This Week’s Message
Caring for Creation
By Kathy Coffey
If we were to add a commandment reflecting the call to God’s people in our century, this might top the list of priorities: “You shall reverence the earth.” People have long delighted in the beautiful surroundings for the human journey. But for the first time in our history, our planet is gravely threatened. While this commandment is not one of the official ten commandments, we have a long tradition of respect for God’s creation. The Book of Genesis shows God lovingly shaping the solar system, oceans, lands, vegetation, and animals in a crescendo that leads to humanity. When God gives humans “dominion” over other creatures, the implication is wise stewardship rather than blatant exploitation.
Many psalms are suffused with an appreciation of nature. Psalm 96 personifies the natural world praising God: “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice before the Lord (Psalm 96: 11-13).” Likewise, Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures is an outburst of joy in the sun and the moon. Saint Clare reminded her congregation to “praise God” when they saw “beautiful trees, flowers, and bushes.” Both saints traveled lightly. Their commitment to poverty translates into the slogan of today’s environmentally conscious people: “Buy less stuff.”
Each week, Catholics celebrate the Eucharist, whose root word means “to receive well.” Our [daily and] weekend celebrations should spill into a life of receiving well, especially the earth’s many gifts: food that energizes our bodies, [along with] the sights of mountains, streams, stars, or sunsets that feed our spirits. As Rachel Carson writes in Silent Spring, the absence of birdsong with all it represents would make our environment eerily quiet and rob the soul of sustenance. With such a rich tradition of respecting the earth, we Christians should naturally take practical steps to reduce our carbon emissions and hence, climate change. The scientific community agrees that we can take steps to save the planet now, to prevent our grandchildren from asking: “Why didn’t they act when they could?”
Warning signs are clear. The polar ice caps are melting fast because dangerous gases trap the sun’sheat. The average car driven 10,000 miles per year releases 5.5 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingslover points out that our children will have shorter lifespans than us because of their junk food, obesity, and poor quality of air and water. We know how to solve this problem. Apologies to those who know these steps already, but for those who do not: Use energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances. Drive a hybrid car. Walk or bike when possible. Recycle. Turn down the thermostat. Plant trees.
Hopeful signs of community awareness and cooperation abound. More than one thousand American mayors have signed the Climate Protection Agreement to reduce carbon emissions in their cities. Many companies, churches, schools, and homes are committed to going green. “Oikos”, which is the Greek word for “household” (the root for ecology, ecumenical, and economy) underscores the link between our individual households and God’s house, creation. In her novel, Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingslover records a conversation with a native American who explains that God lets us live in this house and that we should send a note of thanks just as we would after being anyone’s guest: “We appreciate the rain, we appreciate the sun…Sorry if we messed up anything. Thanks for letting us sleepon your couch.” Reverencing the earth is an active way to express our thanks!
Note: Kathy Coffey is an author, retreat leader, and university lecturer.
Praying with Pope Francis
A Prayer for Earth: Our Common Home
All powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
so that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace,
so that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue
the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
who are so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
so that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
so that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for profit
at the expense of the poor of this earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of all living things,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are united with every creature
as we journey toward your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love, and peace.
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.
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, July 27th
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 Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
The Assisi Project meets on the last Saturday of every 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 July 27th beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will continue our study and discussion of the Franciscan Saints. In particular, we will focus on Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, who is venerated as a wife, mother, and peacemaker.
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; or visit our website (see below). Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 16 to 94; and we live in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, throughout the United States, and also in Canada, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Angola. Part of our work together is our prayer together. We pray every day for those who ask for our prayers all around the world. If you would like us to pray for you or your special intention, please see Father Jim before or after any Mass; or contact Cliff. May the Lord give you peace!
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Special Second Collection
Weekend of July 27th & July 28th
In the tradition of its founder and patron, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is a Roman Catholic lay fraternity that calls women and men to work together and grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering. Here are four important ways that you can help us help others:
First, all are asked to give generously to our special second collection during the weekend of Saturday, July 27th and Sunday, July 28th at all Masses in Holy Family Parish. Every dollar donated will support the good work of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and its ongoing efforts to help families in need. Second, all are encouraged to donate to our Food Pantry. Baskets (for boxed and/or canned non-perishable goods) can be found at the entrances to Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Donations can also be brought to our parish office which is located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester.
Third, all are invited to donate to our Clothes Closet. A drop-off bin is conveniently located in the parking lot in front of the Saint Ann School Building. Finally, new members and volunteers are much needed and always most welcome! For more information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and its good work in our parish communities, please contact Barbara Frontiero at email@example.com or leave a message at 978-281-4820. If you need assistance, please contact the Saint Vincent de Paul Society Hotline at 978-281-8672. Thank you for your generous support!
Holy Family Parish
Annual Crowning Ceremony
Sunday, July 28th
In celebration of the Feast of Saint Ann and Saint Joachim (July 26th), all are invited to join us for the Annual Crowning of Saint Ann and the Blessed Virgin Mary after our 8:15am Mass on Sunday, July 28th in Saint Ann Church. As a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, let us unite our hearts and voices in praying for the intercession of our patrons: Saint Ann, pray for us! Saint Joachim, pray for us! For more information, please contact Mary Rubino at 978-281-0009. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Electronic Giving Made Safe & Easy
Available at Both Parishes
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Donations can be made on a one-time-only or ongoing basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. Just choose the appropriate link below and click “Make a Donation.” Please prayerfully consider supporting your parish by giving electronically! For more information about electronic giving in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous and ongoing support!
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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