Our Pastor’s Message
A Tale of Two Believers
By Father Jim
In this weekend’s reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 18:9-14), Jesus challenges us to know ourselves better and to know him better, too. This is a tale of two believers — the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee is a member of an ancient Jewish community that believes in a strict obedience to religious laws and customs. The Pharisees believe that they are a community set apart from the rest of society; that they are somehow more faithful and more holy because of their very public observance of faith traditions. They are part of the “in crowd” and part of the power structure. By contrast, the publican is a civil servant, an agent of the government who collects taxes and manages public buildings. At that time, as in our own time, being a tax collector is an unpopular and thankless job. All too often, the government authorities are angry that not enough taxes are being collected; and the people are equally angry that too many taxes are being collected. In some ways, not much has changed!
Regardless of their popularity or unpopularity, both the Pharisee and the publican share the same faith and both go to pray in the same temple, which is the social and spiritual center of Jewish life during the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. Upon entering the temple, the Pharisee proceeds to “his position.” One might liken this to his favorite pew in our own tradition. It may have been where he was accustomed to praying or it may have been a place that was assigned to him because of his rank and social status. The Pharisee begins to pray aloud so that other people can hear him. He declares: “O God, I thank youthat I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice each week, and I pay tithes on my whole income (Lk 18:11-12).”
Does the Pharisee pray in this way because the publican (aka the tax collector) mistakenly sits in his customary place? Is he seeking to send some sort of condescending message that the tax collector should pray elsewhere? Or does the Pharisee actually believe that he is better, purer, superior, more generous, and more holy than the publican? What does he truly believe about himself? What is in his heart? The Gospel does not tell us, but it surely implies that the Pharisee is oblivious to his arrogance and conceit. For what it’s worth, based on my own life experience, my guess is that it is a bit of both. The Pharisee is being rude and snobbish; and he believes that he is entitled to be so. Can you imagine being so angry and upset because some stranger is sitting in your favorite pew?!
Meanwhile, the publican finds another place to pray. He does not pray with flourishes and pious words. He simply bows his head, beats his breast, and begs for forgiveness. He silently prays: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner (Lk 18:13)!” Over the centuries, this short prayer (slightly modified) becomes the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Christian disciples who make this powerful prayer part oftheir spirituality learn that it can change their lives because it speaks to their heart and contains the basic truths of the entire gospel: Jesus is the Chosen One, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. He has the power to forgive any sin and love every sinner. And lastly, all of us, no matter our station or status, are broken and need God’s mercy. This week, let us remember the Pharisee and the tax collector. Let us look deeply into our hearts and discover who we are, what we have in common, and what we need. Let uspray for God’s love and mercy. And as always, let us pray for each other.
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Respect Life Month
A Prayer for Life
By Father Michael Pavlakovich
Most Holy Lord,
Creator of heaven and earth,
from your gentle hand flows the gift of life.
To your sons and daughters,
you have given the role of stewards
to care for all of your creation
from womb to tomb.
Hear us as we pray
for a greater respect for all life
all around the world:
That the unborn may be born.
That the child may be safe.
That the teen may be prepared.
That the young adult may be other-centered.
That the adult may be selfless.
That the aged may be revered.
That the dying may have dignity.
That the deceased may rest in peace.
That the resources of creation may be used well.
That all creation may be blessed.
Having served you loyally on earth,
may we obtain the rewards of everlasting life.
We as these things through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Solemnity of All Saints
A Holy Day of Obligation
Friday, November 1st
Since late antiquity, the People of God have honored the holy men and women who have been canonized as saints in the Roman Catholic Church. The Solemnity of All Saints honors all saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us in faith, hope, and love; and who now pray for us and for the salvation of souls. In commemoration of this Holy Day of Obligation (Friday, November 1st), the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Mass according to the following schedule:
- Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
- Saint Ann Church at 12:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 6:30pm
For more information about the Solemnity of All Saints in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at email@example.com. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
November: Month of All Souls
Masses of Remembrance
For Families, Friends & Fellow Parishioners
During November, the Month of All Souls, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate three Masses of Remembrance for those friends, loved ones, and fellow parishioners whose funerals were celebrated in our churches and have thus journeyed home to the Lord during the past year. These Masses will be celebrated according to the following schedule:
- Mass of Remembrance I
Saturday, November 2nd at 4:00pm
Saint Ann Church
- Mass of Remembrance II
Sunday, November 10th at 11:45am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Mass of Remembrance III
Sunday, November 17th at 10:00am
Saint Joachim Church
For more information about the Month of All Souls in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Fried Dough Breakfast
Saturday, November 2nd
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish for a Fried Dough Breakfast on Saturday, November 2nd from 9:00am until 11:00am in Our Lady’s Hall. Coffee, tea, and our delicious homemade fried dough and sweetbread will be served. Loaves of sweetbread will also be available for purchase. For more information, please contact Matt Parisi at email@example.com. Please join us for this special morning of great food and fellowship! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Parish
Annual Christmas Fair
Saturday, November 23rd
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Holy Family Parish for our Annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, November 23rd from 9:00am until 2:00pm in SaintAnn Church Hall. This year’s fair will feature many sale tables, including homemade cookies and cakes, Christmas decorations, Santa’s Corner, a Chinese Raffle, White Elephant Sale, and our famous Basket Wheel. In addition, raffle tickets are now available for cash prizes, an Apple iPad Basket, and a Nintendo Switch Basket.
On behalf of a grateful parish, the Holy Family Women’sGuild thanks Greely Funeral Home and Campbell Funeral Home for the generous donation of the raffle prizes. The Christmas Fair Committee and Women’s Guild are working overtime to make this year’s fair another great success! So, please support this all-important fundraising event by joining us on Saturday, November 23rd! For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! 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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