By Kathleen M. Basi
I first noticed it at Thanksgiving several years ago when everyone was posting what-I’m-thankful-for lists. Counting my blessings only seemed to underscore the sadness I was feeling on behalf of the multitudes whose lives consisted of suffering: refugees, sick children, communities torn apart by racism, and worlds blown apart by gunfire and suicide bombs. I felt powerless — and at the same time deeply aware that I really wasn’t trying very hard to make a difference, especially considering how much I have been given.
Opening ourselves to joy also sensitizes us to sorrow — and vice versa. The two go hand in hand. Holy Week illustrates this in a profound way. In a handful of days, we travel from the bleakest stage of the Christian journey to its most glorious. In fact, the power of the latter depends upon the apparent hopelessness of the former.
If we want to live the joy of the resurrection to the fullest, we have to be willing to shine a light on the dark underbelly of our own lives and clean up our acts. To recognize the ways in which our actions — or lack thereof — contribute to the pain of the world. We need to be willing to acknowledge that, all too often, we are part of the problem. But wait. Didn’t we just spend all of Lent doing exactly that? It’s Easter now. Isn’t it time to move beyond penance and focus on, you know, joy?
The potential for great good and for great evil resides within every heart, and the opportunity to choose comes to us every day, regardless of the season. Jesus did not endure the Way of the Cross to give us a fifty day vacation from examining our consciences. He went through it to show us that the pathway to the fullness of life passes through pain: through dying to our sins, our selfishness, the grudges we hold, and the preconceived lenses through which we view the world and the people in it.
To grieve for the suffering of others and acknowledge the ways in which our own failure to act can contribute to that suffering joins us to the heart of God. When we unite ourselves to the heart of God, we feel compelled to change — to act as God’s hands and feet in the world. And it is through this action that we discover the full joy of the resurrection.
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 lives with Down Syndrome. Kathleen is also a regular contributor to Bringing Home the Word, an e-newsletter that features suggestions for prayer and reflection for the home church. A new edition is posted here every weekend (click link below).
Call to Worship
Our Holy Week Schedule
As a second Easter approaches in the midst of a global pandemic, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is again called to make hard decisions about how to celebrate Holy Week and Easter and meet our obligation to do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of our friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners. Ultimately, we believe that if we make some sacrifices now, we will soon be able to gather again in our home parishes, in our beloved churches, in our favorite pews, and at our favorite Masses. In this spirit, we will celebrate a limited schedule of in-person services with limited attendance that is consistent with how we have been coming together for worship during the past eight months:
Holy Thursday – Thursday, April 1st
- Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Watch: CCGR YouTube Channel
Available at 5:00pm
Good Friday – Friday, April 2nd
- 12:00pm Service in Saint Ann Church
- 3:00pm Service in Saint Joachim Church
- 7:00pm Service in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Online Registration Required.
No Walk-In Attendance. No Exceptions.
- Watch: CCGR YouTube Channel
Easter Vigil – Saturday, April 3rd
- Easter Vigil Mass
Watch: CCGR YouTube Channel
Available at 7:00pm
Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 4th
- 7:00am Mass in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- 8:15am Mass in Saint Ann Church
- 10:00am Mass in Saint Joachim Church
- 11:45am Mass in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Online Registration Required.
No Walk-In Attendance. No Exceptions.
During Holy Week and the Easter Triduum, we will continue to follow all of the safety guidelines recommended by the Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In order to attend a Holy Week Mass or Good Friday Service, all are required to register by clicking the appropriate link at ccgronline.com/mass. Registration for Good Friday will begin on Sunday, March 28th at 12:00pm and conclude on Wednesday, March 31st at 6:00pm. Registration for Easter Sunday will begin on Thursday, April 1st at 10:00am and conclude on Saturday, April 3rd at 12:00pm. Reservations for Holy Week and Easter by phone or email will not be accepted (no exceptions).
Please note that only those who have registered can be welcomed into our churches (no exceptions). All who have registered, including those who have been vaccinated, are required to wear face masks, use hand sanitizer, undergo a temperature check, receive Holy Communion in their hands, and maintain a safe social distance of six feet at all times. In addition, those in attendance will be escorted by an usher to their assigned seat (no exceptions).
