Our Pastor’s Message: Pause, Breathe, and Reflect!

Advent is a time for preparation and prayer. It is a time to open hearts, minds, and spirits in welcome to our newborn savior. All too often, however, our worldly preparations overwhelm our spiritual preparations. We decorate our homes in preparation for Christmas. We listen to holiday music in preparation for Christmas. We brave the malls and the traffic to buy presents in preparation for Christmas. We bake cookies and cook lavish meals in preparation for Christmas.

But what about spiritual preparation? What about prayer? All of these other activities can be good. They can be tangible expressions of love for our families and friends. They can convey our generosity, love, and service to others. But again, what about our prayer? What about our love for God? What about preparing ourselves spiritually for the birth of Christ? These are very challenging questions! And believe me, I don’t have all the answers. I routinely struggle (and often fail) to balance my ministry and work with my personal need for prayer and spiritual preparation.

Given the ever-increasing hustle and bustle of the holiday season, how can we prayerfully prepare for the coming of our savior? A friend of mine, who is a good spiritual director, suggests that we must “pause” in the midst of our busy lives and “take a deep spiritual breath.” He counsels that we cannot begin to reconcile our practical preparation for Christmas with our spiritual preparation for Christmas without recognizing the need to pause, slow down, and reflect deeply on what is about to happen to us and our world.

A poor young maiden named Mary will soon embrace the gift of motherhood through God’s astonishing grace! A poor laborer named Joseph will answer God’s summons to care for this girl and for her unborn baby. And finally, after a frantic search for lodging, their poor child – the Son of God and Savior of the world – will be born in a stable!

The miracle of Advent is not found in our ability to somehow find the time to cook all the meals, bake all the pies, and wrap all the presents. The true miracle of Advent is found in our ability to pause, breathe, and reflect upon the abundant blessings that are showered upon us in the story of a young woman’s openness to God’s grace, a young man’s openness to God’s summons to love, a child’s birth at the darkest time of year, and a world changed forever by the nativity of its savior.

As we begin our Advent journey, let us pray that each of us may find the courage and humility to set aside what we might think is most important and answer the Lord’s call to prayer. Let us pray that we may find the time and space to pause, breathe, and reflect upon the joyful mysteries of our faith. And let us pray that we may better appreciate the true meaning of Advent and ultimately the true meaning of Christmas.

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

Holy Family Grand Annual Collection
Goal: $75,000 | Donations to Date: $67,930 | 90.5%

Each year, we ask all parishioners to contribute what they can to Holy Family’s Grand Annual Collection. This collection is a vitally important component of our annual budget. It helps us balance our budget by bridging the gap between the weekly collection and our financial obligations. The Grand Annual helps us to pay for the benefits and salaries of our priests and pastoral team. It helps us to pay our insurance and utility bills. It helps us to maintain our historic buildings and plow our parking lots. It helps to fund essential parish programs like adult and youth faith formation. And all contributions go directly to Holy Family Parish. If we do not achieve our goal, then it becomes almost impossible for us to balance our annual budget! So far, we have received 90.5% of our goal! We hope to reach 100% of our goal by Christmas Day! Please pray that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to the Grand Annual Collection!

Christmas Mass Schedule

The Celebration of Mass is the source and summit of our community’s life of prayer, fellowship, and service. All are welcome to join us for Mass and to participate in Holy Communion in accordance with personal conscience and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In celebration of Christmas, we will celebrate Mass according to the following schedule. Come and pray with us!

Christmas Eve | Wednesday, December 24

  • 4:00pm     Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
  • 4:00pm     Saint Ann Church
  • 6:00pm     Saint Joachim Church
  • 6:00pm     Saint Ann Church (Bilingual)
  • 12:00am   Midnight Mass at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church

Christmas Day | Thursday, December 25

  • 8:00am     Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
  • 9:30am     Saint Joachim Church
  • 10:45am   Saint Ann Church
  • 12:00pm   Our Lady of Good Voyage Church

The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport

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. Our collaborative is comprised of Saint Ann Church in Gloucester, Saint Anthony’s Chapel in Gloucester, Saint Joachim Church in Rockport, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church in Gloucester. We are a Roman Catholic faith community united in prayer, fellowship, and service. For more information, please contact Father Jim at Please join us! All are welcome!

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