CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC UPDATE
Friday, March 13, 2020 – Updated 4:15pm
Pastor’s Note: In cooperation with medical experts and local and state authorities, Cardinal Sean O’Malley has suspended all public Masses in the Archdiocese of Boston until further notice. The Cardinal has also issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for all Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese. Funeral and wedding services will continue as scheduled for now.
In order to do what we can locally to safeguard the health of all friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport also announces the following changes to our parish programs and ministries:
- Our parish office is closed on Friday, March 13th.
- Friday Night Bingo is suspended until further notice.
- Stations of the Cross is canceled on Friday, March 13th.
- All pastoral visits by the Legion of Mary are suspended.
- All pastoral visits by the Saint Vincent de Paul Society are suspended.
- Our Morning Morning Communion Service is suspended until further notice.
- All adult & youth faith formation programs are suspended until further notice.
- All other parish programs, meetings & events are suspended until further notice.
This crisis is real. Everyone is encouraged to make every effort to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors. We must confront it by believing in God, trusting in science, taking precautions, and praying — now more than ever. All are encouraged to pray for healing, mercy, and protection by using the resources below. Let us now pray for each other! Stay tuned for further updates! Peace & blessings to all! — Father Jim.
This Week’s Message
Being Missionary Disciples
By Cliff Garvey
This weekend at Mass, the Gospel of Matthew offers us an opportunity to join Peter, James, and John as they climb Mount Tabor and see Jesus as he becomes radiant in glory right before their eyes (Matthew 17:1-9). At this pivotal moment of transfiguration, the disciples see the true nature of Jesus: both human and divine; bathed in God’s grace and glory; embodiment of both temporal and eternal life, and bridge between heaven and earth. His clothing becomes brightest white. His face gleams like sunshine. He is altered, changed, elevated, transformed, made beautiful, and rendered luminous. This encounter with the transfigured Jesus confirms what the disciples believe and strengthens what they know: Jesus is the Son of the Most High God.
Although we encounter the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, most of us will not be blessed by a miraculous encounter like the transfiguration. So much of what we know about the Living Jesus comes to us from books, scripture, homilies, and faith formation programs. And so much of our knowledge with the Living Gospel can seem indirect, sometimes even impersonal. Or is it? Is this really true? A few months ago, I was asked by a bishop about whether or not we had any “missionary disciples” in our parishes. Sadly, I stumbled over the answer. I even may have been somewhat defensive. But recently, I was truly blessed to grow in appreciation and understanding about the true meaning of missionary discipleship.
Pope Francis describes the missionary disciple as someone who takes initiative, takes the first step, goes out among the people, meets them at the crossroads, welcomes the stranger, and gives witness to the Good News of Christ. By this, Pope Francis does not necessarily mean a street preacher. He is talking about members of the Legion of Mary who bring light into the shadowlands of a memory care unit, nursing home, or the home of a lonely friend. He is talking about members of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society who bring food and warm clothing to needy families in our very own neighborhoods without judgment or scorn.
When Pope Francis speaks again and again about missionary disciples, he is talking about the members of the Holy Family Cevicos Mission who pack suitcases with basic necessities that we take for granted, travel thousands of miles to a poor village in the Dominican Republic, and share these things and their love with poor children. He is talking about members of the Assisi Project who journey across the world to walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis and come home inspired to rebuild the Church, stone by stone, soul by soul. When Pope Francis speaks about missionary disciples, he is talking about anyone who gives generously, anyone who prays faithfully, and anyone who serves all of God’s children with love, without counting the cost.
The Holy Father refers to his close co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard as “collaborators.” One of his favorite collaborators is Bishop Gustavo Carrara, the so-called “Slum Bishop” of Buenos Aries. Bishop Carrara says: “Too often the Church thinks of people who evangelize as professionals with certificates…But the one really necessary qualification is encounter. To have had an encounter with God’s mercy and to lead others there; that’s what is means to be a missionary disciple.” In this way, each one of us is empowered to do some small good, some unique good that brings Christ into the lives of God’s family. Pope Francis reminds us that “Jesus did not proselytize. He accompanied. Closeness was the program.” As our Lenten journey continues, let us consider what we might do (alone or together, by prayer or direct action) to help others meet the Living Jesus and grow closer to him. Let us be missionary disciples!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Grand Annual Collections
Help Us Balance Our Budgets
Every Dollar Makes a Difference!
Last year, thanks to your generous support, both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish balanced their fiscal year budgets. Two big reasons for these accomplishments are the success of our Grand Annual Collections. In each of our parishes, the Grand Annual Collection bridges the gap between our weekly gifts and our financial obligations (such as salaries and benefits, insurance premiums, utility bills, snow plowing, and essential parish programs). The Grand Annual Collections also enable us to repair and improve our historic, but very expensive to maintain, church buildings.
In order for each parish to balance its budget and ensure its long-term financial stability, we must meet our goals of $75,000 for Holy Family Parish and $45,000 for Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. These fundraising campaigns are essential components of our annual parish budgets. So each year, we ask all parishioners to contribute what they can to our Grand Annual Collections. Every gift, large or small, helps us to achieve our goals and balance our budgets. Offertory envelopes are located at the doors of all of our churches. Please place your offering in the collection basket during Mass or mail it directly to me.
We have made some good progress toward reaching our goals, but we have much work ahead before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. So, all parishioners are encouraged to prayerfully consider giving to the Grand Annual Collection at either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Every penny raised goes directly to the parish of your choice.
Please join me in praying that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to one of these all-important fundraising efforts. For more information about the Grand Annual Collections in either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your prayers and generous support for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport!
Call to Prayer
Prayer for the Wilderness
Second Week of Lent
Lord God of the Fast,
I come before you as a sinner,
but fully aware of your divine mercy.
I need this Lenten fast.
For only when I step away f
rom the things of this world,
I can fathom the gift of redemption.
Turn my nose
from the scents around me,
so that I may again know
the sweet fragrance of Christ.
Numb my tongue
from all that allures it,
so that I may taste anew
the bread of my salvation.
Dull my touch to all sensations,
so that I may feel only the pulse of my heart,
longing to reconcile with my brother and sister,
and with you, my maker.
Stop my ears
from all that tempts them,
so that I may hear the song of your mercy,
calling me back to the embrace
of my father in heaven.
Blind my eyes from all that distracts them,
so that I may gaze fully on the Light of Christ.
And once we have met there in the wilderness,
return me to the world.
Send me back among your people,
so that I may fill their senses
with all I have found in you:
All that is good, loving, and merciful.
Glory be to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever.
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 email@example.com. 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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