cropped-pope-francis-shadow.jpgThis Week’s Message
Hope, Not Certainty

By Father Richard Rohr, OFM

Many of us have been privileged to be present with someone on his or her deathbed. In this setting, we are concerned about listening to every word the person is saying — and about choosing our own words carefully. It is with this degree of reverence that we should approach the Bible: with humility. Biblical language is more poetry than prose. It doesn’t so much describe events historically as it seeks to lead us into those experiences. We can change words, but an experience changes us. Good biblical interpretation finds the balance between words that get us started and encounters that are beyond words.

At the Transfiguration (See Matthew 17:1-9), Jesus appears to several disciples, his face shining ‘like the sun’ and clothes ‘white as light.’ Afterward, Jesus cautions them: ‘Do not tell anyone.’ In this example, we observe the spiritual tradition balancing darkness and light, presence and absence, speaking and silence, seeing everything so well that we don’t need to see anything in particular. The Bible repeatedly finds the balance between knowing and not knowing, between using words and having humility about words. To read the Bible well, we should appreciate the balance and allow the Holy Spirit to stir its meaning for us. But for most of us in the contemporary west, it is an uphill struggle. We prefer to read the Bible literally and to turn to it for precise answers to questions.

Ours is a time of such change that the human psyche struggles to handle it all. Terrorist attacks and political turmoil [not to mention the coronavirus pandemic] have shaken us deeply. No wonder many of us look to certitudes for grounding. Subconsciously, we seek to make God our private property by taking the Bible literally, reading it from our own perspective and cultural interpretation. When we do this, we lapse into a kind of rigid time capsule that does not enlighten us. God gives us just enough light for the next faith-filled step, never a blueprint for our lifetime. The ‘Jesus Seminar’ offers an example. Here scholars combed through New Testament texts in an effort to determine if Jesus said this or that and did or didn’t use certain precise words. When we take that approach, more is lost than gained. We risk moving out of sacred space and trivializing what we might have experienced. We risk declaring victory before we have even struggled. We settle the dust by giving ourselves answers, when the raised dust might have revealed the right questions.

Though we often wish it were so, the biblical God is not a cure-all, a cosmic answer man or woman. The God living inside of history uses it and suffers from it, gives us truths on which we can rely. But he does not give us all the answers. In fact, God leads us through the dilemma of our lives and invites us into a daring journey of faith. God always comes to us disguised as our lives. The Bible offers hope, but not an escape from life. It is in life that we meet God. So very little in life is every resolved or solved, settled or answered. There is only the crisis itself, the struggle. Our need for an answer leads us toward eternal life. God calls us to stay in the struggle — still wanting to know, but as people of faith, being willing not to know. All because we can trust the One who knows everything.

About the Author: Father Richard Rohr, OFM is a Roman Catholic priest, Franciscan friar, and popular spiritual writer and retreat leader. Father Rohr serves as the founding director and academic dean for the Center for Action & Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition, he is a regular contributor to Bringing Home the Word, a weekly resource for families (see below).

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (8-2-20) 
Bringing Home the Word (8-2-20)
New! Kids Bulletin (8-2-20)
Home Prayer Service

Pastor’s Note: Even though we can’t gather together in our usual way right now, we can still pray together. Using the links below, all are invited and encouraged to sanctify the various times of the day with these prayers for God’s mercy, healing, and protection from all illness. Let’s pray together! Ever together in prayer! — Father Jim

Listen: Our Daily Prayers
Liturgy of the Hours
Morning Prayer: Novena to the Sacred Heart

Midday Prayer: The Angelus
Evening Prayer: Saint Joseph, Hope of the Sick
Bedtime Prayer: The Memorare


Call to Prayer
A Litany of Supplication, Part I

As the coronavirus pandemic engulfed the Vatican City and the Republic of Italy, Pope Francis offered this Litany of Supplication on March 27, 2020 during the Extraordinary Moment of Prayer” at Saint Peter’s Basilica.

We adore you, O Lord.
True God and true man,
truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

We adore you, O Lord.
Our Savior, God with us,
faithful and rich in mercy.

We adore you, O Lord.
King and Lord of creation and history.

We adore you, O Lord.
Conqueror of sin and death.

We adore you, O Lord.
Friend of humankind, the Risen One,
the Living One who sits at the right hand of the Father.

We believe in you, O Lord.
Only Son of the Father,
descended from heaven for our salvation.

We believe in you, O Lord.
Heavenly physician,
who bows down over our misery.

We believe in you, O Lord.
Lamb who was slain,
you offer yourself to rescue us from evil.

We believe in you, O Lord.
Good Shepherd, who gives your life
for the flock that you love.

We believe in you, O Lord.
Living bread and medicine for immortality,
who gives us eternal life.

Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Saint Ann, pray for us! Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Saint Anthony, pray for us! Saint Peter, pray for us!
Our Lady of Good Voyage Pray for us!

Watch: Extraordinary Moment of Prayer with Pope Francis


Sharing God’s Love
Penance & Reconciliation
The Sacrament of Mercy

As sinners, we acknowledge our faults and failures. We also believe deeply in God’s boundless mercy and limitless love for us. The Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) offers each of us a unique opportunity to reconcile ourselves with both God and the Church. The Sacrament is comprised of the following elements: sorrow for our sins, confession of those sins to a priest, a prayer of personal contrition (see below), absolution by a priest, and some act of penance and reconciliation.

An Act of Contrition

My God,
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong,
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you,
whom I should love above all else.
I firmly intend with the help of your grace,
to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Amen.

The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport has resumed our celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation in accordance with the health and safety guidelines of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Confessions will be heard by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish Hall. All penitents are required to wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance of six feet at all times. If you would like to make an appointment for confession, please contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com.

Learn More: Making a Good Confession


The Assisi Project
New Podcast Series

Founded by Father Jim and Cliff, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit that is dedicated to helping believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare. In response to the pandemic, Father Jim asked Cliff to look back on nearly two decades of ministry as a catechist, spiritual director, and leader of retreats and pilgrimages; and to create a regular series of podcasts (audio recordings) as a way of continuing his adult faith formation ministry. As of this weekend, Cliff has already created nine podcasts with more on the way! These podcasts are free and always available! Just click on the links below:

Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 12 to 94 and live in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, all across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Angola. Part of our work together is our prayer together. So we pray each day for all who ask for our prayers all around the world. If you would like the Assisi Project to pray for you, your family, your special intention, or the soul of a deceased friend or loved one, please contact Cliff at cgarvey@ccgronline.com.

During this time of pandemic, when we are encouraged to remain at home, all are invited to pray and reflect on the Gospel Life by making use of the many resources on our website (click link below). These resources include our Daily Prayers, Franciscan Rosary, Way of the Cross, our new podcasts, and more than fifty reflections and stories about Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Come and pray with us online! May the Lord give you peace — now and always!

Assisi Project Resources


Electronic Giving
Balancing Our Budgets

Our fiscal year ended on June 30th! We need your help now more than ever! Your weekly gifts are essential to the financial health and well-being of both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Our parishes depend solely on the generosity of our fellow parishioners to pay bills, make ends meet, and help to ensure the financial stability of our parishes communities. All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are encouraged to mail their offering or to give electronically. Our mailing address is 74 Prospect Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930. In addition, our We Share program is a safe and easy way to make donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Put simply, we need your help now more than ever! For more information about how to support our parishes during these challenging times, please contact me at frjim@ccgronline.com. Thank you for your generous support! May God bless you and your family! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim

Support Holy Family Parish
Support Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish


About Us

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