This Week’s Message
The Significance of Old Yarns
By Joanne Bennaro
I never imagined that stitches on a canvas could lead to prayer, but that is exactly what happened when I found a long-forgotten sewing project that I had packed up in 1987 as our family prepared to move. Finding the project tucked away in a drawer evokes many memories of Ed and me and our three little boys. I carefully take out this piece of my past. My arthritic fingers ply the labeled green yarns that had been gathered by younger, more flexible digits. I survey the canvas and find that only four colors of the total twenty-four had been worked: black, white, brown, and the first shade of green. This resonates. My younger self thought in black and white, right and wrong. Unlike today, back then there wasn’t much time given to life’s gray areas.
I study the diagram and stitch directory and separate the huge bulk of unused threads. I slowly guide the material between the two round stretchers. My needle resumes its rhythmic in and out, up and through. This piece is creating an extraordinary bridge between my younger and present selves. Memories cascade through my very being with each stitch. I smile as I recall leaving Kevin’s stuffed panda bear under the blankets in a hotel bed during the move. The hotel staff mailed us the wayward bear and our youngest was full of glee when he opened the soft package. I can still picture the bulky lettering of the thank you note he sent to the thoughtful staff.
I outline three white buds with a dark lime green. The green of today is anchored by the white of yesterday. I wonder what else I did on the day I filled the white buds. I picture the room where I sewed after the boys and their teddy bears had all been tucked into bed. I feel the old comfy couch where I cuddled my babies and played peek-a-boo. I hear the constant commotion of laughter and antics meshed with endless tasks. Back then, I could only imagine the day when the canvas would boast of a completed vase of colorful flowers.
I sew and remember, remember and sew, and God’s grace helps me realize that my project may have been interrupted, but God’s creativity never missed a stitch. The years I spent as a young mother are an integral part of my life canvas. The finished crewel holds the blessings of loosely held French knots as well as tight ones. Each one is necessary and part of the whole picture. Weaved together, the varied threads of my relationships and experiences have created a tapestry of light, shape, density, and form. Throughout it all, God has been present in my ordinary and extraordinary days. He is present in the mundane and in crisis, ever-present in the packing and unpacking, sewing and unraveling of our lives.
The rhythm of my current season includes a daily walk. I savor the smell of autumn leaves and the sound of birdsong. I meet young parents for whom I breathe a slow prayer. Some push strollers. Others tug at muddy tricycles. And one beams as she receives an imaginary vanilla ice cream cone from a small, clenched fist. The past and present entwine, interconnect, and transform. God gave me the ability to see the significance of old yarns. The pastel pink strands mingle with the deep purple in the same way lightheartedness and toil, then and now, caress and expand the contours of life. I pray: Thank you, Creator God. I knocked and you answered.
About the Author: Joanne Bennardo is a wife, mother, grandmother, and writer. She is also a contributor to Bringing Home the Word, an e-newsletter with suggestions for prayer and reflection for the “home church.” A new edition is posted every weekend at the link below.
CCGR Weekly Newsletter (10-23-22)
Bringing Home the Word (10-23-22)
The Kids Bulletin (10-23-22)
Calling Young Disciples
Halloween Faith & Family Mass
Sunday, October 30th
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” In response to the Lord’s call, all parents, grandparents, and children of all ages are invited to join Father Jim for our first-ever Halloween Faith & Family Mass on Sunday, October 30th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
Halloween is often described as a pagan holiday, but this is contrary to its true meaning and authentic origins. The word hallow actually means holy. All Hallows Eve is really a Catholic holiday with roots in both celebrating the lives of the saints and praying for the souls of our departed brothers and sisters.
At sunset on October 31st, the Catholic Church begins its celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints. So from the Vigil of All Saints on October 31st, through the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1st and the Commemoration of All Souls on November 2nd, God’s family prays with the saints and we pray for the souls of our loved ones.
Over the years, French, Irish, and English immigrants brought a variety of local Catholic customs to the United States. Dressing up in costumes for Halloween comes from France. Jack-O-Lanterns are from Ireland, where the faithful originally carved turnips, not pumpkins. And the tradition of going from door to door begging for sweets and treats was born in England, where children were given “soul cakes” in exchange for the promise to pray for the souls of departed loved ones. Eventually, these traditions came together in the American Melting Pot and became part of almost every family’s Halloween tradition.
Now it’s our turn to create a new tradition! On Sunday, October 30th at 11:45am, we will celebrate Holy Mass in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, all are welcome to join us outside on the church lawn where our pastoral team, parish groups, and parish service organizations will offer treats to the kids! Parents and children are invited to wear costumes!
