This Week’s Message
The Cross Is Steady
By Cliff Garvey
Earlier this month, the Order of Carthusians celebrated their 936th birthday. In 1084, Saint Bruno of Cologne and six friends hiked into the French Alps in search of a remote region known as the Chartreuse, which was known for its heavy snows and frigid temperatures. Once there, at more than 4,000 feet above sea level, they constructed individual huts (later called cells); and begin to live as hermits devoted to prayer, poverty, silence, and solitude. Since the Latin word for Chartreuse is ‘cartusia,’ they were called the Carthusians when their fellowship became a religious order.
It has been more than five months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in our country. Since then, more than 170,000 Americans have died. Tens of millions of us have been forced into hospitals, quarantine, unemployment, or self-isolation. In order to protect ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones, we wear masks and maintain a safe social distance. When we venture out to walk our dogs, go to the grocery store, check in on our elderly friends and family, we then hurry back to the safest place we know. In so many ways, we have become modern day hermits — confined to our homes, confined to our cells.
The Carthusians revel in this confinement. It is who they are. It is their vocation. The doors of their cells are decorated with a quotation from scripture or a favorite spiritual writer. Their lives are structured around the liturgical seasons. Their work is prayer and the cultivation of a small plot of earth outside of their cells. Their days are spent marking the hours in both communal and solitary prayer. Early on, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared and called them to pray her “Little Office” for the graces of silence, solitude, and stability. They maintain a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother; think of her as the first Christian contemplative; and beg her intercession throughout the day.
The Carthusians also fast, eat only healthy food, show each other mutual respect, and avoid the rancor and division that have become so contagious in our society. They also shun the spotlight. For centuries, they resisted the canonization of their more holy brother and sisters. Pope Benedict XIV once said about them: “The Carthusians prefer to just make saints rather than to reveal to the world the saintliness of their lives.”
Meanwhile, what are we doing at home? In our cells? How are we living our lives? How are we coping with the new abnormal? Each day, I pray Morning and Evening Prayer from a great book called Franciscan Praise; and Night Prayer from an old breviary given to me by a good priest almost thirty years ago. And although most of these hours are now spent in front of a computer screen, I work just as hard as ever. On the down side, however, I have bing-watched Mad Men, West Wing, and Downton Abbey too many times to count. I have gained ten pounds. I have not seen one of my dearest friends in many months. And at some point, I need to learn how to clip a dog’s toe nails!
As the pandemic rages on, we can learn much from the Carthusians and other religious orders about the virtues of prayer, silence, and solitude. If we are blessed with a happy home and a patch of land, we can learn much about the stability that comes from making the best of life as it exists, the beauty of creation in its littlest corners, and the profound presence of God during every moment of every hour of every day. The Carthusians profess: “The Cross is steady while the world keeps moving.” Keep steady! Stay well!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Prayers for the Intercession
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
THE ORDER OF CARTHUSIANS
ever blessed and glorious,
Virgin Mary, Mother of God!
O Temple of God,
the most beautiful of all temples!
O Doorway to the Kingdom of Heaven,
through which the whole world
has been saved!
Hear me with mercy:
become sweet protection for me,
a poor and wretched sinner.
Be my help in all my needs.
Holy Mother of God,
we fly to your protection!
Hear us as we implore your help in our need,
and deliver us from all danger,
Most Glorious and Blessed Virgin Mary.
Our Lady, our intercessor,
who pleads for us before your Son,
reconcile us with him,
commend us to him,
now and at the hour of our death.
Lord God, give your people
the joy of health in both mind and body.
With the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us,
guide us through the sorrows of life
to eternal happiness in the life to come.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever.
The Living Rosary
Our Virtual Summer Retreat
Begins Tuesday, September 8th
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s twin goals have been to do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of our parishioners and to provide free and high quality spiritual nourishment online. We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement and support for our efforts so far!
As you may know, our annual summer retreat has been the most popular adult faith formation program of the year. For six consecutive summers, under the direction of Cliff Garvey, we have gathered, prayed, and reflected together on a wide variety of topics: Benedictine Spirituality, Desert Spirituality, Eastern Monastic Spirituality, Franciscan Spirituality, Discipleship & Mission, and the Universal Call to Holiness. Unfortunately, because of necessary restrictions on large gatherings related to the pandemic, it has become necessary to cancel plans for our annual in-person summer retreat. In our disappointment, we turned to the Blessed Mother for advice and consolation:
Let us entrust to the Virgin Mary,
our trials and tribulations,
together with our joys and consolations.
