Our Pastor’s Message
Hate Has No Home Here!
By Father Jim
Last month, a new study revealed that 63% of all young adults in the United States do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The study also shows that 12% of so-called Millennial or Generation Z adults have never heard of the Holocaust; 23% wrongly believe that the Holocaust is a myth; and 48% cannot name any of the concentration camps that were part of Nazi Germany’s systematic murder of two out of every three members of Europe’s ancient Jewish communities. This lack of knowledge is part of our society’s epic failure to teach our children and grandchildren about the grave sins of racism and antisemitism.
Sadly, this stunning ignorance was on display recently in our own community when a large swastika was drawn in the sand at Good Harbor Beach. This may sound like an isolated incident, but it is part of a disturbing trend of public expressions of hatred, bigotry, and antisemitism. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of New England, sixty-one cities and towns in Massachusetts recorded at least one incident of antisemitism last year. According to Robert Trestan, ADL New England’s Regional Director: “People are feeling increasingly emboldened to let their hate come out of the shadows and display their antisemitism in public.” Illustrating this point is the fact that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recorded the fourth highest number of such incidents in the country during the past year. This number includes harassment, vandalism, and physical assault.
How did we get here? I trust that our parishioners can judge for themselves. For my part, I am reminded of attending public talks as an undergraduate at Boston University during the 1990s that featured a prominent survivor of the Holocaust. Professor Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) was an activist, author, teacher, and Nobel Laureate. As a survivor of the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Elie Wiesel offered living witness to the lie that the Holocaust was a hoax or an exaggeration of history. He once wrote: “The duty of the survivor is to bear testimony to what happened…You have to warn people that these things can happen, that evil can be unleashed. Race hatred, violent ideologies — they still flourish.” As Catholic Christians, we should pay particular attention to this warning.
We must remember that the Church, too, was persecuted during the Holocaust. We must remember that thousands of priests and tens of thousands of Catholics were persecuted and murdered. We must remember that evil is always on the prowl for new victims. We must remember that the same vile hatred that is still directed toward Jews and immigrants and peoples of color could be directed at us and those we love. In We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah (1998), Saint John Paul II reminds us that the twentieth century’s list of innocent victims of hatred is a long one. It includes people with mental and physical disabilities, the elderly and the sick, homosexuals and transsexuals, migrants and refugees, and even people of faith. It is past time for us to teach our children well; to stand against bigotry and hatred; to walk in love and solidarity with all children of the God of Abraham; and to cry out: Never forget! Never again! Hate has no home here!
The Perils of Indifference
By Elie Wiesel
What is indifference?
In terms of the word, it means ‘no difference.’
A strange and unnatural state
in which the lines blur between light and darkness,
dusk and dawn, crime and punishment,
cruelty and kindness, good and evil.
What are its courses and inescapable results?
Is it way of thinking?
Is there a way of thinking where indifference is fine?
Can one possibly view indifference as a good quality?
Is it necessary at times to practice it
simply to stay mentally healthy, live normally,
enjoy a fine meal and a glass of wine,
as the world around us experiences violent changes?
Of course, indifference can be tempting.
It is so much easier to look away from victims.
It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions
to our work, our dreams, and our hopes.
It is, after all, awkward and troublesome to be involved
in another person’s pain and loss of hope.
Yet, for the person who is indifferent,
his or her neighbor is not important.
And, therefore, their lives are meaningless.
Their hidden or even visible pain is of no interest.
Indifference makes other people
into something less than human…
To be indifferent to suffering
is what makes the human being inhuman.
Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger or hatred.
Anger can at times be creative.
One writes a great poem, a great song.
One does something special for the sake of humanity
because one is angry at the injustice that one witnesses.
But indifference is never creative.
You may even at times respond to hatred.
You fight it. You publicly criticize it. You disarm it.
Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response.
Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end.
And therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy.
It benefits the aggressor. It never benefits the victim,
whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten.
Think of the political prisoner in his cell,
the hungry children, the homeless refugees.
Not to respond to their terrible condition,
not to relieve their loneliness by offering them a spark of hope
is to send them away from human memory.
And in not seeing them as humans, we become less human, too.
Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.
Youth Faith Formation
Sacrament of Confirmation
Year 2 Preparation Program
As all fellow parishioners know so well, the first year of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Confirmation Preparation Program was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, it remains our fervent hope and prayer that we will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation on January 23, 2021 and February 6, 2021 (with limited attendance in accordance with all archdiocesan and state government safety guidelines). In order to do all that we can to protect our parishioners and ensure that our young disciples are prepared to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, the second year of our program is simple, user-friendly, and video-based. All students who wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this coming winter are expected to complete all requirements of our program of preparation:
- Watch & Pray
Sunday Mass with Father Jim
- Watch & Pray
New Spirit Virtual Retreat
- Watch & Pray
Metanoia: Ten Part Video Series
- Pray & Reflect
Complete Metanoia Weekly Journal Questions
- Pray & Reflect
Complete All Confirmation Forms
- Pray & Serve
Raise $100 for Your Home Parish
In lieu of a community service project, all students are expected to raise $100 from family, friends, and fellow parishioners in support of either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Our students can raise these funds through a single generous benefactor or multiple small donations. Our goal here is to impress upon our young disciples and their families the vital importance of supporting their home parishes during these difficult times.
In addition, a registration fee of $50 is requested to cover costs associated with the New Spirit Virtual Retreat. Please note that the Metanoia video series is currently available online for free (with registration). If for some reason the series becomes pay-per-view during the course of our program, the student’s family is responsible for the cost. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please pray for all of our young disciples, their sponsors, and their parents! Trust in God! Believe in science! Wear a mask! Come, Holy Spirit!
The Assisi Project
Free 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 eleven podcasts with more on the way! These podcasts are free and always available! Just click on the links below:
- New! Love Is The First Fact
- Making the Ground Green: A Good Man’s Gospel
- Servants & Subjects
- If God Can Work Through Me…
- The Buoy in the Road
- Choose Love
- Mad As Hell?
- Mary, Mother of All Peoples (Parts 1 & 2)
- Saint Damien of Molokai: Martyr for Charity
- The School of Mary: Praying with Our Lady of Lourdes
- Our Daily Prayers
- Our Mission: Becoming Franciscans in Spirit
Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 12 to 95 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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!
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 email@example.com. 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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