Our Pastor’s Message:
Cleansing the Temple
This week, the Gospel of John relates how Jesus drove a crowd of livestock traders and moneychangers from the Temple. In Jesus’s time, the Temple and its surrounding buildings and grounds served as the cultural, economic, judicial, legal, and political hub of first century Jewish life. More importantly, the Temple was the spiritual center for all Jewish people: a site of pilgrimage, prayer, and study. It was the place where God manifested himself to his faithful people.
As Passover approached, Jesus joined his brothers and sisters in faith in pilgrimage to the Temple. When he entered the enclosure and found that the Temple had been turned into something more like a marketplace than a place for worship, he expelled everyone who was using it for their own selfish profit and purpose.
Throughout history, much of the art that illustrates this scene depicts Jesus as angry and stern. For example, please see the image here on our website (above). Indeed, Jesus must have been rightly frustrated by those who used the Temple for their own personal agenda or advantage. However, the Gospel of John also tells us that Jesus understood human nature. Jesus knew that even the most faithful worshippers were sinners: broken and blinded by their own interests, jealousies, and passions. And Jesus knew that each of them ultimately depended on God’s grace and mercy.
For us, our parish church and campus serve similar purposes. This is the place for prayer, fellowship, and service. This is the place where we express and renew our common bonds of community, faith, and friendship. This is the place where we learn about God’s Word and the teachings of God’s Holy Church; come together to serve our neighbors in need; and gather to worship the God who makes himself present to us through his sacraments of love and mercy.
Last week, I wrote to you about the spirit of joy, optimism, and perseverance that grows in our parish community. Each day, I see this spirit in the faces of those who attend Mass, work tirelessly as volunteers or pastoral team members, and give so generously to support our mission and programs. I marvel at their commitment and devotion to our parish. And I am so very grateful for their presence in my life and in the shared life of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport.
As your pastor, I also know that some of our brothers and sisters are not happy with me or with the collaborative effort that brought us together last year. Unlike Jesus, I cannot and would not drive them out. I can only ask you to join me in praying that each of us will look into our hearts, examine our consciences, have faith, and see that God is at work among us in ways tried and true, and in ways bold, new and miraculous. During this season of sacrifice, we owe that to God and to everyone in our parish.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Assisi Project Online Retreat
Lent with Saint Francis of Assisi
Week III: “Callings”
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 Third Week of Lent, we will read a passage from the “Testament” of Saint Clare of Assisi and pray with a reflection entitled “Callings” which encourages us to consider how God calls each one of us to fulfill a unique vocation in life, an individual calling that beckons us to love God and love others. 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 email@example.com. 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 was to raise $20,000 between now and March 20th, which is the first day of spring. We have surpassed our goal with more than $20,300 in donations. Thank you! At Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, our goal is to raise $10,000 between now and March 20th. So far, we have received $6,779 in donations. Thank you!
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!
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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