Our Pastor’s Message
The Blank Check
Last weekend at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Cardinal Sean ordained five men to the priesthood. During their ordination Mass, the Cardinal said this about the new priests: “Each of them is giving the Church a blank check…In this case, the blank check is their lives, which they are handing over to God for the sake of the Church. They are putting their signature on the check and letting God fill in the rest.” Until reading Cardinal Sean’s homily, I had never really thought about the blank check that I signed just over twelve years ago at my ordination to the diocesan priesthood. Back then, I regarded my ordination as the culmination of a long journey of discernment, prayer, and preparation for the celebration of the sacraments of God’s Holy Church and for pastoral ministry to God’s good and faithful people. But now, as a pastor, my perspective has changed somewhat.
Last June, in what seems now like the blink of an eye, I went from being an assistant pastor at my small home parish in Cambridge to being the pastor of a large collaborative of two parishes — each with its own unique blessings and challenges. Established one year ago, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is a collaborative of two historic parishes: Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Although we remain two canonically distinct and self-supportive parishes, we have also joined hearts and hands as one community of faith that is united more and more in prayer, fellowship, and service. Our community consists of four churches, eleven buildings, and more than four thousand parish families. And one year later, it remains the highest honor and truest joy of my life to serve as your pastor.
Sometimes, however, it seems like God has filled in that proverbial blank check and there is not enough spiritual capital in my account! Of course, I am not alone in sometimes feeling this way. Spouses sometimes feel this way. Parents sometimes feel this way. Adult children of aging loved ones sometimes feel this way. Anyone who balances work and family sometimes feels this way. But we are never alone! Our Lord and Savior stands ready to forgive us, to love us, and to give us the strength needed to balance and carry the heavy burdens of life’s competing demands and sacrifices.
I am so lucky! I am blessed with friends and family who love me. I am blessed with a pastoral team and a corps of volunteers that helps me to minister to the needs of our fellow parishioners. And I am blessed beyond measure by the love and support of so many of you. During the past year, I have been fortified and strengthened by your encouragement, friendship, kindness, and patience. Most of all, I have been supported by your daily prayers for me and for our parishes. Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, I could not do what I am called to do as a priest and pastor without your prayers.
This weekend, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport celebrates its first anniversary. As we begin our second year together, I offer you my thanks for your generous gifts of time, talent, and treasure. I offer you my thanks for your warm welcome and your willingness to endure and embrace the changes that come during this time of renewal in the Catholic Church. I offer you my most sincere thanks for your prayers for me, for our pastoral team, and for all who live, work, and worship in Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. As we forge ahead, let us continue to pray for each other. Let us ask Christ Jesus to bless us, guide us, and strengthen us for the challenges ahead. And let us pray that through the sacraments, especially the Body and Blood of Christ, we may each be blessed with the courage and faith to offer the blank check of our lives in a true spirit of prayer, fellowship, and service to God, to each other, and to our parish communities. Thank you! May God bless you now and always!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Welcome Father Taggart
As you read this week’s message, please keep in mind that I will be away on vacation in the Azores with my parents, godparents, extended family, and a large group of friends and fellow parishioners. During the weekend of June 6th and June 7th, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is blessed to welcome Father James Taggart, a Missionary Priest of the Oblates of Mary, who will celebrate Masses at Holy Family Parish and preach about his missionary work. Please note that a second collection will be taken at Holy Family Parish to support the Oblates and their missionary ministries around the world. Your generous support will be much appreciated! Please join me in thanking and welcoming Father Taggart to our community!
Also, our warm welcome and thanks go to Father Corbert Walsh, SJ who will celebrate the 11:45am Mass at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on Sunday, June 7th. Thank you, Father Walsh! Finally, if God approves our plans, I will return from vacation on Friday, June 12th. Until then, please pray for safe travels! Please pray for Father Alves, Father Gariboldi, and our pastoral team. And be assured of my prayers for you and your family during this time of rest, recreation, and reflection. Thank you! God bless you!
Saturday at Saint Anthony Chapel
Saturday, June 13th
We often think of Saint Anthony as the patron of lost things. However, Saint Anthony is also patron of fishermen and mariners, pregnant mothers, the elderly, and the poor. In celebration of the Feast of Saint Anthony, all are welcome to join us for “Saturday at Saint Anthony Chapel” on June 13th. Our day of prayer and devotion will begin with Morning Prayer and the Franciscan Rosary at 7:00am, followed by Mass at 8:00am.
Beginning at 9:00am, we will begin ten hours of silent Eucharist Adoration, marking the top of each hour by praying a Novena to Saint Anthony for the intentions of all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Please note that at 12:00pm, we will pray Daytime Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. We will conclude with Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 7:00pm. In order to ensure the success of this special day of prayer for the intentions of our parish communities, volunteers are needed to stand watch with the Blessed Sacrament. If you are able to spend an hour (or more) in adoration of the Real Presence of Christ, please contact Jane Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Holy Name Society Summer Fair
Saturday, June 20th
All are welcome to join the Holy Name Society and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish for the annual “Summer Fair” on Saturday, June 20th from 9:00am until 1:00pm in the Parish Hall. Highlights will include a fried dough breakfast, freshly baked Portugese sweet bread, original artwork, and fun activities for kids (including an outdoor bounce house)! In addition, the Summer Fair will feature for sale many pieces of original artwork by our fellow parishioner, Theresa Wonson, and her friends, the Mount Vernon Artists. Last but not least, all are welcome to browse our boutique items and yard sale. Donations and volunteers are needed! Donations for the yard sale can be brought to Our Lady’s Rectory during the week from 9:00am until 2:00pm. For more information, please contact Bill Proposki at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
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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