Let us beg her to look upon us with love,
especially during times of trial,
and make us worthy of beholding,
today and always,
the merciful face of her son, Jesus. Amen.
This prayer by Pope Francis inspires us to announce our first-ever Virtual Summer Retreat: The Living Rosary from Tuesday, September 8th through Saturday, September 12th. From the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we will gather in a virtual but powerful spiritual communion for five consecutive days to pray a Living Rosary every half-hour from dawn until dusk; and reflect on the Blessed Mother’s powerful prayers for our suffering world.
Each day, all are invited to join us in praying a Living Rosary for the intention of God’s mercy, healing, and protection from the coronavirus; and register for half-hour blocks from 6:00am until 7:00pm, thus ensuring a constant chorus of prayer rising to heaven throughout the day for this all-important intention. Our goal is to recruit at least twenty-six people per day to create a Living Rosary that begs the Blessed Mother to pray for us! You can sign up for one or more half-hour blocks each day! If you would like to join us, please contact Cliff at email@example.com.
In addition, Cliff will offer five daily reflections via podcast. These free audio recordings (approximately 10 minutes each) about the Blessed Mother and power of the Holy Rosary will be posted online each morning of the retreat at 9:00am. And on Saturday, September 12th, Father Jim will renew the Solemn Consecration of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, thus placing again both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish under her powerful protection during these troubled times. Please join us! Let’s pray together! Ever together!
Sharing God’s Love
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Help Us Help Others!
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is an international organization that is dedicated to responding to any request from any person or family in need. Here on Cape Ann, we work through Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish to serve the poor during these difficult times. Due to the pandemic, our food pantry and clothes closet are currently closed. However, our service to the needy and newly unemployed continues! Now more than ever, we need your support! Help us help others! Please send donations to the following address:
- Saint Vincent de Paul Society
74 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
For more information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and its good work in our parishes, please contact Barbara Frontiero at firstname.lastname@example.org or Harry Miller at 978-281-2701. If you or your family needs our assistance, please contact us at 978-281-8672. Thank you for your generous support for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society! May God bless you and your family!
Sharing God’s Love
Sanctuary Candles & Gifts
At each of our churches in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, sanctuary candles and gifts (hosts and wine) can be donated for a special intention or in memory of a friend or loved one. The requested donation for both sanctuary gifts and candles is now $25 per week. Each week, donations can be offered at:
- Saint Ann Church
- Saint Joachim Church
- Saint Anthony Chapel
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- New! Chapel of the Archangels
Please note that Cardinal Sean has given permission to create a Eucharistic Chapel in Our Lady of Good Voyage Rectory. The Chapel of the Archangels, dedicated to Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael, is located on the first floor of the rectory. You can see the sanctuary candle from the street. In addition to their better-known patronages, Archangel Michael is also venerated as a patron of the sick and suffering; Archangel Raphael is also a patron of medical professionals; and Archangel Gabriel is also patron of priests. We all need their prayers and protection like never before!
If you would like to donate a sanctuary candle or sanctuary gifts at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, Saint Anthony Chapel, or our new Chapel of the Archangels, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you for your generous support! May God bless you!
Supporting Your Home Parish
Follow the Money!
Even though most of our ministries and programs are suspended during the pandemic, your home parish still needs your support! Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish depend solely on your financial support to pay our bills and make ends meet. Let’s follow the money! Your weekly gifts pay for Father Jim’s salary, health care benefits, along food and utilities for the rectory. Your gifts also pay for the salaries and benefits of our remaining pastoral team members who are working harder than ever to clean our churches, maintain our buildings and grounds, and provide for the spiritual needs of our fellow parishioners. Finally, your gifts pay for the necessary maintenance and repairs of our historic church buildings.
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. Because of your generous and ongoing support during these tough times, we can pay our bills, balance our monthly budgets, and ensure the short and long-term financial stability of our beloved parishes. Every dollar counts! Every gift, large or small, makes a difference! For more information about how you can support the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
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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