If celebrated with hearts filled with faith, Halloween can be a enjoyable and wholesome experience for your family and our entire community! It offers us an amazing opportunity to teach our children about the realities of good and evil, light and darkness, and the ultimate triumph of God’s love and mercy in our world! For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Mark your calendar! Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Learn More: Christian Roots of Halloween
Solemnity of All Saints
A Holy Day of Obligation
Tuesday, November 1st
Since late antiquity, the People of God have honored the holy men and women who have been canonized as saints in the Roman Catholic Church. The Solemnity of All Saints honors all saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us in faith, hope, and love; and who now pray for us and for the salvation of souls. In commemoration of this Holy Day of Obligation, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate three Masses:
- All Saints Day Mass – Tuesday, November 1st
Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
Saint Ann Church at 12:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 6:30pm
For more information about the Solemnity of All Saints in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Bring a friend! Bring your family! All are invited! All are welcome!
Learn More: Solemnity of All Saints
Month of All Souls
Masses of Remembrance
All are invited to join us for the celebration of Holy Mass on the Commemoration of All Souls, Wednesday, November 2nd, at 5:30pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During November, the Month of All Souls, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will also celebrate three Masses of Remembrance for friends, families, and fellow parishioners whose funerals were celebrated in our parishes during the past year:
- Mass of Remembrance I
Saturday, November 5th at 4:00pm
Saint Ann Church
- Mass of Remembrance II
Sunday, November 13th at 11:45am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Mass of Remembrance III
Sunday, November 20th at 10:00am
Saint Joachim Church
For more information about the Month of All Souls in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! Bring a friend! Bring your family! All are invited! All are welcome!
Learn More: Commemoration of All Souls
The Assisi Project
My God & My All!
A Course on Discipleship
Saturday, November 5th
Saint Francis of Assisi teaches us that discipleship is not just about the gift of faith. It’s not just about coming to church or memorizing a catechism. It’s really all about loving God and loving neighbor. It’s about meeting Christ in prayer and in the people we meet along life’s journey. It’s about joy and suffering, communion and fraternity, prayer and action. It’s ultimately about living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding the Church.
About discipleship, Pope Francis says: “It is about living close to Jesus…It is about embodying the Gospel in everyday life. It is a fire that starts another fire.” It is no accident that the Holy Spirit gave us a pope who chose the name “Francis” and calls us back to the basics of prayer, good works, and a more simple way of life.
In this spirit, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff for My God & My All!: A Course on Discipleship. Over the course of the next several months, you and your family can complete the course online or in-person. First, you can attend upcoming gatherings of the Assisi Project on Saturday, November 5th; Saturday, December 3rd; and Saturday, January 7th. Each session begins with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, followed by a reflection, faith sharing, and the rosary. We will conclude our meetings by 10:00am.
You can also join us on four consecutive evenings next spring: Tuesday, April 25th through Friday, April 28th at Saint Anthony Chapel beginning with Evening Prayer at 6:30pm; followed by a reflection, faith sharing, and the rosary. Each session will conclude by 8:00pm. Please keep in mind that even though this is a four-part course, each session stands alone. So please join us for one or all sessions of the course! In adddition, podcasts of each reflection will be available soon at assisiproject.com!
A donation of $25 is requested from those who can afford it. All participants will be provided with a copy of The Simple Way: Meditations on the Words of Saint Francis by Father Murray Bodo, OFM. For more information, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the dates! Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Learn More: The Assisi Project
Holy Family Parish
Christmas Fair & Marketplace
Saturday, November 19th
All are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for our Annual Christmas Fair & Marketplace on Saturday, November 19th from 9:00am until 2:00pm at Saint Ann Church. It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year! So mark your calendar! Save the date! Please spread the word! Bring your family and friends!
In order to make this year’s fair our best ever, the Guild is calling for volunteers to help set up, work the tables, and clean up that Saturday morning. The Guild is also asking for donations from local artists, crafters, and knitters, along with donations of fresh evergreens like spruce, pine, pine cones, and holly. If you are able to help out, please call Arlene Lesch at 978-491-7543.
Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and the wider community. Throughout the year, the Guild sponsors various fundraising events and social gatherings, including the Christmas Fair — our largest fundraiser of the year! New members and volunteers are always welcome! For more information, please contact Arlene Lesch at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Holy Family Parish
Christmas Fair & Marketplace
Cemetery Baskets & Kissing Balls
Mark your calendar! Save the date! The Holy Family Women’s Guild is hard at work with preparations for our Annual Christmas Fair & Marketplace on Saturday, November 19th from 9:00am until 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church! In this spirit, the Guild is working with Cressey & Sons in Rowley to Holiday Cemetery Baskets and Christmas Kissing Balls! The log-shaped baskets are $30 each and decorated fifteen-inch kissing balls are $35 each. Orders will be accepted until Monday, November 14th by calling Cecelia Gray at 978-281-2072.
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
No one becomes poor by giving. — Anne Frank
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!
Support Holy Family Parish
Support Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
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 Maggie Scola