By Pope Francis
There is no day more wonderful than the one we are living now! Those who live always thinking about the future, but do not take each day as it comes are people who live in fantasy. They do not deal with concrete reality. Today is real. Today is concrete. Prayer takes place today. Jesus comes to meet us today, the day that we are living now. And it is prayer that transforms this day into grace, or better, that transforms us. It quells anger, sustains love, multiplies joy, and gives us the strength to forgive.
Sometimes it will seem that it is no longer we who are living, but that grace lives and works in us through prayer. And when an angry or unhappy thought comes to us and moves us toward bitterness, let us stop ourselves and say to the Lord: “Where are you? Where am I going?” And the Lord is here. The Lord gives us the right word and the advice to forge ahead without the bitter taste of negativity. For prayer is always positive. Always. It will carry you forward.
Each day that begins, when welcomed with prayer, is accompanied by courage, so that the problems we face no longer seem to be obstacles to happiness, but rather appeals from God and opportunities for an encounter with him. And when we are accompanied by the Lord, we feel more courageous, more free, and even more happy. Thus, let us always pray for everything and everyone, even for our enemies. Jesus counsels us to pray for our enemies. So, let us pray for our dear ones and for those we do not even know. Let us pray for our enemies as the scriptures invite us to do. Our prayers incline us toward a superabundant kind of love.
Let us pray above all for unhappy people; for those who weep in solitude and give them hope that there might be someone who loves them. Prayer makes miracles! The poor understand that by God’s grace, even in their precarious positions, the prayer of a Christian makes Christ’s compassion present. Indeed, Jesus looks with great tenderness on the weary and the lost ones who are like sheep without a shepherd. Let us not forget that Jesus is the Lord of nearness, compassion, and tenderness. These three words must never be forgotten! This is the Lord’s style: nearness, compassion, and tenderness.
Prayer helps us to love others, despite their mistakes and sins. The person is always more important than his or her actions. Jesus did not judge the world. He saved it. The life of a person who always judges others, who is always condemning and judging, is a horrible one. It is a horrible and unhappy life. Jesus came to save us. Open your heart. Forgive others. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Be close to them. Be compassionate. Be tender like Jesus. We have to love each other and every one else; remembering in our prayers that we are all sinners, and at the same time, all loved individually by God. By loving the world in this way, by loving it with tenderness, we will discover that each day and everything bears within it a fragment of God’s mystery…
The human person, man and woman, each one of us, is like a breath, like a blade of grass. Pascal once wrote: “There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill.” We are fragile beings, but we know how to pray. This is our great dignity and our strength. Have courage. Pray in every moment. Pray in every situation because the Lord is near to us. And when we pray according to the heart of Jesus, our prayers make miracles.
Lent with Our Lady
Week III: Mary, Mother of God
PRAYING FOR GOD’S MERCY, HEALING & PROTECTION
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s twin goals have been to do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of our parishioners and to provide free and high quality spiritual nourishment online. We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement and support for our efforts during the past year.
As we journey together through a second Lent under difficult circumstances, all are invited to join us for a series of daily and weekly spiritual exercises called Lent with Our Lady. All parishioners are encouraged to pray each day with two special prayers for the special intention of God’s mercy, healing, and protection from the coronavirus. Just click on the links below:
Daily Prayers for Lent
The Angelus Prayer is offered traditionally offered three times every day as a way to sanctify our work, our meals, and our rest. About this powerful prayer, Pope Francis writes: “The Angelus Prayer is a beautiful and popular expression of faith. It is a simple prayer, recited at three specific times a day. It thus punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities: in the morning, at midday, and at sunset. It is an important prayer that I encourage each one of you to recite.”
In addition to our daily prayers, Father Jim and Cliff Garvey will offer six weekly reflections on spiritual communion and the power and spirituality of the Blessed Mother and the Angelus Prayer within the context of the Season of Lent. Last week, Father Jim shared a video reflection about his personal experience with the Angelus Prayer which began during his years of priestly formation at Saint John Seminary where the Angelus is still recited each day before lunch.
