cropped-linus-in-the-sky-art.jpgThis Week’s Message
Linus Leads the Way!

By Cliff Garvey

Linus is a ten pound, three year old, piebald miniature dachshund. He came into my life one year ago, when a friend, who breeds dachshunds for a living, asked whether or not there might be room in my life for a little dog in need of a “forever home.” It seemed that Linus was being retired after a successful career in siring more than forty puppies because he had tested positive for a potentially live-threatening liver ailment. Some months before, I had seen a photograph of Linus online and then met him on a visit to my friend’s “dachshund ranch” in rural central Maine. Since miniature dachshunds have been part of my family’s history for forty years, it was a surprisingly easy decision to bring him home and take my chances on his health.

One year later, Linus is asymptomatic, healthy, and happy. In a nod to a famous children’s story, our veterinarian has pronounced him “practically perfect in every way” and he is no longer so worried about that liver condition. Linus loves “walkies” at Burnham Field, along the Boulevard, and through the woods on our dirt road in Maine. He especially loves to sit on a bench and smell the sea. Linus loves snowy days and sunny days, but hates humid afternoons and rainy nights. He loves apples and blueberries and pumpkin, but he dislikes carrots. He loves yogurt and squeaky balls, but he shows no interest in chew toys. Linus especially loves his lunchtime treat, sleeping under his alpaca blanket, and patiently endures being checked for ticks several times each day.

Linus never whines and almost never barks. He is almost useless as a watch dog. Both the cable guy and the plumber were already hard at work before Linus noticed them, looked up from his nap, and let out a single disinterested “woof.” When I complained to my parents that Linus was sometimes too quiet and sometimes a bit moody, they looked at each other and laughed outright. My dad said: “You’re practically twins.” True enough, I suppose. But needless to say, this little dog has won my heart. During the past year, Linus has learned a few things from me: like being perfectly house and kennel trained; responding well to many commands; and adjusting well to life in both Maine and Massachusetts.

In all honesty, however, I have learned more from Linus than he could ever learn from me. In so many ways, Linus leads the way. He is a model of gospel living. He loves unconditionally and without counting the cost. He routinely seeks to comfort those whom he perceives are anxious or upset. He is kind and patient. He is generous of heart and spirit. He welcomes the stranger. His capacity for acceptance, hospitality, and love are seemingly boundless. Although Linus can sometimes be stubborn, he never seems angry. And although Linus can be very sensitive (in response to loud noises or angry voices), he recovers quickly — ever responsive to a kind word, a rub around the ears, or to simply being picked up, hugged, and held close.

Overall, I am most impressed by Linus’s capacity to forgive. Not long after he came to live with me, I responded angrily to his refusal to go outside on a dark and foggy night. I scolded him like a parent might scold a child. Linus was truly frightened, then deeply sad, then reluctant to come near me. Within minutes, however, he processed his feelings and he approached me in a true spirit of reconciliation. Someone might say this is because his small brain soon forgot what happened. But anyone who loves a dog knows better. And if only we all knew better what Linus and his canine friends know so very well — love conquers all. As I grow older, I realize more and more that I truly understand less and less. But one thing seems certain. All dogs go to heaven!

Cliff Garvey
Associate Minister
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (7-28-19) 
Bringing Home the Word (7-28-19)


Praying for Our Pets


Heavenly Father,
our human ties with our animal companions
is a wonderful and special gift from you.
We now ask you to bless our pets
with your paternal care and healing power
to take away their fears and sufferings.
Give us, their human friends,
a new understanding of our responsibilities
to these creatures of your divine love.
They trust us as we trust you;
our souls and their souls are on this earth together
in order to give each other the gifts
of mutual care, love, and friendship.
Accept our heartfelt prayers
and bless our sick or suffering animal friends
with healing, light, and strength
to overcome any weakness of body and mind.
Your goodness is turned upon every living creature
and your grace flows through all living things,
touching each of us with a reflection of your love.
Grant to our animal companions
long and healthy lives.
Give them strong relationships with us,
and if you see fit to call them back to yourself,
help us to understand that they are not gone,
but only drawing closer to their creator.
Grant our prayers
through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi,
who honored you through all creation.
Grant him the power to watch over our pets
until they rest safely with you,
where someday we hope to join them
in praising you for ever and ever.

