This Week’s Message
The Ultimate Force

By Paige Byrne Shortal

Several years ago, I spent some time in India. One evening, my host invited me to watch The Bucket List with her. Try to picture us: two women, one Hindu and one Catholic, unknown to each other until a month earlier, watching a movie about two men with terminal cancer who spend their last six months doing things they always wanted to do before they “kick the bucket.” Poonam and I sat late into the night discussing our own bucket lists and found we had much in common.

What do I want to do before I die? For that matter, what do I want to do before the summer ends? Too often, it flies by and come September, I mourn that I only went swimming twice, missed the cherry harvest, and did not even begin a certain writing project. Why do we not do what we want to do? This phenomenon is not limited to distasteful projects. I even put off tasks I enjoy. It is not so much the work that is daunting, it is the starting.

I do not have a scientific mind, but when I learned of Isaac Newton’s first law of motion I had an “aha moment.” The first part says that a body at rest, or moving at a constant speed in a straight line, will remain at rest or keep moving in that straight line. Aha! That is why it is hard to get going or change. We are like Newton’s inanimate objects, tending to continue as we are — purposeful and productive or on the couch watching reruns while scrolling through our social media feeds.

The cure for boredom and mindless distraction by day and wide-eyed heart-thumping panic by night is engagement — the flow of meaningful work and the feeling of competence while we do it. But sometimes malaise settles over a person and it is hard to get moving. As Newton explained in the second part of his first law of motion, that a body at rest or moving in a straight line will get moving or change direction only when acted up- on by an “unbalanced force.”

What is an unbalanced force? Any force strong enough to get us moving in a new direction or moving at all. Sometimes it takes a crisis, like a diagnosis, loss of a job, or any serious challenge, to compel us to move in a new direction. But sometimes a New Year’s reso- lution or making a bucket list will do the trick.

The ultimate unbalanced force, the force that can knock us off our pins and set us right again, is the Holy Spirit. God did not create us to be slaves to safe routines and mindless amusements until this one precious life is over. God made us for freedom and instilled in us a longing for meaning, a sense that our lives matter very much. We are here to reveal, indeed to be, a face of God otherwise never known to this world. God sends the Holy Spirit to work in us and to help us become our true self before this life ends and we go home to heaven. Meanwhile, the summer stretches before us. What’s on your list of things to do before summer kicks the bucket? Come, Holy Spirit!

About the Author: Paige Byrne Shortal is the Word in Our World columnist for the Liguorian monthly magazine. Her writing has also appeared in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, National Catholic Reporter, and Bringing Home the Word. She lives in rural Missouri.

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (5-28-23)
Bringing Home the Word (5-28-23)
The Kids Bulletin (5-28-23)

Art Credit: Svetlana Vorotniak – Dreamstime – 217386347


Call to Prayer
Come, Holy Spirit!

Come, Holy Spirit, come.
And from your celestial home,
shed a ray of light divine.

Come, Father of the poor.
Come, source of all our store.
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best.
You, the soul’s most welcome rest.
Sweet refreshment here below.

In our labor, rest most sweet,
grateful coolness in the heat,
solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
shine within these hearts of yours,
and our inmost being full.

Where you are not,
we have naught,
nothing good in deed or thought,
nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds,
our strength renew.
On our dryness pour your dew.
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will.
Melt the frozen, warm the chill.
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore,
and confess you, evermore,
in your sevenfold gift descend.

Give them virtue’s sure reward.
Give them your salvation, Lord.
Give them joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.


Call to Prayer
Memorial Day Prayer
Monday, May 29th

Gracious God,
on Memorial Day, we pray
for those who courageously laid down their lives
for the cause of freedom.
May the example of their sacrifice
inspire in us the selfless love
of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Bless the families of our fallen troops,
and fill their homes and their lives
with your strength and peace.
In communion with people of goodwill
all around the world,
embolden us to answer the call
to work for peace and justice,
and thus, seek an end to violence and conflict.
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.


Madonna del Rosario Society
Mother’s Day Luncheon
Saturday, June 3rd

The Madonna del Rosario Society will celebrate its Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon on Saturday, June 3rd beginning at 12:00pm at the Rose Baker Senior Center (located at 6 Manuel Lewis Street in Gloucester). After a brief business meeting, a delicious buffet will be served. Tickets are $15.00 for members and must be purchased by May 30th. For more information about tickets or about the Madonna del Rosario Society and its good work in our parishes, please contact Jolene Erickson at 978-435-1116; Marie Silva at 978-283-7820; or Grace Brancaleone at 978-283-8133. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!


The Assisi Project
Pray for Me – A Personal Witness
Saturday, June 3rd

Special Guest – Reverend Anne Deneen

Saint Paul writes: “I urge you…to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1).” To pray in this way is to ask God for a blessing or benefit on behalf of another person. To pray for others carries us beyond ourselves. It brings us to the doorstep of a neighbor in need. It brings us face to face with the struggles of our brothers and sisters. It makes the needs of others a priority in a world that is so often selfish and self-serving.

Few people have experienced the effects of intercessory prayer more deeply than our good friend, Reverend Anne Deneen. For nearly two decades, Anne served as Pastor of Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Gloucester. She is now a retreat leader and spiritual director. But even Anne’s long experience as a pastor, spouse, and mother could not prepare her for the challenge of caring for her husband after he was diagnosed with cancer. In her grief and struggle, Anne learned valuable lessons about the blessings and power of prayer in our lives.

On Saturday, June 3rd, all are invited to join Father Jim, Cliff Garvey, and Anne Deneen for a compelling discussion about the beauty and power of intercessory prayer in our lives. Our morning of prayer and reflection will begin with the Holy Rosary at 7:30am and Holy Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, Anne will share her family’s experiences with intercessory prayer and lead us in a period of questions and faith sharing. Our gathering will conclude with prayer at 9:45am.

For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please visit our website (see link below); or contact Cliff at Please join us! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome! May the Risen Lord give you peace!

Listen: Pray for Me – Intercessory Prayer Workshop


The Assisi Project
Our Daily Prayers

Our Prayer Together is Our Work Together!

Each day, members of the Assisi Project are called to pray for the Church and for the needs of others. Among our daily prayers is this beautiful prayer for the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi by Saint John Paul II.

O Saint Francis,
who received the wounds of Christ
at Mount La Verna,
the world longs for you,
that icon of our crucified Lord.
It has need of your heart,
open always to God and to others;
of your bare, wounded feet,
of your pierced hands raised in supplication.
It longs for your voice so frail
yet forceful with the power of the Gospel.

O Saint Francis,
help the people of our age
to recognize the evil of sin
and to seek purification from it in penance.
Help us to become free
from the structures of sin that oppress our world.
Rekindle in the consciences of those in government
an urgent need for peace between nations and peoples.
Instill in our young people your freshness of life,
that is so capable of withstanding
the snares of the culture of death.

O Saint Francis,
teach those injured by every type of evil
the joys of being able to forgive.
Teach those crucified by suffering, hunger, and war
the joys of reopening the doors of hope. Amen.

All are invited to join us for Our Daily Prayers by praying along with our podcast (see link below)! For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!

Listen: Our Daily Prayers


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 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


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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