The “Hands Around the Capitol” event scheduled for the statehouse in Augusta on Saturday, January 23, has been cancelled due to safety concerns. The event has been held annually for 47 years since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. Participants rally, march, and encircle the statehouse to pray that all will come to realize the value of human life from conception to natural death. For more information about the Maine Right to Life Committee, which organizes the annual event, visit www.MaineRighttoLife.com or call (207) 782-0101.
9 Days for Life is a novena for the protection of human life. Each day’s intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life. for the novena prayers click here
January has been designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. There are more than 40 million people who have been affected by human trafficking worldwide. To learn more about trafficking, visit Justice for Immigrant’s anti-trafficking page by clicking here.
Traditionally, hundreds of people brave frigid temperatures to participate in the “Hands Around the Capitol” rally and march each January in Augusta. The event has been held annually for 47 years since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. Participants rally, march, and encircle the statehouse to pray that all will come to realize the value of human life from conception to natural death. This year, due to the pandemic, the event will look different but will be no less meaningful or important. For more information click here.
A light in the window at Christmas is said to be an Irish custom. The candle, placed in the front window of a home, becomes an invitation to the Holy Family passing by seeking a place to stay that this home would welcome them. The candle is a welcome to the Christ who is coming into the world, but it is also a reminder that he who is being welcomed is himself the light of the world. The candle welcomes all, family, friends, and strangers. Christ, the Light, comes for all. This year, there are more lights in our windows and homes. Unable to gather together with families and friends in this time of pandemic, we still want to brighten the lives of those around us. The light disperses the darkness of winter and the burden that the coronavirus has placed on us. The lights of Christmas bring hope as they raise spirits and smiles in a difficult time in modern history. The light raises spirits because it is the light of Christ. At Christmas, we celebrate his coming into the world. For some two thousand years, the lights have been lit, in times both difficult and joyful, to assure all that God is with us. Emmanuel, God-with-us, is the name of Jesus. This year, we find ourselves in a challenging time. Let the lights of Christmas around us remind us that the Light of the world is with us. Yes, at Christmas, we remember that Christ’s light rests in our hearts as comfort and in our hands as mission. Live in the hope the light gives us and carry the light to others. We are called to be bearers of the light. The message of Jesus is one of hope and love. Live, then, in that light for it dispels the darkness of our world. Christmas reminds us of God’s abundant love for us in Jesus. May we also remember to offer help to those in need in our community. That is, after all, the true meaning of Christmas: carrying His light into the world through our care for one another. It is Christmas, a time of joy and celebration at the coming of Christ. Jesus is truly with us, a pure gift, filling our lives with hope and peace, in good times and in bad. May we welcome Christ with lighted candles, with hearts full of joy and generosity. May you and your loved ones have a blessed and bright Christmas.
In recent weeks, the positive developments in the production of COVID-19 vaccines have stirred excitement but also hesitance in some quarters regarding the safety of the vaccines. Many Christians have expressed a range of emotions and opinions regarding the vaccines, and a variety of different questions have reached Bishop Robert Deeley. “Our first response must be to give thanks to God for the scientific advancement and talent that helped to create such lifesaving vaccines,” said the bishop. “I have already been asked several times: should I receive the vaccine when it is available to me? My answer is a resounding ‘yes.’” To read Bishop Deeley's full statement click here.
Call the parish office to reserve a spot or participate through our live-stream on our parish Facebook page. If you are participating on Facebook and would like to access the prayer booklet, click here.
Don’t forget to return your Jolly Gifts to church this weekend. Bring a new, unwrapped toy or gift to our “Jolly Gifts” display in your church by Dec. 13. Gift suggestions would be simple board games, dolls or action figures, arts and crafts activities for older children, a sports item, etc. Your thoughtful “jolly gift” to a child this Christmas will be collected and distributed by a Catholic Charities Maine staff member. Thank you for your generosity!
A free, virtual Advent reflection evening for young adults entitled “Advent at the Intersections” will be held on Fri., Dec. 11, from 7 - 8:30PM. Young adults from both the Diocese of Portland and the Diocese of Manchester, NH, are invited to participate in the event, which will be facilitated by Cindy Cheshire, a campus minister at the Newman Center in Keene, New Hampshire. Advent is a season of so many intersections: of the human with the Divine, of anticipation with assurance, of dark with light. This year, we are also experiencing the intersection of the togetherness of the holidays with the isolation of a global pandemic. The reflection evening will serve as a night to explore Advent at all of these intersections and more. During the evening, participants will dive into Scripture, share traditions, and discover how God arrives at the intersections of their own lives. There is no fee to participate, but it is necessary to register at www.eventbrite.com/e/advent-at-the-intersections-tickets-129014751595. If possible, have a candle with you during the reflection evening. For more information, contact Hannah Gonneville in the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation at firstname.lastname@example.org
The encouragement and formation of vocations in the Church is the task of all of us. We cannot depend on others to meet our needs. Families, communities, and parishes must help our young people to hear the call that God gives to serve the Church. Click here to read the full statement.
