By Pope Francis
In times of trial, it is good to remember that we are not alone, that someone is watching over us and protecting us. Saint Anthony the Abbot, the founder of Christian monasticism, also faced hard times in Egypt, when prayer became a difficult struggle. Anthony’s biographer, Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, recounts one of the worst episodes in the life of the hermit saint, during a time of middle age when people confront a crisis. Anthony was disturbed by the ordeal, but resisted. When he finally achieved serenity again, he turned to his Lord with an almost reproachful tone: “But Lord, where were you? Why did you not come immediately to end my suffering?” And Jesus answered: “Anthony, I was here. I was waiting to see you fight back.”
Fighting in prayer. Very often, prayer is a kind of combat. I am reminded of a personal experience. A married couple’s daughter, age nine, suffered with an illness that doctors could not diagnose. In the end, the doctor told the mother: “Call your husband.” But the husband was a laborer who worked all day long. Eventually, the doctor said to the father: “Your child will not survive the night. There is nothing we can do to stop this infection.”
The father may not have attended Mass every week, but he had a deep faith. He left the hospital in tears. He left his wife and child, took the train and traveled seventy kilometers to the Basilica of Our Lady of Lujan, Patroness of Argentina. But the basilica was closed because it was late in the evening. Nevertheless, the father clung to the gates of the basilica and prayed all night to Our Lady of Lujan. He fought for his daughter’s health. This is not just a story! I saw him! I saw him myself! That father fought with prayer!
The next morning, the church opened. The man entered, payed tribute to Our Lady, and returned home. He thought to himself: “Our daughter has left us. Our Lady cannot do this to us.” He went home to his wife. She was smiling. She said: “I do not know what happened. The doctors said something changed. Our daughter is cured.” This man, fighting in prayer, received the grace of Our Lady of Lujan. Our Lady listened to him. Prayer works miracles. Prayer goes directly to the heart of the tenderness of God. He cares for us like a father. When he does not grant us a grace, he will grant us another one which we will see in time. But always fight in prayer and ask for grace.
Yes, we will sometimes ask for a grace that we do not need, but we ask for it without truly wanting it, without fighting for it. We do not ask for important things or serious things in this way. Prayer is combat; and the Lord is always with us. In a moment of blindness, if we cannot see God’s presence, we will see him in the future. We will also end up repeating the same words of Jacob the Patriarch: “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it (Genesis 28:16).” At the end of our lives, looking back, we will also be able to say: “I thought I was alone, but no, I was not. Jesus was with me.” We will be able to say this! Amen!
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Pray: The Holy Rosary
Call to Prayer
A Prayer to End the Pandemic
By Pope Francis
In this present tragic situation,
when the whole world is prey
to suffering and anxiety,
we fly to you,
Mother of God and our Mother,
and seek refuge under your protection.
turn your merciful eyes towards us
amid this coronavirus pandemic.
Comfort those who are distraught
and mourn their loved ones who have died.
Fill with hope those who are troubled
by the uncertainty of the future
and the consequences
for the economy and employment.
Mother of God and our Mother,
pray for us to God, the Father of Mercy,
so that this great suffering may end
and that hope and peace may dawn anew.
Protect the doctors and nurses,
health care workers and volunteers,
who are on the frontline of this emergency,
and risk their lives to save others.
Beloved Mother, 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 to alleviate poverty and need.
Make us strong in faith,
persevering in service, constant in prayer.
Mary, Comfort of the Afflicted,
embrace all of your children in distress;
pray that God will stretch out
his all-powerful hand and free us
from this terrible pandemic,
so that life can resume its normal course.
To you, who enlighten our journey,
as a sign of salvation and hope,
we entrust ourselves,
O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
Call to Prayer
Praying to End the Pandemic
The Crowning Rosary
MAY 19TH THROUGH MAY 21ST AT 7:00PM
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 friends and fellow parishioners; and to serve the spiritual needs of all who seek to grow closer to the Risen Lord during these troubled times.
