By Pope Francis
The Gospel tells us that after being baptized in the River Jordan, Jesus “was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (See Matthew 4:1-11).” Jesus prepares himself for his mission as the proclaimer of the Kingdom of Heaven just as Moses and Elijah did in the Old Testament by fasting for forty days.
At the end of this period of fasting, the devil breaks in and tries to put Jesus to the test three times. The first temptation arises when Jesus is hungry. The devil challenges him by saying: “If you are the Son of God, then command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus’ response is clear: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” He refers here to Moses, who reminded the people of their long journey in the desert through which they learned that their lives depended on the Word of God.
The devil then makes a second attempt. He becomes more clever as he, too, quotes the sacred scriptures. The strategy is clear. If you are so confident in God’s power, then experience it. The scriptures affirm that you will be aided by angels. Here again, Jesus does not allow himself to be confounded, because those who believe do not put God to the test. Rather, they entrust themselves to God’s goodness. So when the devil interprets the words of the Bible for his own purposes, Jesus responds with another quotation. He says: “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
Lastly, the devil’s third attempt reveals his true intentions. Since the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven marks the beginning of his own defeat, the evil one wants to distract Jesus from accomplishing his mission by offering a perspective of political messianism. Jesus, however, rejects the idolatry of power and human glory. In the end, he drives the tempter away. He says: “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and he alone you will serve.’” At this moment, angels draw near to Jesus who faithfully hands himself over to the Father.
These scenes teach us one thing. Jesus does not dialogue with the devil. Jesus responds to the devil with the Word of God, not with his own words. All too often, we begin to dialogue with temptation, to dialogue with the devil. We say: “Yes, I may do this or that, but then I will go to confession.” But we must never dialogue with the devil. Jesus responds to the devil in two ways. He either sends him away; or he responds with God’s Word. Be attentive! Never dialogue with temptation! Never dialogue with the devil!
Nowadays, Satan breaks into people’s lives to tempt them with enticing proposals. He mixes his voice with the many other voices that seek to tame our consciences. Messages come to us from many sources. They invite us to allow ourselves to be tempted or to experience the intoxication of some transgression. The experience of Jesus, however, teaches us that temptation is an attempt to walk dark paths that are not God’s paths. The voices say: “Do this. Don’t worry. God forgives. Experience joy for yourself.” But it is really sin. These alternative paths may give us the impression of self-sufficiency or enjoyment of life as an end in itself. But all of this is an illusion. The more we distance ourselves from God, the more helpless and defenseless we become when facing life’s real challenges.
Call to Prayer
The Devil Has No Chance!
A Prayer for the Intercession of Saint Michael
Earlier this month, Pope Francis spoke with Fabio Marchese Ragona, an Italian journalist, about how the devil seeks to sow discord and corrupt souls by pitting us against each other. The Holy Father even admitted that the devil attacks all people of goodwill, including priests, bishops, religious men and women — and even the pope. He said: “The devil seeks our failure, but he has no chance if there is prayer.”
In this spirit, we join this weekend with Cardinal Sean, Bishop Mark, and our brothers and sisters throughout the Archdiocese of Boston in praying for the conversion of souls, for the grace to persevere in prayer, and for the protection of the angels and saints. In a special way, we turn in prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, who is venerated as the Guardian and Protector of the Catholic Church.
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him,
we humbly pray; and do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the Power of God,
cast into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Saint Michael the Archangel, protect us!
This weekend, prayer cards that were touched to the Stone of Saint Michael in Gargano, Italy are being distributed to our fellow parishioners at all weekend Masses as long as supplies last. All are invited and encouraged to pray this week for the protection of Saint Michael. If you did not receive a prayer card this weekend, please see a member of our pastoral team or contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Peace and blessings to all!
Call to Prayer
April 28th-April 30th
In a recent interview, Pope Francis said: “The devil tries to attack everyone without distinction, and he tries above all to strike those who have responsibilities in the Church or in society. Even Jesus suffered temptations from the devil…Even the pope is attacked by the evil one.” The Holy Father then explained that the most effective way to combat this darkness is prayer. He said: “We are human beings and [the devil] always tries to attack us. It is painful, but in the face of prayer, he has no chance!”
During the coming weeks, we may hear about a large gathering of satanists in Boston on the last weekend of this month. In response, Bishop Mark O’Connell, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston, has called all Catholics to confront this serious spiritual danger with prayer and vigilance (not with protests and demonstrations). Bishop Mark has also called us to be watchful for attempts to vandalize, gain access to our church buildings, steal or otherwise compromise the integrity of the Holy Eucharist.