Learn More: Will My Pet Go to Heaven?


Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Begins Saturday, August 3rd

An annual tradition returns this summer to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Our Summer Carillon Recitals are scheduled to begin on Saturday, August 3rd at 5:15pm (rain or shine). Once again, LuAnn Pallazola, our very talented organist-keyboardist has prepared programs that include familiar classical and international pieces, popular hymns and songs, patriotic melodies, and even selections especially for kids!

Installed in 1922, the carillon bells in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church were the first toned set of carillon bells in the United States. Although our bells can be heard from blocks away, the sound is best near the church. This summer, carillon recitals are also scheduled for the following Saturday afternoons at 5:15pm: August 10th, August 17th, August 24th, and August 31st.

For more information about these special programs, please contact LuAnn Pallazola at Our Summer Carillon Recitals are free and open to the public! So, bring a coffee or cold drink!Enjoy this wonderful summer tradition! Don’t forget that Mass begins at 6:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church! Please join us! Spread the word! Bring your family! All are invited! All are welcome!

Video: LuAnn Pallazola Plays the Carillon


Youth Faith Formation
Sundays with Pope Francis
August 4th & August 18th

The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce that all children (ages 5 through 11) and their families are invited to join us for “Sunday Morning with Pope Francis” on August 4th and August18th beginning at 9:30am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During these mornings of prayer, learning, fun, and fellowship, our young disciples will learn from Pope Francis about the journey of faith through active and engaged participation in games, music, and craft projects.

This special youth faith formation program will begin in Our Lady’s School where Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, learning, and good times with friends both old and new. After the morning session, Betsy and our volunteers will bring the children to Our Lady’s Church for Mass at 11:45am. All parents, grandparents, godparents & guardians are encouraged to join us!

The tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program is just $30 per child for both Sundays. Scholarships are available for families that cannot afford tuition. Adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are welcome to join us as volunteers! For more information, please contact Betsy Works at Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!


Our Summer Retreat
Sharing the Wisdom of Time with Pope Francis
August 26th through August 30th

The summer season is a great time of year for stepping back from the business and busyness of daily life in order to focus on our personal relationships with Christ, with each other, and with our Church. Unfortunately, few among us are able to leave behind work, family, and friends for a real retreat from the world. For this reason, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce our Sixth Annual Summer Retreat: “Sharing the Wisdom of Time with Pope Francis.”

From Monday, August 26th through Friday, August 30th, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual peace and renewal of a week-long retreat without leaving home. Each evening of our summer retreat will begin at 7:00pm in Saint Anthony Chapel with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After this time of shared prayer, Father Jim and Cliff will lead our community in a period of reflection, discussion, and faith sharing. Each evening will conclude promptly at 8:30pm with Night Prayer. During each day of the retreat, the chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent personal prayer and devotion.

This year, we will explore the inevitability of change in our lives and how to journey with confidence and courage through the sometimes turbulent waters of our times. In his book, “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, Pope Francis reminds us that to face the future, we must understand the past. The wisdom that comes with age and experience can help us to prepare for the future without fear and anxiety. To illustrate these points, the Holy Father has collected memories and stories from more than thirty countries and all walks of life. Every life story can offer us a compelling witness to the power of faith, hope, love, and trust in divine providence!

Between each night of the summer retreat, participants will be asked to read a brief selection from the Holy Father’s beautifully illustrated book, “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, and reflect on some timeless wisdom from the four corners of the world. If you would like to join us for all or even just part of our Sixth Annual Summer Retreat, please contact Cliff Garvey at A donation of $30 is requested from those who can afford it. Copies of the book and cold drinks will be provided. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!

Learn More: Sharing the Wisdom of Time


About Us

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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