By Cliff Garvey
In a recent address, Pope Francis said: “Holiness arises from the concrete life of Christian communities. Saints do not come from a ‘parallel universe’ but are believers who belong to God’s faithful people and are firmly grounded in a daily existence made up of family ties, study and work, and social, economic, and political life. In these settings, the saints strive constantly, without fear or hesitation, to carry out God’s will (10-6-22).” The Holy Father wants us to remember that whether a saint is someone canonized by the Church or someone among us here and now who belongs to the so-called “middle class of holiness”, they are concrete examples of the Holy Gospels alive, effective, and relevant in our time and for all time.
One such person was Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584). He was born into an aristocratic family; excelled in the study of both canon and civil law; and because his uncle was elected pope, he was named a cardinal at the age of twenty-two (three years before he was ordained to the priesthood). Cardinal Borromeo was also appointed Archbishop of Milan; charged with overseeing the Carmelites, the Franciscans, and the Knights of Malta; and given responsibility for organizing the Council of Trent. Despite his wealth and privilege, however, the young cardinal devoted himself to teaching the young, reforming the clergy, and serving the poor.
Although born and raised in nobility, Saint Charles Borromeo shunned much of the pomp and circumstance of church life. He chose humility as his episcopal and personal motto. He also took the vows of the Third Order of Saint Francis — which include poverty. When a plague struck the City of Milan, he personally financed and managed a program that fed tens of thousands of people every day. And when much of the clergy and city officials fled during the pandemic, Cardinal Borromeo stayed behind to pray with and minister to the sick and suffering. A close reading of history will find a more complicated legacy, but it seems safe to say that Saint Charles, who died at the age of just forty-six, simply worked himself to death.
It may seem difficult for us to connect with a cardinal-saint (or any saint) who lived and died almost five centuries ago. But like Saint Charles Borromeo, we live during a time of social change, deep division, and stark inequality between rich and poor. Like Saint Charles, we live during a time when a pandemic can cause unimaginable suffering and death. Like Saint Charles, we live during a time when the Church itself seems on the verge of major reform. And like Saint Charles, each one of us has the chance to make a difference in the life of someone in need. Although our backgrounds and life experiences are often very different, the saints show us how to open our hearts to God and how to faithfully live the Gospel of Christ.
Pope Francis says: “The saints are precious pearls; they are always alive and timely. They never lose their importance because they provide a fascinating commentary on the Gospel. Their lives are like a catechism in pictures, an illustration of the Good News that Jesus brought to humanity: the message that God is our Father who loves everyone with immense love and infinite tenderness…May their example enlighten the minds of the women and men of our own time, revive faith, enliven hope, and kindle charity, so that everyone may feel drawn to the beauty of the Gospel, and no one may wander into the gloom of meaninglessness and des- pair (10-6-22).” With this in mind, we pray with Saint Charles Borromeo (and all of the saints) for the courage to embrace the Gospel and truly live it in thought, word, and deed.
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Pastor’s Note: The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport wishes to thank our good friend, Jody Cole, for allowing us to use her beautiful icon of Saint Charles Borromeo on our website and on the cover of our weekly newsletter. You can learn more about Jody and her iconography at jcoleicons.com. Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Celebrating the Saints
Saint Charles Borromeo
Feast Day – November 4th
Words of Wisdom by Saint Charles Borromeo
Would you like me to teach you
how to grow from virtue to virtue and how,
if you are already recollected at prayer,
you can be even more attentive next time,
and so give God more pleasing worship?
Listen and I will tell you.
If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you,
do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out.
Keep the stove tightly shut
so that it will not lose its heat and grow cold.
In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can.
Stay quiet with God.
Do not spend your time in useless chatter.
Be sure that you preach by the way you live.
If you do not, people will notice
that you say one thing, but live otherwise,
and your words will bring only cynical laughter
and a dismissive shake of the head.
A Prayer by Saint Charles Borromeo
you have made known to us the mysteries of your life
through Jesus Christ, your Son in the Holy Spirit.
Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries
that your Church teaches and treasures.
Move my heart to love them
and my will to live by them.
Help me to teach the faith to others
without pride, ostentation, or personal gain.
Help me to realize that I am your instrument
for bringing others to the knowledge
of the wonderful things you have done for all creatures.
Help me to be faithful to the task
that you have entrusted to me. Amen.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark your calendar! Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
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 email@example.com. Please join us! Bring a friend! Bring your family! All are invited! All are welcome!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Bring a friend! Bring your family! All are invited! All are welcome!
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 email@example.com. Save the dates! Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
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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In Memory of Sarah Rose