This Week’s Message
Confronting the Sin of Racism
At times in history, the Catholic Church in the United States has failed to denounce the evils of slavery, racism, and discrimination. But we have also been blessed with the courageous witness of many priests, religious women and men, and countless laypersons who did respond prophetically by calling out sin and violent disregard for fellow human beings. Their lives remind us that we are all united in God’s love and the life of Christ. This week, we read about three Catholics who worked to heal the evil of racism in their day. As we learn about their stories, let us also reflect on how we can join this work of healing injustice in our country.
Julia Greeley (1833-1918) was born a slave in Missouri sometime between 1833 and 1848. While much of Julia’s early life is unknown, it is clear that she experienced the tragedy of slavery’s abuse, pain, and violence. Even amidst so much evil, she did not hate. Instead, she dedicated her life to helping others. Once emancipated after the Civil War, Julia Greeley settled in Colorado, where she worked as a housekeeper and nanny. She spent much of her modest earnings helping poor families in her neighborhood, many of whom were white. Realizing the shame many people feel in being poor, Julia left donations for them at night. Despite the poverty and trauma she suffered, she mercifully opened her heart to others in need. In 1880, Julia became a Roman Catholic and later joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Throughout her life, her generosity and good works brought joy and healing to her community. When Julia Greeley died, hundreds of people from many racial backgrounds came to mourn. Her charity, selflessness, and devotion to Christ made her a model of mercy.
Father Augustus Tolton (1886-1897) is often remembered as the first African-American priest in the United States (although the Healy Brothers, three sons of an enslaved woman and an Irish father whose racial heritage was less visibly apparent, were ordained before him). Father Tolton was born into slavery to parents whose owners allowed their slaves to be married in the Catholic Church. He was freed when his mother escaped to the free state of Illinois when he was a boy. He was encouraged by his local pastor to become a priest, but studied in Italy because no American seminary would admit him. As a priest, Father Tolton ministered to the African-American community in Quincy, Illinois. Known for his deep faith, eloquent sermons, and loving generosity, he attracted parishioners of various races to his parish. He inspired many affluent parishioners to support the parish school and its mission to educate all children regardless of race. Eventually, he was reassigned into the Archdiocese of Chicago where he became pastor of the first national parish for African-American Catholics. Despite his life experience with racism, Father Tolton remained steadfast in declaring: “The Catholic Church deplores a double slavery, that of both the mind and the body. The Church endeavors to free us from both.”
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) organized the first successful union of farmworkers in American history. He was not just one of the great labor leaders of the twentieth century. He was also a heroic example of Catholic moral leadership. Born in 1927, Cesar Chavez was born into a Mexican-American family that was forced into migrant farming during the Great Depression. As a child, he had to work in the fields to support his family and was unable to complete the seventh grade in school. As a young man with a wife and growing family, he was inspired by a priest with a passion for social justice to train as a community activist. He gathered the Mexican-Americans in Delano, California, formed the United Farm Workers, and led a strike against local grape farmers. The struggle for fair working conditions was long and drawn out. When the workers were threatened and attacked, Chavez rejected violent retaliation and turned to non-violence activism. He began a hunger strike, fasted on only water for twenty-five days, and drew national attention to the unjust wages and working conditions of migrant laborers. Cesar Chavez was a devout Catholic who did not simply believe the teachings of Jesus Christ. He was transformed by them and they guided his efforts to secure just treatment for all workers (Source: USCCB).
About This Week’s Message
Last November, the United States Conference of CatholicBishops (USCCB) unanimously approved “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.” This important document clearly explains the Church’s opposition to racism and its current manifestations: racial profiling, harassment of our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters, discrimination in hiring, housing, and education, and extreme nationalistic ideologies that instigate anger, fear, and hatred toward immigrants and refugees.
The bishops write that “too often racism comes in the form of the sin of omission, when individuals, communities, and even churches remain silent and fail to act against racial injustice when it is encountered (page 4).” Sadly, it seems that we are all increasingly guilty of this sin of omission. As the voices of racism grow louder and louder, many of us fear the consequences of speaking out. We fear the consequences of offering a prophetic voice against the sinful evil of hating another person simply because of their color, creed, or ethnic heritage.
In their pastoral letter, the bishops also remind us that the sin of racism can take root in our hearts and minds when we are encouraged to feel superior to others. The bishops write: “This attitude of superiority can be seen in how certain groups of people are vilified, called criminals, or are perceived as being unable to contribute to society, even unworthy of its benefits (p. 5).” These attitudes and feelings are fuel for the fiery hell of racism in our world.
Fortunately, we can look for inspiration of “courageous witness” in the lives of Julia Greeley, Augustus Tolton, and Cesar Chavez who are profiled in this week’s message (see above). Through their lives and examples, we learn that the sin of racism can be best confronted by living the Gospel and sharing God’s love; by serving the poor, caring for the sick, and reaching out to the lonely; and by giving voice in every thought, word, and deed to the Good News of the Living Christ. In addition to this week’s message, all are invited to read and reflect on “Open Wide Our Hearts” via the link below. Together, let us pray for the strength to be courageous witnesses against racism! Peace and blessings! — Father Jim
Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Saturdays in August!
An annual tradition returns this summer to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Our Summer Carillon Recitals are scheduled to begin on Saturday, August 17th 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. Our summer carillon recitals are also scheduled for the following Saturday afternoons at 5:15pm: August 24th and August 31st.
For more information about these special programs, please contact LuAnn Pallazola at email@example.com. 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!
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 busy- ness 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 SummerRetreat: 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 night 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. We will conclude promptly at 8:30pm with Night Prayer. During each day of the retreat, Saint Anthony Chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent personal prayer and devotion.
This year’s retreat will be something like a week-long conversation with Pope Francis and some friends from all around the world about five important topics that inevitably touch every human life: work, struggle, love, death, and hope. In his book, “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, the pope reminds us that to fully embrace the present and face thefuture, we must better understand our past. To illustrate this point, the Holy Father has collected memories, stories, and words of wisdom 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 retreat, participants will be asked to read brief selections fromthe Holy Father’s beautifully illustrated book, “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, and re-flect 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 at 978-281-4820 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A donation of $30 per person is requested from those who can afford it. Copies of the book and cold drinks will be provided. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, August 31st
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 Holy 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 forAugust 31st beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will conclude our discussion of the Franciscan Saints. In particular, we will focus on Saint Clare of Assisi, the best friend and perhaps most faithful follower of Saint Francis.
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 travelwith 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 email@example.com. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! 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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