This Week’s Message
The Mindless Menace of Violence
By Robert F. Kennedy
The victims of violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one, no matter where he lives or what he does, can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on. Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by his assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorder. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people. Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily, whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence in response to violence: whenever we tear at the fabric of life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.
Abraham Lincoln said: “Among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.” Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept news reports of civilian slaughter in far away lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition as they desire. Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach nonviolence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them. Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls…
When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies —to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered. We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers. Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question now is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of human purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.
We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search of the advancement of all people. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot bebuilt on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge. Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course, we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek, as we do, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn at least to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again.
About This Week’s Message
On April 4, 1968, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. On the following day, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, a devout Catholic who was campaigning for the presidency, spoke out against the rising tide of racism and violence in the United States. Two months and one day after delivering his speech, Senator Kennedy himself was murdered. More than five decades later, our country is again mired in the contagious evil of bigotry, hate, and unspeakable cruelty. Last weekend, thirty-one innocent people were murdered and fifty-one others were injured during separate mass shooting incidents in Texas and Ohio. But these horrific crimes are just part of a more terrifying trend.
According to the Washington Post, between 1966 and 1999, there was (on average) one mass shooting event twice each year. Between 1999 and 2015, there was (on average) one such shooting every eighty-four days. Between 2015 until now, there has been (on average) one mass shooting every forty-seven days. To put that into some perspective, it has been forty-seven days since the opening of this year’s Saint Peter’s Fiesta. As your pastor, I struggle with what to say in response to the deepening divisions in our country. Earlier this week, E.J. Dionne wrote: “Our rancid political culture is, quite literally, killing our nation.” I couldn’t agree more. But at the same time, it is not just politicians and their supporters who are responsible for the coarsening of our culture.
Faith leaders, including many of our bishops and pastors, deserve no small share of the blame. Our silence in the face of this darkness is disheartening and disgraceful. And those who choose to speak are sometimes no better. Earlier this week, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that only “fools” would support gun control. It seems tome that only a fool would say something so stupid while so many families are grieving the loss of a loved one. Senator Kennedy’s speech appears in this week’s newsletter with minor edits and contains the regrettable gender-specific language of his times. A link to the complete text appears above. Let us pray together and work together for an increase of solidarity and love in our troubled world! And as always, let us pray for each other! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
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 10th 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 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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