By Father Jim
During these unprecedented times marked by a global pandemic, severe economic recession, and breakdown in civil discourse, the American people are faced with the challenge of choosing new leaders at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Although I have been asked many times about how we, as Catholics, should vote, I agree with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that it is not the place of any priest or bishop to endorse one candidate or one party over another.
It is clear that no candidate or political party holds positions that are fully consistent with the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life, health care, immigration, social justice, bigotry and discrimination, and the preferential option for the poor. This is understandable because politics is a human endeavor and human beings are imperfect. Our best course is to practice good discernment, consult our consciences, vote for who best serves the common good, and raise our hearts in prayer for our country:
Almighty God and Father,
as Election Day approaches,
we seek to better understand
the issues and concerns
that confront our country,
and how the Gospel compels us
to respond as faithful citizens of our community.
We ask for eyes
that are free from blindness,
so that we might see each other
as brothers and sisters.
We ask for ears
that will hear the cries
of children unborn and those abandoned,
and of men and women oppressed
because of race or creed,
religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts
that are open
to hearing the voices of leaders
who will bring us closer to your kingdom.
We pray for good discernment
so that we will choose leaders
who hear your Word,
live in your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they strive to follow
in the steps of Jesus and the Apostles,
and guide us to your kingdom
of justice and peace.
We make this prayer through Christ Jesus,
our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Whatever happens in the coming days and weeks, let us remember that we are all part of a community of disciples united in prayer, fellowship, and service. We are all called to love and forgive without counting the cost. And we are called to live the Gospel and give witness to it with our whole lives. Now more than ever, let us pray together for our divided country and our suffering world. Peace and blessings to all!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Month of All Souls
Mass of Remembrance Online
Monday, November 2nd
On Monday, November 2nd, in commemoration of the Feast of All Souls, Father Jim will celebrate a Holy Mass of Remembrance for all friends, family members, and fellow parishioners whose funerals were celebrated in our churches during the past year and who have now journeyed home to the Lord. During Mass, the names of all the faithful departed will be read aloud. This Mass of Remembrance will be celebrated privately and posted on our YouTube Channel at 12:00pm on Monday, November 2nd. Even though we cannot gather together as we might wish, we can still join in powerful spiritual communion by praying:
A Prayer for All Souls
hear our prayer and console us.
As we renew our faith in Jesus, your Son,
whom you raised from death,
strengthen our hope
that all of our departed brothers and sisters
will share in his resurrection,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May all souls rest in peace. Amen.
This beautiful prayer was composed and shared by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During November, the Month of All Souls, let us pray together for our deceased friends, family members, and fellow parishioners. Let us also pray for all who suffer with or lost their lives due to the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, let us continue to pray for God’s mercy, healing, and protection for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport.
The Call to Faithful Citizenship
By Bishop Edward W. Clark
In just a few weeks, the nation will complete the voting process. I am taking this opportunity to respond to some inquiries I have received from church members in recent weeks. First, the Church does not support or oppose any candidates running for office. Second, where the Church takes a position on particular legislation, that position is based on issues of morality and not of politics. In casting your vote, consider the moral implications of the proposition.
Third, there is no ‘Catholic party.’ No political party fully agrees with all of the moral positions of the Catholic Church. If anyone, even a bishop or a priest, should tell you that as a Catholic you cannot vote for a particular party or that you must vote for one party rather than the other, know that the Church does not endorse such a position. Vote the party of your choice.
Fourth, the Catholic Church is not a one issue church. There are a great many moral and ethical concerns the Church is called to address. It is a danger to consider only one issue to the detriment of all others. Fifth, as Catholics, we are called to vote for the common good (in other words, to vote for what is the greatest good for the greatest number of people) and to vote from our conscience (not from political, social, or financial convenience). Finally, the Church encourages each one of us to register and vote. It is the responsible and Catholic thing to do. We are all called to be faithful citizens!
About the Author: Since 2001, the Most Reverend Edward William Clark has served as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles for the Our Lady of Angels Pastoral Region. His episcopal motto is: The Gift Received Give as a Gift.
The Call to Faithful Citizenship
By Father Jim
In last week’s message, Cliff Garvey wrote: “Each of us can act in ways that affect the lives of others. We can wear masks, practice safe social distancing, or perhaps even avoid social gatherings altogether. Or not. We can call a lonely neighbor, write to an old friend, or share a kind word with a fellow parishioner along the Boulevard. Or not. We are all in this together. But too many people think their freedom is more important than your grandmother’s health and safety. Too many people think their individual comfort trumps the common good. In recent days, we have all seen the consequences of this brazen selfishness.”
Cliff’s compelling message reminds us that everything we do and say can affect the life of another person. This includes how we vote. During the coming week, we will be bombarded with messages that will try to influence how we vote. For Catholics, it is important to remember that no bishop, pastor, lay minister, or television personality should tell us how to vote. Our vote should be the voice of our own conscience: formed and strengthened by prayer, reason, reflection, and serious study of the issues of the day.
At the same time, the Catholic Church is called to give prophetic witness to the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus. We are called to ‘faithful citizenship.’ In this spirit, we offer the resources below to guide your prayer and discernment as election day approaches. These resources include the only voter’s guide approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB): Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
My hope is that you and your family will make use of these valuable resources; and share them with friends, neighbors, and family members. Now more than ever, let us pray and reflect on our role as citizens and as a community of disciples…then VOTE! Peace and blessings to all!
Watch: Catholics Participate in Public Life
Watch: Catholics Protect Human Life & Dignity
Watch: Catholics Promote the Common Good
Watch: Catholics Love Their Neighbors
Watch: Faithful Citizens Work with Christ
Read: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
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 twenty podcasts and with more on the way! These podcasts are free and always available! Just click on the links below:
- New! A Farmer’s Son
- 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!
Safe & Simple Electronic Giving
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is safe and simple to make online donations to your home parish using a credit cared or debit card. Donations can be made on an ongoing or one-time-only basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. For assistance or more information about this important fundraising resource for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support for our parishes during these difficult times! Peace, blessings, and many thanks to all!
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 Anthony Bruzzese