By Suhail Abodawood
Hello everyone, I am Suhail Abodawood.
I am living in Gaza and I am eighteen years old.
On October 7th, the war was started.
I will not talk about politics.
I will talk in a spiritual way.
I was dreaming at first, but then,
I realized that this was not a joke.
We left our homes and went to the parish,
Holy Family Catholic Church,
because I know that we are safe and secure
in the my Lord’s hands, Jesus Christ.
I am praying and fasting with the Church right now,
and I strongly believe that this is the right time
to develop and improve my vocation
in this sad and tough condition,
by praying the Rosary, attending the daily Holy Mass,
and meditating with great faith
that God will rescue us from the war.
I pray in the church every day,
and every time I pray I hear a loud sound of rockets
bombing in a place not far from our church.
But when I embrace my faith,
everything that interrupts me disappears.
As Blessed Carlo Acutis once said:
“Heaven has been waiting for us forever.”
We are waiting for our salvation with a big heart
and we always know that Christian hope is the strongest hope ever.
Our Lord Jesus will rescue us from these tough days,
and we believe that as long as we are with Jesus in our hearts,
we will always be in a safe place and lasting security.
Pastor’s Note: Last week, Pope Francis said: “War does not resolve any problem. It only sows death and destruction, increases hate, and multiplies vengeance. War erases the future. I exhort believers to take only one side in this conflict: the side of peace — not in word, but in prayer.” In this spirit, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport joins with Pope Francis in praying for peace in the Holy Land and throughout our suffering world. Peace and blessings to all people everywhere! — Father Jim
Halloween Faith & Family Mass
A Youth Faith Formation Special Event
Sunday, October 29th
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 second annual Halloween Faith & Family Mass on Sunday, October 29th 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 continue this tradition! On Sunday, October 29th 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 email@example.com. Mark your calendar! Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Solemnity of All Saints
A Holy Day of Obligation
Wednesday, 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 on Wednesday, November 1st, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will cele- brate Masses according to the following schedule:
Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
Saint Ann Church at 12:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 5:30pm
Month of All Souls
Masses of Remembrance
Begins Saturday, November 4th
During November, the Month of All Souls, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses of Remembrance for friends, family members, and fellow parishioners whose funerals were celebrated in our parishes during the past year.
Mass of Remembrance I
Saturday, November 4th at 4:00pm
Saint Ann Church
Mass of Remembrance II
Sunday, November 5th at 11:45am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Mass of Remembrance III
Sunday, November 19th at 10:00am
Saint Joachim Church
For more information about the Solemnity of All Saints and the Month of All Souls in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the dates! Bring your family! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Morning of Prayer for Peace
Saturday, November 4th
Less than one week after a terrorist organization launched a surprise attack on the State of Israel, Pope Francis called upon all Christian believers and people of goodwill to pray for peace. He said: “Prayer is the holy force to oppose the evils of hatred, terrorism, and war.” In response to the Holy Father’s call to prayer, all are invited to join the Assisi Project for a Morning of Prayer for Peace on Saturday, November 4th beginning with Holy Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
After Mass, in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we will offer a Rosary for Peace, a Litany for Peace, and the Litany of Saint Francis of Assisi, who is venerated as patron of peacemaking. Our Morning of Prayer for Peace will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Brother Patrick at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Fried Dough Breakfast & Yard Sale
Saturday, November 11th
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish for a Fried Dough Breakfast & Fall Yard Sale on Saturday, November 11th from 9:00am until 12:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Coffee, tea, and our famous fried dough will be served. Loaves of sweetbread will also be available for sale. After filling up on a delicious breakfast, all are welcome to browse our yard sale table and take a chance on various raffles. For more information, please contact Beth Fosberry at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 978-281-4820. Save the date! Spread the word! All are welcome!
Our Annual Retreat
My God & My All!
Reflections on Discipleship
November 12th through November 15th
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: Reflections on Discipleship from Sunday, November 12th through Wednesday, November 15th 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 Practical Holiness: Pope Francis as Spiritual Companion by Father Albert Haase, 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!
Holy Family Parish
Annual Christmas Fair
Saturday, November 18th
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Holy Family Parish for our Annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, November 18th from 9:00am until 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church Hall. This year’s fair will feature many sale tables, including homemade holiday baked goods, Christmas decorations, Bea’s Raffle, and the World Famous Basket Wheel. In addition, raffle tickets are now available for cash prizes, handmade quilts, and an Apple iPad Basket.
On behalf of a grateful parish, the Holy Family Women’s Guild thanks Greely Funeral Home for the generous donation of our raffle prizes. The Women’s Guild and Christmas Fair Committee are working overtime to make this year’s fair another big success! Please support this all-important fundraising event! For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the date! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Christmas Fair Basket Wheel
Now Accepting Donations!
Our World Famous Basket Wheel is the biggest money-maker at the biggest fundraising event of the year in Holy Family Parish! But the success of the Basket Wheel depends on donations from our friends and fellow parishioners! So, all are invited to create and donate a $25 theme basket for kids, crafts, movie nights, family nights, school snow days, holiday gift wrap, or summer barbecues. Creating a basket can be both fun and affordable when friends, neighbors, and families work together! Help us keep the Basket Wheel spinning! Donations are now being accepted! For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com. Thank you for your support!
Holy Family Parish
Cemetery Baskets & Kissing Balls
Now Accepting Orders!
As part of our Annual Christmas Fair, the Holy Family Women’s Guild is working again with Cressey & Sons in Rowley to offer for sale both Christmas Cemetery Baskets and Christmas Kissing Balls! Each log-shaped basket is $30 each and decorated 15-inch kissing balls are $35 each. Orders are now being gratefully accepted through Sunday, November 12th! All proceeds support Holy Family Parish! For more information or to place an order, please call Cecelia Gray at 978-281-2072 or Jane Marshall at 978- 283-5111. Thank you for your support! God bless you!
The Assisi Project
Weekly Prayer & Reflection
Each week, Brother Patrick composes a brief reflection and prayer request that is sent to members and friends of the Assisi Project all around the world. If you would like to receive these free weekly updates (with no obligation to join our fellowship or support our ministries), please contact Brother Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our contact list is kept confidential. Thank you! May the Lord give you peace! Always!
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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