Our Pastor’s Message
Season of Peace, Year of Mercy
Last week, Pope Francis traveled to Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic for his first Apostolic Visit to Africa. For most of us, these countries are associated with seemingly endless stories of famine, poverty, and civil war. Upon his arrival in the Central African Republic, which has experienced heartbreaking hostility between political parties and its Christian and Muslim communities, Pope Francis announced: “I come as a pilgrim of peace and as an apostle of hope!” Indeed, throughout his week in Africa, the Holy Father encouraged and exhorted Christians around the world to follow his dramatic lead.
Despite our country’s ongoing economic challenges and political divisions; and despite the wrenching problems associated with abuse, addiction, hunger, and homelessness, most of us can scarcely imagine the daily strife that is faced by the people that Pope Francis visited in Africa. And yet, each one of us can still become a “pilgrim of peace” or an “apostle of hope” in our families, in our communities, in our parishes, and in our world.
We can give of our time, talent, and treasure to worthy causes like the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Charities, and Open Door. We can strive to settle differ- ences within friendships, families, and workplaces — disagreements and grudges that threaten the bonds of love and mutual assistance that are the foundation of every healthy relationship and organization. We can continue to build bridges of cooperation and prayer between our two historic parishes so that one day our daily prayer at Mass will be realized — that we will truly become a community of prayer, fellowship, and service. Most important of all, each and every one of us can become a “pilgrim of peace” and an “apostle of hope” by reconciling ourselves to the endless love and boundless mercy of Christ Jesus through the ways described above, through deepening our life of prayer, and through the sacraments of God’s Holy Church.
On Tuesday, December 8th, the Catholic Church around the world begins an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy: a season to seek peace among our families, friends, and colleagues; a time to promote peace and justice around the corner and around the world; and a year to accept the Lord’s gift of love and mercy into our hearts and lives. During the coming weeks, our bulletin and website will feature much more about the Jubilee Year of Mercy. But for now, let us rededicate ourselves during this Holy Season of Advent to pray for peace in our families, in our communities, in our country, and in our troubled world.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Youth Faith Formation News
Welcoming Betsy Works
Four months ago, I announced that the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport would embark on a groundbreaking journey to reimagine, rebuild and restructure our youth faith formation programs at all grade levels. Since that time, we have focused primarily on preparing students for the Sacraments of First Penance, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. We chose an exciting and well-received new curriculum for our 100 first and second grade students: RCL Benzinger’s acclaimed “Blessed Are We” program. Thanks to the good work of Pat Sears, Barry Kingston, & their youth ministry team at “New Spirit”, we held a very successful evening of prayer and reflection for our 58 Confirmation students. And we celebrated an incredible weekend of Family Masses in October, emphasizing the timeless truth that Mass is our best class and Jesus is our best teacher. A good start!
Now, I am delighted to announce that Betsy Works is joining our pastoral team as Associate Minister for Youth Faith Formation. Betsy is a person of deep faith and prayer who attends Daily Mass, serves as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, and has become an active member of the Assisi Project. She is also a dedicated, talented, and experienced educator who has served as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist, a mentor for student teachers, and most recently as an advocate for students with learning disabilities. Betsy’s experience, skills, and unique qualifications will be a true blessing to our program and to our students.
Since becoming your pastor eighteen months ago, I have come to know Betsy as a person of great compassion and commitment to her family, students, and parish. I look forward to working closely with her and our pastoral team in the coming months to create new and exciting ways to share the gift of faith with our youngest fellow parishioners. And I have full and absolute confidence in her ability to lead this important ministry.
Parishioners should know that we received many inquires and applications about this new position from applicants from both within and well beyond the Archdiocese of Boston. I am sincerely grateful to our fellow parishioners, Jennifer Dort, Rosa Ladd, and Bob Krause, for their good advice in helping me to reach this important decision. Their generous gifts of time and good counsel were invaluable. Betsy begins her ministry this week and will be introduced at Masses during the coming weeks. On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, I sincerely congratulate Betsy and warmly welcome her to our pastoral team! Finally, my thanks go to all parishioners for their ongoing support of youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Please pray for Betsy, for all of our catechists and volunteers, and for all of our students, parents, godparents, and grandparents! Thank you! May God bless you and your family!
Peace and blessings to all,
Holy Day of Obligation
Tuesday, December 8th
In honor of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Tuesday, December 8th, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:
- Monday, December 7th· Vigil Mass
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church· 4:00pm
- Tuesday, December 8th· Holy Day Masses
Saint Joachim Church· 8:00am
Saint Ann Church· 12:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church· 7:00pm
Since late antiquity, the People of God have believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was sinless & conceived immaculately in the womb of Saint Ann. However, this belief was not defined as doctrine until 1854. Since then, Our Lady has been named patron of many causes & nations, including the United States. So, please join us as we honor our Blessed Mother and beg her intercession for our families, our parishes & our country! All are welcome!
Advent Mission & Retreat
Mercy & Discipleship
All are invited to join us for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Advent Mission & Retreat from Tuesday, December 8th through Thursday, December 10th at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Mass at 7:00pm, followed by a reflection based on the theme of “Mercy & Discipleship.” In addition to helping us to make ready for the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas, this special program also marks the beginning of the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Our guest celebrant and homilist will be the Reverend Gary M. Gurtler, S.J. Father Gurtler is a member of the Society of Jesus, a graduate of Fordham University, and since 1992, has served as an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. Father Gurtler also serves as Priest-Chaplain of the Hispanic Community at Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Woburn, Massachusetts.
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Advent Mission & Retreat is free but donations will be gratefully accepted at Mass each evening. For more information, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Spread the word! Bring a friend or neighbor! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent & Christmas with Saint Francis
Saturday, December 12th
All parishioners and friends of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for “Saturday Morning with Saint Francis” in Saint Ann Church on Saturday, December 12th beginning at 7:00am.
As part of our community’s journey through the Holy Sea- son of Advent, we will begin with Morning Prayer & Benediction at 7:00am. At 8:00am, Father Jim will celebrate Mass. After Mass, Cliff Garvey will offer a reflection about Saint Francis and his love for the Christmas Season. Father Jim and Cliff will also lead us in praying the Franciscan Rosary (a seven decade version of the Rosary that focuses on joyful events in the life of our Blessed Mother).
After the Franciscan Rosary, all are welcome to join us for fellowship and faith sharing in Saint Ann Parish House. Coffee, tea, and light refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us for all or part of this special morning of prayer and devotion! All are invited! All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Grand Annual Collection
Goal: $40,000 | Donations: $23,754 | 59%
Each year, we ask all parishioners to contribute what they can to Our Lady’s Grand Annual Collection. This collection is a vitally important component of our annual budget. It helps us balance our budget by bridging the gap between the weekly offerings and our financial obligations. The Grand Annual Collection helps us to pay for the benefits and salaries of our priests and pastoral team. It helps us to pay our insurance and utility bills. It helps us to maintain our historic buildings and plow our parking lots. It helps to fund essential parish programs like adult and youth faith formation. All contributions to the Grand Annual Collection go directly to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. If we do not achieve our goal, then it becomes almost impossible for us to balance our annual budget! So far, we have received 59% of our goal! Although we have much work to do, we still hope to reach our goal of $40,000 by the First Sunday of Lent! Please pray that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to Our Lady’s Grand Annual Collection! For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com.
Next Week: Holy Family Grand Annual Collection Update!
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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