Our Pastor’s Message
I don’t know about you, but life seems to be getting more and more busy. I hear this from parishioners and I experience it in my own life. Family. Friends. Finances. Mass. Ministry. Meetings. Paperwork. Yard work. The list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a priest. I love being a pastor. I love my family and friends. And I love my work. But sometimes I feel like something is a bit off; like life is somehow out of balance. If you have a spouse, children, grandchildren, commute to work, or own a business, then you probably feel this way, too.
A parishioner recently gave me a book on leadership by Carl Koch who writes: “Even Jesus needed time alone to ground himself in his calling, his values, his core beliefs, and his commitment to the Good News…Time in the wilderness allows us to answer that key spiritual question: Where am I?” Most of us, including myself, would answer this question by reciting our role or vocation in life: priest, parent, grandparent, spouse, business owner, manager, teacher, etc. But Koch is really asking about our deepest identity as a person, as a child of God. He is asking: are we living our lives on autopilot? Are we wearing our job as a mask? Are we still focused on our core values and beliefs? Are we still focused on our personal relationship with Christ? Are we still aiming for eternal life in all that we think, do, and say?
As a priest, I am expected to make an annual retreat to help ensure that these questions are considered and reconsidered at least once during each busy year. Unfortunately, too few of us have this kind of opportunity to follow Christ into the wilderness for a period of prayer, rest, and retreat. Most of us are too busy with our families and our jobs to make a retreat. Most of us are working too hard to focus on anything other than making ends meet for ourselves and our families. And most of us are just too busy balancing our life’s competing responsibilities to even think about answering the spiritual question: Where am I?
For these reasons, I invite you to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport for our Second Annual Summer Retreat from Sunday, July 26th through Friday, July 31st at Saint Anthony’s Chapel. Each evening at 7:00pm, we will begin with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours as a way of both sanctifying the day and offering the cares and concerns of the day to our Lord and Savior. After praying together as a community, Cliff Garvey and I will lead those who join us in a spiritual exercise, followed by a period of discussion and faith sharing. Each evening of the retreat will conclude with Night Prayer at 8:30pm. Our hope is that you will be able to join us for each of the retreat, but if you can only join us once or twice, please do not hesitate to sign up!
Although Cliff and I will lead the summer retreat, our true spiritual guides will be Christ and Saint Benedict of Nursia, whose life and times straddled the fifth and sixth centuries. What does Saint Benedict have to teach us fifteen centuries after his death? A great deal, actually! Benedict is considered the “founder of western monasticism” and his rule of life (written for the monks who followed him) is all about achieving balance, maintaining that balance, and living a good and holy life. Benedict’s rule offers a practical plan for balancing work, rest, community, and prayer in order to achieve calm, fulfillment, and peace in our daily lives. Our retreat will be based on Robert Benson’s short and easy-to-read book entitled “A Good Life” which offers a modern interpretation of Benedict’s rule and a realistic plan to achieve, maintain, and restore balance in our increasingly busy lives.
If you would like to join us for this unique retreat experience, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com or 978-281-4820 (see details below). If you are unable to join us on retreat, you can still benefit from Saint Benedict’s ancient and timeless wisdom by answering his call to live a more deliberate and balanced life; by renewing your personal commitment to prayer; by listening for God’s voice in your life; by obtaining a copy of Benson’s book and following along with us during the week; or by spending some time in silent prayer throughout the week. During our summer retreat week, Saint Anthony’s Chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent prayer and reflection.
As our summer retreat approaches, let us continue to pray for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Let us pray that we might achieve, maintain, or restore some balance in our busy lives. Let us pray for the grace to remember that Christ Jesus is the true center of our lives regardless of our family and professional obligations. And let us pray that we might grow closer to Him through a renewed commitment to prayer, fellowship, and service. Saint Benedict, pray for us!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Summer Retreat for Adults
“A Good Life”
Begins Sunday, July 16th
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Feast of Saint Benedict
Saturday, July 11th
The Call of Saint Benedict
On Saturday, July 11th, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia (480-543), the founder of western monasticism. The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Second Annual Summer Retreat (see above) will be based on the ancient wisdom of this powerful saint. As parishioners discerning the call to retreat, all parishioners, friends, and guest of our parish communities are invited to pray for the intercession of Saint Benedict and to prayerfully consider the “Call of Saint Benedict” which comes from his ancient rule of life:
Seeking his workers in a multitude of people,
the Lord calls out and lifts his voice again:
Is there anyone here who yearns for life
and desires to see good days?
Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God,
and our ears to the voice from heaven
that every day calls out this charge:
If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts!
We must, then, prepare our hearts and bodies
for the battle of holy obedience to his instructions.
What is not possible to us by nature,
let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.
We intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.
In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down
nothing harsh, nothing burdensome.
The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us
to a little strictness in order
to amend faults and safeguard love.
Do not be daunted immediately by fear
and run away from the road.
It is bound to be narrow at the outset.
But as we progress in this way of life and in faith,
we shall run on the path of God’s commandments,
our hearts overflowing
with the inexpressible delight of love.
Listen carefully to these instructions,
and attend to them with the ear of your heart.
It is advice from one who loves you;
welcome it and faithfully put it into practice.
Almighty God and Father,
you appointed Saint Benedict
to be a wise master in the school of your service.
Give us the grace to put your love before all else,
and so run with joy in the way of your commandments.
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.
Saint Benedict, pray for us!
“The Ring of Peter: A Story of Assisi”
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is an international fellowship of “Franciscans in Spirit” that seeks to help adults more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. All are invited to join us at assisiproject.com for a new reflection by Cliff Garvey about how a chance encounter with Pope Benedict XVI in Assisi changed his life forever. For more information about the Assisi Project, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff at 978-281-4820 or email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome! Saint Francis, pray for us! Saint Clare, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!
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 worship sites include Saint Ann Church in Gloucester, Saint Anthony 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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