By Father Jim
God’s faithful people have long-believed that upon her death, the Virgin Mary was raised body and soul into heaven. This ancient devotion, which dates back to the fifth century, was not defined as an official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church until 1950. We are blessed this year to commemorate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a Sunday, so we can truly celebrate both the Resurrection of the Lord and the Assumption of the Blessed Mother at the same time!
During Sunday Masses this weekend, we pray with one of my favorite passages from the scriptures. In the Gospel of Luke (1:39-56), Mary travels, apparently alone, into the hill country in order to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who will soon become the mother of John the Baptist. When they meet, Elizabeth and the child in her womb are overcome with great joy. Elizabeth offers Mary a blessing and commends her believing in God’s message that was shared with her by an angel. This moment, known as the Visitation, is among the most joyous passages in all of scripture.
What comes next is Mary’s hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the God who chose her, among all women of the world, to serve as the Mother of Jesus. Mary’s song, known as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55; see below), is a beautiful and challenging ode to God’s greatness and God’s loving care for the hungry, the lowly, and the poor in spirit. It is a call to humility, to service, to being the person we are called to be, and to doing the things that we are called to do. It is a reminder that God loves and forgives those who worship him; that God “scatters” and “casts down” those who are proud and selfish; and that God keeps his promises and never forgets the little ones who love him and take care of their neighbors.
Are we among those little ones? Are we humble? Are we merciful? Are we good neighbors? Are we peacemakers in an angry world? Do we truly love God? Do we practice the Golden Rule? Do we think before we text? Do we pray before we post on social media? Do we see the person beside us in church as a brother or sister? Do we stop at crosswalks? Do we pick up litter along the boulevard? Do we clean up after our dog? Do we count our blessings or hoard our riches? Are we courteous and grateful to the men and women who stock the shelves, serve our overpriced coffees, and take care of us when we are sick?
When we pray with Mary’s Magnificat, are we among the lowly servants whom God promises to lift up and shower with mercy? Or are we among the proud and the mighty whom God promises to cast down & scatter? Are we poor in spirit? Are we in awe of God’s greatness and mercy? Or are we conceited and self-important? Are we just too full of ourselves? Wherever we find ourselves today, there is hope for tomorrow! Mary reminds us that God is merciful. God is kind, lenient, patient, tender, and forgiving. God offers us a crucified and risen savior. He offers the saving power of the sacraments and scriptures. He offers the prayers of angels and saints. And he offers the voice of a Blessed Mother who sings through the ages of love and mercy. Let’s sing along! My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
The Call to Prayer
Magnificat: The Canticle of Mary
Gospel of Luke 1:46-55
My soul proclaims
the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor
on his lowly servant.
From this day,
all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy
on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud
in their conceit.
He has cast down
the mighty from their thrones,
and he has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry
with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help
of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered
his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
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.
Summer Carillon Concerts
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Beginning Friday, August 20th
A much-loved summer tradition returns this week to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! Our Summer Carillon Concerts are scheduled to begin on Friday, August 20th at 6:30pm (rain or shine)!
This year, Lucy Pallazola, Cynthia Cafasso, and Thomas Dort have prepared programs that include familiar classical and international pieces, popular hymns and songs, patriotic melodies, and even selections especially for kids! We are especially excited that Thomas Dort, a young disciple just turned thirteen years old, who learned to play the carillon bells during the pandemic, will be performing along with our talented adult musicians!
Installed in 1922, the carillon bells in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church were the first toned sent of carillon bells in the United States. Although the bells can be heard from blocks away, the sound is best near the church. This year, Our Lady’s Guild will be selling cold drinks, ice cream, and even 50-50 raffle tickets to support our efforts to repair and restore our historic bell towers which were damaged during a late winter wind storm.
Our Summer Carillon Concerts are a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to gather with fellow parishioners to savor the gift of music! Additional summer carillon concerts are scheduled for Friday, August 27th at 6:30pm and Friday, September 3rd at 6:30pm. For more information about these special musical programs, please contact Lucy Pallazola at email@example.com. Spread the word! All Summer Carillon Concerts are free and open to the public! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Marian Podcast Series
Founded by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit that is dedicated to helping believers of all ages and backgrounds more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Father Jim asked Cliff to look back on nearly two decades of ministry as a catechist, retreat leader, and spiritual director to create a series of free audio recordings as a way of continuing his adult faith formation ministry.
As of this weekend, Cliff has created fifty-two podcasts with more on the way! In commemoration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, all are encouraged to listen again or listen for the first time to those podcasts that are dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. Just click on the links below:
- Uploading Now! Mary’s Song
- Praying Fatima, Part 1
- Praying Fatima, Part 2
- Mary, Mother of God
- Mary, Mother of the Church
- Mary, Mother of All Peoples (Parts 1 & 2)
- School of Mary: Praying with Our Lady of Lourdes
- 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 13 to 96 and live in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, across the United States, and in Angola, Brazil, Canada, Italy, and Spain. 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 loved one, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, Pope Francis has asked all Christians to continue praying for an end to the pandemic; and he has called all Catholics to pray for this special intention through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One way of fulfilling this call to prayer can be reflecting on one of the Assisi Project’s Marian Podcasts!
However we pray, wherever we pray, whenever we pray, our prayers may be among our most important contributions to the future of our churches, our communities, and our sick and suffering world. So, let us raise our voices in a chorus of petition that reaches the heavens! Let us offer our hearts to a spiritual communion that builds and strengthens our parishes! Now more than ever, let’s pray together! Our Lady of the Assumption, pray for us!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Electronic giving has become an essential component of parish support in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport; and it is available in both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is safe and easy to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check.
Donations can be made on a weekly, monthly, or one-time-only basis; and it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. In additional to the weekly offering, you can also give electronically to our church restoration funds which helps us plan for the repair and maintenance of our beloved and historic churches.
During these challenging times, Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish need your support more than ever before! Please prayerfully consider enrolling in our ‘We Share!’ electronic giving program! For more information about setting up a new account or for assistance with your existing account, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you for your generous support for our parishes! May God bless you and your family, now and always!
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 Stella Rafferty