Our Pastor’s Message
By Father Jim
The Roman Catholic Church professes a consistent ethic of life because we believe in our hearts that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God; and that Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose from death for every single one of us. In this way, each human person, without exception, is sacred and loved unconditionally by God, who is the Creator of Heaven and Earth and Master of the Universe.
In 1971, Eileen Egan (1912-2000), the founder of an organization that became known as Pax Christi, first likened this consistent ethic of life to the “seamless garment” that Jesus wore but was not torn by his executioners (See John 19:23). In 1984, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago (1928-1996) delivered a series of compelling lectures that gave prophetic voice to the Church’s belief in the sanctity of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Cardinal Bernardin spoke initially against the legalization of abortion and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But he soon expanded the scope of the “seamless garment” to include capital punishment, education, euthanasia, health care, poverty, racism, torture, and unjust war. Cardinal Bernardin argued that these issues are complex and unique, but are linked because the value of human life is at the center of them all. He said: “When human life is considered cheap or expendable in one area, eventually nothing is held sacred and all lives are in jeopardy.” To be sure, Cardinal Bernardin offered a way forward on difficult issues that embraces the beauty and richness of Catholic social teaching.
Last year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a statement that identified abortion as “our preeminent priority.” But the vote on this language was not nearly unanimous. And such preeminence should not suggest that abortion is the only threat to the dignity of the human life in our increasingly troubled world. Indeed, Pope Francis is quite clear on this subject. In 2018, the Holy Father wrote: “Our defense of the innocent unborn needs to be clear, firm, and passionate…Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection (Gaudete Exsultate 84).”
As election day approaches, it is clear that neither political party and neither candidate for president support a consistent ethic of life that reflects the fullness of the Catholic Church’s teachings. On some level, this is understandable because politics is a human endeavor and human beings are imperfect. At the same time, it is our sacred duty to vote. We are asked to choose. We are called to an examination of conscience.
Do be believe in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death? Do we believe in defending the lives of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters: the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the sick, the prisoner, and the unborn? Do we believe that taking a human life through bigotry, neglect, or violence is unjust? Do we believe in a common good and in our obligation to care for the earth, our common home? If the answers to these questions is Yes!, then we take a step toward preserving the seamless garment of life. Now more than ever, let’s pray for our divided country, our suffering world, and for each other.
Seamless Garment of Life
A Common Prayer
By Pope Francis
Creator of heaven and earth,
and all that is in them.
You create us in your own image,
and make us stewards of creation.
You bless us with the sun, water, and bountiful land,
so that all may be nourished.
Open our minds and touch our hearts,
so that we may attend to your gift of life.
Help us to be conscious that our common home
belongs not only to us,
but to all of your creatures
and to all future generations;
and that it is our responsibility to preserve it.
May we help every person secure
the food and resources they need to live.
Be present to those in need
during these troubled times,
especially the poor
and those most at risk of being left behind.
Transform our fear and feelings of isolation
into hope and fraternity,
so that we may experience a true conversion of heart.
Help us to show creative solidarity
in addressing the consequences of the global pandemic.
Make us courageous enough
to embrace the changes
that are needed to ensure the common good.
Now more than ever, may we feel that
we are all interconnected and interdependent.
Enable us to listen and respond
to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
May our present sufferings be the birth pangs
of a more fraternal and sustainable world.
Under the loving gaze
of Mary, Help of Christians,
we make this prayer
through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
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 nineteen podcasts and with more on the way! These podcasts are free and always available! Just click on the links below:
- New! Good Pope John
- 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
- 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
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 email@example.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!
Holy Family Parish
Annual Financial Report
During the past year, Holy Family Parish has been blessed and challenged in many ways. Until the coronavirus pandemic struck, attendance at our daily and weekend Masses was good. Parishioners offered positive feedback about our adult and youth faith formation programs, music ministries, website, and weekly newsletter. Both year-round residents and summer visitors shared favorable comments about the dedication of our pastoral team and untold good works of our volunteers. We are very blessed, indeed!
Since the pandemic, however, we remain confronted with a broad array of serious challenges. Although we are again celebrating public Masses every Sunday, our schedule is limited and seating capacity is approximately one-tenth of what it was last year at this time. Because of the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of our fellow parishioners, our fundraising efforts and weekly offerings brought in nearly $70,000 less last fiscal year than the year before. And the prospects for this year look grim.
Despite the pandemic and thanks to your generous support, our parish budget was balanced (with a small surplus) during the fiscal year that ended on June 30th. Our annual financial report is posted below. This news, however, is not cause for celebration. Our buildings are old and need almost constant repair and maintenance. Despite drastic reductions in payroll, we must still offer a just wage to our remaining pastoral team members. We must also pay our utility bills and insurance premiums. And we must be ready for the costs associated with a long winter.
Let’s be honest. We are solely responsible for the short-term stability and long-term viability of Holy Family Parish. Without your generous and ongoing financial support, we will be unable to sustain the programs and ministries that our community depends on in the church buildings that we all cherish. Generations and generations of good people have worshipped here. It is now up to us, you and me, to step up, help out, give what we can, and pay tribute to the men and women who built this parish and entrusted it into our care.
On behalf of a grateful parish, my deepest thanks go to the members of our Finance Council, Joseph Grella, Robert Krause, and Rosa Ladd, for their good advice and devoted stewardship of our parish accounts. Thanks, too, go the Holy Family Women’s Guild and the Assisi Project for their generous support of our parish. Finally, sincere thanks to each and every parishioner who gave their time, talent, and treasure during the past year. Now more than ever, we need your help to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church! Peace, blessings, and thanks to all! — Father Jim
Costs of Basic Necessities
Ever Dollar Makes a Difference!
Because of the ongoing pandemic, we might think that the costs associated with operating our parishes have declined dramatically. This would be a big mistake! Our churches are open (despite limitations on seating capacity). Four Masses are being celebrated every Sunday. Baptism, funerals, and weddings have resumed. Confessions are being heard again (by appointment). And dozens of young disciples have received their First Holy Communion during the past few weeks.
Although our office remains closed, messages are received and returned on a daily basis. Our churches and parish buildings are being cleaned. Insurance premiums and utility bills are being paid. The remaining members of our pastoral team, including me, continue the good and hard work of parish ministry. Salaries, benefits, and even food for the rectory must be purchased. Here’s just a small sampling of some recent monthly expenses:
- Saint Ann Church Electricity: $292.09
- Saint Joachim Church Electricity: $40.93
- Our Lady’s Campus Electricity: $386.39
- Our Lady’s Rectory Gas: $50.48
- Telephone & Technology: $233.36
- Rectory Groceries & Supplies: $500.00
Anyone who knows me knows that economy and thrift were taught to me at a very young age. My parents worked day and night to provide for our family and to make ends meet. And believe me, we are doing everything we can to control and reduce our expenses. But both the short and long-term financial stability of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish are in our hands. We are solely responsible for our own fundraising and for paying our own bills. It’s all up to us!
How can you help? Give what you can as often as you can. Encourage our fellow parishioners to give what they can, too. Use our safe and easy electronic giving program (see links below). Pledge to pay one of these monthly expenses or gather together a group of friends or family members to make a pledge. If you have any questions, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support for Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish!
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 email@example.com 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!
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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In Memory of Humberto Mota