By Kathleen M. Basi
It is a new year! What will you do to live your faith? New years seem tailor-made for changing for the better. Sometimes it is weight loss or exercise. At other times, we look to our spiritual lives, vowing to set aside daily prayer time or regularly go to reconciliation. Both goals are fleeting; as motivation falters, good intentions fall by the wayside. Some people have become so jaded, they don’t even bother anymore.
Resolutions require us to abandon old patterns and institute new ones; to turn our backs on our former ways and seek renewal. If that sounds like spiritual exercise, that’s because it is! Actions become habits for a reason. To undo them requires ongoing sacrifice, and for that we need God’s help. But it seems so trivial to call in God to help us lose weight. Diet and exercise have nothing to do with faith, right?
Not so fast. The central truth behind Saint John Paul II’s theology of the body is that as beings with both a body and a soul, our divine purpose is to reflect God’s love for the world in the way we use our bodies. In our work, in the way we treat our bodies, even in our most intimate relationships, we are called to love as God loves — fully and sacrificially. Otherwise, we are not really living our faith. We’re just playing around.
To go to daily Mass is good. To take what we learn there and do something with it is better. To read scripture every morning is good. To allow the word to burrow down and needle our souls until we have to get up and act on it is better. Even a diet can be a spiritual exercise, if it is undertaken out of respect for the gift of the body given to us.
None of us can change for the better on the strength of our own will. We need God walking hand in hand with us, holding us accountable, and reminding us why it matters. When we are used to turning to God again and again throughout the day, even for something as trivial as a diet, it bleeds into other areas of our lives, too. The sacred fuses with the secular, and we truly become beings who (as the Baltimore Catechism says) show God’s goodness by knowing, loving, and serving him in this world. It’s a new year! What will you do to live your faith?
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 a regular contributor to Bringing Home the Word, an e-newsletter that features suggestions for prayer and reflection for the Home Church. A new edition is posted every weekend at the link below.
The Epiphany Proclamation
While Christmas Day is fixed in our minds and on our calendars as December 25th, many of the important feast days of the Church Year move based on the date of Easter Sunday. Each year, Easter is scheduled for the First Sunday following the “Paschal Full Moon” and can occur between March 22nd and April 25th. In ancient times, before calendars were commonplace, most people did not know the dates for the feasts of the new liturgical year. On Epiphany Sunday, the dates were proclaimed during the celebration of Holy Mass. After the proclamation of the Gospel, a cantor, deacon, or lector, in keeping with the ancient practices of the Church, may announce from the ambo the moveable feasts of the new year.
Dear brothers and sisters,
now that we have rejoiced
at the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
so by leave of God’s mercy,
we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection,
who is our Savior.
On the Second Day of March
will fall Ash Wednesday,
and the beginning of the fast
of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the Seventeenth Day of April,
you will celebrate with joy Easter Day,
the Paschal Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Twenty-Sixth Day of May
will be the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Fifth Day of June, the Feast of Pentecost.
On the Nineteenth Day of June,
the Feast of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ.
On the Twenty-Seventh Day of November,
the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Youth Faith Formation
First Penance & Reconciliation
Request for Prayers
At the dawn of a new year, fifty-three of our youngest fellow parishioners are continuing their journey of faith in preparation for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. On Saturday, January 8th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, they will take the next big step by participating in the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) for the very first time.
First Penance is an important milestone in the life of our young disciples. It teaches them (and reminds all of us) about the importance of conscience, humility, forgiveness, and God’s boundless gifts of love and mercy for each and every person. As preparations for First Penance and First Holy Communion continue, please pray for all of our students and their families, and for our catechists, volunteers, and pastoral team members.
For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. For more information about the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org; or check out our easy-to-use guide (see link below).
