An Urgent Call to Care for Our Common Home
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
The current climate crisis speaks volumes about who we are and how we view and treat God’s creation. We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, and climate change are inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure. But we also face a profound injustice: the people bearing the most catastrophic consequences of these abuses are the poorest of the planet and have been the least responsible for causing them. We serve a God of justice, who delights in creation and creates every person in God’s image, but also hears the cry of people who are poor. Accordingly, there is an innate call within us to respond with anguish when we see such devastating injustice.
Today, we are paying the price. The extreme weather and natural disasters of recent months reveal afresh to us with great force and at great human cost that climate change is not only a future challenge, but an immediate and urgent matter of survival. Widespread floods, fires and droughts threaten entire continents. Sea levels rise, forcing whole communities to relocate; cyclones devastate entire regions, ruining lives and livelihoods. Water has become scarce and food supplies insecure, causing conflict and displacement for millions of people. We have already seen this in places where people rely on small scale agricultural holdings. Today we see it in more industrialized countries where even sophisticated infrastructure cannot completely prevent extraordinary destruction.
Tomorrow could be worse. Today’s children and teenagers will face catastrophic consequences unless we take responsibility now, as ‘fellow workers with God (Genesis 2:4-7)’, to sustain our world. We frequently hear from young people who understand that their futures are under threat. For their sake, we must choose to eat, travel, spend, invest, and live differently, thinking not only of immediate interest and gain but also of future benefits. We repent of our generation’s sins. We stand alongside our younger sisters and brothers throughout the world in committed prayer and dedicated action for a future that corresponds ever more to the promises of God.
Over the course of the pandemic, we have learned how vulnerable we are. Our social systems frayed, and we found that we cannot control everything. We must acknowledge that the ways we use money and organize our societies have not benefited everyone. We find ourselves weak and anxious, submersed in a series of crises: health, environmental, food, economic, and social, which are all deeply connected.
These crises present us with a choice. We are in a unique position either to address them with shortsightedness and profiteering or seize this as an opportunity for conversion and transformation. If we think of humanity as a family and work together toward a future based on the common good, we could find ourselves living in a very different world. Together we can share a vision for life where everyone flourishes. Together we can choose to act with love, justice, and mercy. Together we can walk toward a fairer and fulfilling society with those who are most vulnerable at the center.
Art Credit: “Cantico Delle Creature” by Massimo Cruciani – cruciani.com
Season of Creation
About This Week’s Message
Each year, under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Father, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Season of Creation. It spans five full weeks from the World Day of Prayer for Creation (September 1st) and the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4th).
In the words of Pope Francis: “This time for creation offers individual believers and communities an opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocations to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork that he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation, as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” In this way, the Season of Creation is a time to give thanks, make amends, and brainstorm about practical ways to better care for our common home — planet earth.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we work hard to conserve energy and make our historic buildings as efficient as possible. All of the lighting in all of our churches have been replaced with LED fixtures. When necessary, old appliances have been replaced with energy-efficient models. And we do what we can to conserve oil and keep our furnaces well-maintained. But we can do more and we can do better!
Last week, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury issued an extraordinary ecumenical call for all Christians and people of goodwill to consider ways that individuals, communities (including faith communities like ours), nations, and corporations can work in collaboration to serve the common good, look out for the poor and most vulnerable, and protect our most precious natural resources.
This week’s message is a second challenging excerpt from this urgent call to “listen to the cry of the earth.” In next week’s newsletter, we will share the concluding section. As the Season of Creation continues, let’s pray together and work together to better care for our common home!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Season of Creation
The Call to Prayer
Praise Be to You, Lord!
By Pope Francis
Father, we praise you
with all your creatures.
They came forth
from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours,
filled with your presence
and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through all things you were made.
You were formed
in the womb of Mary, our Mother;
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive
in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light,
you guide this world
toward the Father’s love
and accompany creation
as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
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.
Season of Creation
Living the Gospel
Caring for Our Common Home
What Can We do?
Inspired by Pope Francis’ message in Laudato Si, each one of us is called to take concrete steps to care for our common home — from reducing consumption to working for social and political change. Here are some ideas:
Everything Is Connected
Care for one another and for creation includes understanding that “everything is connected (Laudato Si, 91).” Politics, economics, technology, and community involvement all affect the future of our planet and all humankind. How we might become more aware of our connectedness?
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
Get a reusable water bottle. Take shorter showers. Whenever possible, let’s bike, walk, carpool, or take public transportation. Recycle, compost food waste, and buy energy efficient appliances.
Institutional Changes in our Parishes, Schools & Workplaces
We can do better at conservation and recycling, perhaps use washable dinnerware at future parish events, and investigate possible sources of renewable energy.
Support Local Solutions
Local community groups around the country are working to make city, county, and statewide changes that can make a big difference in caring for our common home. Let’s show support for these efforts!
Spread the Word
Let’s contact members of Congress and share Pope Francis’ message of connectedness, concern for human dignity, and care for our common home; and let’s encourage them to take action to address climate change (Source: usccb.org).
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Saint Ann Church Yard Sale
Saturday, September 25th
The Holy Family Women’s Guild is back in action! On Saturday, September 25th from 10:00am until 1:00pm, the Guild is hosting a Fall Yard Sale in garage courtyard behind Saint Ann Church. We’ll be selling home décor, household items, small furniture, and cool vintage stuff! If necessary, the rain date will be Sunday, September 26th from 10:00am until 1:00pm.
Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and the wider community. New members and volunteers are always welcome! For more information, please contact Arlene Lesch at email@example.com or leave a message at 978-281-4820. Thank you in advance for your support!
Sharing God’s Love
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
New Volunteers Always Welcome!
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is an international organization that is dedicated to responding to any request from any person or family in need. Here on Cape Ann, we work through Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish to serve the poor and the needy. Help us help others! Donations can be left at our parish office, dropped in the collection basket at any Weekend Mass, or mailed to:
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
74 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
New members and volunteers are always welcome! For more information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and its good work in our parishes and hometowns, please contact Bob Weeks at firstname.lastname@example.org or Harry Miller at 978-281-8672. Thank you for your generous support for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society — especially with envelopes placed in the weekly collection! May God bless you and your family!
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 Ben Goodhue