By Father Jim
On November 17th, the Catholic Church will celebrate the Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231). During her short life, Elizabeth experienced great joy and deep sorrow. She was born a princess, married a prince at the age of fourteen, gave birth to three children, and was widowed at the age of twenty.
In 1223, two years after being married, Princess Elizabeth was visited by Franciscan Friars who had traveled from Central Italy to preach and give witness to the gospel life. Both Elizabeth and Ludwig, her husband, were deeply impressed by these friars, their simplicity, deep faith, and devotion to the poor. Despite their royal status, they began to live according to the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi.
After Prince Ludwig’s death from plague in 1227, Elizabeth soon left the royal court. It is unclear whether she left of her own accord or whether she was driven away by the late prince’s power-hungry brother. In any case, Elizabeth soon made private vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to God under the guidance of her confes- sor. In addition, with the dowry money that remained under her control, she built a hospital where she and some companions cared for the poor and the sick.
Princess Elizabeth’s profound faith and countless good works were soon noticed by Francis of Assisi. Shortly before his death in 1226, he sent her a personal blessing and message of encouragement. One can imagine Saint Francis confirming her gospel life by quoting from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God and what is good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2).”
Although it is unclear whether Elizabeth ever took formal vows as a Secular Franciscan, she wore a Franciscan habit and sought to faithfully live according to the ideals of the Poor Man of Assisi. When Elizabeth died in 1231, at the age of just twenty- four, it was the Secular Franciscans who worked for her canonization. After her death, miracles of healing were documented at her grave.
It took just four years for the Vatican to document and discern her holiness. Elizabeth was canonized in 1235 by Pope Gregory IX. Nearly eight centuries later, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary is venerated all around the world as the patron of brides, bakers, nurses, widows, hospitals, and the homeless, the poor, and the sick. She is also venerated as a patron saint of the Third Order of Saint Francis.
At the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, there is a museum of art and iconography with priceless works that span the centuries. Toward the back of the museum is an ancient icon of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary that truly serves as a window into the heavens (see image above). Dressed in the habit of the Poor Ladies and carrying the roses that symbolize the bread with which she fed the hungry, Saint Elizabeth looks deeply into our hearts as she beckons us: “Live the Gospel. Share God’s love. Give to the poor. Care for the sick. Clothe the naked. Rebuild the Church!”
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Living the Gospel
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Loving Christ in the Poor
Elizabeth was a true friend of the poor.
She dedicated herself to feeding the hungry.
She converted a castle into a hospital,
where she gathered the weak and feeble.
Twice each day,
in the morning and in the evening,
Elizabeth visited the sick.
She personally cared for those
who were particularly repulsive.
To some, she gave food.
To others, she gave clothing.
She carried some on her shoulders,
and performed many kind services.
Apart from these good works,
I declare before God
that I have seldom seen
a more contemplative woman.
When Elizabeth emerged from private prayer,
some religious men and women
often saw her face shining marvelously
and a light coming from her eyes
like the rays of the sun.
Before her death, I heard her confession.
When asked what should be done
about her goods and possessions,
she replied that anything
which seemed to be hers
belonged instead to the poor.
She asked that everything be given away,
except one worn-out dress,
in which she wished to be buried.
When all was decided,
Elizabeth received the Holy Eucharist.
Then until vespers,
she spoke of the holiest things
she had ever heard in sermons.
She then blessed everyone around her,
and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died.
Source: Adapted from a Letter of Conrad of Marburg
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
All are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a Christmas Marketplace on Saturday, November 20th from 9:00am until 1:00pm at Saint Ann Church. This outdoor marketplace will feature homemade baked goods, indoor raffle tables, and holiday decorations made from fresh greens and other florals made by our members.
Working with Cressey & Sons Nursery in Rowley, the Holy Family Women’s Guild is also 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! Please join us! All are welcome!
Holy Family Parish
In addition to the Holy Family Parish Christmas Raffles (see below), we are also having various raffle tables with great prizes at the Christmas Marketplace on Saturday, November 20th! Bea’s Raffles will include various toys, theme baskets, gift certificates, and Christmas items. Donations of new items for Bea’s Raffles are now being accepted. For more information or if you are able and willing to donate a prize, please contact Bea at 978-283- 2691 by November 16th. Masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing are encouraged for all who plan to join us. All proceeds will benefit Holy Family Parish! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Parish
Now Underway! Amazing Prizes!
In addition to the Christmas Marketplace, Holy Family Parish is also sponsoring a Christmas Raffle! A donation of $2 per ticket or six for $10 is requested! Prizes include:
One Cash Prize of $500
Five Cash Prizes of $100 Each
Nintendo Switch Basket
Christmas Theme Lego Sets
Special thanks to Greely Funeral Home, Campbell Funeral Home, and an anonymous benefactor for making possible these great prizes! Raffle tickets have been mailed to every registered parish family. Please complete your tickets and return them by Friday, December 4th. If everyone participates, we will raise $23,000 for Holy Family Parish! If you have not received your tickets, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spread the word! Thank you for your support!
Call to Prayer
Thanksgiving Eve Mass
Wednesday, November 24th
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to come together as God’s family for the celebration of Mass in commemoration of the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Thanksgiving Eve Mass
Wednesday, November 24th at 5:30pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Please note that there will be no Confessions or Eucharistic Adoration after Mass; and that there will be no Mass on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25th. For more information, please see Father Jim or contact him at email@example.com. We pray that you and your family will join us in offering praise and thanks to God’s abundant blessings on our community! Spread the word! All are welcome! Happy Thanksgiving!
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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