Mass Intentions Book
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Mass Intentions Book (February 2022 through June 2022) will be opened on Thursday, January 13th from 9:30am until 11:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Hall (142 Prospect Street in Gloucester). On that day, all parishioners are welcome to book one Sunday Mass and one weekday Mass at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, or Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
Please note that on Thursday, January 13th, all Mass intentions must be booked in per- son. No email, fax, text, or phone requests will be accepted. No exceptions. Any remaining daily and weekend Masses can be booked on or after Monday, January 17th. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and ongoing support for Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Peace and blessings to all for a happy and healthy new year! — Father Jim
Special Message of Thanks
As the Christmas Season continues, let us unite our hearts and voices in a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the parishioners and pastoral team members who dedicated their time, talent, and treasure to help us celebrate these holy days in a true spirit of faith, hope, and love for the Christ Child and each other.
On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we thank Suzanne McLaughlin, Jane Russo, Lucy Sheehan, an anonymous elf, and two little dogs for their good work in decorating our churches so beautifully for the holiday season.
We also thank Patty Colbert, Cathy Kyrouz, Jeanne Smith, Lori Thorstensen, and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society for their hard work with this year’s Christmas Giving Trees. And we thank all fellow parishioners who served as greeters, lectors, ushers, and Eucharistic Ministers at Mass, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
In a special way, we sincerely thank Tom Misuraca, LuAnn Palazolla, Patty Natti, Kathleen Adams, Luz Arboleda, Clara Mazo, Victor Mazo, Jeff Worthley, and all of our music ministers for giving us the gift of beautiful music and song through the Advent and Christmas Seasons. Thank you! Blessings to all for a happy and healthy New Year!
The Synodal Journey
Closeness Is The Program
By Father Jim
On October 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally opened the Synod on Synodality, a two year, three stage process of “mutual listening that involves the entire People of God.” This synod may be the most ambitious effort to renew and revitalize the Roman Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council which began fifty-nine years ago last month.
Pope Francis says: “Celebrating a synod means walking on the same road, walking together.” But the word synod may be new to most of us. It comes from the Greek, synodos, which means simply: “on the road together.”
According to the International Theological Commission, a synod is “an ancient and venerable word in the tradition of the Church…It indicates the path along which the People of God walk together. Equally, it refers to the Lord Jesus, who presents himself as ‘the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)’, and to the fact that Christians, his followers, were originally called ‘followers of the Way (cf. Acts 9:2, 19, 9.23; 22:4; 24, 14:22).”
The preparatory document of the synod also says: “In this sense, synodality enables the entire People of God to walk forward together, listening to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, to participate in the mission of the Church in the communion that Christ establishes between us. Ultimately, this path of walking together is the most effective way of manifesting and putting into practice the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God (PD 1).”
According to the Holy Father, the synod “is not about garnering opinions or taking a survey, but listening to the Holy Spirit.” It is not simply a series of meetings, consultations, or power point presentations. It is not simply completing a survey, meeting with a bishop, local pastor, or pastoral team. It is not simply about speaking your mind on this or that issue related to our work together as a Christian community.
A synod is instead a journey that includes every member of God’s family. It is an opportunity to meet each other and to share our experience of God’s love and mercy in our lives. And it is about building up communion, participation, and perhaps even a stronger sense of mission in our parishes. It is all about our way of being — the way of living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding the Church during challenging times.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, the results of the synodal path may not be realized during our lifetimes. Some things may change. Some things may not change. Whatever happens, let’s make this journey together, always together, as a community united in prayer, fellowship, and spirit. Let’s open our hearts and minds to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let’s work together to grow closer to Jesus, closer to the Church, and closer to each other. As Pope Francis likes to say: “Closeness is the program.”
More news and information related to the synodal way are coming soon! Until then, all are invited to prayerfully complete the Archdiocese of Boston’s preliminary synod survey which can be found on our website: ccgronline.com. If you have any questions about the synod and its work, please see me or contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Peace and blessings to all! Merry Christmas!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
In Giving We Receive!
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! Merry Christmas!
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 Walter Powers