By Cliff Garvey
Seven Sundays ago, I shared with our parishioners a story about my friend, Roman Selivachov, an artist and iconographer who until recently lived in Kyiv, Ukraine. Just a few days after that first message about Roman and his family, they fled their home and took refuge in a safer part of the country. They took only what they could carry in their car. They left behind the family dogs, most of their belongings, many of Roman’s finished and unfinished icons, and all of his books. And they traveled for three days on roads clogged by traffic, military checkpoints, and refugees traveling on foot.
Despite these challenges, Roman remains thankful for what they have and that his children do not have to wake up to the sounds of exploding bombs. At the same time, he is deeply saddened that he and his wife may have to find schools in other countries because unexploded bombs and landmines could make Ukraine “too dangerous for children for some time” to come. Father Jim and I offered to help him financially and to find a safer place for his family to live, but Roman declined with gratitude. He wrote: “For now, I will refrain from asking for help. We still have everything. The children are fed. Our house is still intact…And there are people who need much more help than us.”
Because Roman and Oleksandra have four minor children, he is not subject to mobilization for military service. But Roman is doing his part to win the war for Ukraine. Last week, he traveled alone back to the family home. He check on their large dogs (who are being well cared for by neighbors). He volunteered to evacuate two military wives and their children. And he packed the car with art supplies. He wrote: “It is better to earn money by my work…So I will bring victory to Ukraine closer through my work and my prayers.” Believe it or not, two of our fellow parishioners have already contributed to Roman’s victory plan by buying his icons and his son’s drawings!
During these past few weeks, Roman has been caring for his family and creating new icons. One of these windows into heaven depicts Saint George, a patron of Ukraine, whose feast is celebrated on April 23rd in the Roman Catholic Church and on May 6th in most churches in Ukraine. Saint George is a Christian martyr of the early fourth century. He is revered throughout the world, but especially in Ukraine, where he is credited with unlocking the riches of the earth during spring. Saint George is venerated as a patron of farmers and soldiers; a protector of land and animals; and a victorious warrior against evil spirits. It is not surprising that Roman’s most recent icon of Saint George (which you can see via the link below to our newsletter) depicts him slaying a dragon that looks a lot like the military ribbon “which is so loved by the Russian terrorists.”
In the end, Roman is a father and a friend; a man of peace and a man of prayer. His messages from across the miles are often infused with references to the scriptures. He loves, prays, and paints for the sake of his family and for an end to the war that has ravaged his homeland. He writes: “I hope we all will live to see victory and to be able to celebrate it together in Ukraine.” Until that moment comes, we hope, we pray, and raise up this family and all families torn apart by war into the merciful arms of the Risen Jesus. Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukraine! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Pastor’s Note: On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we give thanks for our good friend, Roman Selivachov, whose amazing icon appears on the cover of our newsletter and online. This week, we feature a detail from Roman’s recent icon from Saint George. For more information about Roman and his work, check out his page on Etsy. Happy Easter! Peace and blessings! — Father Jim
Call to Prayer
Saint George, Martyr for Christ
A Patron of Ukraine
You fought the good fight with faith,
O Martyr for Christ, Saint George,
you exposed the perversion of the persecutors
and offered an acceptable sacrifice to God.
Therefore, you received the crown of victory,
and by your prayers, O Holy One,
you obtained the forgiveness of sins
for all people. Amen.
Saint George, pray for us!
Divine Mercy Sunday
Sunday, April 24th
In 2000, Saint John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy. This devotion reflects a message from Jesus that Saint Faustina shared with the world: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy. This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the Risen Christ and offers to all people.” In this spirit, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 24th from 2:00pm until 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. Here’s our prayer schedule for the afternoon:
- Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:00pm
- Holy Rosary at 2:30pm
- Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm
- Daytime Prayer & Benediction at 3:30pm
For more information about Divine Mercy Sunday in Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Jane Russo at email@example.com. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or part of this special afternoon of prayer! All are welcome! Happy Easter!
Making Young Disciples
First Holy Communion
Beginning Sunday, May 1st
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith community’s joy and the center of our life of prayer, fellowship, and service. This Easter Season, after a year of prayer, preparation, and study, fifty-six children in our youth faith formation program will receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Jesus for the first time. As our annual celebrations of First Holy Communion approach, all are encouraged to be mindful of our upcoming schedule:
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Sunday, May 1st at 11:45am Mass
- Saint Joachim Church
Sunday, May 8th at 10:00am Mass
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Sunday, May 8th at 11:45am Mass
- Saint Ann Church
Saturday, May 7th
- Saint Ann Church
Sunday, May 14th at 4:00pm Mass
If your child, grandchild, or godchild has completed the second grade but has not received the Sacraments of Baptism and-or First Holy Communion, we have a special program just for them! It’s called The Way for Kids! Beginning on Saturday, May 21st from 4:00pm until 5:45pm in Our Lady’s School, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead a four-week series of workshops for young disciples who have not received the first two Sacraments of Initiation. After each workshop, the children and their families are invited to attend our 6:00pm Mass.
For more information about The Way for Kids, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we make our final preparations for First Holy Communion, please pray for all of our young disciples, their parents, families, and catechists. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support! Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all! Happy Easter!
Windows into Heaven
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 Thursday, May 5th, Jody will be here to lead us in a Spring Icon Retreat in Saint Ann Church.
Each evening (Monday through Thursday) at 6:00pm, all friends and fellow parishioners are invited to join us for Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours in Saint Ann Church, 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. For more information about our Spring Icon Retreat, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Special Message of Thanks
As we continue to celebrate the Easter Season, we join together in sincere thanks for those parishioners and pastoral team members who offered their time and talent to help us celebrate Holy Week and the Easter Triduum in a true spirit of faith, hope, and love for the Lord. On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, our thanks go to Cliff Garvey, Nina Groppo, Suzanne McLaughlin, Jane Russo, Lucy Sheehan, Lori Thorstensen, and all of the volunteers who decorated our churches so beautifully for the Easter Season.
We also thank all adult and young disciples who served as acolytes, greeters, lectors, ushers, and Eucharistic ministers during the Easter Triduum. Last but not least, we sincerely thank Tom Misuraca, Lu Ann Palazolla, Patty Natti, Kathleen Adams, Jeff Worthley, and all members of our adult music ministry for sharing the gift of music on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Weekend. May God bless all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad! Happy Easter! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
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 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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In Memory of Manuel S. Nunes