This Week’s Message
By Cliff Garvey
We all know that an essential part of a door is the hinge. A door depends on its hinge. Without the hinge, a door cannot open or close. Without the hinge, a door is just a board. Likewise in life, we experience hinge moments. These are moments that can open new opportunities for love, growth, and maturity. Such moments transform our lives: the birth of a child, the death of a parent or spouse, a graduation from high school or college, a first job, a first love. After a hinge moment, everything changes.
My family is lucky. My parents are fit and healthy well into their seventies. But for the past few years, they have been restless. They have been living in a senior housing community and have not liked it. They miss having their own home. They feel out of place. But late last summer, a small miracle happened. My dad learned that as a Vietnam combat veteran, he was eligible for a low interest mortgage and could buy another home. Needless to say, my folks were overjoyed.
What happened next is the hinge moment (or perhaps a series of hinge moments). Be- cause I am their only child and someday stand to inherit their new house, they entrust- ed me with finding for them the right house in the right location at the right price. A few weeks later, I showed them a little house near a protected harbor on the coast of Maine with a view of the ocean from their living room windows. An hour later, we were sitting in our realtor’s office making an offer. Last week, we closed on the house, went inside as a family, and wept tears of deep joy.
Along the way, many small decisions needed to be made about appraisals, building inspections, negotiations with realtors and sellers, and even a bank-required termite inspection (even though termites do not live along the cold coast of Maine). All of these decisions were entrusted to me. Now that my parents own the house, it needs some basic repairs, interior painting, new doors, and new flooring in the master bedroom. Here again, they have trusted me to take care of these projects.
At every turn, I have had the sense that something has changed in our family dynamic, in our relationship as father, mother, and son. So, I talked with a friend who had taken care of her own aging mother. How do I make sense of these changes? What words do we use to describe this time of life when an adult child begins to help their parents in a new way? My friend said simply: “Responsible. You love them. You are now responsible for them.” It took me several days to process this hinge moment, this new chapter in our lives, when everything changes, when life seems to move in a new direction. Finally, I reached a conclusion. It is difficult, but it is also so very good.
This week marks a hinge moment in the liturgical life of the Church. As days grow short, ordinary time has come to a close. This weekend, a new season begins. Advent is a time for prayer, preparation, and new beginnings. As one season of life ends and another begins, let us pause for a moment a give thanks for the hinge moments that change our lives, for the people we are given to love and cherish, and for the good gifts of family and friends — and especially for a little house with a view of the sea!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Art: “Open Door, Syd’s Store” by Carl Sublett (1919-2008)
Call to Prayer
In Shadow As Well As Light
A Pray for the First Week of Advent
Loving and gracious God,
when the days grow darker, casting long, cold shadows,
allowing fear and despair into our lives,
let my light shine brighter.
When the task grows more wearisome,
filling valleys and flattening mountains,
building highways in the desert,
be the strength in my bones.
When I wait on you,
and they shake their heads and say:
“Have you not heard the news?”
Keep in my heart the good news
that makes even a child in the womb leap with joy:
that soon you will be born into the world.
May I praise you in shadow as well as light.
May I praise you in winter as well as spring.
May I praise you in silence as well as song.
May I praise you in solitude as well as companionship.
May I praise you in illness as well as health.
And when the last glowing beam
disappears over the horizon,
and darkness shrouds the land,
give me the grace to say to all,
despair not, morning is coming!
Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen! Amen!
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Annual Christmas Fair
Saturday, December 7th
All are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for our Annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 7th from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Highlights include a fried dough breakfast, a linguiça and hot dog lunch, coffee, and soft drinks! Sale tables will feature the General Store, Christmas decorations, religious goods, jewelry, fudge, our famous homemade sweet bread, and other delicious baked goods! We will also have a Mega Raffle with great prizes! Santa Claus will appear at 11:30am with treats for our children and grandchildren! Volunteers are needed for set-up and clean-up! For more information, please con- tact Beth Fosberry at 978-790-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Help us make this year’s Christmas Fair our most suc-cessful ever! Please join us! Spread the word! Bring your family! Bring a friend! 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 Ann Church. 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!
Advent Mission & Retreat
Punching Holes in the Darkness
December 11th-December 13th
Especially at this time of year, darkness is all around us. Days are short. Nights are long. Too many days seem bleak and gloomy. And in the world around us, darkness abounds. Divisions are deep. Too many people suffer. Too many people seem ambivalent and cynical. Too many people seem hunkered down, hoping beyond hope that the darkness will pass away all by itself.
Father Jim and Cliff recently read a little book called “Punching Holes in the Darkness” by Robert Benson, a Christian author and retreat leader. He writes: “Where there is darkness, we are to raise our fists and punch holes in it — as hard as we can, as often as we can. The size of the hole does not matter, the fact of it is what counts more than everything.” Benson means that each one of us, inspired by the Holy Spirit, can transcend the darkness and bring the Light of Christ into our world with every thought, word, and deed. By punching holes in the darkness, we bring brightness back into our world and our good works shine like stars in the night!
In this spirit, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for our “Advent Mission & Retreat: Punching Holes in the Darkness” from Wednesday, December 11th through Friday, December 13th beginning with Mass at 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will also feature a reflection, followed by comments, questions, and faith sharing. Although we will not read all of Robert Benson’s book, copies will be available for purchase. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Saint Vincent De Paul Society
Christmas Giving Trees
Help Us Share the Gift of Christmas!
This year, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society will once again sponsor the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Christmas Giving Trees and share the Gifts of Christmas with local families in need. During the weekend of November 30th & December 1st, the Giving Trees will be at the entrances of our three churches. Each tree will be decorated with stars that include a special Christmas wish. If you can fulfill the wish, please take a star! Every donated gift should be new, unused, unwrapped, and placed under the tree or delivered to our parish office by Tuesday, December 10th. The Giving Trees will remain in our churches through Sunday, December 8th. For more information, please contact Barbara Frontiero at email@example.com. Thank you in advance for your generous support! May God bless us, everyone!
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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