By Pope Francis
Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows
of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms
in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, a twenty-year old
sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still beheld armed hands
in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!
Forgive us, O Lord.
Forgive us, if we are not satisfied
with the nails with which we crucified your hands,
as we continue to slake our thirst
with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
Forgive us, if these hands that you created to tend
have been transformed into instruments of death.
Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother.
Forgive us, if we continue like Cain
to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labors,
if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore you!
Hold fast the hand of Cain!
Illumine our consciences.
May our will not be done.
Abandon us not to our own actions!
Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
And when you have held back the hand of Cain,
care also for him. He is our brother.
O Lord, put a halt to the violence! Stop us, O Lord!
Note: At the conclusion of the General Audience on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, Pope Francis offered this prayer for peace and mercy, which he composed with assistance from Archbishop Domenico Battaglia of Naples, Italy. Learn More: Vatican News Service.
Pastor’s Note: On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we give thanks for our dear friend, Jody Cole of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who allows us to use her beautiful icons in our weekly newsletter and online. This week, we feature a detail from Jody’s icon of the Holy Face of Jesus. For more information about Jody and her work, visit jcoleicons.com. Peace and blessings! — Father Jim
Season of Lent
Special Day of Prayer & Reflection
Friday, March 25th
The Holy Season of Lent is a time for prayer, penance, and almsgiving during which all Christians are called to renew their faith in preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter. In this spirit, all are invited to join us for a Lent Day of Prayer & Reflection on Friday, March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Here’s our schedule for the day:
- Mass at 8:00am
- Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 8:30am
- Litany of the Sacred Wounds (with Reflection) at 10:00am
- Franciscan Rosary at 12:00pm
- Way of the Cross at 3:00pm
- Evening Prayer (with Repeat Reflection) at 6:00pm
- Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:45pm
For more information about the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Lent Day of Prayer & Reflection, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or at least some small part of this special day of prayer. Mark your calendars! Spread the word! Bring a friend! Let’s pray together! All are invited! All are welcome!
Season of Lent
The Light Is On For You!
Wednesdays at 5:30pm
During the Holy Season of Lent, all Catholics are invited to experience God’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession). On five consecutive Wednesdays during Lent, March 9th through April 13th, all are invited to join us for The Light Is On For You! from 5:30pm until 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. These special evenings of prayer will begin with the celebration of Holy Mass at 5:30pm; followed by Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:00pm; and an hour of confessions for those who feel called to participate. For some, this may be a time for confession and sacramental reconciliation. For some, it may be a time for silent prayer and adoration. And for others, it may be a time to begin or renew the spiritual journey. Please note that there will be no confessions or adoration on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Season of Lent
Way of the Cross
Fridays at 3:00pm
For more than five hundred years, the Stations of the Cross are one of the most enduring and moving traditional devotions of the Roman Catholic Church. By uniting our prayers with those of the suffering Christ through both word and imagery, we make a spiritual pilgrimage with our Lord as he experiences the Passion of the Cross. During Lent, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in praying the Way of the Cross on six consecutive Friday afternoons, March 4th through April 8th, at 3:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Synodal Way
How Does God Speak?
Synod Spiritual Exercise 1
When Pope Francis opened the Synod on Synodality last fall, he made clear that becoming a “Listening Church” is not about hearing each other complain about this or that challenge facing the local or universal Church. It is more about opening our hearts and minds to the faith experiences of our fellow parishioners, learning from those experiences, living out the lessons of our experiences, and sharing the wisdom of our experiences with others.
During the past nine years, the Holy Father has encouraged us over and over again to pray daily with the Holy Gospel. He says: “Try reading the Gospel for at least five minutes every day. You will see how it changes your life.” Those who attend Mass on a daily basis can attest to the power of the scriptures in their lives. Priests, deacons, and lay people who pray with the Liturgy of the Hours can also give witness to how praying with the psalms and scriptures can influence how they think, speak, and act throughout the day. Indeed, anyone who attends Sunday Mass, prays the Rosary, or participates in bible study programs has been touched by the beauty and challenge of God’s Word.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we take the Synodal Way very seriously. In order to better live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church, we need to listen to each other and learn from each other so that we can work together to reach out to those who do not know God or have turned away from the Church. In this spirit, we are asking our friends and fellow parishioners to engage in a series of spiritual exercises designed to give voice to how our shared faith has changed our lives.
Our first spiritual exercise is simple! How does God speak to you through the sacred scriptures? Which line, verse, or passage from scripture fills your heart and inspires your life? Pray about it. Think about it. Discern how God’s Word lives in you. Then write down your answer (including book, chapter, and verse) and drop it into the collection basket; email it to us at email@example.com; or mail to us at the following address:
74 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
Please share your name, contact information, and favorite scriptures with us before the Solemnity of Saint Joseph on Saturday, March 19th. If you would like your contribution to remain anonymous, please let us know. For more information about the Synodal Way, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org; or click on the link below. Thank you in advance for your prayers, discernment, and faith sharing. Let’s get to know each other! Let’s learn from each other! Let’s rebuild the Church together — always together!
Sharing God’s Love
Spring Icon Retreat with Jody Cole
Begins Monday, May 2nd
An icon is a religious work of art that according to faith and tradition serves as a window into the spiritual world. In the Roman Catholic tradition, icons are sometimes referred to as the “Bible of the Poor” because throughout history, along with statuary and stained glass windows, they enabled those who could not read an opportunity to learn about the holy scriptures and the lives of the saints through sacred imagery.
In The Meaning of Icons, Thomas Merton writes: “It is the task of the iconographer to open our eyes to the actual presence of the Kingdom of God in the world, and to remind us that although we see nothing of its splendid liturgy, we are, if we believe in Christ the Redeemer, in fact living and worshipping as fellow citizens of the angels and saints, built upon the chief cornerstone with Christ.” In this way, icons are not objects of worship, but instruments of God’s grace in our world.
Jody Cole’s icons have appeared often on our website and on the cover of our weekly newsletter. Jody is a good friend, a person of deep faith, and a very talented iconographer. She has been “writing” icons for more than twenty years and she loves to share her craft with others. For five consecutive days, from Monday, May 2nd through Friday, May 6th, Jody will be here to lead us in a Spring Icon Retreat in Saint Ann Church Hall.
Each morning from 9:00am until 1:00pm, Jody will share the basic techniques of icon writing through hands-on experience. Guided by the Holy Spirit and Jody’s gifted instruction, participants will write (paint) their own icon of either Christ Jesus or the Blessed Mother in just twenty hours over five days. No prior art experience is necessary. Beginners are welcome. A donation of $150 per person is requested. Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford it. If you would like to participate in this exciting icon workshop, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Space is limited to just ten participants!
Each evening (Monday through Thursday) at 6:00pm, all friends and fellow parishioners are invited to join Father Jim for Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours in Saint Ann Church Hall, followed by a brief reflection by Jody and a period of discussion and faith sharing. In addition, a gallery show of Jody’s icons will be on display for all to appreciate and enjoy. The evening session is free and open to all! For more information about our Spring Icon Retreat, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Jody’s website (see link below). Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Blessed are the Givers
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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