This Week’s Message
The Power of Spoken Prayer

By Pope Francis

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Prayer is a dialogue with God. Every creature, in some sense, dialogues with God. Within the human being, prayer becomes word, invocation, hymn, and poetry. The Divine Word is made flesh, and in each person’s flesh, the word returns to God in the form of prayer.

The first human prayer is always a spoken recitation. The lips always move first. Although we all know that praying does not mean just repeating words, vocal prayer is nevertheless the surest way and it can always be practiced. Feelings, on the other hand, however noble, are always uncertain. They come and go. They leave us and return. Not only that, but the graces of prayer are also unpredictable. At times, consolations abound, but on the darkest days, they seem to evaporate completely. The prayer of the heart is mysterious. At certain times, it is lacking.

Instead, the prayer of the lips, that which is whispered or sung is always accessible. It is as necessary as manual labor. The Catechism states: “Vocal prayer is an essential element of the Christian life. To his disciples, drawn by their Master’s silent prayer, Jesus teaches us a vocal prayer, the Our Father (n. 2701).” When the disciples said: “Teach us how to pray”, Jesus taught them a spoken prayer — the Lord’s Prayer. Everything is right there in that prayer.

We should all have the humility of certain elderly people, who in the church recite quietly the prayers that they learned as children, filling the nave with whispers. That prayer does not disturb the silence, but rather testifies to their fidelity to the duty of prayer, practiced throughout their lives without fail. These practitioners of humble prayer are often the great intercessors in our parishes. They are the oaks that from year to year spread their branches to offer shade to the greatest number of people. Only God knows when and how much their hearts have been united to the prayers they recite. These people surely had to face dark nights and empty moments, but one can always remain faithful to vocal prayer. It is like an anchor. One can hold on to the rope and remain faithful, come what may.

Therefore, we must not disregard vocal prayer. We might say: “Ah, this is for children, for ignorant folk. I am seeking mental prayer, meditation, the inner void so that God might come to me.” Please, do not succumb to the pride of scorning vocal prayer. It is the prayer of the simple. It is the prayer that Jesus taught us: “Our Father, who art in heaven…” The words we speak take us by the hand. At times, they restore flavor. They awaken the sleepiest of hearts. They reawaken feelings we had forgotten. And they lead us by the hand toward the experience of God. Above all, these spoken words are the only ones that, in a sure way, direct to God the questions he wants to hear. Jesus did not leave us in a fog. He told us: “Pray like this (See Matthew 6:9).” And then, he taught us the Lord’s Prayer.

Note: This week’s message is adapted from the Holy Father’s reflection during his General Audience on April 21, 2021. All are also invited to read and reflect on the complete English text, which is available by clicking on the link below.

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (4-25-21)
Bringing Home the Word (4-25-21)
The Kids Bulletin (4-25-21)
Home Prayer Service
Pope Francis: General Audience (4-21-21)


Call to Prayer
A Prayer to the Good Shepherd
Fourth Sunday of Easter

Good Shepherd Sunday – April 25, 2021

Lord of the Twenty-Third Psalm,
I have known death,
and you have refreshed my soul.
I have known fear,
and you have comforted me.
In the darkest valley,
no calamity of human kind
or nature has separated us.

Teach me to walk as you walk:
Beside those in mourning,
so that they will know joy.
Beside those in fear,
so that they will know comfort.
Beside those in hunger,
so that they will feast
until their cup overflows.

As your goodness and love follow me,
may mine follow my neighbor,
so that the threat of the worst terrors
may turn to the knowledge
of the comfort of the House of the Lord,
where you have invited us to live forever.

And so let me strive
to help build on earth
what you have promised us in heaven.
In the face of all calamity,
present and yet to come,
let me lead my neighbor beside quiet waters,
the quiet waters of the Good Shepherd.
Amen. Alleluia.

Source: Catholic Relief Services


A Message from Cardinal Seán
Statement on the Chauvin Conviction

By Cardinal Seán O’Malley

The killing of George Floyd
has had a traumatic impact on our society.
The suffering he endured
and the immense loss his family has experienced
speaks to us on a very human level.

The death of Mr. Floyd
in a very public and raw manner
catapulted this case into the conscience of the nation.
The resulting anger and protest that culminated
in the trial and conviction of Derek Chauvin
is one important step in the process
of addressing the broader issues facing our country
in terms of racism,
a criminal justice system many feel needs reform,
and the reality of living as a person of color in America.

As a nation, we must face these issues
with a real desire built on a foundation
that values human life.
We have a moral responsibility
to not let George Floyd’s death
become a distant memory in the years ahead
but a force for building communities
of love, acceptance and fellowship.
It is not enough to simply want to end racial injustice;
we are called to work towards that goal.
We can begin that process
by each of us examining our own conscience
and considering how we can help
heal our nation.

We call on all members of our Church
to embrace the Gospel ideals
Christ has taught us by working to change hearts
and to promote healing and unity in our country.

Learn More: Cardinal Seán’s Blog


Call to Prayer
A Prayer to Heal Racial Division

The Enduring Call to Love Others

We thank you, O Lord,
for in your loving wisdom,
you created one human family with a diversity
that enriches our communities.

We pray to you, O Lord,
that we always recognize
each member of this human family
as being made in your image
and loved by you, with worth and dignity.

We pray to you, O Lord,
that we may envision a way forward
to heal the racial divisions
that deny human dignity
and the bonds between all human beings.

We pray to you, O Lord,
that we may affirm each person’s dignity
through fair access for all people
to economic opportunity, housing,
health care, education, and employment.

We pray to you, O Lord,
that we may have eyes to see
what is possible when we reach out
beyond fear and beyond anger
to hold the hand of our sisters, our brothers.

We thank you, O Lord,
for your call and challenge to us,
that we may reveal your teaching and love
through our actions to end racism
and to proclaim that
we are all your children,
heirs to your sacred creation.
Amen. Alleluia.

Learn More: Open Wide Our Hearts
A Pastoral Letter Against Racism (USCCB)


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 forty podcasts and with more on the way! These podcasts are free and always available! A small sampling of our podcasts is available by clicking the links below:

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

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!

Learn More: Assisi Project Resources


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 Thank you for your generous support for our parishes during these difficult times! Peace, blessings, and many thanks to all!

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About Us

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!

Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline

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In Memory of Lola Aptt