By Kathleen M. Basi
When I was a child, I had a book about the saints that I loved. It was filled with color pictures and heroic, larger-than-life stories. I spent hours trying to decide whether I liked Catherine of Siena better for cutting her hair off and being a nun and all, but Alexandria’s picture was prettier. It was years before I realized that most of these people were not the golden-haired northern Europeans portrayed in my book. It was later still before I realized that by focusing on legends and miracles, I had turned sainthood into something reserved for a select few — something far beyond the reach of an ordinary mortal like me.
These days, I prefer to think of the saints as real people, flawed, fragile, representing every country and every culture on the earth. Yet for all their diversity, each of the saints sought exactly what I seek: the discernment and courage to walk in the footsteps of Christ in a way that is authentic both to his example and to the time and place in which I live.
Now, my favorite stories speak not of miracles, but of extraordinary courage in ordinary situations — like Elizabeth Ann Seton, who as an impoverished widow, founded the first parochial school in this country, along with a new order of religious — all while raising her own children. They speak of deeply practical courage in extraordinary circumstances — like Maximilian Kolbe, who willingly starved to death in place of a fellow concentration camp prisoner in Auschwitz. In my opinion, that would be even harder than volunteering for a firing squad, where at least the end would come quickly.
And then there are figures with checkered pasts, like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton — those who do not have feast days in the church calendar but whose words and actions have reverberated like an earthquake, reshaping the founda- tion of my faith. Real people. Real lives. People stumbling through their world in all its messiness, trying to find the path to holiness amid chaos and to identify their individual purpose for why God placed them on this earth. Those people give me hope. If they managed to find their purpose, then maybe I can, too.
It is no longer enough for me to read a paragraph or two about the legendary exploits of those whose names begin with “Saint.” I want to know how the real people behind those legends lived. How they learned to mirror God while surrounded by cranky kids and clueless coworkers and spouses who insist on using dish towels to wipe dirty mouths. Because that is the path I need illuminated!
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 that features suggestions for prayer and reflection at home. A new edition is posted every weekend on our homepage (see link below).
Call to Worship
Solemnity of All Saints
Monday, November 1st
Since late antiquity, the People of God have honored the holy men and women who have been canonized as saints in the Roman Catholic Church. The Solemnity of All Saints honors all saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us in faith, hope, and love; and who now pray for us and for the salvation of souls. In commemoration of All Saints Day, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Holy Mass according to the following schedule:
All Saints Day – Monday, November 1st
Saint Joachim at 8:00am
Saint Ann at 12:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage at 5:30pm
An All Saints Day Prayer
Good and gracious God,
we rejoice in the holy men and women
of every time and place.
May their prayers
bring us your mercy and love.
We ask this in the holy name
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
For more information about the Solemnity of All Saints in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Sweet Bread & Yard Sale
Saturday, November 6th
All friends and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for a Sweet Bread & Yard Sale on Saturday, November 6th from 9:00am until 11:00am in Our Lady’s Hall. Come and browse our sale tables! Pick up a loaf of our homemade Portuguese Sweet Bread! Meet up with an old friend or new neighbor! And don’t miss the drawing of the winning ticket of the Super 50-50 Raffle!
All proceeds from this special event go directly to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Also, all are reminded that face masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing are encouraged whenever possible to help ensure the health and safety of our friends, volunteers, and parishioners.
Since 1944, Our Lady’s Guild has worked to build community among women of all ages in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish through prayer, good works, fundraising, and social events. For more information about Our Lady’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Beth Fosberry at email@example.com. Please join us! Spread the word! New members are always welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, November 6th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers now scattered throughout North America, Europe, and Africa. Our mission is to help Christian believers of all ages and backgrounds better live the Gospel of Christ through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
On the First Saturday of every month, the Assisi Project gathers for a morning mini-retreat that includes Mass, faith formation, and faith sharing. Our next Saturday Morning with Saint Francis is scheduled for Saturday, November 6th beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. With God’s help, we will gather in person to pray together and renew the bonds of faith, friendship, and mutual support that have sustained us for more than a decade. If you haven’t joined us before, please join us now!
After Mass, Father Jim and Cliff will lead a reflection and discussion about how praying with the saints can be a powerful way to deepen our spiritual lives and strengthen the bonds of community and solidarity in families, parishes, and the Church throughout the world. In preparation for our reflection, we are asking all parishioners to pray with these three questions:
- What role do the saints play in your spiritual life?
- Who is your patron saint, favorite saint, or go-to saint during times of trial?
- Who is your go-to everyday saint? This is someone in your life, now deceased and in heaven, who you believe prays and looks out for you and your family.
If you feel moved by the spirit to share your answers to these reflection questions, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses will remain anonymous unless you request otherwise. With your help, we’re hoping to create a Litany of Saints that we can pray together!
All friends and fellow parishioners are invited to join us for the Assisi Project’s Saturday Morning with Saint Francis! For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff or visit our website at assisiproject.com. Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Please join us! Spread the word! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
Let Us Dream: A Virtual Retreat with Pope Francis
Listen Now: Episode 1: Open Your Eyes
Listen Now: Episode 2: What Comes from God
Listen Now: Episode 3: No One Is Saved Alone
Listen Now: Episode 4: Our Greatest Power
Call to Prayer
Month of All Souls
Masses of Remembrance
During November, the Month of All Souls, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate three Masses of Remembrance for those friends, loved ones, and fellow parishioners whose funerals were celebrated in our churches during the past year.
Mass of Remembrance I
Saturday, November 6th at 4:00pm
Saint Ann Church
Mass of Remembrance II
Sunday, November 14th at 11:45am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Mass of Remembrance III
Sunday, November 21st at 10:00am
Saint Joachim Church
A Prayer for All Souls
hear our prayer and console us.
As we renew our faith in Jesus, your Son,
whom you raised from death,
strengthen our hope
that all of our departed brothers and sisters
will share in his resurrection,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
This prayer was composed by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the Month of All Souls, let’s pray together for our deceased brothers and sisters. For more information about our Masses of Remembrance, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Holy Family Parish
Saturday, November 20th
Save the date! The Holy Family Women’s Guild will be hosting an outdoor Christmas Marketplace on Saturday, November 20th from 9:00am until 1:00pm at Saint Ann Church! More information coming next weekend! Working with Cressey & Sons Nursery in Rowley, the Holy Family Women’s Guild is now accepting pre-orders for Holiday Cemetery Baskets and Christmas Kissing Balls! Log shaped baskets are $28 each and decorated fifteen-inch kissing balls are $32 each. To place an order, please contact Jane Marshall at 978-283-5111 or Celia Gray at 978-281-2072. Orders will also be accepted after Masses on November 6th and 7th! Thank you!
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 All the Faithful Departed