In response to this spiritual challenge, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport invites our friends, fellow parishioners, and all people of goodwill to join us in prayer and devotion beginning on Friday Morning, April 28th and concluding on Sunday Evening, April 30th. Here’s our schedule for this special weekend of prayer:
Saturday, April 29th
- Morning Prayer & Rosary at 9:00am
- Daytime Prayer & Rosary at 12:00pm
- Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 3:00pm in Saint Ann Church
- Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 5:00pm in Our Lady’s Church
- Regular Vigil Mass Schedule
Sunday, April 30th
- Regular Sunday Mass Schedule
- Evening Prayer & Rosary with Adoration at 6:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
For more information about this important weekend of prayer, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or part of this important weekend of prayer and devotion! Let’s storm heaven with our prayers! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Kentucky Derby Celebration
Monday, May 1st
All friends and fellow parishioners are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a Kentucky Derby Celebration on Monday, May 1st beginning at 6:30pm in Our Lady’s Hall! We will be serving a light supper of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, and dessert! A donation of $10 per person is requested! Please also wear your fancy hats and bring some cash to bet on the races! Please RSVP no later than April 28th by contacting Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com.
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. Throughout the year, the Women’s Guild sponsors social gatherings and fundraising events including our seasonal bake sales and the Christmas Fair. For more information about the Holy Family Women’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Arlene Lesch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! New friends, members, and volunteers are always welcome!
The Assisi Project
Pray for Me!
Saturday, May 6th
A Workshop on Intercessory Prayer
Daniel was just 14 years old when he died last month after a brave battle with a rare form of bone cancer. For much of the past year, Daniel was one of the many people on the Assisi Project’s weekly prayer list. He was also one of several sick children for whom we have prayed; and he was just one of the countless cancer patients for whom we pray week after week after week. No words can express the grief that comes from learning of a life lost so young, so loved, and so full of promise. We can only pray. We can only pray for the soul that has passed from this life and for those left behind to mourn.
To pray in this way is to intercede: to ask for a blessing or benefit on behalf of another person. About intercessory prayer, Bishop Louis Kihneman says: “Part of the gift of intercessory prayer is that it moves us from focus on ourselves to focus on God and on others. It draws us into selflessness and out of selfishness. I know for myself, I am very grateful when people tell me that they are praying for me, and I am often stirred to pray for others.”
Over long years, members of the Assisi Project have learned that praying for others is the most important thing we can ever do. It is the one ministry in which anyone and everyone can participate. For this reason, we often say: Our prayer together is our work together!
On Saturday, May 6th, all are invited to join us for a special workshop on intercessory prayer beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, Father Jim and Cliff will lead a reflection and discussion on the nature and power of intercessory prayer. Our morning of prayer and reflection will conclude with the Healing Rosary beginning at 9:30am. For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff at email@example.com. Please join us! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Sharing God’s Love
First Holy Communion
Begins Saturday, May 6th
As Roman Catholics, we believe that the Holy Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324).” We believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. And like Pope Francis, we believe in our hearts: “The Eucharist is essential for us. It is Christ who wishes to enter into our lives and fill us with his grace. The Eucharist, although it is the fulness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak (EG 47).” In this spirit, sixty-three children in youth faith formation program are now ready to 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:
- Sain Ann Church
Saturday, May 6th & May 13th
- Saint Joachim Church Sunday, May 14th
- Our Lady of Good Voyage
Sunday, May 7th, May 14th & May 21st
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 of preparation just for them! It’s called The Way for Kids! Beginning on Saturday, April 29th from 4:30pm 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. After each workshop, the children and their families will 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 final preparations for First Holy Communion, please pray for all of our young disciples and their families! Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all!
Mother’s Day Mass for Families
Youth Faith Formation Special Event
Saturday, May 13th
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all parents, grandparents, godparents, and children of all ages are invited to join Father Jim for our Mother’s Day Mass for Families on Saturday, May 13th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church.
During Mass, Father Jim will preach a special homily about Mother’s Day and offer a blessing for all mothers, families, and children. In addition, those who gather for this Mass will join in the Annual Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary! As our Mother’s Day Mass for Families approaches, we reaffirm that Mass is our best class! Jesus is our best teacher! And every family with children that joins us is indeed a gift from God! For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Call to Worship
Ascension of the Lord
Thursday, May 18th
A Holy Day of Obligation
On Thursday, May 18th, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which commemorates Christ’s elevation into heaven in the presence of the disciples on the fortieth day after his resurrection. On this Holy Day of Obligation, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:
- Wednesday, May 17th
Mass at 5:30pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Thursday, May 18th
Mass at 8:00am in Saint Joachim Church
Mass at 12:00pm in Saint Ann Church
For more information about the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
It is in giving that we receive. — Prayer of Saint Francis
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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