This Week’s Message
Healing God’s Family
The Power of One, Part 2
By Cliff Garvey
In 1989, Bryce Courtenay, an Australian writer, published a novel called The Power of One. The book was translated into eighteen languages and made into a major motion picture. It was an immediate bestseller; and it now takes its place on many high school and college reading lists throughout the world. Set in South Africa during the 1930s and 1940s, The Power of One is the story of an English orphan and schoolboy who overcomes bigotry and bullying to prove that one person can make a difference in this troubled world. It is the story of an average person who worked hard, faced difficult challenges, persevered despite the odds, and ultimately achieved akind of moral victory. It is the universal story. It is your story. It is my story. It is everyone’s story; every sinner’s life story. No one is spared. No one is left out. Life is a mixture of ups and downs, wins and losses, love and loss, brokenness and forgiveness, falling and rising.
In the midst of this human drama, how can one person make a difference in the world? In the midst of so much division and suffering, how can you make a difference? In the midst of so much brokenness and distrust, how can I make a difference? How can we make a difference together? How can we heal God’s family and rebuild the Church? In The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay writes: “Inside all people there is love, also the need to take care of the other man who is his brother. Inside everyone is a savage, but there is also tenderness and compassion.” Let’s begin here. During these savage times, there is still love. Inside every person, there is still love and tenderness and an instinct to help others. Inside every single person, there is still a little bit of love that can transform a sinner into a saint. Inside every single person, there is still a little bit of love that can make all the difference in the world.
The challenge, of course, is to put this love to work! The challenge is to look beyond differences and divisions. The challenge is to transcend the bombast and loud voices. The challenge is to tune out the madness and engage our brothers and sisters with humility, joy, and love. When we are humble, we seek to overcome our own faults and failures rather than condemning the faults and failures of others. When we are joyful, we see others not as objects of judgement and scorn, but as new friends and fellow disciples. When we are simple, we offer what we can: good gifts of encounter, fraternity, neighborliness, and love. We offer what we can to build community, build up the human family, and rebuild the Church. I can do this. You can do this. Surely, we can do this together — always together. After all, there is strength in numbers!
Leo Buscaglia writes: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” This power can change your life. It can transform the lives of the people you love. It can make a lasting difference in the strangers you meet along the way. This is the power of one: do your best to love, to forgive, to make peace, and to bring people together. Now. Today. Tomorrow. The Beloved Disciple reminds us: “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action (1 John 3:18).” When each of us does our very best to exercise the power of one, we can build better families, better friendships, better neighborhoods, better parishes, better workplaces, and ultimately a better world. We can heal God’s family and rebuild our Church — one brick at a time, one person at a time, one wounded soul at a time.
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Respect Life Month
Christ Our Hope
In Every Season of Life
From the time that we are knit together in our mothers’ wombs until we take our final breaths, each moment of our lives is a gift from God. While every season of life brings its own challenges and trials, each season also gives us new opportunities to grow in our relationship with God. Today the gift of life is threatened in countless ways. Those who are most vulnerable, rather than receiving the protection they deserve are all too often seen as a burden and as expendable. As new attacks on human life continue to emerge, we can be tempted to despair, but Christ instead offers us unfailing hope.
Hope is not false optimism or empty positivity. Christian hope is something much more profound and goes to the very depths of our identity as followers of Christ. Hope is the virtue “by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 817).”
Like us, Christ entered the world through the womb of a woman. He willingly experienced the fullness of human suffering. He breathed his last on the Holy Cross at Calvary in order that He might save us. Therefore, “God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who loved us to the end (Spe Salvi, 31).”
Christians know that “they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their lives will not end in emptiness (Spe Salvi, 2).” For this reason, a woman experiencing a difficult pregnancy can find the strength to welcome her precious child into the world. A man facing a terminal diagnosis can see that the end of his earthly life is only the beginning of eternal life with Christ.
The Church teaches us that “the one who has hope lives differently (Spe Salvi, 2).” Christ’s promise of salvation does not mean that we will be spared from suffering. Rather, the promise of salvation ensures that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we will be given the strength to persevere. By virtue of this Christian hope, we can face any challenge or trial. When the seas of life swell and we are battered by waves, hope allows us to remain anchored in the heart of God. May we hold fast to Christ our hope, from the beginning of life to its very end. (Source: USCCB)
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Baked Bean Supper
Friday, October 18th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for its Annual Baked Bean Supper on Friday, October 18th from 5:30pm until 8:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. A donation of $15 is requested for each adult; and $10 each for each child (age 10 and under). Tickets will be available at the door. Our menu will include hot dogs, linguiça, baked beans, coffee, soft drinks, and homemade desserts. Proceeds support Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. For more information about this special evening of good food, fun, and fellowship, please contact Beth Fosberry at 978-790-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring your family! Bring your friends! All are invited! All are welcome!
Adult Faith Formation
Sunday, October 20th
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 to 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 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 (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation) or if you feel called to renew your understanding of our shared faith, then please consider joining “The Way”, an adult faith formation program that meets on Sunday mornings after our 8:15am Mass beginning in Saint Ann House of Prayer. 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).
Our group meets twice each month 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. 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 email@example.com. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, October 27th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Africa, and Europe. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to God’s Holy Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
The Assisi Project meets on the last Saturday of every month in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church for Mass, formation, fellowship, and faith sharing. Our next ‘Saturday Morning with Saint Francis’ is scheduled for October 26th beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will begin our discussion and study of Father Murray Bodo’s beautiful book of spiritual reflections, Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis of Assisi.
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us this month and every month! You don’t need to travelwith us to be part of the Assisi Project! For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 17 to 94; and we live in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, all across the United States, and also in Canada, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Angola. Part of our work together is our prayer together. So, we pray each and every day for all who ask for our prayers all around the world. If you would like the Assisi Project to pray for you, your family, your special intention, or the soul of a deceased friend or loved one, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact Cliff at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace!
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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