By Kathleen M. Basi
Anxiety is a reality in modern life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 18 percent of adults in the United States suffer from it. And that figure comes only from diagnosable cases — not the average anxiety we all cope with at one time or another.
I have been thinking about this lately as it begins to manifest in my children. It reminds me that for two years in junior high school, I journaled my way through feeling unloved and worthless; convinced that the would be better off if I just died. I journaled, but I never asked for help. I didn’t tell my parents. And I don’t remember praying about it. On some level, I thought that I had no right to bother God with my problems.
You might shake your head at the idea that anyone could think a major depressive episode is unworthy of God’s attention. After all: “Even the hairs on your head have all been counted (Luke 12:7).” But how many times do we do the same thing? Budgets are cut and layoffs are threatened, triggering anxiety. Daily schedules become oppressive. Children make fledgling flights from the nest, causing parents to worry about their safety.
Sometimes we pray about these things, but too often we focus on ourselves for answers — our own strength, our own ability to solve the problem. How easy it is to forget that we accomplish nothing on our own, but that all things are realized through Christ who strengthens us (See Philippians 4:13).
As a parent whose children are beginning to experience the anxieties of life, I find this thought particularly poignant. So often, they internalize their worries. They try to bear burdens that are far too big for them, for fear of bothering me. And yet I ache for them. I long for them to ask me for help. When they bring me their deepest concerns, it draws us closer together. I can share the wisdom of experience, or in some cases, simply validate theirs.
If this is how I feel about my children, how much more must God long for us to reach out to him with the heartaches and anxieties that suck the joy from our lives? Yes, the practicalities will always be ours to put into action, but praying through them brings us closer to God, the source of our strength and the inspiration for all the best that lies within us. By all means, bother God. He is waiting for you to lean on him.
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 (see link below).
Season of Advent
A Prayer for Families
God of Love,
Jesus, your son,
is your greatest gift to us.
He is a sign of your love.
Help us to walk in this love
during these weeks of Advent,
as we wait and prepare for his nativity.
We pray in the name of Jesus,
our Savior. Amen.
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Christmas Giving Trees
Sharing God’s Love at Christmas
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is once again sponsoring the Christmas Giving Trees in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! During the weekend of November 27th and 28th, the Giving Trees will be located at the entrances of our three churches; and each tree will be decorated with stars that include a special Christmas wish. If you can fulfill the wish, please take a star! Every donated gift should be new, unused, unwrapped, and placed under the tree no later than Sunday, December 5th. For more information, please contact Lori Thorstensen at email@example.com. This Christmas Season, let’s work together to share God’s love with local families in need! Thank you for your generous support! May God bless us, everyone!
Holy Family Parish
Holy Family Parish is 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
- iPad Basket
- Nintendo Switch Basket Christmas
- Themed 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!
Father Jim’s Advent Scripture Study
Christmas in the Four Gospel Homes
Begins Thursday, December 2nd
During the Season of Advent, all friends and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim for a four week scripture study based on Cynthia Campbell’s book: Christmas in the Four Gospel Homes. On four consecutive Thursday mornings immediately after our 8:00am Mass in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, Father Jim will lead a one hour discussion on how each book of the Holy Gospels offers a unique perspective on the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas.
In preparation for each weekly session, participants will be asked to read from Campbell’s short book, which includes beautiful illustrations of how a home might look during the Christmas Season if it were decorated according to one of the Gospels. Copies of the book will be provided. A donation of $20.00 is requested from those who can afford it. All donations will support our adult faith formation ministry. If you would like to join us for this special series, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
First Friday with Jesus
Friday, December 3rd
Pope Francis says: “Prayer has no need for profound theological knowledge…Prayer is the encounter of life, first with the Lord Jesus, with the person of Jesus. And from there on, from that encounter of prayer, friendship, fraternity, and the certainty of being children of the same Father are born…Love can change the world!”
In this spirit of love, prayer and fellowship, all are invited to join Father Jim and the Assisi Project for three hours of silent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Friday, December 3rd beginning immediately after our 8:00am Mass in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. At 12:00pm, we will pray the Rosary for the sick and suffering in our communities. This morning of prayer will conclude with Benediction at 12:30pm. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. All are invited! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
Pray the Rosary with Father Jim
- Watch: The Holy Rosary (Joyful Mysteries)
- Watch: The Holy Rosary (Sorrowful Mysteries)
- Watch: The Holy Rosary (Glorious Mysteries)
- Watch: The Holy Rosary (Luminous Mysteries)
The Assisi Project
Advent Morning of Prayer
Mary, Undoer of Knots
Saturday, December 4th
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 in North America, Europe, and Africa. Our mission is to help 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.
In 1986, Father Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) began a period of doctoral studies in Germany. While there, he made a pilgrimage to Augsburg and the Jesuit Church of Saint Peter. In that church, he discovered a painting of the Blessed Mother who unties the knots of sin, despair, and disagreement that trouble our lives. For Father Bergoglio, it was a conversion moment that helped him better appreciate his ministry as a priest, his vows as a member of the Society of Jesus, and the importance of keeping our hearts and minds open to the will of God in all of our lives. By the time he was consecrated as Archbishop of Buenos Aries in 1992, the future pope was giving prayer cards of the famous image to anyone who came to him with a difficult personal problem!
In this spirit, all are invited to join the Assisi Project for an Advent Day of Prayer on Saturday, December 4th beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, Father Jim and Cliff will lead a reflection and discussion on Our Lady of Undoer of Knots and the Holy Father’s enduring devotion to her. After a short break at 9:30am, we will then offer the Franciscan Rosary for the intentions of Pope Francis and for the Church around the world.
If you haven’t joined us before, please prayerfully consider joining us now! All parishioners and friends are invited to join us for the Assisi Project’s Advent Day of Prayer & Reflection! If you plan to join us or want more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff at email@example.com; or visit our website (see link below). Please join us! All are welcome! Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!
Advent Special Event
A Festival of Lessons & Carols
Sunday, December 5th
All friends and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Tom Misuraca and LuAnn Pallazola for a Festival of Lessons & Carols on Sunday, December 5th at 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church. All of this year’s music and scripture selections have been chosen to prepare our hearts to truly celebrate the Holy Season of Advent and the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. This special afternoon of music, prayer, and fellowship is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted to support our parish music ministries! For more information, please contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Call to Worship
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Wednesday, December 8th
In commemoration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Wednesday, December 8th, a Holy Day of Obligation, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport invites you to join us for the celebration of Mass:
- Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
- Saint Ann Church at 12:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 5:30pm
Since late antiquity, the People of God have believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was sinless and conceived immaculately in the womb of her mother and our patron, Saint Ann. This ancient devotion was defined as doctrine in 1854. Since then, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has been patroness of many causes and nations, including the United States of America. Please join us as we honor our Blessed Mother Mary and beg her powerful intercession for our families, our hometowns and parishes, and our country. All are invited! All are welcome!
A Prayer for the Intercession of the Blessed Mother
Most Blessed Mother,
heart of love, heart of mercy,
ever listening, caring, and consoling,
hear our prayers!
As your children,
we beg your intercession with Jesus your Son.
Receive with compassion and understanding
the petitions we place before you.
We are comforted in knowing
that your heart is always open
to those who ask for your help.
We trust to your gentle care and intercession,
those whom we love
and those who are sick, lonely, or hurting.
Holy Mother, help us
to bear the burdens of this life
until we may share eternal life and peace
with God forever and ever. 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 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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