This Week’s Message
Why Truth Is Sacred
By Kathy Coffey
Aunt Martha sports a hideous new dress that accentuates her bulges. What do you say?Perhaps you cop out: “Fuchsia is certainly your color!” Maybe you describe the hidden reality with these words: “You are so cheerful!” But in this case, the truth, “That’s the ugliest dress I have ever seen!” is cruel. Even the most honest person wouldn’t insult his or her aunt. This example may over simplify the complex situations in which we find ourselves today. We have recently seen deception by people we have placed our trust in. Countries go to war based on wobbly intelligence. Priests with a history of child abuse have been placed in parishes without concern for the need to protect possible new victims.
But we cannot point our fingers at others until we turn it on ourselves. As children, wemay have figured out that small lies were “okay” as long as we did not get caught. As adolescents, we learned to protect our fragile egos by broadcasting the positives and concealing the negatives about ourselves. As adults, we struggle to maintain a balance betweenprivacy and intimacy. We don’t want to “tell all” as on a talk show. But we also know thatthose we love deserve the full truth about ourselves, even when it is painful to reveal.
Here are two examples. Brendan is the life of the party, an Irish storyteller. No one minds when he exaggerates. It makes the stories better. Unfortunately, that strategy carries into his personal life. His ideas about himself grow grandiose and far from reality, but sadly, he believes them. Brendan gets caught up in the fiction. He always stars in the latest exploit. But by now, no one is sure it really happened.
Molly, on the other hand, gives flesh to the saying: “She knows who she is.” People needing an honest opinion count on her to give it. She trusts them with the truth because she believes that they can handle it. She openly admits that she has done her time in therapy. Without boring people too much, Molly will explain that alcohol is poison for her system. She knows the dark side as well as her assets, and conveys a hard-won authenticity. So this business of truth-telling gets more complex than Aunt Martha’s dress. The biblical origins of our tradition show why truth is revered as sacred.
The perfect example of inner solidity comes from Jesus. When the soldiers approach him inthe Garden of Olives, he does not hide. In fact, he initiates the conversation: “Who are you looking for?” When they answer: “Jesus the Nazorean,” he says simply: “I am (John 18:4-5).” What if Jesus fudged? Suspecting what was to come, he could have said: “Oh, no, you have the wrong guy. I just look like him.” He might have escaped. Instead, he stands firm in the truth, despite all that it will cost him.
What does Jesus model for us? When, like Brendan, we create myths about ourselves to impress others, we deny what is far more wonderful about us: our likeness to God. When we perpetuate the falsehoods of advertising, we prefer appearance to reality. When we tolerate phoniness, we refuse God the praise that even a blade of grass or an honest dandelion might give. Thomas Merton says that our response to God’s initial word is to become God’s words: God’s answer and echo. To do that, we must hone our words to the mosthonest and accurate ones that we can find. Thus, we honor the Eighth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against a neighbor (Exodus 20:16).”
About the Author: Kathy Coffey is an award-winning author, educator, and retreat director. In addition, she is a regular contributor to Bringing Home the Word, a weekly resource for prayer and reflection based on the Sunday Mass readings. Click the link below for the latest edition!
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 Saint Ann 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 the 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’s Guild 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!
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Annual Turkey Giveaway
Monday, November 25th
All are invited to join Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish for its Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway on Monday, November 25th at 7:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. This year, we will have turkeys for raffle, along with our famous homemade sweetbread, cider, vegetables, and all the trimmings for a delicious holiday feast! In addition, we will have a 50-50 Raffle! Pizza and soft drinks will be available, too! So, please join us for this fun and exciting holiday tradition! For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Thanksgiving Mass Schedule
November 27th & November 28th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us as we gather as God’s family for the celebration of Holy Mass in commemoration of the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday according to the following schedule:
- Thanksgiving Eve
Wednesday, November 27th at 6:30pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 28th at 8:00am
Saint Joachim Church
For more information, please see Father Jim or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We pray that you and your family will join us in giving praise and thanks for God’s abundant blessings on our community! Please join us! Spread the good news! All are invited! All are welcome! Happy Thanksgiving!
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, November 30th
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 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 forNovember 30th beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will continue our discussion and study of Father Murray Bodo’s beautiful book of spiritual reflections, “Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis of Assisi.”
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 travel with 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! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent Faith & Family Mass
Youth Faith Formation Special Event
Saturday, November 30th
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 9:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all children, parents, grandparents, godparents, and guardians are invited to join Father Jim for our Fifth Annual Advent Faith & Family Mass on Saturday, November 30th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily about the Christmas Tree and a special blessing for all of God’s children and their families. In addition, every child will receive a small gift.
Please save these dates for our upcoming Faith & Family Masses: Saturday, December 28th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; Sunday, March 1st at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and Saturday, May 9th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. For more information about our Advent Faith & Family Mass, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us affirm once again that Mass is our class! Jesus is our Teacher! Every child is a precious gift from God! And all families are always welcome to join us for Mass! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent & Christmas Concert
An Annual Holiday Tradition
Sunday, December 8th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish are invited to join Tom Misuraca, Lucy Pallazola, Patricia Natti, and our Adult & Youth Music Ministries for our Fifteenth Annual Advent & Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 8th at 2:00pm in Saint AnnChurch. As always, this year’s musical selections have been carefully chosen tohelp prepare our hearts to celebrate more faithfully the Holy Season of Advent and the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. For more information about this beautiful holiday tradition in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Tom Misuraca, Associate Minister of Music, at email@example.com. Please join us as we share the gift of sacred music during the upcoming holiday season! Spread the good news! Bring your families and friends! 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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