This Week’s Message
No Ordinary Time
By Cliff Garvey
Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “This is no ordinary time and no time for weighing anything except what we can best do for the country as a whole.” Mrs. Roosevelt spoke these words as the United States was just beginning to recover from the Great Depression and not long before our country was drawn into the Second World War. Eight decades later, Mrs. Roosevelt’s words seem especially relevant for every country and every community all around the world. For what seems like the first time in my life, there is a growing sense that we must face this global health crisis together, that one family’s tragedy is mourned by every family; and that we need each other now more than ever.
At this point, my parents and I are separated by more than two hundred miles. One month ago, speaking together by phone, we decided as a family that they should self-isolate at home in Maine; and that I should remain here — to work and remain ‘in network’ for health care in the event of any illness. Our conversation was matter-of-fact. We thought the pandemic would last for a few weeks, maybe even for a month. After that, I would resume my weekly drives north to visit my folks and prepare our gardens and yards for the spring season. Of course, we know now that it could be many more weeks, maybe months, before we see each other again. Clearly, this is no ordinary time in our lives.
My mom was born shortly before the end of the war. She did not live through the depression or see the ravages of that war. At the same time, she has experienced hardship and loss. She was called upon to care for her younger siblings because my grandmother was often too sick to do so. My grandfather died suddenly just months before a long-planned early retirement. Her younger brother was killed by friendly fire in Vietnam. And her younger sister died young from complications related to a chronic medical condition. And even now, my mom is considered among those who could be most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Earlier this week, we talked for a long time about this crisis and what it means for our family, for our country, and for people all around the world. For the first time, my mom spoke in real depth, from the heart, about her own experiences with adversity and suffering. Although she had never really brought it to speech, she said that she has often thought about what it must have been like for my grandmother to flee the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia: all alone, just sixteen years old, with just a paper bag containing her belongings. She spoke about how hard it must have been for my paternal grandmother to raise two infant boys while my grandfather was stationed oversees. And she spoke about how the Vietnam War has left long lasting scars on our whole family.
Finally, my mom said: “Maybe now it is our turn to be strong.” We did not talk about what that could mean because we both knew. It means that this may be our time of trial and tribulation. This may be our time to forge ahead through the darkness. This may be our time to weep over a suffering world. We cannot (yet) imagine what it must be like for our brothers and sisters in Italy or Spain or New York City; for our friends and family members who work in hospitals or nursing homes; or for those heroes who continue to bring food to our tables. But during this Holy Week, with our world pinned to the cross of pandemic, we can be strong. We can care for each other. We can pray for each other. Now is the time.
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Pastor’s Note: On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Father Jim wishes to thank our dear friend, Jody Cole. for giving us permission to use her beautiful and moving icon, Jesus Is Taken From the Cross, online and on the cover of this week’s newsletter. For more information about Jody’s work, please visit: jcoleicons.com.
Holy Week & Easter Services
Ever Together in Prayer!
Brothers and Sisters! Even though we cannot gather together to commemorate the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ or His Glorious Resurrection on Easter Sunday, we can still pray together! Cardinal Sean O’Malley has called all priests and pastors throughout the Archdiocese of Boston to celebrate these sacred liturgies privately and share them with parishioners online. Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Father Gariboldi and I will con-celebrate these most sacred moments of the liturgical year and invite you to join us in a spiritual communion online by clicking the link on the link below. Our Holy Week and Easter services will be uploaded to our new YouTube channel according to the following schedule:
- Palm Sunday
Sunday, April 5th
- Holy Thursday
Thursday, April 9th
- Good Friday
Friday, April 10th
- Easter Sunday
Sunday, April 12th
Please note that in accordance with local, state, and archdiocesan guidelines, palms will not be available this year. Until this crisis is over, I am uploading videos of the daily proclamation of the Holy Gospel; various homilies and pastoral messages on a regular basis; and even the Holy Rosary. Needless to say, I cannot promise the production values of a major cable television network! I can only promise my humble and heartfelt prayers for you and your family every morning, noon, and night! Join in me in these prayers by clicking the links below:
- Liturgy of the Hours
Morning, Evening, Daytime & Night Prayer
- Morning Prayer
Sacred Heart Novena
- Midday Prayer
- Evening Prayer
Saint Joseph, Hope of the Sick
- Bedtime Prayer
All are invited to join me and our friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners in these beautiful prayers which are available by clicking the links above! If you have questions or need assistance in viewing these services, please contact me at email@example.com. During Holy Week, Easter Sunday, and beyond, let’s raise our hearts and voices to heaven! Let’s pray together! Ever together in prayer! Peace and blessings to all for safe and healthy Holy Week! —Father Jim
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Available at Both Parishes!
Brothers and sisters! Our parishes depend solely on your generous gifts in order to pay for the salaries and benefits of our priests and remaining pastoral team members; groundskeeping, utility bills, insurance premiums, and necessary repairs in our churches and parish buildings. Now more than ever, your generosity will ensure that the good work of our parishes can continue after this crisis ends; and also the long-term financial stability of both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish.
All are encouraged to mail their donations or slide them through the mail slot at our parish office. Another increasingly important component of our ongoing fundraising efforts is electronic giving. Our We Share program is a safe and easy way to make secure online donations to your home parish using a credit, debit card, or electronic check. For more information about supporting our parishes during this difficult time, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support! Prayers, and blessings for all! — Father Jim
A Prayer for Holy Week
By Cliff Garvey
Mother of Sorrows,
we walk with you on the way of pain;
we watch with you
as your Son is hung upon a Cross;
we weep with you
as He suffers unto death.
Because your Son is our Friend, he bleeds.
Because He is our Brother, he suffers.
Because He is our Lord, he dies for us.
But before He surrenders himself;
before He empties himself,
before He commends himself
into the loving arms of the Father,
He forgives the ones who hang him.
He forgives the thief who suffers beside him.
Beyond all borders, He forgives us sinners.
Beyond all measure, He forgives the world.
Mother of Sorrows,
hold our Crucified Lord
in your gentle embrace.
Dry the tears of a world that mourns.
By your prayers, remind us always:
His anguish ends all anguish.
His pain overcomes all pain.
His death defeats all death.
Beneath the shadow of the Cross,
we watch, we weep,
we wish it all away.
But we believe in our hearts:
Love lasts and lives on.
For ever and ever. Amen.
Saint Ann & Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Saint Anthony & Saint Francis, pray for us!
Saint Peter & Saint Joseph, pray for us!
Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
All parishioners, friends, and neighbors are reminded that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, has suspended all public Masses until further notice. The Cardinal has issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for all Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese. Also, in order to do what we can locally to safeguard the health and safety of our fellow parishioners, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport has made the following necessary changes until further notice:
- Our parish office is closed to visitors.
- Pastoral assistance is available by phone or email.
- Contact us: email@example.com or 978-281-4820.
- All churches and parish buildings are closed to the public.
- All adult & youth faith formation programs are suspended.
- All parish programs, ministries, and social events are suspended.
For more information about new policies regarding funerals and weddings, please contact us. All are invited and encouraged to pray with us at home using resources below. Additional resources are being added almost daily! Let us now pray for each other! Every together in prayer! Stay tuned for further updates! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline