Our Pastor’s Message
Pastoral Planning Update

A Call to Discernment, Prayer, and Participation

During a recent homily at Daily Mass in the Santa Marta Chapel in Vatican City, Pope Francis said: “The progress of the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit. How can I ensure that the voice that I hear is the voice of Jesus, that what I feel I have to do is prompted by the Holy Spirit? The answer is prayer. Without prayer, there is no place for the Spirit.” The Holy Father’s good guidance inspires me to write to you about the pastoral planning process in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport (now underway); and to ask for your discernment, prayers, and participation.

As part of “Disciples in Mission”, Cardinal Sean’s plan for reorganizing and renewing the parishes of the Archdiocese of Boston, each new collaborative has been asked to complete a comprehensive pastoral plan for the future. Earlier this year, with advice from parishioners and members of our pastoral team, I appointed a pastoral planning team that includes myself, Dawn Alves, Cliff Garvey, and Jane Russo (all members of our staff); Andrea Ando and Sarah Gindel of Rockport; and Peter Brau, Ann Marie Noble, and Lori Thorstensen of Gloucester. These parishioners represent both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish; and they offer unique and positive perspectives on faith and life in the Catholic Church. By the time you read this message, our pastoral team will have completed more than thirty hours of training in evangelization and leadership; and our pastoral planning team will have completed twelve hours of training and held its first meeting. As we approach mid-summer, this group will begin to meet more frequently and begin drafting what will become our long-term pastoral plan.

At the first meeting of our pastoral plan team, members were asked to contribute three strengths and three opportunities for strengthening our parish communities. Some of the strengths included our Summer Retreats, Advent & Lent Missions, and the recent celebration of the Holly Triduum. Members strongly believed that these events (and others) bring together parishioners from our two parishes as one community united in prayer, fellowship, and service. Other strengths included our redesigned bulletin, website, and longstanding “hands-on ministries” such as the Legion of Mary and Saint Vincent De Paul Society. Opportunities for strengthening our parishes included reaching out to Catholics who currently do not attend Mass; offering training and enrichment to our corps of dedicated volunteers (e.g. altar servers, catechists, and lectors); and building a culture in both parishes that encourages both broad participation and stewardship. And needless to say, our team agrees that addressing the maintenance challenges at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish must be a high priority in the coming months and years.

Members of the pastoral team were also asked to contribute one “big idea” that they would like to see implemented if that idea could be guaranteed not to fail. Among these ideas were an ongoing commitment to ensure that our liturgies and programs are relevant and engaging; a renewed dedication to Eucharistic Adoration; an effective youth ministry program; revitalized youth faith formation programs; follow-up programs for adults who are newly baptized or confirmed; and the possibility of creating a retreat house at Saint Ann Rectory. There is no shortage of good ideas!

In the coming weeks and months, I will ask as finance councils, combined parish councils, representatives of our various parish ministries and organizations, and pastoral team to take part in this same exercise of identifying strengths, opportunities, and new ideas for the future. But I also ask for your good advice and wise counsel as part of this pastoral planning process. Pope Francis reminds us that the future of the Church is the work of the Spirit and our understanding of the Spirit is the product of discernment and prayer. And so, I invite you to pray about strengths, opportunities, and ideas, and to share them with me after Mass, by phone at 978-281-4820, or by e-mail at You can also share your ideas and suggestions with Cliff Garvey, who helps guide our pastoral planning process. Cliff can be reached by phone at 978-281-4820; by e-mail at; or by making an appointment to meet with him. Your constructive, positive, and prayerful contributions will be much appreciated and will help ensure that our pastoral plan reflects the best ideas and collective wisdom of both our team and our parishioners.

On a related note, a few parishioners have suggested that we model ourselves after the parish profiled in the book entitled “Rebuilt” which chronicles the renewal of parish life at the Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland. Some of the training that our team has received from the Archdiocese of Boston and Catholic Leadership Institute is based on the best lessons and practices of this model. While I honor and respect the success of the “Rebuilt” parish, it is important to remember that every parish is unique, faces its own unique challenges, and receives its own unique blessings. Therefore, we must find our own way by doing what is best for us here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Thank you in advance for your prayers, discernment, and participation in this pastoral planning process!

