By Kathleen M. Basi
Faith and politics — are there any two words in the English language that are more fraught with the potential to divide? In the United States last year, we went through a heartbreakingly ugly presidential primary and convention season, only to be thrust into an equally disgusting general election fight that extended into the post-election — more than a year in which the modus operandi seems to be: “Say whatever you want, whether it’s true or not, because all things are justifiable in the pursuit of winning.”
When faith intersects with politics, we are faced with hard choices. No party, no candidate, represents the totality of the Catholic faith. No party holds a moral high ground; the bending of truths and the oversimplification of political rhetoric, and all party platforms contain positions that are inconsistent with the teachings of Christ.
Candidates often tell us we stand at a point of no return — that if we don’t get the “right” result, our country is lost. And for this reason, we tolerate behaviors, the shredding of opponent’s human dignity, the dishonesty, and the trash talking that stand diametrically opposed to the Ten Commandments. Even worse, we participate in them.
Most of us don’t want to own our guilt. We’d rather blame the system. If we take an honest look in the mirror, though, almost all of us are part of the problem. Too often, the tone of our comments on social media and in our safe zones, among those who think like we do, mirrors the un-Christlike ugliness exhibited in direct mail, television ads, and speeches. We fail to hold our candidates — even the ones we know personally — accountable for the tenor of the discussion. Then, too, there are articles and editorials we choose to share. It’s easy to hide behind them, to let an author take the blame and refuse the responsibility we incur by spreading his or her influence.
The truth is, there is no one “point of no return.” We face crossroads every day, every election season, and in every conversation about social, economic, and governmental affairs. At each one, we make a choice to put our faith in the driver’s seat — or to make a particular party, candidate, or issue our god.
In future elections, we, as individual followers of Christ, must decide whether to condone the false absolutes, the polarization, and the dehumanization that have come to characterize our political process, or to hold ourselves and all our leaders accountable to the standard set by Jesus. We all have a choice to make. What will you choose?
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, a weekly newsletter featuring suggestions for prayer and reflection at home.
Our Pastor’s Message
Never the Same
Our Lady’s Financial Report
By Father Jim
In his recent book, Let Us Dream, Pope Francis writes: “The basic rule of a crisis is that you don’t come out the same. If you get through it, you come out better or worse, but never the same.” In one way or another, all of us have been touched by the ongoing pandemic. Some among us have been sick. Some have lost their jobs or small businesses. Some have lost longtime friends or beloved family members. And some have just lost their way — mentally, physically, or spiritually. This is a time of loss and a time of testing for every single one of us.
During the last fiscal year, Our Lady of Good Voyage was both blessed and chalenged in many ways. More and more people are returning to Mass. More and more people are visiting our website in search of free and high quality spiritual nourishment. More and more volunteers are returning to their ministries of helping the poor, visiting the sick, and raising funds for our parish. And almost all parishioners have shown a willingness to offer the small sacrifice of wearing a face mask as a practical sign of our love and care for each other.
At the same time, we face daunting financial challenges. Overall parish income was down by 21% or almost $60,000 during the past fiscal year. Utility bills and insurance premiums have risen by 5% during the past fiscal year. Our church buildings and grounds are in almost constant need of repair or preventive maintenance. And although the archdiocese and insurance provider have assessed the damage to our bell tower, we will still need to raise tens of thousands of dollars to repair and restore both towers. The initial estimate is at least $150,000 per tower!
Despite these challenges, our parish budget is balanced and even ran a surplus for the Fiscal Year 2021 that ended on June 30th. This surplus is due in part to reductions in pastoral team salaries and benefits during the pandemic. It is also the direct result of your generosity during the final weeks of our Grand Annual Collection last spring. If we had not reached our goal, we would never have balanced our budget. Thank you! We should also thank the members of our dedicated finance council who keep a close eye on our finances and always provide good and sound advice: Cynthia Cafasso, Becky Carrancho, and Jean Madruga.
Let’s be honest. We are solely responsible for the short term stability and long term viability of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Without your generous and ongoing financial support, we will be unable to sustain the programs and ministries that our community depends on in the church buildings that we all cherish. Generations of good people have worshipped here. It is now up to us, you and me, to step up, help out, give what we can, and pay tribute to the men and women who built this parish and entrusted it to us. We may never be the same, but let’s dream of better days. And let’s work together to build a bright future for our beloved parish! Peace, blessings, and sincere thanks to all!
Virtual Fall Retreat
Let Us Dream
Begins October 20th
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 via ccgronline.com, assisiproject.com, and our YouTube channel. We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement and support for our efforts!
Over the years, our annual summer retreat has been our most popular adult faith formation program. For six consecutive summers, under the direction of Cliff Garvey, we gathered and prayed together over a wide variety of topics: Desert Spirituality, Benedictine Spirituality, Franciscan Spirituality, Eastern Monastic Spirituality, Discipleship & Mission, and the Universal Call to Holiness.
This year, the ongoing pandemic and Cliff’s unexpected surgery and long recovery prompted us to postpone, then cancel our plans for an in-person summer retreat. In our disappointment, Cliff and I read and talked together about a compelling new book: Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Futureby Pope Francis. Written during the worst of the pandemic, the Holy Father reflects on this and other worldwide crises, the dark voices that divide us, and a way forward that can bring us together around a common mission to care for each other and for our common home.
In Let Us Dream, produced in collaboration with his friend, Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis writes: “This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities — what we value, what we want, what we seek — and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of. What I hear at this moment is similar to what Isaiah hears God saying through him: Come, let us talk this over. Let us dare to dream. God asks us to dare to create something new…We need to slow down, take stock, and design better ways of living together on this earth.”
In this spirit, we are happy to announce our Virtual Fall Retreat: Let Us Dream from Wednesday, October 20th through Saturday, October 23rd. On each day of our virtual retreat, Cliff will offer a daily reflection via podcast that corresponds with the first three sections of the book (plus a fourth bonus podcast):
- Podcast 1: Wednesday, October 20th: A Time to See
- Podcast 2: Thursday, October 21st: A Time to Choose
- Podcast 3: Friday, October 22nd: A Time to Act
- Podcast 4: Saturday, October 23rd: A Time to Heal
Finally, on Saturday, October 23rd at 8:00am, all are welcome to join Father Jim in celebrating Holy Mass for the intentions of God’s mercy, healing, and protection from the coronavirus; and for an increase in peace, justice, and solidarity in our suffering world. Cliff will also post a concluding podcast on Saturday morning!
All are invited to join us on retreat! You do not need to read the book in order to fully participate, but copies are available for $26.00 each. If you would like to purchase a copy, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff at email@example.com. Let’s pray together! Spread the word! All are welcome!
Call to Prayer
Respect Life Month
Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron & Protector of Life
Dearest Saint Joseph,
at the word of an angel,
you lovingly took Mary into your home.
As God’s humble servant,
you guided the Holy Family
on the road to Bethlehem,
welcomed Jesus as your own son
in the shelter of a manger,
and fled far from your homeland for the safety
of both Mother and Child.
We praise God
that as their faithful protector,
you never hesitated to sacrifice
for those entrusted to you.
May your example inspire us
to welcome, cherish, and safeguard
God’s most precious gift of life.
Help us now
to faithfully commit ourselves
to the service and defense
of human life,
especially where it is vulnerable
Obtain for us the grace
to do the will of God in all things.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Katie Ciolino