As Pentecost approaches, we would normally be preparing for the Crowning Feast of the Holy Spirit at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. This feast, rooted in the culture and tradition of our Portuguese ancestors, has always been among the most joyous and spiritually fulfilling moments on our parish calendar.
Because of the ongoing pandemic and the safety guidelines recommended by the Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we are again unable to join together in large numbers for food and fellowship as a family of loving disciples. However, we can still gather in limited numbers for prayer and worship!
For three consecutive evenings, Wednesday, May 19th, Thursday, May 20th, and Friday, May 21st at 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, we will join Pope Francis and Catholic Christians around the world in praying the Holy Rosary for an end to the pandemic. Each evening will include Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, silent adoration, the Rosary, and Benediction.
Attendance is limited to forty-six parishioners. In order to attend any one of these special evenings of prayer, you must reserve an assigned seat via the link below. All safety protocols remain in place. The registration links will be activated on Sunday, May 16th at 12:00pm and close at 3:00pm on each day of the Crowning Rosary. Even if you are not able to join us in person, please join us in prayer! Now more than ever, let’s pray together! For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Come, Holy Spirit!
Call to Share
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Grand Annual Collection
URGENT GOAL: $28,143 BY JUNE 30TH
Each year, the Grand Annual Collection at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish bridges the gap between our weekly offerings and our overall financial obligations. These expenses include insurance premiums, utility bills, maintaining our historic church buildings, and the salaries and benefits of our pastoral team (including me). Although our parish is part of a collaborative, we are solely responsible for paying our bills and balancing our budget.
Because of the ongoing pandemic and the limitations on the number of parishioners who can safely gather for Sunday Mass, overall parish income is down 25% during the past fourteen months. Despite ongoing efforts to cut costs and streamline our operations, we cannot make ends meet without your help. Put simply, the financial stability and long-term pastoral viability of our parish is at stake.
On June 30th, the current fiscal year will end. In just six short weeks, we must raise $28,143 to reach our goal of $45,000 for the Grand Annual Collection. So far, we have raised just $16,857. We can do better! We must do better!
If every parish family can share $46 (in addition to your weekly support), we will reach our goal, balance our budget, and ensure the financial security of our parish for another year. Once we reach this all-important goal, we can begin raising funds for the repair and restoration of our bell towers, one of which was seriously damaged during a wind storm last winter.
By this time next week, all registered parish families will receive a donation envelope in the mail. Your gift can be placed in the collection basket, dropped off at the rectory, made electronically at ccgronline.com, or mailed to: Our Lady of Good Voyage Grand Annual Collection, 74 Pleasant Street Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930.
If you have questions or need more information about how you, your family, or your small business can support our beloved and historic home parish, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s pray together that all of us, according to our means, will contribute something to the Grand Annual Collection! Thank you for your prayers and support for Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Peace, blessings, and sincere thanks to all! — Father Jim
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Spring Plant & Bake Sale
Saturday, May 29th
The Holy Family Women’s Guild is back and ready for action! On Saturday, May 29th from 9:00am until 12:00pm at Saint Ann Church, the Women’s Guild will host an outdoor Spring Plant & Bake Sale! Part of the spring plant sale are log shaped cemetery baskets with fresh annual flowers for Memorial Day. Preordering is appreciated! All pre-orders must be placed by Saturday, May 22nd for pick-up on Saturday, May 29th. For more information or to pre-order a cemetery basket, please contact Cecilia Gray at 978-281-2072. All safety protocols (including masks and social distancing) are still in place. All proceeds will benefit Holy Family Par- ish. Please join us! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey during their first pilgrimage to Italy, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit. Our mission is to help believers of all ages and backgrounds grow closer to Christ, closer to the Church, and closer to each other through the intercession, inspiration, and good example of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 13 to 95 and live in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, and all around the world. We pray daily for those who ask for our prayers. If you would like us to pray for you or your special intention, please contact Cliff at email@example.com. May the Risen Lord give you peace!
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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