This Week’s Message
Learning from the Persecuted

By Kathy Coffey

Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10).

If a vote was taken for the least favorite Beatitude, this one might win. Our culture worships movie stars, sports heroes, corporate moguls, but not saints. So why does Jesus proclaim that the persecuted are indeed blessed? Jesus’ style is not to make rigid rules but to hold up inspiring models. He asks us to look with new eyes upon the celebrities we may have admired, and to find hidden virtues in people who are quiet, principled, and unpublicized. If we shift our sights, we may find them more courageous, creative, and uplifting than those who once received our adulation.

Relatively few North Americans have suffered the oppression that is known by those in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. In countries like Bosnia, Rwanda, and El Salvador, genocide is common; being a catechist is dangerous; and the parents of the so-called “disappeared” mourn their missing children. You have had a glimmer of their experience if you have been a spokesperson for an unpopular cause; the only ethical person in your workplace; or the woman who calls the old boys club to equality. While being outside of the norm pales beside the pain endured elsewhere, it teaches us a lesson about being ostracized for the Gospel.

Those who have experienced persecution are sustained by solidarity, inner freedom, and the knowledge that it does not last forever — although it might feel that way. Standing with others who believe in the same cause, we know at least that we are not alone. The persecuted find intimacy with others that can surpass the idle conversations or superficial ties of secure relationships. Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), author of An Interrupted Life, died at Auschwitz at the age of twenty-nine. Her journal’s last words resonate with compassion: “We should act as a balm for all wounds.” The persecuted are united. Their relationships are based on bone-deep beliefs. Members of the armed services cherish wartime buddies. They put their lives on the line together. So our deepest loyalties may be to those with whom we share unpopular beliefs.

From the writings of people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), or Saint Oscar Romero (1917-1980) emerges a sense of inner freedom. As the Gospel says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).” Like the early Christians, Archbishop Romero predicted that he would outlive his own martyrdom. He said: “If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people.” The persecuted teach us how much in our lives is superficial, how little is essential. Those deprived of material things still find joy and fulfillment.

Finally, Jesus directs us to place our sufferings in an eternal context. A problem that looms large does not last forever. The persecuted teach us to carry burdens lightly and wear our chains loosely. They take God’s mission on earth seriously but can laugh at themselves. We can approach per- secutions as Jesus did. When we feel diminished by criticism, rejected by the so-called in crowd, or demonized by those who disagree with us, we can rest in Jesus’ assurance that we are not alone. The pain does not last forever. And the kingdom of God is ours.

About the Author: Kathy Coffey is an award-winning author; and an educator, mother, and grandmother. She is also a regular contributor to Bringing Home the Word (see link below).

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (7-31-22)
Bringing Home the Word (7-31-22)
The Kids Bulletin (7-31-22)

Art Credit: Vatican News Service


Call to Prayer
Praying with the Persecuted

By Pope Francis

Jesus does not offer us nice words
and good intentions,
but the cross: the scandalous love
that allows his hands and feet to be pierced by nails,
and his head to be crowned with thorns.
This is the way forward:
to look together to Christ,
to love the betrayed and crucified for our sake…

If we truly want to be reconciled
with one another and with ourselves,
to be reconciled with the past,
with wrongs endured and memories wounded,
with traumatic experiences
that no human consolation can ever heal,
then our eyes must be lifted to the Crucified Jesus.

Peace must be attained at the altar of his cross.
For it is precisely on the tree of the cross
that sorrow is transformed into love,
death into life, disappointment into hope,
abandonment into fellowship, distance into unity.
Reconciliation is not merely the result of our own efforts.
It is a gift that flows from the Crucified Christ,
a peace that radiates from the heart of Jesus,
a grace that must be sought.

Lord Jesus, Crucified and Risen,
You dwell here, in the midst of your people,
and you want your glory to shine forth
through our communities and cultures.
Jesus, take us by the hand,
and through the deserts of history,
continue to guide our steps
on the way to reconciliation. Amen.

Pastor’s Note: This passage was adapted from the Holy Father’s Address to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and Sacred Heart Parish on Monday, July 22, 2022 during his Apostolic Journey to Canada. During this profoundly moving pilgrimage of penance and reconciliation among indigenous peoples, Pope Francis offered the world a living witness to the power and promise of God’s boundless love, mercy, and friendship. May we be reminded of our shared vocation to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church; and to be instruments of peace in our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces. For complete coverage of the pope’s journey, click the link below! Peace and blessings! — Father Jim

Learn More: Vatican News Service


Saints of Summer
Mini-Retreat Series
Continues Saturday, August 6th

Our Lady of the Angels

Summer is a good time of year to step back from the business and busyness of daily life and focus on our relationships with Jesus, our church, and those we are called to love. Unfortunately, few among us are able to leave behind home, work, and family for a real retreat from the responsibilities of the world. For this reason, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, in collaboration with the Assisi Project, is pleased to announce a special series of mini-retreats called The Saints of Summer.

