he also guided Nicodemus, a member of that group.
Jesus teaches: If you want world peace, begin with yourself. We resist people who attempt leadership but carry loaded guns in their hearts. We respect people who name their grievance, then forget it. If we are honest, we admit that we should quit carrying angry burdens best abandoned in high school. We also know that the more time we spend quieting ourselves in prayer, the less we are inclined to furious outbursts.
One step toward making peace might be to find examples that we can admire: skipping the perfect opportunity for a put-down; attempting to understand another person’s values; finding ways to resolve conflict without guns; becoming more educated about our so-called enemies; voting for candidates who seek alternatives to military solutions. The way Jesus proposes is no easier than it was in the Roman world. Power and prestige are still enshrined; might is still revered today. We spend billions on destructive weapons. But Jesus offers an alternative: a way of living that will make us happy now and ultimately. Beneath the sometimes weary exterior of the peacemaker, he (or she) points to the gleam of God’s child.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This week’s message was composed by Kathy Coffey of Denver, Colorado. Kathy is the author of thirteen books and countless articles about prayer and spirituality. She is also a regular contributor to “Bringing Home the Word” which is posted every week on our website (see link below). In addition to writing, Kathy is a retreat leader and university lecturer. She is the mother of four children and a grandmother. Be sure to check out the new edition of “Bringing Home the Word” this week and every week! For more information, please contact me at email@example.com! Peace and blessings to all!
Prayers for Memorial Day
Monday, May 27th
On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th, we remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in service to their country and to the causes of freedom, justice, and peace around the world. As a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, let us raise our hearts and voices in prayer for all who have served our nation, for all who have died, and for the cause of peace in our world:
A PRAYER FOR MEMORIAL DAY
Almighty God and Father,
on this Memorial Day,
we pray for those who courageously
gave their lives for the cause of freedom.
May their example of sacrifice inspire in us
the selfless love of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
We also pray for the families of our fallen troops.
We ask you to fill their hearts with strength and peace.
In union with people of goodwill around the world,
help us to answer the call to work for peace and justice,
and to seek an end to conflict and violence.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.
A PRAYER FOR OUR TROOPS
Almighty God and Father,
those who take refuge in you
will be glad and forever shout for joy.
Protect our troops as they discharge their duties.
Protect them with the shield of your strength
and keep them safe from all evil and harm.
May the power of your love
enable them to return home safely,
so that all who love them may always praise you
for your loving care.
We offer these prayers through Christ Jesus,
our Risen Lord and Savior. Amen.
A PRAYER FOR OUR ENEMIES
Jesus, Prince of Peace,
you asked us to love our enemies
and to pray for those who persecute us.
We pray now for our adversaries and enemies.
With the help of the Holy Spirit,
may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
To you be glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.
Saint Ann, pray for us!
Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
The Ascension of the Lord
A Holy Day of Obligation
Thursday, May 30th
On Thursday, May 30th, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which commemorates Christ’s elevation into heaven in the presence of the disciples on the fortieth day after his resurrection. On this Holy Day of Obligation, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:
- Saint Ann Church | Wednesday, May 29th at 7:00pm
- Saint Joachim Church | Thursday, May 30th at 8:00am
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church | Thursday, May 30th at 12:00pm
For more information about the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord at Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Healing God’s Family & Rebuilding Our Church
An Evening with Saint Damien of Molokai
Thursday, May 30th
More than eight centuries ago, the Crucified Christ called out to the young man who would become Saint Francis ofAssisi: “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 small chapels in and around his hometown. Over the years, however, Francis came to understand more fully that his vocation to live the Gospeland share God’s love was vital to rebuilding the Church all around 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 in commemoration of important feast days and 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 to guide us in the hard work of discipleship during these difficult times.
All are invited to join us for our next Evening of Prayerfor the Healing of God’s Family on Thursday, May 30th in honor of Saint Damien of Molokai (1840-1889), who devoted his life to caring for those who had been discarded by society because of illness and stigma. This special evening of prayer will begin at 6:00pm 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 Father Damien. In addition, we will be blessed to pray with a beautiful hand painted icon of Saint Damien of Molokai that includes one of his relics. We hope and pray 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 at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Saturday, June 1st
On Saturday, June 1st from 9:00am until 4:00pm, all parishioner, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a Spring Fair in Saint Ann Church Hall. Enjoy a free cup of coffee as you shop for your spring garden needs. We’ll have potted plants, hanging baskets, and garden décor! We’ll also be selling homemade baked goods and pies! In addition, we’ll have a craft table and mini-yard sale! All funds raised will support Holy Family Parish. For more information about the Spring Fair, please contact Jane Marshall at 978-283-5111 or Suzanne McCalla at 978-704-9281. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, June 1st
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Africa, and Europe. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to the God’s Holy Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
The Assisi Project meets once each month in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church for Mass, formation, fellowship,and faith sharing. Our next “Saturday Morning with Saint Francis” is scheduled for June 1st beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will continue our study and discussion of the Franciscan Saints; and we will consider how throughout history average people like us have become saints. In particular, we will focus on Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian farmer and church sacristan who stood up to the Nazis and was martyred for the cause of peace.
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us this month and every month! You don’t need to travel with us to be part of the Assisi Project! For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! Please join us! Spread the word! 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!
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