Our Pastor’s Message
Season of Love, Year of Mercy
Earlier this week, Pope Francis opened the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and officially inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy — a year-long celebration of God’s love for us, his children, and a year-long invitation to experience the Lord’s boundless mercy through prayer, worship, and the sacraments of the Church.
From the very beginning, Pope Francis has been focused on reminding the world that God is always reaching out to us with love and mercy; and that the Church must always reach out to the world with that same love and mercy — to all people, even those who do not share our faith or those who have fallen away from it. Indeed, Pope Francis has said: “God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones…Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation, and make justice and peace flourish.”
During Advent and the coming Christmas Season, each of us is called to share God’s love and mercy in our families and workplaces, among our friends and neighbors, and in the midst of an increasingly frightful and turbulent world. We are called to reach out with love, not judgment, to those who have lost their way. Even those mired in the “driest land” of sin and despair can be renewed by God’s love and mercy. We are called to call out with love, not judgement, to those with whom we disagree. Even those who carry the heavy cross of anger and hate can be relieved of their burden by God’s love and mercy. And we are called to embrace with love, not judgment, those who have left us for whatever reason. Even those whose faith is as brittle as “dry bones” can and must be welcomed with open arms and hearts back into our families, our churches, and our communities.
This is our shared vocation! This is our shared ministry as children of God! We must become agents of God’s love in a world so plagued by anger, despair, and suspicion! We must become channels of God’s mercy in a world seemingly so threatened by fear, hatred, and violence. In his remarks beginning the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Holy Father said: “Were sin the only thing that mattered, we would be the most desperate of creatures. But the promised triumph of Christ’s love enfolds everything in the Father’s mercy.” Each of us has a part to play in this enfolding drama of God’s endless love and mercy for all people everywhere. As Christmas Day approaches, let us pray for the grace to joyfully become agents of God’s love and channels of God’s mercy in our own corner of this troubled world.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Jubilee Year of Mercy
An Invitation to Experience God’s Love
In March 2015, Pope Francis announced that the Roman Catholic Church would celebrate a Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (December 8, 2015) and concluding on the Feast of Christ the King (November 20, 2016). Earlier this week, Pope Francis inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy by opening the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Overall, the theme of this extraordinary jubilee year is “Merciful Like the Father” and its primary focus is an ongoing invitation to all people to experience God’s forgiveness, love, and mercy through prayer, worship, and the Sacraments of the Church.
The tradition of the jubilee year is rooted in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus (Lev 25:8-13). In 1300, Pope Boniface VIII convoked the first jubilee year in the Roman Catholic Church and offered all believers an opportunity for universal forgiveness of sins. Since then, such holy or jubilee years have been celebrated every 25 or 50 years. The Catholic Church last celebrated a Jubilee Year in 2000 to mark the beginning of a new millennium. This Jubilee Year of Mercy is “extraordinary” because the Holy Father broke from tradition and announced it without advance notice or planning.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy with special programs and events throughout the year. For example, our next “Mercy Friday” is scheduled for January 15th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Our vigil of prayer will begin at 12:00pm with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament & Daytime Prayer. At 3:00pm, we will pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. From 5:00pm until 6:00pm, confessions will be heard in the sacristy. And at 6:30pm, we will conclude with Evening Prayer (with homily) and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
During the coming year, other programs will include opportunities for scripture study, individual and group spiritual direction, mini-courses and retreats all focused on offering our parishioners and friends opportunities to deepen their personal relationships with the Lord and to experience God’s love and mercy in their own lives. For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Our Christmas Mass Schedule
December 24th-December 25th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport at Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish cordially invites you and your family to join us for Holy Mass in celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. On December 24th and December 25th, Masses will be celebrated according to the following schedule:
- Christmas Eve
Thursday December 24th
4:00pm Saint Ann Church
4:00pm Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
6:00pm Saint Ann Church
Midnight Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Christmas Day
Friday, December 25th
8:15am Saint Ann Church
10:00am Saint Joachim Church
11:45am Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! On behalf of our pastor, senior priests, deacons, and pastoral team, we hope and pray that you and your family will join us for Mass and enjoy a very Blessed and Merry Christmas! May God bless us, everyone!
Holy Family Parish
Grand Annual Collection
Goal: $75,000 | Donations: $40,393
Each year, we ask all parishioners to contribute what they can to Holy Family’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 Holy Family 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 approximately 54% of our goal! Although we have much work to do, we still hope to reach our goal of $75,000 by the First Sunday of Lent. Please pray that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to Holy Family’s Grand Annual Collection! For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Week: Our Lady of Good Voyage Grand Annual 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 email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
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