By Kathleen M. Basi
Since the moment that Pope Francis first appeared on the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica, he has been engaging the world. He energizes us, and at the same time, he challenges us to actively participate in our faith. Most of us would rather practice our faith within the safety of a little box, where the Christian call is as clear-cut as praying the rosary, lighting a candle, and attending Sunday Mass. Pope Francis asks us to move beyond the walls of our churches and to be true witnesses to Christ in the world.
Like many faithful people, I always thought that most issues had simple answers. However, after having a child with a disability, I realized that when the Christian call intersects with the real world, things become more complex. Life is not so simple.
Consider the pro-life cause. It is not enough to believe that children with disabilities have a right to be born. Their needs impose a heavy financial burden on their families: orthotics, surgeries, therapies, and so on. We have a moral obligation to support hu- man life at every stage, even when it requires governmental or societal intervention that runs counter to our ideals about self-sufficiency.
Pope Francis calls us to confront complex questions and seek thorough answers. Using this process of discernment, how can we address some of the questions we face? For example, how am I called to respond to bitter conflicts within my family? How am I called to interact with the person who delights in goading me? How am I called to love the family member who is gay or lesbian? How am I called to help the homeless person at the corner? How am I called to interact with the person in a wheelchair whose speech is hard to understand? How am I called to alleviate the desperation that leads a woman to choose abortion? How am I called to honor human dignity, not only crime victims, but also those who perpetrate crimes?
As followers of Christ, we will always find ourselves being called upon to respond to situations that may or may not be as clear-cut as they appear on the surface. Although the path may be demanding, we have the support of the Church and Christ as an example of how to do the hard work. Pope Francis calls us to work together. Faith grows only when it is stretched. A call to faith is not a static request. To follow Christ means to get up, pick up your cross, and act. True discipleship, though difficult, is worthwhile because it draws us closer to the Heart of Christ, the source of our calling.
About the Author: Kathleen M. Basi is a composer, essayist, musician, and disability rights activist. She is also a wife and mother of four children, one of whom lives with Down Syndrome. Kathleen is a regular contributor to Bringing Home the Word, an e-newsletter that features suggestions for prayer and reflection for your family at home. A new edition is published every weekend at the link below.
Call to Prayer
Respect Life Month
A Prayer for Radical Solidarity
During October, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month — a time during which we pray and reaffirm our reverence for all human life from conception until natural death. It is love for each other that Jesus says will be the identifying characteristic of his disciples. Fulfilling the commandment to love takes shape in our practice of solidarity. Solidarity is the means by which we put our love for others into action, making the common good our own good. Solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit ourselves to the common good — to the good of all and to the good of each and every human person.
A Prayer for Radical Solidarity
O Blessed Mother,
at the angel’s word, you went in haste
to the aid of your cousin, Elizabeth.
Although pregnant yourself,
you placed her needs before your own.
By your example of radical solidarity,
teach us to reverence and protect those in need
without conditions or expectations.
Ask your Son to give us
unfailing determination to witness
to the profound dignity of every person,
at every stage of life and in every circumstance.
In that first Eucharistic procession,
you carried Jesus to Elizabeth in her time of need.
Obtain for us the grace to bring Christ
to any expectant mother who is alone and afraid.
May our support help them
to find hope and strength in the Lord. Amen.
For more information about the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Respect Life Month, please visit the websites at the link below. May we all pray and work together in order to bring about a culture of life through radical, sacrificial, and Christ-love for all of God’s children. Peace and blessings to all!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Our Lady’s Guild
Tuesday, October 10th at 6:30pm
Since 1944, Our Lady’s Guild has worked to build community among women of all ages in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish through prayer, good works, fundraising, and special events. The Guild’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10th at 6:30pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Dinner is pot luck! Bring a dish to share! For more information about Our Lady’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Beth Fosberry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! New members and volunteers are always most welcome!