This week, Cliff shares a new podcast that explores the spirituality of Mary’s vocation as Mother of God, a call that she answers in the scriptures and that we commemorate every time we pray the Angelus Prayer. This reflection calls us to pray on the enormity of Mary’s vocation, beckons us to reflect on Mary’s role in our lives, and challenges us to discern again on what God calls us to do with the one life that we are blessed to live on this earth. All of these resources are always free and always available by clicking the links below:
Weekly Reflections for Lent
- Listen: Losing Linus: A Story of Spiritual Communion
- Listen: The Litany of the Sacred Wounds
- Watch: Reflecting on the Angelus with Father Jim
- Watch: Reflecting on the Angelus with Father Jim (Part 2)
- New! Listen: Mary, Mother of God
During Lent, when so many people are sick, suffering, and struggling, it is more important than ever that we pray together even when we can’t be together. It is more important than ever that we join together in prayer for God’s mercy, healing, and protection: for our sake and for the sake of the whole world. Pope Francis says: “Have courage. Pray in every moment and every situation so that the Lord may come near to us. When we pray according to the heart of Jesus, we make miracles.” As our Lenten journey continues, let’s begin again by loving each other, praying for each other, and praying for God’s grace to make this a better world. In short, let’s make miracles — together!
Call to Prayer
Mother of God, Pray for us!
A Prayer by Pope Francis
O Holy Mother of God!
In the present tragic situation,
when the whole world is prey
to suffering and anxiety,
we fly to you,
Mother of God and our Mother,
and we seek refuge under your protection.
Mother of God and our Mother,
pray for us to the Father of Mercies,
that this great suffering may end
and that hope and peace may dawn anew.
Plead with your Divine Son,
as you did at Cana,
so that the families of the sick
and the victims may be comforted,
and that their hearts may be opened
to confidence and trust in you.
help us to realize that
we are all members of one great family,
and to recognize the bond that unites us,
so that in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity,
we can help alleviate poverty and need.
Make us strong in faith,
persevering in service,
and constant in prayer.
To you, who shine on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope,
we entrust ourselves!
O Clement! O Loving!
O Sweet Virgin Mary! Amen!
Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
Mary, Mother of All Peoples, pray for us!
Call to Share
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Grand Annual Collection
WINTER GOAL: $22,500 — RAISED SO FAR: $10,390
As we enter the final days of the winter season, we look ahead with hope for better and brighter days. We also count our blessings and confront our challenges. On the bright side, our church is open (albeit with limited seating capacity and strict safety guidelines). Our young disciples and their parents are preparing for First Holy Communion. Babies are being baptized. Confessions are being heard. Funerals and weddings are being celebrated in small, intimate ceremonies. Our online ministry attracts almost 2,000 visitors every week. And amazing technologies allow us to pray with the sick and the lonely in ways that keep everyone safe and healthy.
But financially, times are tough. Regardless of how many parishioners can be welcomed into Our Lady of Good Voyage Church for Sunday Mass, our church and parish buildings must be heated, insured, and maintained. Parking lots must be plowed. Sidewalks must be shoveled and kept clear of ice. The remaining members of our pastoral team, myself included, must be paid. And when the pandemic passes, we should be ready on day one to resume our ministries and programs with evangelical fervor.
In addition, we must be better prepared for unexpected expenses. Earlier this week, for example, a wind storm inflicted extensive damage to the tower that houses our historic carillon bells. Although our insurance will help cover some of the costs, it already has been made clear to me by experts that the roofing on both towers will need to be replaced as soon as possible. This project will require every single parishioner to step up and support the parish.
Anyone who knows me knows that economy and thrift were taught to me at an early age. My parents worked day and night to provide for our family and make ends meet. Believe me, we continue to do whatever we can to control costs. But the short and long-term financial stability and pastoral viability of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish is in our hands alone. We are solely responsible for paying our own bills. The future of our beloved home parish depends entirely on parishioners like you and me. It’s all up to us!
Each year, the Grand Annual Collection bridges the gap between our weekly gifts and the overall costs of parish operations. This year, we must raise at least $45,000 before the end of the fiscal year. Our goal right now is to raise half of that amount: $22,500 by Easter Sunday. So far, we have collected almost half of this goal! Thank you! As of this weekend, if every parish family shared just $20 (in addition to our weekly gifts) between now and Sunday, April 4th, we will reach our winter goal, pave the way for a balanced budget, and help ensure the financial security of our parish.
Donations can be placed in the collection basket, dropped off at the rectory or parish office, or mailed to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, 74 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930. If you have questions or need more information about how you and your family can support our parish, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s pray together that all of us, according to our means, will contribute something to this important fundraising campaign. Thank you for your prayers and generous support for Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! 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
- 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 Saints Michael, Gabriel, and 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 venerated as a patron of the sick and suffering; Archangel Raphael is a patron of medical professionals; and Archangel Gabriel is patron of priests. We 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!
Safe & Easy 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 Jimmy Broaders