By Father Jim
Mammon means money or profit. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34), Jesus exhorts the crowd to focus on getting to heaven, not on enjoying the trappings of this world. And in the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13), the Lord tells his disciples that the road to heaven is paved not with money, but with trust, honesty, and good works. In both of these scriptures, Jesus says emphatically: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
Throughout Christian history, mammon has been employed as an insult or pejorative. In the early church, Saint Gregory of Nyssa equated mammon with the devil. Saint Cyprian, Saint Jerome, and Saint John Chrysostom compared mammon with greed. And during the middle ages, Peter Lombard, Dante Alighieri, and Thomas Aquinas also associated mammon with the devil and the seven deadly sins. Aquinas describes the sin of avarice as “Mammon being carried up from hell by a wolf that comes to inflame the human heart with greed.” Even now, several European languages equate mammon not just with wealth, but with greed, selfishness, and slovenly behavior.
We live in the richest country in the world. What passes for middle class here is almost unimaginable wealth and privilege in many other cultures. According to Credit Suisse, a global investment bank, there are more than 21 million millionaires in the United States. That’s nearly 39% of all millionaires in the world; and almost 9% of the population of the country. Believe it or not, Politifact also reports that nearly one-half of our elected representatives in Congress are millionaires.
Given this statistic about riches in the corridors of power, it is easy to understand how money can become a corrupt and corrosive influence. As a young man, a close friend of mine worked for a United States Senator who was almost broke when she ran for office nearly three decades ago. Her net worth now is more than $41 million. How can someone with that kind of money ever appreciate the struggle of a college student, a working family, or an elderly couple trying to make ends meet?
So how are we to understand the Lord’s teaching about money and its influence on our lives? It’s not just about millionaires, billionaires, politicians, and corporate executives. It’s about people like you and me. Over the years, I have counseled families that have been torn apart by arguments over their mother’s jewelry, their grandmother’s house, or their great uncle’s stock portfolio. I have met with engaged couples who are more concerned about financing lavish weddings than preparing their hearts for the sacred vows of matrimony. And I have talked with married couples whose families are ruined, not by an extramarital affair, but by credit card debt and out-of-control spending.
Jesus asks us to consider a different way of living. He calls us to live simply and honestly. He counsels us to live day-by-day, but with a keen focus on the path that leads to the salvation of our souls. He calls us to pray, to serve, to be grateful, to be humble, to be merciful, to thirst for truth and justice, to make peace whenever we can, to love God, and to love our neighbors in need.
In the end, life is not about money and power. It’s about love and service. Jesus reminds us over and over again that life is not about how much we accumulate, but how well we live. He tells us that the true measure of a life is not how many pennies we count, but how many prayers we offer, how many hearts we touch with our love, and how much good we do during this one short life on earth. Lord Jesus, come to assistance! Lord Jesus, show us the way! Lord Jesus, make haste to help us!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
Prayers for Life’s Journey
help me to be present to all who need me.
Help me to be present to those
I know too well to actually see,
and to those who are strangers to me.
Give me the ability to model
your attentive and loving gaze
when I view my world:
my family and my friends,
who are seen and loved by you first.
Finally, may my availability be marked
by a desire to be like your Son:
open to being sent, open to being loved,
open to becoming love
in the world. Amen.
Help Us to Use Our Gifts
God of love and goodness,
help us to use the gifts
you give to us
for the people who need us.
Inspired by Jesus,
help us to see our neighbors in need,
and to reach beyond ourselves
and beyond our institutions
to the very margins of life,
and bring it all to you,
the true center of our lives.
May all we do be in preparation
to seek you in the world
and to serve you more fully in the world
that we are invited to create with you.
Send your Holy Spirit
to keep us aglow with the desire
for truth and justice. Amen.
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.
Our Lady’s Guild
Outdoor BBQ & Bean Supper
Friday, September 30th
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for a BBQ & Beans Supper on Friday, September 30th from 5:30pm until 7:30pm in Our Lady’s Rectory Parking Lot. A donation of $15 is requested for each adult; and $10 for each child (age 10 and under).
Our menu will include pulled pork, barbecue chicken, coleslaw, and baked beans provided by Ribs Within of Gloucester. We will have coffee, desserts, and a cash bar. We will also have a 50-50 Raffle. Entertainment will be provided by TimeSync Quartet. All proceeds will support Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. For tickets or more information, please contact Linda Galvin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the date! Spread the word! Bring your family! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
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:
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, October 1st – Begins at 8:00am
Mass, Reflection & Faith Sharing
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
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 @email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you! May the Lord give you peace!
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 Robert Conroy