Our Lady’s Guild
BBQ & Bean Supper
Saturday, October 14th at 7:00pm
All friends and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for a BBQ & Bean Supper on Saturday, October 14th from 7:00pm until 9:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. A donation of $20 is requested for each adult and $10 for each child (age 10 and under). Our menu includes pulled pork, barbecue chicken, coleslaw, and baked beans provided by Ribs Within of Gloucester. We will also have coffee, soft drinks, desserts, and a cash bar. In addition, we will have a 50-50 Raffle! Entertainment will be provided by Jack Favazza! All proceeds will benefit Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. For tickets or more information about this special event, please contact Beth Fosberry at email@example.com; or Linda Galvin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spread the word! Bring a friend! Bring your family! Please join us! All are welcome!
Annual Fall Retreat
My God & My All!
A Course on Discipleship
October 22nd through October 25th
Bernard of Quintavalle was a friend of Francesco Bernadone, the saint we now know as Francis of Assisi. Bernard was also a rich and influential lawyer. Prompted by the Holy Spirit to better understand Francis and his gospel-centered life, Bernard invited his old friend home for a good meal and overnight hospitality. During the night Bernard awoke and found Francis awake and praying. He was on his knees. His hands were stretched toward heaven. And he was repeating over and over one simple prayer: “My God and my all!” Bernard was so deeply moved that he asked Francis to help him discern how to live as a true friend and disciple of Jesus Christ.
More than 800 years later, Saint Francis teaches us that discipleship is not just about having faith. It is not just about going to Mass and learning about the teachings and traditions of the Church. It is really all about loving God and loving neighbor. It is about meeting Christ in prayer and in the people we meet on life’s journey. It is about joy and suffering, prayer and action, communion and fraternity. Discipleship is ultimately about living the Gospel, sharing God’s love and mercy, and rebuilding the Church — brick by brick and soul by soul.
Pope Francis says: “Discipleship 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 Holy Father who chose the name Francis; a pope who calls us back to the basics of prayer, fraternity, and good works in an increasingly troubled world. In this spirit, all are invited to join Father Jim and Brother Patrick for a four-night, in-person fall retreat called My God & My All: A Course on Discipleship from Sunday, October 22nd through Wednesday, October 25th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Here’s our retreat schedule:
Night 1: My God & My All—An Introduction
Night 2: Crucified & Joyful
Night 3: Communion & Fraternity
Night 4: Prayer & Action
Each evening of our fall retreat will begin with Evening Prayer at 6:00pm, followed by a reflection and a period of discussion and faith sharing. Each session will conclude by 7:30pm with Night Prayer. A donation of $20 per person is requested and each participant will receive a copy of The Simple Way: Meditations on the Words of Saint Francis by Father Murray Bodo, OFM. All friends and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for all or even just part of our retreat! If you plan to join us, please contact Brother Patrick at email@example.com. Save the dates! Bring a friend! All are welcome! Always!
Call to Prayer
Synod on Synodality
Communion, Participation & Mission
A synod is an assembly of believers. Synodality is a way of looking at the Catholic Church whereby we are all on a journey together as the People of God. And the Synod on Synodality is a worldwide gathering of church leaders designed to help us listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we build and strengthen God’s Church for the future. As a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, we raise our hearts and voices in prayer for the synodal way:
A Prayer for the Synod
Jesus Christ, Lord of History,
we are the Church
that walks with you, by you and in you.
What a great grace!
Because you became a pilgrim with us
like the pilgrim of Emmaus,
you dwelt among us, and you feed us,
making yourself bread and wine.
We belong to you, we are for you,
and this gives meaning to our walk together.
Although we are many,
we are only one Bread and one Body,
for we all partake of you, the only Living Bread.
Give us the docility we need
to be transformed by communion with you
into more compassionate brothers and sisters
among ourselves. Amen.
This month, hundreds of priests, bishops, deacons, and lay people are meeting in Rome for the 16th General Assembly for the Synod of Bishops. For the first time ever, lay men and women have a voting voice in the synod process. Two fundamental questions will guide the synod: How does our journey inspire us to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the world? And how does the Holy Spirit invite us to become a Church that listens and reaches out to all people everywhere?
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
It is in giving that we receive. — Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
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 Kellianne Casimiro