This Week’s Message
The Promise of Change
By Susan K. Rowland
Researchers report that the more we welcome change into our lives, the healthier our brains remain and the younger we feel. That’s no surprise. Enthusiasm about new things is a characteristic of the young and the young-at-heart. We are encouraged to try a new hobby, learn a language, take a class, travel, or anything to keep those brain cells active. New activities challenge us, keeping us alert and lively. How do you feel about change? Do you resist, especially when change involves old and dear rituals? Sometimes we love change, sometimes not. But whether it’s welcomed and expected or sudden and shocking, change is a reality of life. It is one thing that we can count on.
Different reactions to change are natural. Young people are often curious and open to new challenges. It helps for them to be enamored of change because they are moving through the biggest changes of their lives. But later in life, many people are attracted to stability. Many of the changes we experience as we age are unwelcome. We think: “Where did those wrinkles come from? Why don’t I have the energy I used to have? Why do I have health problems? What is my purpose in life now that my kids are grown and I’m retired?” It is no wonder that we would like to stop the clock.
In Rediscover Catholicism, Matthew Kelly writes: “Change is one of the laws of the natural universe. Nature teaches us that everything in this world is constantly changing. Everything God created isconstantly in the process of either growing or dying!” Still, Kelly writes that certain things never change: “Truth does not change; the supernatural realities of faith, hope, and love do not change; and God does not change.”
Change is essential. Our physical bodies are in a constant state of repair and renewal. Our minds need to be challenged to stay healthy. And our spiritual journeys are characterized by conversion and growth. Change is important, but too much change can result in chaos. We will not grow properly or deepen our commitments if we rush from one thing to another. So God has built into us both a desire for change and a desire for stability and regularity. Thus our lives swing between change and sameness. Nature gives us distinct seasons. Each in its turn feels new and refreshing, yet each season is the same year after year.
In our Church year, we move from Advent to Christmas to Lent to Easter, fast to feast, over andover. Yet each season feels new again every year. The rhythm of life is God’s way of helping us embrace both the necessary changes in our lives and the seasons of sameness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the essence of the Christian life is conversion, which is a radical reorientation of our whole lives. The biggest change demanded of us is turning from evil toward God. “The hu- man heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart (CCC 1432).”
This radical interior conversion is necessary for every person. Jesus warns us: “Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it (Luke 18:17).” We must change in order togrow into spiritual maturity. That is the main task of this earthly life. The need for growth andchange does not diminish, no matter how old we get. We never “arrive” in this life. God insists that we keep moving forward — toward God.
About the Author: Susan K. Rowland is a pastoral minister, public speaker, and author of severalbooks, including: “Make Room for God: Clearing Out the Clutter” and “Healing After Divorce: Hope for Catholics.” She is also an online contributor to “Bringing Home the Word.”
Pastor’s Note: On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, I wish to sincerely thank our dear friend, Jody Cole, for giving us permission to use her beautiful icon of the Most Holy Trinity for the cover our weekly newsletter and on our website (see above). For more information about Jody and her iconography, please visit: jcoleicons.com. Peace and blessings to all for a great summer! — Father Jim
Happy Father’s Day!
Prayers for Our Fathers
In celebration of the Most Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and with deepest gratitude, all of this weekend’s Masses will be celebrated for our fathers, godfathers, and grandfathers, both living and deceased, who have blessed us with their boundless love, paternal guidance, and hard work. In addition, in commemoration of Father’s Day, we raise our hearts and voices in prayer:
A Prayer for Our Fathers
Almighty God and Father,
you govern and protect your people
and shepherd them with a father’s love.
You place a father in a family as a sign
of your love, care, and constant protection.
May fathers everywhere be faithful
to the example shown in the scriptures:
steadfast in love and forgiveness,
sustaining the family,
and caring for those in need.
Give your wisdom to all fathers,
so that they may encourage and guide their children.
Keep them healthy
so that they can support their families.
