This Week’s Message
By Pope Francis
Dear Brothers and Sisters! The current pandemic has highlighted our interdependence: we are all connected to each other, for better or worse. Therefore, to emerge from this crisis better than before, we must do so together — not alone. Together. Not alone because it cannot be done. Either it is done together or it is not done. We must do it together, all of us, in solidarity. I wish to emphasize this word: solidarity.
As a human family, we have our common origin in God. We live in a common home, the garden planet, the earth where God has placed us. And we have a common destination in Christ. But when we forget these things, our interdependence becomes dependence of some on others. We lose the harmony of interdependence and solidarity, which increases inequality and marginalization. The social fabric is weakened and the environment deteriorates.
Therefore, the principle of solidarity is now more necessary than ever — as Saint John Paul II taught us in his encyclical called The Social Concern (38-40). In an interconnected world, we experience what it means to live in the same ‘global village.’ This expression is beautiful. The big wide world is none other than a global village because everything is interconnected. Alas, we do not always transform this interdependence into solidarity. There is a long journey between interdependence and solidarity. The selfishness of individuals, nations, and powerful groups, along with ideological rigidities, sustains the ‘structures of sin.’
The word ‘solidarity’ is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it means more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. Much more! It presumes the creation of a new mindset that thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few. This is what solidarity means. It is not merely a question of helping others. It is good to help others, but it is more than that. It is a matter of justice. Interdependence, to be in solidarity and bear fruit, needs strong roots in humanity and nature, created by God. It needs respect for faces and for the earth…
Solidarity today is the road to take toward a post-pandemic world, toward healing our interpersonal and social ills. There is no other way. Either we go forward on the path of solidarity or things will worsen. One does not emerge from a crisis the same as before. The pandemic is a crisis. We emerge from a crisis either better or worse than before. It is up to us to choose. And solidarity is, indeed, a way of coming out of the crisis better — not with superficial changes, with a fresh coat of paint so that everything seems find. No! Better!
In the midst of crises, solidarity, guided by faith, enables us to translate the love of God in our globalized culture, not by building towers or walls — and so many walls are being built nowadays — that divide, then collapse; but by interweaving communities and sustaining ways of growth that are truly human and solid. And to accomplish this, solidarity helps. Let us ask ourselves: Do we think about the needs of others? Everyone, answer in your heart!
In the midst of crises and tempests, the Lord calls us and invites us to reawaken and activate a solidarity capable of giving strength, support, and meaning to these hours in which everything seems so wrecked. May the creativity of the Holy Spirit encourage us to generate new forms of hospitality, fruitful fraternity, and universal solidarity.
After a summer break, Pope Francis has resumed his weekly General Audiences. These audiences are an opportunity for the Holy Father to offer a blessing and a catechesis (a.k.a. religious instruction) on some matter related to the Christian life. Since 2013, Pope Francis has hosted more than three hundred such audiences which are translated into seven languages. Over the years, he has shared his wisdom on fifteen different topics that include hope, mercy, prayer, family life, the sacraments, and the beatitudes.
During this ongoing global crisis, the Holy Father’s new series is about healing our world from the physical, social, and spiritual sicknesses of the present day. The pope calls us to a renewed commitment to the common good; a renewed spirit of social responsibility; and a renewed dedication to taking better care of each other and our mother earth. He asks: “In what way can we help heal our world?” This week’s homepage features both a short excerpt (see below) from the pope’s interview with a Spanish magazine in April 2020; along with a longer excerpt (see above) from his General Audience on September 2, 2020.
When Pope Francis speaks about solidarity, he speaks about building unity, reaching consensus, and addressing problems by placing the common good over selfish interests. When he speaks about living the alternative, he calls us to love, serve, and pray for each other. Let us pray again and again for the courage to live the alternative in solidarity with our neighbors and to build a civilization of love! Amen! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Call to Solidarity
Live the Alternative!
By Pope Francis
If we act as one people,
even in the face of other epidemics,
that threaten us,
we can make a real impact.
May we find within ourselves
the necessary antibodies
of justice, charity, and solidarity.
We must not be afraid
to live the alternative: a civilization of love.
During this time of tribulation and mourning,
I hope that, wherever you are,
you will be able to experience Jesus,
who comes to meet you,
greets you, and says: “Rejoice!”
And may this greeting mobilize us
to invoke and amplify the Good News
of the Kingdom of God.
The Living Rosary
Pastor’s Message of Thanks
In the Gospel Acclamation for this Sunday’s Mass, we hear Jesus say: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another (John 13:34).” During this pandemic, when so many of us are sick and suffering, and when so many of us are self-isolating and wearing masks to protect ourselves and the people we love, it seems difficult to put Christ’s New Commandment into action.
For more than six months, our parish ministries that build community, serve the poor, share the faith, and raise much need funds have seen their activities curtailed or suspended. In accordance with archdiocesan and state government guidelines, we are unable to throw open our doors and cry out: “All are welcome!” And concern for the deepening divisions in our country seem to seep into every conversation. These are difficult times to live the Gospel and share God’s love!
And yet, last week, our parish communities transcended the shadows of these dark times More than one hundred friends and fellow parishioners participated in our first-ever virtual retreat which included praying the Holy Rosary, from dawn until dusk, in half-hour blocks, for five consecutive days, for the special intention of God’s mercy, healing, and protection from the coronavirus. When I prayed the Rosary last week, at a different time each day, I could feel the powerful spiritual communion that was offering a constant chorus of prayer and petition from sunrise until sunset. Amazing grace!
My heartfelt thanks goes to Cliff Garvey who organized and lead our first-ever virtual retreat with five absolutely beautiful audio reflections that are free and always available online:
- The Living Rosary: Introduction
- The Living Rosary – Day 1: A Journey Begins
- The Living Rosary – Day 2: A Journey Continues
- The Living Rosary – Day 3: A Prayer for Hope
- The Living Rosary – Day 4: A Prayer for Tomorrow
- The Living Rosary – Day 5: A Prayer for Joy
My sincere thanks also goes to everyone who participated in the Living Rosary — especially the Assisi Project, the Legion of Mary, the Rosary Group from Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Woburn, the Sisters of Saint Bridget of Sweden in Assisi, and all those who joined us from parishes in Manchester, Marblehead, Maine, Maryland, Woburn, and even New York City! Peace, blessings, and sincere thanks to all! — Father Jim
Support 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 WeShare 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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