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport


Litany for Liberty
May God Bless America!

Christ the Lord has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Let us turn to him in humble but fervent petition,
seeking grace to root out from our hearts all traces of darkness,
and all that holds us back from walking in the full freedom of the children of God.
As Christ is our great model for that inner freedom,
which enables us to do what is right,
let us turn to him with confidence so that we may follow him
into the fullness of spiritual freedom.

Lord have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Jesus, victor over sin and death: Free our hearts.
Jesus, source of light and hope: Free our hearts.
Jesus, fullness of truth and mystery: Free our hearts.
Jesus, teacher of seeking hearts: Free our hearts.
Jesus, healer of body and soul: Free our hearts.
Jesus, who humbles the heart and mind: Free our hearts.
Jesus, release of captives: Free our hearts.
Jesus, voice against violence: Free our hearts.
Jesus, courage of the downtrodden: Free our hearts.
Jesus, origin of all authority and power: Free our hearts.
Jesus, true lawgiver: Free our hearts.
Jesus, unity of passion and order: Free our hearts.
Jesus, freedom of the Holy Spirit: Free our hearts.
Jesus, obedient Son of the Father: Free our hearts.

For the freedom to love: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to believe: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to hope: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to worship: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to serve in charity: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to care for the suffering: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to comfort the sick: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to feed the hungry: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to shelter the homeless: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to proclaim the Gospel: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to walk in chastity: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to live in peace: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to work in good conscience: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to stand in solidarity: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to seek justice: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to reject sin: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to reject coercion: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to reject falsehood: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to reject temptation: Give us your peace.
For the freedom to reject injustice: Give us your peace.

Almighty God and Father,
Who gave one origin to all peoples
and willed to gather them into one family for yourself,
fill all hearts with the fire of your love
and kindle in us a desire for the just advancement of our neighbors,
so that through the good things which you bestow on us all,
each human person may be brought to perfection,
every division removed,
and equity and justice established in society.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God for ever and ever. Amen.

Litany: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops |
Prayer: Collect for the Mass for the Progress of the Peoples | Roman Missal, Third Edition


Summer Retreat for Adults
“A Good Life”
Begins Sunday, July 26th

Summer is a great time of year for retreat; for stepping back from the business and busy-ness of life in order to focus on our personal relationship with Christ and His Church. Unfortunately, few among us have an opportunity to leave work, family, and friends for a real retreat from the world. For this reason, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is happy to announce its Second Annual Summer Retreat! Beginning on Sunday, July 26th and concluding on Friday, July 31st, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a unique chance to experience the peace and quiet of a week-long retreat without leaving home.

Our retreat will be based on Robert Benson’s book, “A Good Life”, which offers a modern interpretation of the ancient rule of Saint Benedict of Nursia, the founder of western monasticism. This little book provides practical wisdom for achieving a real balance in our increasingly busy lives through work, rest, prayer, and community. Each evening of our retreat will begin promptly at 7:00pm in Saint Anthony Chapel with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After that, Father Jim and Cliff will lead the group in a spiritual exercise, discussion, and faith sharing. We will conclude at 8:30pm with Night Prayer.

Between meetings, participants will be asked to read and reflect upon five selections from Benson’s book (approximately 25 easy pages each day). Also, during each day of the retreat, Saint Anthony Chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent personal prayer and study. If you feel called to join us on our second annual summer retreat, then please contact Cliff Garvey at 978-281-4820 or A donation of $25.00 is requested from those who can afford it. Copies of the book, along with coffee, tea, and cold water, will be provided. Please join us! All are welcome!


Knights of Columbus
Second Tuesday of the Month

The Knights of Columbus is an organization of men that remains true to its founding principles of charity, unity, and fraternity. Founded in 1882, the Knights remain an organization dedicated to the mutal assistance of members and their families, but also to serving the disabled, the poor, and the sick. In addition, the Knights sponsor educational, charitable, and religious programs. Council 215 serves the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport at Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 14th at 7:00pm in Holy Family Parish Center. For more information about joining the Knights of Columbus, please visit our website at or contact Peter Brau at Please join us! All are welcome!


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 Please join us! All are welcome!

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