These are extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. But again, my fervent prayer is that if we offer some small sacrifice at Easter, then by God’s grace, we will be together again sometime soon as a happy and healthy community united as always in prayer, fellowship, and service. Until then, I beg you to support your home parish, take good care of your family, and look out for your neighbors. If you have questions or need more information, please feel welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your ongoing prayers, support, and cooperation! Be kind, be smart, and be safe! Peace, blessings, and much love to all! — Father Jim
Call to Prayer
A Prayer for Holy Week
FROM THE LITANY OF THE SACRED PASSION
Lord Jesus Christ,
you were fastened with nails
to the wood of the cross
and raised on high for all to see.
As the sun grew dark and the earth quaked,
you surrendered your spirit to your Father,
descended among the dead,
broke open the gates of hell,
and freed those bound in darkness.
As angel choirs rejoiced
you were raised to life again on the third day,
destroying death by your own death,
and canceling the power of sin.
By these mighty deeds on our behalf,
rescue us from our blindness and tepidity,
inspire us anew by your Holy Spirit,
and lead us into a life of prayer and service
worthy of your awesome sacrifice.
O Savior of the world,
living and reigning with the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.
May the glorious passion
of our Lord Jesus Christ
bring us to the joys of paradise. Amen.
Call to Share
Holy Family Parish
Grand Annual Collection
WINTER GOAL: $32,500 – AMOUNT RAISED: $34,268
As spring begins, we look ahead with hope for brighter days; we count our blessings; and we confront our challenges. On the bright side, our churches are 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 technology helps us pray with the sick and suffering in ways that keep everyone safe.
Financially, times are tough. Regardless of how many parishioners can be welcomed into Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church for Sunday Mass, our churches and parish buildings must be heated, insured, and maintained. Parking lots must be plowed. Lawns must be mowed. The remaining members of our pastoral team, including me, must be paid. And we must be ready on day one to resume our ministries and programs when the pandemic passes.
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 Holy Family Parish is in our hands. 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 $65,000 by the end of the fiscal year. Our short-term winter goal was to raise $32,500 by Easter Sunday. Because of your generous support, we have met and surpassed that goal by raising $34,268 (105%). This is great news! Thank you! Now here’s the hard part. We still need to raise $30,752 by June 30th. If every parish family can share just $46 (in addition to your weekly support) between now and then, we will reach our overall goal, achieve a balanced budget under extraordinary circumstances, and ensure the financial stability of our parish.
Donations can be made online via the link below, placed in the collection basket, dropped off at the parish office, or mailed to Holy Family Parish, 74 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930. If you have questions or would like more information about how you and your family can support our parish, please contact me at email@example.com. My prayer is that all of us, according to our means, will contribute something to this important campaign. Thank you for your prayers and generous support for Holy Family Parish! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Season of Lent
Lent with Our Lady
Week VI: Reflecting on the Angelus
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 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 three times each 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 are offering six weekly reflections on spiritual communion and the power and spirituality of the Blessed Mother and the Angelus Prayer. Last week, Cliff shared a podcast that explores the spirituality of Mary as Mother of the Church, a call that she first answers with the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the cross. This reflection calls us to pray on the enormity of Mary’s vocation, beckons us to reflect on her role in the life of the Church, and challenges us to discern how God calls each one of us to faithful discipleship under her guidance and protection.
This week, Father Jim shares a video reflection that concludes an exploration of the spirituality and scriptural origins of the Angelus Prayer. Ever fascinated by the scriptures and their meaning for our lives, our pastor offered a heartfelt and compelling look into the Gospel of John. This video and all of our Lenten reflections are always free and always available by clicking the links below:
Weekly Reflections for Lent
- Week 1: Listen: Losing Linus: A Story of Spiritual Communion
- Week 1: Listen: The Litany of the Sacred Wounds
- Week 2: Watch: Reflecting on the Angelus with Father Jim (Part 1)
- Week 3: Listen: Mary, Mother of God
- Week 4: Watch: Reflecting on the Angelus with Father Jim (Part 2)
- Week 5: Listen: Mary, Mother of the Church
- Week 6: Watch: Reflecting on the Angelus with Father Jim (Part 3)
During Lent, when so many people are sick, suffering, and struggling, 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: to love each other, pray for each other, and pray for God’s grace to make this a better world. In short, let’s make miracles — together!
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 Cecelia “Sissy” Saleg