Our Pastor’s Message
The Future of Youth Faith Formation
Since becoming your pastor, I have been praying and thinking a great deal about youth faith formation, youth ministry, and sacramental preparation for children. In a bulletin message last month, I wrote about my research into how these ministries are accomplished in other collaboratives and parishes in both the Archdiocese of Boston and around the country. Since then, I have consulted with priests and pastors, experts in the field of youth faith formation and youth ministry, and fellow parishioners about the future of these programs in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport.
As a result of this research, I have reached two important conclusions about the future of children’s catechesis. First, the traditional way of teaching our children and grandchildren about Christ and His Church (classroom model) may no longer be the best way of passing our faith along to the next generation. Second, a consensus is emerging in other collaboratives and large parishes that we should focus our energies and resources on sacramental preparation, good & family-friendly liturgies, lifelong faith formation, and by being bold, creative, and innovative about inviting and welcoming people of all ages and generations back to church.
After much prayer, consultation, and consideration, therefore, I have decided that beginning immediately, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will embark on a groundbreaking journey to reimagine, rebuild, and restructure our youth faith formation programs in both parishes and at all grade levels. During the coming school year (which we should consider a transitional year), we will focus almost exclusively on preparing young children for First Penance & Reconciliation and First Holy Communion (Grades 1-2); and on preparing teenagers for Confirmation (Grade 9-10). In the next couple of weeks, the parents of children and teenagers at those grade levels will be contacted by me and invited to enroll their sons and daughters in our program. The parents of children at other grade levels will be contacted later (early fall) about upcoming opportunities for children to learn about the beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic Church. But please be assured that the Sacraments of First Penance, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation will be celebrated as planned during the coming year at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish.
As you know, “Disciples in Mission” (the archdiocesan pastoral plan that created our collaborative) brought together our two historic parishes under the leadership of one pastor and one pastoral team. Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we now have one pastor, one pastoral office, one administrative assistant, one business manager, one facilities manager, one pastoral minister who coordinates care for the homebound and sick, one Associate Minister for Music, and one Associate Minister who assists me in countless ways and coordinates many of our adult faith formation programs. According to this plan, we should also have one lay minister to coordinate the youth faith formation programs in our two parishes. So again, after much prayer, consultation, and consideration, I have decided to restructure our youth faith formation programs and the leadership of those programs. Instead of having two programs and two directors of youth faith formation, we will have one collaborative program (serving both parishes) and one Associate Minster for Youth Faith Formation.
Under the guidance and supervision of the pastor, the Associate Minister for Youth Faith Formation will be responsible for creating an innovative faith formation program that transcends the traditional classroom model and focuses on the following core components: sacramental preparation; catechetical programs for children in elementary and middle school; catechetical programs for parents and families; post-Confirmation youth ministry and service programs; and recruiting and training catechists and volunteers to share the faith with our youngest fellow parishioners. This position is now posted here and at bostoncatholic.org; catholicjobs.com; and indeed.com. All qualified candidates from both within and beyond our parish communities are welcome to apply for this position.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives his disciples the “Great Commission” and says to them: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).” Ever mindful of the Lord’s promise, let us renew our dedication to the “Great Commission” by celebrating the sacraments, by teaching our children and grandchildren, and by creating new generations of disciples that will pass on the beliefs and traditions of God’s Church until the end of the age. Change is never easy. I truly understand and appreciate that these decisions will be difficult for many of our fellow parishioners to accept. In my heart, however, I am convinced that these decisions are in the long-term, best interests of our parishes. Thank you in advance for your patience and continued support. Let us continue to pray for each other and for our parishes!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Summer Barbecue & Rosary
Sunday August 2nd
All are welcome to join Father Jim and the Assisi Project for their Eighth Annual Summer Barbecue on Sunday, August 2nd beginning with Mass at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, we will adjourn to the parish hall for a traditional barbecue of hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks, summer salads, and desserts. At 3:00pm, we will gather again in the church for Eucharistic Adoration, the Franciscan Rosary, and Evening Prayer in celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels, one of the most important feasts in the Franciscan calendar. All are invited to join us for all or just part of this special day of prayer and fellowship!
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is an international fellowship of ‘Franciscans in Spirit’ with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. For more information about the Assisi Project, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit our website at assisiproject.com. Please join us! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
Mother of Grace Club
Holy Rosary | August 3rd-15th
In preparation for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, August 15th, the Mother of Grace Club (which is located at 48 Washington Street in Gloucester) invites all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport to join them in praying the Holy Rosary every day at 1:00pm. Please join us as we honor Our Blessed Mother and commemorate his assumption into heaven. All are welcome!
Adult Faith Formation
Registration Now Underway!
If you are an adult (age 18 and over) and have not received the Sacraments of Baptism, Penance & Reconciliation (Confession), Holy Eucharist, or Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church, then please consider joining us for our adult faith formation program which will meet on Sunday mornings after our 8:15am Mass beginning on Sunday, September 27th in Saint Ann Parish House.
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter. Our group meets bi-weekly to learn about the basic beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church. As part of this same process, our Adult Confirmation Program prepares adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation and focuses on the challenges of living a life of faith in the modern world. If you would like to join us for this journey of faith and become part of this unique fellowship in preparation for the sacraments of God’s Church, please complete a registration form (see below) or contact Cliff Garvey 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 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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