This Week’s Message
Real People, Real Holiness
By Kathleen M. Basi
When I was a child, I had a book about saints that I loved. It was filled with color illustrations and heroic, larger-than-life stories. I spent hours trying to decide whether I liked Catherine of Siena or Catherine of Alexandria better. I felt as if I ought to like Siena better for cutting off her hair and being a nun and all, but Alexandria’s picture was prettier.
It was years before I realized that most of these people were not the golden-haired northern Europeans portrayed in my book. It was later still before I realized that by focusing on legends and miracles, I had turned sainthood into something reserved for a select few — something far beyond the reach of an ordinary mortal like me. These days, I prefer to think of the saints as real people, flawed and fragile, representing every country and culture on earth. Yet for all of their diversity, each of them sought exactly what I seek: discernment and courage to walk in the footsteps of Christ in a way that is authentic both to his example and to the time and place in which I live.
Now, my favorite stories speak not of miracles, but of extraordinary courage in ordinary situations — like Elizabeth Ann Seton, who as an impoverished widow, founded the first parochial school in this country, along with a new order of religious, all while raising her own children. They speak of deeply practical courage in extraordinary circumstances — like Maximillian Kolbe, who willingly starved to death in place of a fellow concentration camp prisoner at Auschwitz. In my opinion, that would be even harder than volunteering for a firing squad, where at least the end would come quickly.
And then there are figures with checkered pasts, like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton — those who do not [yet] have feast days in the Church calendar but whose words and actions have reverberated like earthquakes, reshaping the foundation of my faith. Real people. Real lives. People stumbling through their world in all its messiness, trying to find the path to holiness amid chaos and to identify their individual purpose for why God placed them on this earth. Those people give me hope. If they managed to find their purpose, maybe I can, too.
It is no longer enough for me to read a paragraph or two about the legendary exploits of those with “Saint” in front of their names. I want to know how the real people behind those legends lived. How they learned to mirror God while surrounded by cranky kids and clueless coworkers and spouses who insist on using dish towels to wipe dirty mouths. Because that is the path I need illuminated.
About the Author: Kathleen M. Basi is a composer, musician, essayist, and disability rights activist. She is also a wife and mother of four children, one of whom has Down Syndrome. Kathleen is a contributor to Bringing Home the Word, an e-newsletter that facilitates prayer and reflection for adults and families. The latest edition is posted below.
Universal Call to Holiness
Real Voices, Real Holiness
WORDS OF WISDOM FOR TROUBLED TIMES
The only great tragedy in life is not to become a saint.
All the faithful, whatever their condition or state,
are called by the Lord, each in his or her own way,
to that perfect holiness by which the Father himself is perfect.
Lumen Gentium 11
Spread love everywhere you go…
Be the living expression of God’s kindness;
kindness in your face,
kindness in your eyes,
kindness in your smile.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Holiness does not mean never
having made mistakes or sinned.
Holiness increases the capacity for conversion,
for repentance, for a willingness to begin again,
and especially for reconciliation and forgiveness.
Pope Benedict XVI
I like to contemplate the holiness present
in the patience of God’s people…
Very often it is a holiness found in our next door neighbors,
those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence.
We might call them ‘the middle class of holiness.’
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 7
We are called to be holy
by living our lives with love
and by bearing witness in everything we do,
wherever we find ourselves.
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 14
So, if anyone asks,
‘What must one do to be a good Christian?’,
the answer is clear.
We must do, each in our own way,
what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount.
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 63
The greatest challenge of the day is:
how to bring about a revolution of the heart,
a revolution which has to start with each one of us?
Dorothy Day, Loaves & Fishes
The final word is love.
Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness
Support Your Parish!
Banking for the Community
CAST A VOTE FOR OUR PARISHES!
BankGloucester is once again sponsoring its ‘Banking for the Community’ campaign which could potentially provide much needed funds for the Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Since 2007, BankGloucester has donated more than $200,000 to local charities and community organizations through its ‘Banking for the Community’ program. This year, they will donate $25,000 to twenty-one organizations!
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are encouraged to cast a vote for either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Now through September 30th, just click the link below, then click on ‘other’, and type in the name of your home parish! It is easy, free, takes less than a minute, and supports our beloved parishes! Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support for Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport!
Celebrating the Sacraments
First Holy Communion
Congratulations Young Disciples!
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport offers a creative and innovative way for children and families to prepare for First Holy Communion. Our program is designed to prepare both children and their parents; encourage lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church; and help families grow together in prayer, fellowship, and service.
For the past five years, our young disciples and their parents have gathered for Mass and a series of Faith & Family Workshops that are both family-friendly and designed to ensure that everyone understands that Jesus is truly present among us in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Our students and their families have learned together, prayed together, and walked together as a community of disciples of diverse ages and backgrounds.
Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, fifty-five children have completed our First Eucharist Preparation Program. In accordance with all archdiocesan and government safety guidelines, they are now invited to receive their First Holy Communion at any one of our Sunday Masses. Last month, eleven young disciples received the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time! If your child completed our program and has not yet received their First Holy Communion, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. May God bless our young disciples and their families! Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all!
Celebrating the Sacraments
Penance & Reconciliation
The Sacrament of God’s 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, absolution by a priest, and some act of penance or reparation.
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport has resumed our celebration 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 face 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Peace and blessings to all!
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!
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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