Our Pastor’s Message
Mercy Changes Everything
By Father Jim
Father Richard Rohr writes: “Pope Francis insists that mercy is at the very top of the Christian hierarchy of great truths and everything falls apart whenever mercy is displaced by anything else.” In this busy world, we are often bombarded by ads, posts, texts, tweets, and even good old fashioned human contact. It is all too easy for us to forget the importance of mercy. For this reason, even though the Jubilee Year of Mercy ended almost two years ago, Pope Francis has called the Catholic Church around the world to remain focused on sharing God’s mercy through individual acts of kindness, helping the poor, making peace in our troubled world, and encouraging others to accept or seek out God’s love and mercy through the sacraments.
At Mass this weekend, the responsorial psalm cries out to us: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Hebrews 3:15).” This verse is included among a series of readings that caution us against arrogance, greed, vanity, and worldliness. They beckon us away from a world that seems less compassionate and more callous with each passing day. These cautionary readings also remind us of the importance of mercy. At its root, mercy is what empowers us to feel a friend’s pain; understand someone’s suffering; and empathize with the plight of a poor stranger. With God’s grace, we can unite our hearts with the heart of a person in need and respond in a merciful way.
So, how can we become more merciful in our daily lives? Here are a few suggestions. First, we can pray for an increase in mercy around the world. We can pray for our families, friends, and fellow parishioners. We can pray for people we know and people we do not know who are lonely, poor, sick, or suffering in some way. And we can pray that both our civic leaders and our faith leaders will find the courage to give witness to God’s love and mercy. If each of us offered a few prayers every day this month for these few intentions, the heavens would be flooded with prayers! The angels would rejoice! God would smile upon us! Miracles would surely happen!
Second, we can cultivate kindness in our own corner of the world. No day passes without an opportunity to share God’s love and mercy to someone somewhere. Call a lonely neighbor. Check on an elderly relative or sick friend. Send a sympathy card or a thank you note to someone who might need or appreciate a kind word. Send flowers to someone who needs to be reminded of God’s gifts of beauty and life. Allow another car to merge into your lane. Pray for (not swear at) the person who cuts in front of you. Perhaps most of all, share a kind word with your letter carrier, the cashier at the grocery store, or the poor guys who stand out in the hot sun while our roads are being repaired. Just imagine how much goodness and mercy you can share in one short week!
Finally, turn away from gossip, judging others, and holding on to grudges against colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family members. Such hardness of heart weakens our faith, numbs us to God’s grace, diminishes our ability to show mercy to friend, foe, and stranger alike. When we holdon to resentments, both large and small, we become blind to our own faults and failures. But when we forgive, we become wide-open windows through which God’s love and mercy flow out into the world. Dare to love! Dare to make peace! Dare to be merciful! Your small act of love, mercy, & forgiveness can change a life. It can change the life of your family, your workplace, or your neighborhood. Taken together, our small acts of mercy can change the world! Peace and blessings to all!
Words of Wisdom
Mercy Changes Everything
By Pope Francis
Are you looking for empty thrills in life?
Or do you want to feel a power
that can give you a lasting sense of life and fulfillment?
Empty thrills or the power of God’s grace?
To find fulfillment and gain strength: there is a way!
It is not a thing or an object. It is a person.
He is alive! His name is Jesus Christ!
Jesus can give you a true passion for life.
Jesus can inspire you to not settle for less,
but to give the very best of yourself.
Jesus challenges us, encourages us,
and helps us to keep trying
whenever we are tempted to give up.
Jesus pushes us to keep our sights high
and dream of great things.
Whoever welcomes Jesus
learns to love as Jesus loves.
So he asks us if we want a full life.
Do you desire a complete life?
Start by letting yourself be open and attentive!
Happiness is sown and blossoms in mercy!
Mercy is his answer,
his offer, his challenge, and his adventure…
All together, let us ask the Lord:
Launch us on the adventure of mercy!
Launch us on the adventure
of building bridges and tearing down walls,
barriers, and barbed wire.
Launch us on the adventure of helping
the poor, the lonely, the abandoned,
and those who no longer find meaning in their lives…
Lord, here we are!
Send us to share your merciful love!
We want to welcome you!
We want to affirm that our lives are fulfilled
when they are shaped by your mercy
for that is the better part,
and it will never be taken from us!
Source: World Youth Day | July 28, 2016
Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Begins This Weekend!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Holy Day of Obligation
Thursday, August 15th
Since the fifth century, God’s faithful people have be-lieved that upon her death, the Blessed Virgin Mary was raised body and soul into heaven. However, this ancient tradition was not defined as an official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church until 1950. In celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:
Vigil Mass | Wednesday, August 14th
Saint Anthony Chapel at 6:30pm
Holy Day Masses | Thursday, August 15th
Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 12:00pm
For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or please feel welcome to contact him at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Saint Ann, pray for us! Saint Joachim, pray for us! Saint Anthony, pray for us! Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! Our Lady of the Assumption, pray for us!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
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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