FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Our Pastor’s Message
“Whoever Serves Me Must Follow Me”

In this weekend’s gospel reading, Jesus says to some of his disciples: “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be (John 12:26).” This passage reminds me of a memorable dinner that I was blessed to share recently with some of our fellow parishioners. All of them were born and raised on the island. All are longtime parishioners at either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. And all of them have been close friends for many years. During our dinner, one parishioner, a lifelong member of Holy Family Parish, asked about our upcoming worship schedule for Holy Week. I answered by reciting the schedule that appears below. Alas, I noticed a raised eyebrow and a disappointed shaking of heads as I talked about our plans for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.

So I explained that as the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will imitate the apostles on Holy Thursday and gather as one community of disciples at Saint Ann Church (the largest of our four churches) to celebrate together Christ’s institution of both the ordained priesthood and the Holy Eucharist. After Mass on Holy Thursday, our community will process with the Blessed Sacrament from Saint Ann Church to Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Beginning on Holy Thursday, Our Lady’s Church will serve as the chapel of reposition for the Blessed Sacrament during the Holy Triduum and will remain open until midnight for silent personal prayer and veneration of Christ’s real presence in the Holy Eucharist. I also explained that on Holy Saturday, our parishes will gather again as one community of faith for the Easter Vigil. Once again, we will imitate the disciples who gathered as one community of believers to celebrate the miracle of the Lord’s glorious resurrection.

What happened next was a moment of pure grace. One of our fellow parishioners spoke emotionally about the many changes that she has experienced over the years as a parishioner at Saint Ann Church. She spoke about the merging of parishes, the closing of schools, the slow deterioration of parish buildings, and even the scheduling of some recent programs and special events at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. She told me that all of these changes have challenged her faith, but that she remains both faith-filled and faithful to the church. She remains confident that Christ will never abandon his people on this island. She takes great comfort in Christ’s abiding presence in the Eucharist in all of the churches in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. And alluding to our procession from Saint Ann Church to Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on Holy Thursday, she said that wherever Christ goes, she will follow him, even if that means following him beyond Saint Ann Church to Saint Joachim Church, Saint Anthony Chapel, or Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. With tears in her eyes, she said: “Father Jim, wherever Jesus is, I will be there, no matter what. I promise you that.” Such powerful words! Such an amazing grace! I remain awestruck by our fellow parishioner’s deep and profound faith in Christ and his church.

I know how she feels. As many parishioners know, I was raised at Saint Anthony Church in Cambridge. I was baptized there, received First Holy Communion there, and made my Confirmation there. As a college student, I taught religious education classes there. Two of my beloved grandparents were buried from there. My sister was married there. Surrounded by my family and friends, I celebrated my first Mass there. And for nearly five years, I was truly blessed to serve as the parochial vicar at my family’s home parish. Few priests are lucky enough to serve the people of their home parishes in this way. I dearly love my home parish. And I will always miss it and its good and faithful people.

But the Lord calls us to change, grow, and deepen our faith in unexpected ways. He calls us to discipleship not just in a single church or parish, but to the universal church which is the Body of Christ. The Lord calls us to follow him in prayer, fellowship, and service — wherever he leads us. He challenges our comfort and complacency. And just as we depend on him for consolation and guidance, he depends on us to walk with him even when it hurts, even when the cross seems too heavy. During Lent, the Lord calls us to sacrifice and surrender our lives to his endless love and mercy. And during Holy Week, he calls us to gather as one people to commemorate together his passion and death, and ultimately to celebrate together his resurrection.

In this weekend’s gospel reading, Jesus says: “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me (John 12:26).” Let us pray for the courage and strength to follow him, wherever he leads us. Let us pray for the humility and perseverance to serve him in whatever way he asks us. And let us pray that God will continue to bless and honor those who serve his church on this beautiful island and beyond.

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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Lent Mission & Retreat
Mercy & Discipleship
March 25th-March 27th

All are invited to join us for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s “Lent Mission & Retreat” from Wednesday, March 25th through Friday, March 27th at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Mass at 7:00pm, followed by a reflection based on the theme of “Mercy & Discipleship.” In addition, Confessions will be heard from 6:00pm until 6:45pm during each evening of the retreat.

Our guest celebrant and homilist will be the Reverend Gary M. Gurtler, S.J. Father Gurtler is a member of the Society of Jesus, a graduate of Fordham University, and since 1992, he has served as an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. In addition, Father Gurtler serves as priest-chaplain for the Hispanic Community at Saint Charles Borromeo Church in Woburn.

The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s “Lent Mission & Retreat” is free and open to the general public. Donations will be gratefully accepted during each evening of our retreat during the celebration of Mass. For more information, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are welcome!

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Our Holy Week Schedule

This year, Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish will gather as one community to commemorate Christ’s passion and to celebrate his glorious resurrection. All are invited to join us at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s observance of the Holy Triduum and Easter Sunday. All are welcome!

Palm Sunday, March 29th
Regular Mass Schedule

Monday, March 30th-Wedneday, April 1st
Regular Mass Schedule

Holy Thursday, April 2nd
Morning Prayer | Our Lady of Good Voyage Church | 8:30am
Mass of the Lord’s Supper | Saint Ann Church | 7:00pm

Good Friday, April 3rd
Morning Prayer | Our Lady of Good Voyage Church | 8:30am
Stations of the Cross | Saint Ann Church | 12:00pm
Good Friday Service | Saint Joachim Church | 3:00pm
Good Friday Service | Our Lady of Good Voyage Church | 7:00pm

Holy Saturday, April 4th
Morning Prayer | Saint Ann Church | 8:30am
Easter Vigil Mass | Saint Ann Church | 7:30pm
Note: No Morning Mass & No Sunday Vigil Masses

Easter Sunday, April 5th
Regular Mass Schedule

Please invite your family, friends, and neighbors to join us! For more information about Holy Week and Easter in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are welcome!

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Assisi Project Online Retreat
Lent with Saint Francis of Assisi
Week V: “Teachers & Lessons”

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 reflection designed to bring us closer to Christ Jesus through the in- spiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Please join us at assisiproject.com!

During the Fifth Week of Lent, we will pray with the Prayer of Saint Francis and with a reflection about the “Teachers & Lessons.” This reflection reminds us that for Saint Francis and hopefully for us, Christ Jesus is the ultimate teacher and role model who teaches us how to live, die, love, and rise to new life. For more information about the Assisi Project, please visit our website, see Father Jim before or after Mass, or contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com or 978-281-4820. May the Lord give you peace!

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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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