This Week’s Message:
World Day of the Sick | February 11th
By Anna Matturro
Minister of Pastoral Care
Later this week, the Catholic Church will commemorate the World Day of the Sick, which coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year, Pope Francis has chosen as its theme a verse from the Book of Job: “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame (Job 29:15).” Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport (both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish), our team of dedicated and gifted volunteers fulfills this papal mission by uniting the aged, disabled, lonely, and sick with our parish community through regular home visits, prayer, and the gift of the Eucharist.
Our ministry includes visits to the homebound, hospital patients, nursing home and senior housing residents, and participants of adult day care centers. Very often, those who are ill or discouraged cannot pray for themselves and are reminded that we pray for them everyday, especially at Mass. Others accept their conditions and see their ministry as one of prayer and praise. All remain indispensable members of our parish family.
My first Communion visit occurred more than thirty years ago and brings back vivid memories. The patient’s name was Alan. He was on a dialysis machine suffering from end stage renal failure. I was anxious and uncertain as I clutched the pyx containing the Eucharist. But the Spirit took over as we talked, prayed, and shared Holy Communion.
Shortly before he died, Alan wrote to me that the Eucharist and our visit had given him strength. He wrote: “Jesus seemed to send you when I needed a pick up and was feeling so helpless and unsure as to where I was. My faith was at a low and you came and lifted me up.” Alan shared that receiving the Body of Christ meant everything to him. He thanked me and encouraged me to continue. My experience with Alan was an exquisite spiritual moment and a call to ministry. So many years later, I am grateful to God for Alan, for my ministry, for the parishioners I visit, and for the team of volunteers and staff with whom I work.
Our volunteers come from different backgrounds and generations, but each of them has responded to God’s call to serve as “eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.” God’s spirit has called each of them to this ministry, to serve as His hands, feet, heart, and voice to those in need of companionship, comfort, and prayer. Christ’s healing ministry is alive and well and growing on Cape Ann! My heartfelt thanks to all of our pastoral visitors and to those who allow us to enter their homes and hearts in mutual and ongoing ministry. Let our prayers continue for strength, courage to trust, compassion for all of our suffering brothers and sisters, and for all who care for them.
World Day of the Sick
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
Wednesday, February 11th
On Wednesday, February 11th, the Catholic Church throughout the world will commemorate the World Day of the Sick. This special commemoration was instituted in 1992 by Saint John Paul II and coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In his message for the first annual World Day of the Sick, Saint John Paul II wrote that this day is “a special time for prayer, sharing, and offering of one’s suffering for the good of the Church and for reminding us to see in our sick brother or sister the face of Christ, who by suffering, dying, and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.” This year, let us unite in prayer both our suffering and the suffering of our sick brothers and sisters to the prayers of Our Lady of Lourdes:
Ever Immaculate Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comforter of the Afflicted, You know our wants, our troubles, and our sufferings. Look upon us with mercy! When you appeared in the grotto at Lourdes, you made it a blessed sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where so many who suffer receive the cure of illness and infirmity, both physical and spiritual. We pray, therefore, with confidence to beg your intercession for us. Most Blessed Mother, pray for us and for all who suffer. Help us to imitate your virtues so that we may one day share your company in heaven. We ask these things through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us! Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us!
On Wednesday, February 11th, Mass will be celebrated at 8:30am at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church in Gloucester. For more information about the pastoral care of the sick and homebound in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Anna Matturro, Minister of Pastoral Care at 978-281-4820 or email@example.com.
Ash Wednesday | February 18th
Mass & Worship Schedule
The celebration of Holy Mass is the source and summit of our community’s joy and its 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. This year, the Holy Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18th. In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Masses will be celebrated (with the distributions of ashes) according to the following schedule:
7:00am Saint Joachim
8:30am Our Lady of Good Voyage
12:00pm Saint Ann
7:00pm Our Lady of Good Voyage
In addition, we will also celebrate a Service of the Word (with the distribution of ashes) at 5:30pm at Saint Joachim Church. For more information about Lent in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim Achadinha at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cliff Garvey at email@example.com; or click here for our Lent page. Please join us as we begin our Lenten journey! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saint Francis of Assisi: The Beginning
Sunday, February 22nd
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim Achadinha and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is an international fellowship of “Franciscans in Spirit” that is dedicated to helping adults of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Each month, we gather for Mass, a community meal, and a period of faith formation and discussion.
Our first meeting of the year is scheduled for the First Sunday of Lent, February 22nd beginning with Mass at 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, Cliff Garvey will offer a reflection entitled “Saint Francis of Assisi: The Beginning” which will focus on the early life and times of the man who would become the world’s most beloved and perhaps most misunderstood saint. After Cliff’s reflection, we will adjourn to the parish hall for a light lunch.
If you would like to join us, please contact Cliff Garvey at c.garvey@ymail no later than February 15th (so that we can plan appropriately for food and drink). For more information about the Assisi Project and our upcoming opportunities for prayer, fellowship, and pilgrimage in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please visit our website at assisiproject.com. Please join us! All are welcome! 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. 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 about becoming a member of one of our parishes, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
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