The Maine Diocesan Council of Catholic Women will present "Preparing for Advent: A Day of Spirituality for Women," on Sat., Nov. 14, from 10AM to 11:30AM It’s a virtual event only, and all women are welcome to attend. When participants register, they will receive the Zoom link. It is totally free. The event is designed to be a morning of spirituality and fellowship for women. It will begin with an opening prayer, followed by a reflection on Advent, the praying of the Stations of the Crib, and a brief time of discussion. To register, simply email Ruth Warren at email@example.com. Established in 1933, the Maine Diocesan Council of Catholic Women aims to unite the Catholic women of Maine in spirituality, leadership, and service, responding with Gospel values to the needs of the Church and society with direction and action. The council is affiliated with the National Council of Catholic Women.
An independent, on-site audit of safe environment procedures has found the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, which includes all 141 churches in Maine, in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The audit, which reviewed the period of July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, was conducted by StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, New York. The Diocese of Portland calls for an independent audit each year. Click here for the full article.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will host a virtual rosary event on Wednesday, October 7, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. All are invited to participate. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB, has called for this moment of prayer with the intention of uniting Catholics across the country at this time when there is much unrest and uncertainty. Several bishops will each pray a part of the rosary on Wednesday, which can be found on the USCCB’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/c/UsccbOrg) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/usccb) starting at 3PM. The faithful are encouraged to join in this prayerful moment of unity for our country, to seek healing and to ask Our Lady, on her feast, to pray for us and help lead us to Jesus, and encouraged to share where they are praying from, to post a photo of their rosary, and to leave a prayer intention for our country. For more information about the event, click here.
The “Young Adult Catholics in Maine” group (ages 18-35) will be offering a virtual Lectio Divina (using the daily readings) at 8 p.m. on Thursday nights. Additionally, the group will be offering an informal viewing of The Chosen on Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Anyone is welcome to join in these virtual experiences. To gain access to the password or for more information about these and other group events, contact Hannah Gonneville in the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The long-admired artwork of Fr. Paul Plante is available for purchase on a website (www.paulplante.com) that serves as both a canvas of his immense talent and a tribute to his indelible legacy. The work of Fr. Plante, who died in June of 2016, has been featured in art galleries around the country. His most famous work focuses on the eyes of songbirds, hawks, ducks, and other birds in 4 ½” x 4 ½” oil pastel paintings. The paintings reflect his fascination with birds, their spirit and their furtive nature. His portfolio also includes fish, plums, apples, and more. The work is searchable by collection and category on the new website. Click here for the full article.
From celebrating live-streamed Masses to empty pews to standing six feet away from friends and neighbors at the grocery store, encountering surreal situations on a daily basis has become the new normal. The sights of this pandemic’s effect are everywhere around us, including on Memorial Day. Since I was installed as bishop of our diocese in 2013, I have celebrated Mass at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston or Calvary Cemetery in South Portland each Memorial Day. During these gatherings in sacred spaces, we, together, cherished and honored those who have died in the service of our country. This Memorial Day, my celebration of Mass will take place indoors at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. COVID-19 and the subsequent guidance on large gatherings have forced a one-year move of venue, but remembering the sacrifice of these brave men and women and our shared gratitude for their selflessness is still at the heart of our prayer for them. Flags still adorn the gravesites at cemeteries across the country. I was touched to see families working together to complete this beautiful gesture at Mount Pleasant Catholic Cemetery in Bangor earlier this week. It was a fitting tribute, and a comforting reminder that even in this time of crisis, the memory of the fallen will never be forgotten. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the ground of our hope. He shows us the Father’s love and mercy. In the hope that Jesus gives us, we believe that those we remember on Memorial Day live with the Lord. We pray for them and their families, and entrust them all to the loving embrace of God.
To spread the wealth of encouragement, guidance, and wisdom shared in the Holy Father’s pastoral document, Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), the Diocese of Portland will relaunch the “Joy of the Family” initiative, a celebration of the gift and vocation of marriage and family life that debuted in 2017. To help families as they journey through this time of pandemic, the diocese will focus on a different theme featured in Amoris Laetitia each week. They will share prayers, Scripture passages, reflections, intercessions, and ideas for contemplating and acting upon the theme. The series will begin on May 8 and continue through mid-August. Go to the Joy of the Family section of our website to access this information.