By Pope Francis
The Beatitudes are the way of life that the Lord teaches us, so that we can follow in his footsteps. In today’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus proclaims the Beatitudes before a large crowd on a hill beside the Sea of Galilee.
The Beatitudes are the image of Christ and consequently of every Christian. I would like to mention only one: “Blessed are the meek (Matthew 5:5).” Jesus says of himself: “Learn from me for I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).” This is his spiritual portrait and it reveals the abundance of his love. Meekness is a way of living and acting that draws us close to Jesus and to one another. It enables us to set aside everything that divides and estranges us, and to find ever new ways to advance along the path of unity…
The saints bring about change through meekness of heart. With that meekness, we come to understand the grandeur of God and we worship him with sincere hearts. For meekness is the attitude of those who have nothing to lose, because their only wealth is God.
The Beatitudes are in some sense the Christian’s identity card. They identify us as followers of Jesus. We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, and to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus. Thus, we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy:
Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and then forgive them from the heart.
Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness.
Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him.
Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
These people are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness; and they will surely receive their merited reward. Brothers and sisters, the call to holiness is directed to everyone and must be received from the Lord in a spirit of faith. The saints spur us on by their lives and by their intercession before God. We ourselves need each other if we are to become saints. Let us help one another to become saints! Let us together implore the grace to accept this call with joy and join in bringing it to fulfillment!
Art Credit: Photo 36573351 © Neneo – Dreamstime.com
Message excerpted from the Holy Father’s Homily on November 1, 2016
Feast of Saint Blaise
The Blessing of Throats
Friday, February 3rd
On Friday, February 3rd, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim in celebrating the Feast of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr. Little is known about Saint Blaise, except that he lived during the fourth century and served as Bishop of Silvas (Turkey). During the Roman persecution of Christians, he was martyred for refusing to deny his faith in the Risen Christ.
Tradition holds that as Blaise was being arrested, a mother approached him with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At the bishop’s holy command, the child coughed up the bone and was healed. For more than one thousand years, Saint Blaise has been venerated as patron of those suffering from diseases of the throat.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate the Feast of Saint Blaise and the Blessing of Throats on Friday, February 3rd during Mass at 8:00am 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!
Prayer for the Intercession of Saint Blaise
Glorious Saint Blaise,
by your martyrdom you left to the Church
a precious witness to the faith.
Obtain for us the grace
to persevere within ourselves this gift of faith,
and to defend it by word and example
when it is so wickedly attacked
and slandered during these times.
You miraculously healed
a child who was near death
because of an affliction of the throat.
Grant us your protection in a similar way,
and above all else, obtain for us
the grace of a good conscience,
together with a faithful observance
of the Gospel of Christ.
Through the intercession of Saint Blaise,
may God deliver us from every disease of the throat
and from all other illnesses!
Saint Blaise, Bishop & Martyr, pray for us!
The Assisi Project
My God & My All!
A Course on Discipleship
Communion & Fraternity
Saturday, February 4th at 8:00am
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 every day 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 on Saturday, February 4th beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, we will reflect on the themes of communion and fraternity as understood by both Saint Francis and Pope Francis. In particular, we will discuss key portions of the Holy Father’s Fratelli Tutti, a papal encyclical on social friendship in a troubled world.
For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Even if you have missed previous sessions of our course on discipleship, please join us for this stand alone reflection and discussion! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Come, Holy Spirit!
Sunday, February 5th
As with Baptism and Holy Eucharist, Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism through the outpouring of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Right Judgment, Understanding, Wisdom, and Wonder & Awe. These gifts seal or confirm the mystical union between the candidates and Christ, and they prepare them to actively participate in the prayer, fellowship, and service of the Roman Catholic Church.
This year, forty high school students from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish have successfully completed the requirements of our Confirmation Preparation Program. During the past two years, they prayed together, attended Mass together and completed a rigorous program of formation as a community of young disciples. These students are now well-prepared to publicly renew their baptismal vows, profess their faith, and live as faithful and faith-filled Catholic Christians.
The Very Reverend Brian McHugh, Episcopal Vicar for the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston, will join us as special guest celebrant and homilist for our annual celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday, February 5th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Welcome back, Father Brian!
As we make ready for these celebrations, we pray for all of our candidates, sponsors, parents, catechists, and pas- toral team members. In a special way, we thank Betsy Works, Associate Minister for Youth Faith Formation, for her dedication, hard work, and creative spirit. For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come, Holy Spirit! Enkindle in us the fire of your love! Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all!
Come, Holy Spirit!
Preparing for Confirmation
Begins Sunday, February 12th
For too many teenagers, the Sacrament of Confirmation has become a kind of graduation from the Catholic Church, rather than the joyful beginning of life as an adult disciple with the Church. We hope to stem this sad situation by transforming our youth faith formation program into an engaging process for the whole family.
First, we place primary importance on attending Mass. For more than a century, the Church asked every parish to offer sacramental preparation programs for children and teenagers. During recent decades, however, we neglected to remind parents of their baptismal promise to be the first teachers of their children in all matters related to faith and morals; and that the most important part of that responsibility is attending Mass as a family.
In an increasingly busy world, it became commonplace for parents to entrust their children to us for an hour of instruction, but then not join us for Mass on the weekend. We will continue to ask parents to dedicate one hour each week to their children’s religious education — by joining us for one of our six weekend Masses!
In addition, all high school students (beginning in ninth grade) are asked to actively participate in our two year preparation program for the Sacrament of Confirmation. During the first year, students will attend eight interactive workshops about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. These sessions will begin on Sunday, February 12th (weather permitting). During the second year, students will attend more workshops that are creatively designed to help them grown in prayer, fellowship, and service; prepare them to receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit; and jumpstart their spiritual lives as faithful and faith-filled young disciples.
If your child is now in high school and sincerely wants to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, then please attend our Welcome & Registration Workshop on Sunday, February 12th at 11:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Registration forms are available on our website at ccgronline.com/formation. For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Come, Holy Spirit!
Cost of Basic Necessities
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is alive and well! Babies are being baptized. Confessions are being heard. Funerals and weddings are being celebrated. Our online ministries attract more than 2,000 visitors every week. Our young disciples are preparing in-person for Confirmation and First Holy Communion. Our service organizations and adult faith formation programs are brining people of all ages together in prayer, fellowship, and service. And more and more fellow parishion- ers are coming home to church after a long absence.
Nevertheless, winter is here! Our churches and parish buildings must be cleaned, heated, insured, and maintained. Parking lots must be plowed. Steps and sidewalks must be shoveled and kept clear of ice. Our pastoral team (which includes me) is working harder than ever and must be paid a fair wage. Here’s just a small sampling of some recent monthly expenses:
Holy Family Parish
- Saint Joachim Church Heating Oil: $1,436
- Saint Joachim Church Heating Repairs: $7,219
- Holy Family Parish Electricity: $2,227
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
- Our Lady’s Church Heating Oil: $1,659
- Our Lady’s Campus Gas: $1,689
- Our Lady’s Campus Electricity: $456
Anyone who knows me knows that economy and thrift were taught to me at a young age. Believe me, we are doing everything we can to control costs and reduce expenses. But the financial stability and pastoral viability of both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish depends entirely on us. We are solely responsible for paying our own bills! We’re in this together!
How can you help? Give what you can. Encourage fellow parishioners to chip in, too. Use our electronic giving program. Gather together a group of friends, family members, and fellow parishioners to pay one of these expenses. Every dollar makes a difference! Peace, blessings, and many thanks to all! — Father Jim
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Do good and share with others (Hebrews 13:16).
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 Kathryn Radcliffe