Guide every father with the spirit of your love,
so that they may grow in holiness,
and draw their families ever closer to you.
A Father’s Prayer to Saint Joseph
Good Saint Joseph,
I come to you with concern for my children.
Many dangers surround them.
Out of loving concern to protect them,
I may sometimes seem demanding and stern.
Help me to remove the barriers
that can come between my children and me.
I love my children with my whole heart,
and I wish only good things for them.
Good Saint Joseph,
watch over my children,
and inspire me to know
how best to care for them,
how best to speak with them,
and how best to always love them.
Mass Intentions Book
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Mass Intentions Book (July 2019 through December 2019) will be opened on Thursday, June 20th from 11:00am until 1:00pm in our parish office (located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester). On that day, all parishioners are welcome to book one Sunday Mass and one weekday Mass at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
Please note that on Thursday, June 20th, all Mass intentions must be booked in person. No email, fax, text, or phone requests will be accepted. No exceptions. Any remaining daily and weekend Masses can be booked on or after Tuesday, June 25th. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and ongoing support of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Peace and blessings to all for a great summer! — Father Jim
Catholic Kids Camp
The Holy Land: Footsteps of Jesus
June 25th through June 28th
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: “The Holy Land: Footsteps of Jesus” from Tuesday, June25th through Friday, June 28th from 8:00am until 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer, fun, and fellowship, our children will learn about the places where Jesus walked in the Holy Land through active and engaged participation in games, music, skits, videos, and craft projects. Here’s our schedule for the week:
- Day I: Tuesday, June 25th Jesus in Nazareth
- Day II: Wednesday, June 26th Jesus at the Sea of Galilee
- Day III: Thursday, June 27th Jesus on the Mountains
- Day IV: Friday, June 28th Jesus in Jerusalem
Each day of our first Catholic Kids Camp of the summer season will begin with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. All parents, grandparents, and godparents are invited and encouraged to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of dedicated volunteers will lead the children to Our Lady’s School for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, hands-on learning, and good times with friends both old and new! Catholic Kids Camp is a fun, 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. Also, adults and children (ages 12 and up) are welcome to join us as volunteers! Your help will be much appreciated! For more information this special youth faith formation program, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring a friend! 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. One big reason for this accomplishment was 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. The Grand Annual Collections also enable us to maintain, repair, and restore our historic, but aging, churches and parish buildings.
The current budget year ends in just two weeks! In order for our parishes to balance their budgets and ensure long-term financial stability, we simply must meet our goals! At Holy Family Parish, we are working hard to raise $75,000 by June 30th. So far, we have raised $70,478 (or 94% of our goal). At Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, we are working just as hard to raise $45,000 by June 30th. So far, we have raised $34,665 (or 77% of our goal). My sincerest thanks goes out to everyone who has given so generously!
In all honesty, these Grand Annual Collections are essential and vitally important components of our annual parish budgets! Their importance to the financial health of our parishes cannot be overstated. So every year, we ask all parishioners to contribute what they can afford to our Grand Annual Collections. Every gift, large or small, whether it’s $100 or $10 or $1, helps us achieve our goals and balance our parish budgets.
Although we have made great progress toward reaching our goals during the last few weeks, I still truly need your help! If every person who attends Mass this weekend can somehow manage to give $20 by the end of this month to our Grand Annual Collections, we will reach our goals, balance our budgets, and lay a strong financial foundation for the new fiscal year. Some parishioners can give more and some cannot afford much. But please know that every dollar makes a difference! Every dollar is much appreciated!
Offertory envelopes for the Grand Annual Collections are located at the doors of Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Please place your do- nation in the collection basket during Mass, give it to me or a member of our pastoral team before or after Mass, or mail it directly to our parish office. Please pray for the success of our Grand Annual Collections! Your generous support empowers us to more fully live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild our Church! Thank you for your ongoing support of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Peace and blessings! — 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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