Throughout his priestly ministry, Pope Francis has called people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about and pray with the saints. The Holy Father believes in his heart that the saints bring us closer to Christ and to each other. He says: “The saints are still here, not far from us; and their images in our churches evoke the ‘cloud of witnesses’ that always surrounds us (cf. Hebrews 12:1)…The saints remind us that even in our lives, however weak and marked by sin, holiness can unfold (4-7-21).”

In this spirit of unfolding holiness, all are invited to join us twice each month in July, August, and September for a series of two-hour mini-retreats. These moments of prayer, reflection, and adoration will focus on the lives of six amazing saints: Saint Ann, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint Clare of Assisi, Saint Rose of Viterbo, Our Lady of the Angels, and Our Lady of Sorrows.

Each mini-retreat will begin with the celebration of Holy Mass and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 8:00am. After our shared prayer, Father Jim and-or Cliff Garvey will offer a reflection on the life, inspiration, and veneration of a saint whose life of holiness has inspired men and women all around the world. There will be time for questions and faith sharing, too. After our reflection and discussion, all are invited to pray in silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in veneration of holy relics of each saint of the day. We will conclude each day of prayer beginning at 9:30am with the Holy Rosary followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Here’s the rest of our summer schedule of mini-retreats:

Saints of Summer 1
Saint Ann – Grandmother to the World
Assisi Project Podcast
Listen Now!

Saints of Summer 2
Saint Mary Magdalen – Apostle for the Rest of Us

Assisi Project Podcast
Listen Now!

Saints of Summer 3 – Our Lady of the Angels
Saturday, August 6th
Begins with Mass at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Saints of Summer 4 – Saint Clare of Assisi
Feast Day – Thursday, August 11th
Begins with Mass at 8:00am
Saint Anthony Chapel
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Saints of Summer 5 – Saint Rose of Viterbo
Saturday, September 3rd
Begins with Mass at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Saints of Summer 6 – Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast Day – Thursday, September 15th
Begins with Mass at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Gloucester, Massachusetts

We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or even just part of this unique series of mini-retreats in celebration of The Saints of Summer! For more information about this series or about the good work of the Assisi Project in our home parishes, please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@assisiproject.com. Mark your calendar! Spread the word! Bring a friend! Let’s pray together! All are invited! All are welcome!

Learn More: Franciscan Media’s Saint of the Day


Our Lady of Good Voyage
Summer Carillon Concerts
Begins Friday, August 12th

Mark your calendars! Save the dates! A much-loved summer tradition returns next month to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! Our Summer Carillon Concerts will begin on Friday, August 12th at 6:30pm (rain or shine)!

This year, Luann Pallazola, Cynthia Cafasso, and Thomas Dort have prepared programs that include familiar classi- cal and international pieces, popular hymns and songs, patriotic melodies, and even selections especially for children! We are especially excited that Thomas Dort, a young disciple who just turned thirteen years old and learned to play the carillon bells during the pandemic, will perform along with our talented adult musicians!

Installed in 1922, the carillon bells in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church were the first toned set in the United States. Although the bells can be heard from blocks away, the sound is always best near the church. This year, Our Lady’s Guild will be selling cold drinks, snacks, and even Super Raffle tickets to support our planned repair and restoration of the church’s historic bell towers.

Our Summer Carillon Concerts are a great opportunity for the whole family to gather with friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners to enjoy the gift of music. Additional concerts are scheduled for Friday, August 19th at 6:30pm; Friday, August 26th at 6:30pm; and Friday, September 2nd at 6:30pm. For more information, please contact Luann Pallazola at lpallazola@gmail.com. Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome! Please join us!

Read: Our Lady’s Carillon: Ringing for a Century


Holy Family Women’s Guild
Summer Pie Sale
Saturday, August 13th

The Holy Family Women’s Guild is hosting a Summer Pie Sale on Saturday, August 13th before and after the 4:00pm Vigil Mass in Saint Ann Church. And we need your help! Donations of your favorite summer pies are most welcome! All proceeds go directly to Holy Family Parish. If your or your family is able to bake or donate any type of pie, please contact Jane Marshall at 978-283- 5111 or Cecilia Gray at 978-281-2072.

Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and the wider community. New members and volunteers are always welcome! For more information about the Women’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Arlene Lesch at arlene.lesch@outlook.com or leave a message at 978-271-4820. Thank you in advance for your generous and ongoing support for Holy Family Parish! May God bless you and your family!


Safe & Easy Electronic Giving

The righteous give generously (Psalm 37:21).

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 frjim@ccgronline.com. Thank you for your generous support for our parishes! May God bless you and your family, now and always!

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About Us

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!

Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline

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In Memory of Father Eugene Alves