FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Our Pastor’s Message:
“God so loved the world…”

Nicodemus appears three times in the Gospel of John. In chapter three, Nicodemus is a Pharisee or Jewish leader who recognizes that Jesus is a teacher sent from heaven. In chapter seven, Nicodemus advises the Pharisees to listen to Jesus before passing judgment on him. And in chapter nineteen, he provides the aloes and myrrh to embalm Jesus after the crucifixion. After the resurrection, tradition holds that Nicodemus was one of the first Christian disciples. In the Roman Catholic Church, Nicodemus is venerated as both a saint and martyr.

In this weekend’s Gospel reading, however, Nicodemus does not yet believe that Jesus is the Messiah. But Jesus still predicts his passion and resurrection (John 3:14-15). And then the narrator offers what has become one of the most famous and recognizable passages in scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” One Christian commentator writes that this verse contains the whole “gospel in a nutshell.”

Indeed, this famous passage contains essential truths about God and his relationship with us: God loves us; God sacrifices his Son for our sake; and God makes this sacrifice so that we might live with Him for all eternity. We know these things as basic components of our shared faith. But do we ever really pause and consider their momentous impacts on our lives? Do we ever stop and think how much God loves us, how much God has sacrificed for us, and how much God desires to be with us for all eternity?

If you are a parent or grandparent, then you know well the intense love that a parent has for a child. And if you know how much any parent loves their child, then just imagine the intensity of God’s divine and eternal love for Jesus. As human beings, we are imperfect parents, but God is perfect. As human children, we are imperfect children, but Jesus is perfect. Because we are all sinners, it is impossible for us to truly measure God’s boundless love for his only Son. But wait, there’s more!

Consider now the essential truth that God loves us (you and me) so much that he willingly sacrifices Jesus, his only Son, for our sake! Despite our brokenness, God surrenders Jesus to the world and its torments so that we (you and me) might one day join him in heaven! Through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, God reaches down from the heavens and holds us in an embrace that will last forever and ever.

As our Lenten journey continues, let us pray for the courage and grace to surrender our lives to God’s endless love and mercy. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” Amen!

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Contact: frjim@ccgronline.com

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Assisi Project Online Retreat
Lent with Saint Francis of Assisi
Week IV: “Faith”

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 Fourth Week of Lent, we will read again from the “Admonitions” of Saint Francis of Assisi and pray with a reflection entitled “Faith” which encourages us to practice the simple, but profoundly powerful, faith of the Poor One or “Poverello” of Assisi. 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 cgarvey@ccgronline.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!

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Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Winter Fuel & Utilities Collection

Like any household or family business, the winter season poses a serious financial challenge to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Each year, we pay tens of thousands of dollars in combined fuel & heating costs for our church, rectory, hall, and school. And whether you own or rent your home, you know that utility bills have risen dramatically this season!

This year, we ask all parishioners to give what they can to our Winter Fuel & Utilities Collection. Every contribution, whether it’s $1 or $10 or $100, goes directly to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Our goal is to raise $10,000 before the first day of spring. So far, we have raised $7,279! We will hold second collections at all Masses this weekend (March 14th-15th) in an effort to reach our goal! For more information about our Winter Fuel & Utilities Collection, please contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com or 978-281-4820. Thank you for your generous support of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish!

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About Us

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 frjim@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are welcome!

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