This Week’s Message
The Richness of God’s Vision
By Kathleen M. Basi
As a child, my sisters and I used to pray this prayer every night: “I love you, Jesus. Infant Jesus, meek and mild, make me a good and obedient child.” The word obedience rubs most modern audiences the wrong way. We tend to associate it with a lack of critical thinking; and with the creation of blind, unquestioning automatons. If we do not understand why we believe what we believe, however, our faith has no foundation. We risk becoming derailed by the slightest challenge.
It is true that an unquestioned faith is an immature faith. On the other hand, not everything can be understood. What are the words “thy will be done” if not an acknowledgment that forces are at work beyond our comprehension? “Thy will be done” is our greatest assent and our greatest prayer of obedience. By living through the things we do not understand, we often gain wisdom and insight illuminating what once seemed incomprehensible.
I think about myself during the first few years of my marriage. We had followed the rule and never questioned the Church’s teachings on sexuality. We were doing everything “right” and yet we could not conceive. Yes, there were medical issues, but they were not severe enough to explain why God “allowed” the frustration of the desire we had placed within us to continue. Obedience left a bad taste in our mouths.
We spent several thousand dollars to adopt, only to be further delayed by international politics. We prayed, we grieved, and we wrestled with the words “thy will be done.” Only when we reached the top of the waiting list did we conceive at last. It did not make sense. Why would God put us through so much if he intended all along to give us biological children?
When our second child was born, finally, everything fell into place. She has Down Syndrome. And the reality is that no matter what we said in public, neither of us was truly open to parenting a child with a disability. But we had spent seven years learning to accept God’s will for us. We had continued to be faithful and, yes, obedient, even when it did not make sense. All that suffering prepared us to accept and even embrace a different future than we had envisioned for our family.
That vision, it turns out, is richer than ours ever was. We understand God and Chris- tian discipleship in a way we never would have otherwise. Obedience should not be blind. We can and should wrestle with difficult questions, just as Jacob wrestled with the angel. Still, not everything has to make sense. Our job is to follow, even though we cannot always see where we’re going…yet.
About the Author: Kathleen M. Basi is a composer, musician, essayist, 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 at home. A new edition is posted every weekend at the link below.
The Assisi Project
Celebrating Saint Francis
October 1st thru October 4th
Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, Archbishop of Boston from 1970 until 1983, once wrote: “It is a long way from the cobbled streets of thirteenth century Assisi to the paved sidewalks of today’s Boston. Times have changed indeed. Technology has transformed our culture. Yet even in an era of scientific wonders, history has by no means worn out the need for the simple values of the beloved Saint Francis of Assisi. In many ways, they are truly needed now more than ever.”
In this spirit, all friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim and the Assisi Project for Celebrating Saint Francis, a four-day commemoration of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, from Saturday, October 1st through Tuesday, October 4th. Here’s our schedule:
Blessing of the Animals
Sunday, October 2nd – Begins at 2:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parking Lot
Transitus of Saint Francis
Monday, October 3rd – Begins at 6:00pm
Evening Prayer Service
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi
Tuesday, October 4th – Begins at 8:00am
Mass & Franciscan Rosary
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers throughout the world. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff Garvey @firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Assisi Project
Rebuild My Church Campaign
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers throughout the world. Our mission is to help believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
In celebration of our 15th anniversary, we are seeking to raise $15,000 for our Rebuild My Church Campaign. Your generous gift will enable us to create a guest speakers program, offer scholarships for pilgrims and students, assist local parishes with special projects, and support our podcasts and faith formation programs.
The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization. You can support our ministries and programs via GoFundMe or by sending a donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. All donations are tax-deductible. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Thank you! May the Lord give you peace!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Fall Bake Sale
Weekend of October 8th & 9th
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a Fall Bake Sale after all Weekend Masses in Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church on both Saturday, October 8th and Sunday, October 9th.
In preparation for the Fall Bake Sale, we need your help! Donations of your favorite breads, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods are most welcome! All proceeds go directly to Holy Family Parish. If you are able to make a donation, please contact Jane Marshall at 978-283-3511 or Cecilia Gray at 978-281-2072. Thank you in advance for your generous support! Please join us! All are welcome!
Welcoming Young Disciples!
Sacrament of Baptism
Gateway to New Life
The Sacrament of Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The two others are Eucharist and Confirmation. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism, we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission (CCC 1213).” During the month of September, Father Jim baptized the following children with holy water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Violet Ann Da Silva
Demi Rae Doyle
Massimo Leo Grande
Emma Layne Horgan
Elliot James Nelson
Camden Anthony Russo
Christopher Anthony Spanks III
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, the Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated during any Sunday Mass at 10:00am in Saint Joachim Church; on the second Saturday of the month at 11:30am in Saint Ann Church; and on the third Saturday of the month at 11:30am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. If you would like to schedule your child’s baptism in either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Sheila McCarthy-Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. May God bless our newly baptized young disciples and their families!
Calling Young Disciples!
Preparing for First Holy Communion
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport offers a creative and innovative way for young children (beginning in the second grade) to prepare for the Sacraments of First Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and First Holy Communion. Our program is designed to prepare both children and their parents for these sacraments; to encourage lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church; and to help families grow together in prayer, fellowship, and service.
Our program is simple and family friendly! First, our priority is to invite all families to attend one of our six Week- end Masses on a regular basis. Second, all students and their parents, grandparents, and-or guardians are asked to attend three 90 minute workshops during the fall season and three 90 minute workshops during the winter-spring seasons. Our Faith & Family Workshops are offered at three different times so that each family can choose which option works best for them.
Our workshops begin on Friday, October 7th! Our program calendar and registration form are available on our website: ccgronline.com/formation. Please note that scholarships are available for families that cannot afford tuition. Forms can be returned by mail or hand-delivered to our parish offices which are located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester (next to Saint Ann Church).
If you have questions or would like more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! Let’s pray together! All are invited! All are welcome!
Calling Adult Disciples!
Begins Saturday, October 15th
I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
The Way was the among the earliest names for followers of the Risen Christ. The Way also appears as a biblical reference for the earliest Christian communities in the Acts of the Apostles. In addition, tradition teaches that both before and after his conversion, Saint Paul referred to the disciples of Christ as part of the Way. More than two thousand years later, Catholic Christians are still part of the Way of Jesus Christ. But as we all know, a life of discipleship is not a hobby or pastime. It is a vocation, a way of life that lays claim to our whole heart, mind, and strength. As disciples, our lives should be focused on and inspired by our faith in Christ, who is our merciful redeemer, friend, and brother. And as his disciples, we are called to reach out to those who need our help in growing closer to Christ and the Church.
If you are an adult (age 18 and over) and have not received all of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation), then please consider joining The Way, a new adult faith formation program that will begin this fall. The Way (typically called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. As part of this same program, we will prepare adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation (to be received at either the Easter Vigil or at a regional archdiocesan celebration). Other parishioners who have received the Sacraments and are interested in renewing their spiritual lives are also very welcome to join us!
Our group will gather for fellowship, formation, and faith sharing. As a community of disciples, we will learn together about the basic beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Church; and we will explore the methods of prayer and spirituality that have brought centuries of believers closer to Christ Jesus and to the Church. In addition, we will talk openly and honestly about the challenges of living an authentic life of faith, hope, and love in the modern world. Our first gathering will be Saturday, October 15th at 8:00am. If you would like to learn more about this journey of faith and become part of a unique fellowship in preparation for the sacraments of God’s Church, then please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
The righteous give generously (Psalm 37:21).
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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In Memory of Patrice Palmisano