Our Pastor’s Message:
Since arriving here last summer, I have presided over many funerals and prayed with many parishioners who have been sick or dying. I have heard heartbreaking stories about the decline of the fishing industry, addiction, homelessness, recession, and suicide. And I have encountered lingering sadness and suspicion over the merger of parishes some years ago. Our communities have faced and will continue to face difficult and diverse challenges.
Despite these challenges, however, a strong spirit shines brightly through the fog of illness, grief, and suspicion. A sense of joy pervades this island and its people. A commitment to prayer, fellowship, and service grows among our fellow parishioners. And a sense of stubborn optimism transcends every challenge. It is with spirit and commitment that we should reflect upon both the future and this week’s reading from the Gospel of Mark about the Transfiguration of Jesus.
Mark recounts that Jesus leads his disciples to a mountaintop and is suddenly transfigured in a way that is both dazzling and beyond human understanding. Indeed, as a theological concept, transfiguration is difficult to define. Quite literally, it means to alter, change, or transform. We can only imagine, then, that while the disciples could still see Jesus as a man, they could now also recognize his divine nature — that he is God’s Beloved Son. In short, God’s spirit shines through Jesus’s human form; the spiritual transfigures or changes the material.
In the coming months, I will share with you details about some difficult choices that we must face together as the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. These include the costs of making necessary repairs to the tower and east front of Saint Ann Church (before any elevator can be built); painting both the interior and exterior of Saint Joachim Church; replacing the roofs at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, its rectory, and the parish hall; and the hard reality that the priest shortage will soon affect the weekend worship schedule in both of our parishes.
Some may see these difficult challenges as dark or forbidding. But just beyond what we see, there shines a spirit that is every bit as dazzling as the spirit that the disciples encountered on that mountaintop. Just beyond what we see, there shines in our parishes a spirit of joy, optimism, and perseverance that truly transfigures any material challenge. There grows in our community a dedication to prayer, fellowship, and service that can fundamentally alter and solve any material challenge.
So, let us look beyond what we see and fear. Let us marvel at God’s spirit shining brightly in our hearts and throughout our parishes. Let us depend on each other for prayer and support. And throughout this Lent and beyond, let us rely on Christ Jesus, about whom God declared from on high: “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him!”
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Live Stations of the Cross
Palm Sunday, March 29th
All students (grades 4 and up) are invited to participate in our annual “Live Stations of the Cross” which will be presented on Palm Sunday, March 29th at 6:30pm in Saint Ann Church. All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport (Holy Family Parish & Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish) are welcome to join us for this special event!
All participants in the “Live Stations of the Cross” are expected to attend weekly rehearsals on Thursday afternoons from 4:30pm until 5:30pm in Saint Ann Church. Adult volunteers are also needed and most welcome! If you or your child would like to participate in this special annual event that brings us closer to Christ Jesus as he carries the Holy Cross, please contact Susan Demetri at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Assisi Project Online Retreat
Lent with Saint Francis of Assisi
Week II: “Harsh Words & High Hopes”
Each week during the Holy Season of Lent, all are invited to join the Assisi Project for a special online retreat based on the lives and writings of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Every Sunday during Lent, our website will be updated with a new prayer, reading, and spiritual reflection designed to bring us closer to Christ through the inspiration and intercession of Saints Francis and Clare.
During the Second Week of Lent, we read again from the “Admonitions” of Saint Francis of Assisi and pray with a reflection entitled “Harsh Words & High Hopes.” This reflection challenges us to turn away from the world and its temptations and look instead to Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd, for hope and strength. Please join us at assisiproject.com! For more information about the Assisi Project, please visit our website, see Father Jim before or after Mass, or contact Cliff Garvey at 978-281-4820 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know a friend, family member, or fellow parishioner who might like to participate in our online retreat, but does not have access to the internet, please contact us so that we can mail them a hardcopy of each week’s reflections. May the Lord give you peace!
Winter Fuel & Utilities Collection
Updated! Please Give Generously!
Like any household or family business, the winter season poses a serious financial challenge to the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport (both at Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish). Every year, our parishes are confronted with tens of thousands of dollars in fuel and utility bills. After the recent winter storms, these bills will surely grow. And whether you own or rent your home, you already know that utility bills have risen dramatically this season.
This year, we ask all parishioners to contribute whatever they can to our Winter Fuel & Utilities Collections. Every contribution, whether it’s $1, $10, or $100, goes a long way toward helping our parishes pay their fuel and utility bills. At Holy Family Parish, our goal is to raise $20,000 between now and March 20th, which is the first day of spring. So far, we have received $15,421 in donations. At Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, our goal is to raise $10,000 between now and March 20th. So far, we have received $5,853 in donations.
Please feel welcome to place your offering in the collection basket at Mass or mail it to us at your earliest convenience. Donations by check should be made payable to the parish of your choice with “Winter Fuel & Utilities” written in the memo line of the check. As this important fundraising effort continues, please pray that all parishioners, according to their means, will give generously! Thank you in advance for your prayers and ongoing support of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Peace and blessings to all!
Saint Joachim Church
Special Collection: New Boiler System
Please Give Generously!
At Saint Joachim Church in Rockport, the heat is back on thanks to our new and more efficient boiler-heating system! But the cost of this new boiler was approximately $21,000! So far, we have received $2,200 in donations to cover the cost, but we need your help! If you, your family, or your business can contribute to the Saint Joachim Church Boiler Fund, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. In addition, there will be second collections at Saint Joachim Church during the weekends of March 1st-2nd and March 14th-15th to support this most worthy cause. Thank you for your generous support of our parish communities!
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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