Our Pastor’s Message
The Real Work Begins Now!
This year, sixty-four high school students from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish successfully completed the requirements of our Confirmation Preparation Program. During the past two years, our students attended classes together. They attended Mass together. They participated in our “New Spirit Evening of Reflection.” They completed community service projects. And they prayed together as a community of young disciples. I can personally attest that our students are well prepared to renew their Baptismal vows, to publically profess their faith in Christ, and to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is vitally important, however, for our students, their parents and sponsors, and for all of us to remember that Confirmation should never be considered as graduation from youth faith formation or the end of a one’s participation in the life of God’s Church. Instead, Confirmation is just the beginning of a mature person’s spiritual journey. It is just the beginning of one’s work as a faithful and faith-filled disciple of Christ and his Church. In short, the real work begins now!
As our young fellow parishioners receive the Sacrament of Confirmation both this and next weekend, I am mindful of the life and example of Dr. Howard Thurman (1899-1991), an influential African-American educator, philosopher, and theologian. Dr. Thurman was a prolific author who wrote twenty books that influenced the spirituality and thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other prominent civil rights leaders of the last century. I first learned about Dr. Thurman during my years as an undergraduate at Boston University where I studied both mathematics and religion. For many years, Dr. Thurman had served as the first-ever African-American Dean of Marsh Chapel (1953-1965); and the University’s cultural center is now named in his honor. What remains with me after these many years is this short poem that Dr. Thurman wrote about “The Work of Christmas.”
Now the work of Christmas begins:
when the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks.
The work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
In this beautiful poem Howard Thurman reminds us that the real work of Christmas begins after the celebration is over, after the pomp and circumstance of the holiday season, and after all of the decorations have been packed away in our basements, attics, and sheds. Likewise, the real work of discipleship for both our Confirmation candidates and for all of us begins now and begins anew each and every time we share the Sign of Peace; each and every time we receive the Eucharist; and each and every time that we are called to welcome the stranger, forgive our neighbor, or share our time, talent, and treasure with God’s people. The work of discipleship is lifelong and will culminate when Christ himself asks us to account for ourselves and our lives. Did we help the Lord find the lost sheep? Did we help him feed the hungry? Did we help him bring consolation to prisoners and to the poor? Did we help him bring peace to our families, our neighborhoods, and our workplaces? Did we help him make beautiful music in a world so often filled only with the chaotic voices of anger and prejudice? Let us always remember that the work of Christ begins now!
Howard Thurman once wrote: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” My prayer for our newly Confirmed fellow parishioners is that they will fully embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; that they will continue to grow in faith, hope, and love; that they will continue to join our community in prayer, fellowship, and service; and they will “come alive” to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and build-up and strengthen the Church. Please join me in praying for all of our Confirmation students, their parents, sponsors, and families, and for their catechists. And throughout this new year, let us remember to pray for each other and for all who live, work, and worship in our parishes. Amen!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Sacrament of Confirmation
Sunday, January 17th & Sunday, January 24th
Along with Baptism and Holy Eucharist, Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The Sacrament of Confirmation com- pletes the grace of Baptism through an outpouring of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom, Right Judgment, Courage, Reverence, and Wonder & Awe. These Gifts seal or “confirm” the mystical union between the candidates and Christ Jesus and prepare them to actively participate in the prayer, worship, and apostolic ministry of the Catholic Church.
This year, sixty-four high school students in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport have successfully completed the requirements of our Confirmation Preparation Program. During the past two years, they attended both classes and Sunday Mass. They participated in the “New Spirit Evening of Reflection.” They completed service projects. And they have prayed together as a commu- nity of young disciples. These students are now well prepared to publically renew their Baptismal vows, profess their faith, and live as faithful and faith-filled Catholics.
The Very Reverend Gerard Petringa, Episcopal Vicar for the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston will join us for our annual celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation: Sunday, January 17th at 10:45am in Saint Ann Church; and Sunday, January 24th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
As always, the success of our youth faith formation pro- gram depends on our volunteers. So, on behalf of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, Fa- ther Jim gives God great thanks and praise for this year’s dedicated and hardworking team of catechists: Jennifer Dort, Martha Geraghty, Doug Greenfield, and Michael Cimoszko. Their generous gifts of time and talent have ensured that all of our sixty-four candidates will be well-prepared to accept and embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at their Confirmation! Thank you! As our candidates and cate- chists make final preparations for our celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation, please pray for them, their parents, sponsors, and families. May the Lord bless them and may the Holy Spirit guide them now and always! For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim or contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holy Name Society Penny Sale
Monday, January 18th
The Holy Name Society is an organization of men which was founded to prayerfully support Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish through fundraising and volunteer service. All are welcome to join them for their next “Penny Sale” on Monday, January 18th beginning at 7:00pm in Our Lady’s Parish Hall. As always, the “Penny Sale” will feature great prizes, a 50-50 raffle, delicious homemade sweet bread, along with other delicious foods and snacks. For more information about the Holy Name Society and its good work in our community, please contact Michael Horgan at 978-281-4820. Please join us! All are welcome!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Electronic giving is now available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. With Parish Pay, it is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Donations can be made on a one-time-only or ongoing basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. So, please prayerfully consider supporting your parish by giving electronically! If you have questions or any need assistance with electronic giving in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you for your generous and ongoing support of our parishes!
Learn More: ParishPay.com
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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