By Cliff Garvey
Last Saturday, like almost every other day, I walked from Saint Ann Church to Our Lady of Good Voyage Church after saying goodbye to some out-of-town friends who had visited both churches that morning. As I approached the rectory parking lot, I noticed a car parked in front of Our Lady’s Church, just across the street from Destino’s sandwich shop. In the passenger seat of that car was a parishioner whom I had not seen since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s call him “Don.”
Over the years, Don and I have spoken quite a lot before and after Mass. He has lived an interesting life. And believe it or not, I have prayed for him, thought about him, and wondered whether he was still around. From a distance, we spotted each other, smiled, and waved. Even though I was running late, it just seemed right to approach the car. As I did, Don lowered the window. We bumped fists and began to chat as if we had seen each other last weekend on the church steps.
It turns out that Don is not well. He will undergo some medical tests this week that could lead to a difficult surgery and a long recovery. Despite the journey ahead, Don was at peace and his spirits seemed good. All of a sudden, his smile was gone. He became emotional and said: “I miss coming to Mass. I miss the Eucharist.” Without missing a beat, I said: “Do you want Holy Communion?” He said: “Can you do that?” I jingled my keys, headed into the church, and emerged moments later with the big ciborium filled with the Blessed Sacrament and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Returning to the side of the car, I dropped to my knees on the side walk. Don and I prayed together: Our Father…Hail Mary…We begged the Lord for a miracle of healing and asked the Blessed Mother to pray for one. Don received Holy Communion in a spirit of joy that was good and true and beautiful. After a few moments of recollection, I promised to arrange for a home visit. We blessed each other and exchanged greetings for the coming holidays. Moments later, Don was gone.
Pope Francis calls us over and over again to be missionary disciples. He says that the only real way to share the faith is to go out, to meet people where they are, and to risk reaching out to the margins — to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the left behind. He urges us to draw near to our neighbors — to listen, offer a blessing, or a share a kind word. This kind of evangelization does not require a degree or special training. It requires only a willingness to see those in need and respond with God’s love and mercy.
Let’s be honest. When the Holy Father talks about these things, I am sometimes uncomfortable. I am the most introverted person you know. I deserve no credit for doing what many Christians already do. But for just a few minutes, God’s amazing grace opened my heart to a neighbor in need. He asked me to leave my comfort zone, reach out to the margins, and encounter Jesus — in the Blessed Sacrament and in the life of a fellow disciple who longed for the communion we so often take for granted. This is the joy of the Gospel. This is what it means to find real joy at the margins. God bless you, Don!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Source of True Joy
An Act of Veneration
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
By Pope Francis
Mary, our Mother,
the People of God celebrate you,
we venerate you, the Immaculate Conception,
ever preserved from the stain of sin.
Accept our homage offered
in the name of the Church
throughout the world.
Knowing that you, our Mother,
are totally free from sin
is a consolation to us.
Knowing that evil has no power over you
fills us with hope and strength
in our daily struggle
against the threat of the evil one.
But in this struggle,
we are still your children,
the children of the Immaculate,
called to the holiness
that has shown resplendent in you
by the grace of God from the beginning.
Inspired by this hope,
we invoke your motherly protection upon us,
our families, this city, and the world.
Through your intercession,
may the power of God’s love
that preserved you from original sin,
free us from every form of spiritual and material slavery
and make God’s plan of salvation victorious
in both hearts and history.
May grace prevail over pride in us, your children.
May we become merciful
as our heavenly Father is merciful.
In this time leading up
to the celebration of Jesus’ birth,
teach us to go against the current:
to strip ourselves, to be humble,
to be giving, to be silent and listen,
to go out of ourselves,
granting space to the beauty of God,
the source of true joy! Amen!
The Assisi Project
Friday Afternoon with Jesus
Whenever Pope Francis meets with brother priests, religious communities, international leaders, or even large groups of average people just like us, he always concludes their time together with a simple but important request. He says: “Please don’t forget to pray for me.”
In celebration of the Holy Father’s 85th birthday on December 17th, Father Jim and the Assisi Project invite all friends and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport for a Friday Afternoon with Jesus: Praying for Pope Francis.
This special afternoon of prayer will begin with the Franciscan Rosary at 3:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After our shared prayer, the church will remain open for silent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At 6:30pm, we will gather again as a community for Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Francis says: “The Rosary is a prayer that accompanies me. It is also the prayer of ordinary people and the saints…and a prayer from my heart.” In this spirit and as our humble and heartfelt gift to the Holy Father on his birthday, we will offer the Franciscan Rosary for Pope Francis and his intentions.
If you would like the Assisi Project to pray for you or your special intention during the holiday season, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff or visit our website (see link below). All are invited! All are welcome! Mask up! May the Lord give you peace!
Call to Worship
Christmas Mass Schedule
December 24th & 25th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport at Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish invites you and your family to join us for Holy Mass in celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas!
Christmas Eve – December 24th – Masks Required
- Saint Joachim Church
Mass at 2:00pm
- Saint Church
Mass at 4:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Mass at 6:00pm & Midnight
Christmas Day – December 25th – Masks Required
- Saint Ann Church
Mass at 8:15am
- Saint Joachim Church
Mass at 10:00am
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Mass at 11:45am
Pastor’s Note: In light of rising new cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Cardinal Sean O’Malley has mandated all people who attend public Masses in the Archdiocese of Boston (including funerals, weddings, and Christmas Masses) must wear face masks in our churches. Children under the age of five are not required to wear masks; and children under the age of two should not wear masks.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, our twin goals in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport have been to do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of our parishioners and to offer free and high quality spiritual nourishment online. Masks and hand sanitizer are available in all of our churches. Social distancing is still available in Saint Ann Church (both side seating sections of the church). Our Christmas Mass will be also available on YouTube.
Wearing masks is a small sacrifice and a powerful symbol of our love and care for each other. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support during these challenging times. Mask up! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Peace and blessings to all for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! — Father Jim
The Assisi Project
We’re Praying for You!
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey during their first pilgrimage to Italy, the Assisi Project is a Fel- lowship of Franciscans in Spirit. Our mission is to help believers of all ages and backgrounds grow closer to Christ, closer to the Church, and closer to each other through the intercession, inspiration, and good example of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 13 to 96 and live in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, from coast to coast, and all around the world. We pray every day for those who ask for our prayers. If you would like us to pray for you or your special intention, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. New members are always welcome! Please join us! 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!
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 Ronald Joseph (1931-2017)