Our Pastor’s Message
Everyday Miracles in the Life of the Church
Later this week, the Church will celebrate the Feast of Saint Gregory the Great, a sixth century Pope and Doctor of the Church. Saint Gregory is remembered and venerated for his countless contributions to liturgy, literature, and music. He is also widely remembered for a breathtaking miracle. As Pope Gregory raised the Host during Mass, it was miraculously transformed into the actual Body of Christ, who appeared to the congregation as the Man of Sorrows. As a parish priest for more than twelve years, I have never been blessed by this kind of miraculous occurrence. But I can still marvel at the small miracles that happen among us each and every day! Here are just three examples:
Earlier this summer, I was amazed when a man who had long ago rejected his faith agreed to pray with me and be anointed with the Sacrament of the Sick. He was dying, depressed, and hopeless, but knew in his heart that God was with him and his family. He blessed himself, held my hand, and recited the prayers of his childhood. While not a conversion experience, God’s consolation brightened a dark hospital room and brought peace to a dying man.
Last month, I was approached by a little brother in Christ after Mass in front of Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. This boy is just three years old and he watched as I prayed with and blessed a grieving family. All of a sudden, the boy ran to me and asked: “Father, can you bless me, too?” Barely able to control my emotions, I knelt, placed my hands over his little head, and begged the Lord to bless and protect this child and his family. After invoking the blessing of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the boy smiled peacefully and waddled off into the arms of his astonished mother.
And just last weekend, I watched in wonder as a member of our pastoral team talked with a troubled parishioner in the back of one of our churches for more than an hour. After their conversation, one could see the peace on the face of that fellow parishioner. In fact, one could almost literally see how the grace of God had worked in what could have been a very difficult situation.
As Catholics, we believe and know in our hearts that Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament, in the other sacraments of the Church, and in the good works of our families, friends, and fellow parishioners. Such miracles are happening all around us! God’s boundless love is at work in our busy lives! His abundant grace is at work in our troubled world! Let us pray for the grace to see it, embrace it, and act on it! Amen! Amen!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Saturday, August 29th
A summer tradition continues this weekend to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! The second in our annual series of Summer Carillon Concerts is scheduled for this Saturday, August 29th at 5:00pm (rain or shine). This summer, Luann Pallazola, our own very talented organist-keyboardist, has prepared programs that include familiar classical and international pieces, popular hymns, patriotic melodies, and even some children’s tunes.
Installed in 1922, the carillon bells in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church were the first toned set of carillon bells in the United States. Although our bells can be heard from several blocks away, the sound is best close to the church. So bring a coffee, cold drink, or snack and enjoy this wonderful Gloucester tradition! Other concerts are scheduled for the following Saturday afternoons at 5:00pm: September 5th, and September 12th. These recitals are free and open to the public! For more information, please contact LuAnn Pallazola at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
Learning the Liturgy of the Hours
September 15th through September 17th
In his First Letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul writes: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess 5:16).” For centuries, Christians have puzzled over what it means to pray without ceasing. But one ancient practice provides an answer: the Liturgy of the Hours. Since the middle ages, the Church has used a daily practice of prayer called the “Divine Office” or “Liturgy of the Hours” to mark and sanctify the various hours or times of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night. It uses a four-week cycle of psalms, canticles, and scripture readings to draw us into deeper relationship with Christ and the Church by uniting us with the Lord and each other through prayers or petition, praise, and thanksgiving.
At ordination, our deacons and priest make solemn promises to pray with the Divine Office each and every day. However, the Liturgy of the Hours is not just for deacons, priests, and those consecrated to religious life. Countless lay men and women around the world make the Liturgy of the Hours the foundation of their daily prayer and worship. Indeed, in Canticum Laudis, the Apostolic Constitution of the Church, we read: “The purpose of the Divine Office is to sanctify the day and all human activity. The Divine Office is the prayer not only of the clergy but of the whole People of God.”
During our recent summer retreat, which was based on the prayer and spirituality of Saint Benedict (the founder of western monasticism), many parishioners asked about the Liturgy of the Hours. What is it? Can I pray it, too? How does it work? In response to that spiritual hunger for more information and instruction, Father Jim and Cliff Garvey will host a special three night mini-course entitled “Learning the Liturgy of the Hours” from Tuesday, September 15th through Thursday, September 17th from 6:30pm until 8:00pm at Saint Anthony Chapel.
Each evening of the mini-course will begin with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After praying together, Father Jim and Cliff will offer a reflection on some aspect of the Divine Office and advice on how to pray it alone or in small groups. Each evening will include time for discussion and questions. And finally, we will conclude with Night Prayer. This mini-course is free but one volume editions of the Liturgy of the Hours will be available for purchase. If you would like to enroll in this special program, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! 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, October 4th th 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
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