THIRD WEEK OF LENT

Our Pastor’s Message
The Lord Is Kind & Merciful

During Mass this weekend, we pray with verses from Psalm 103, which give God praise and thanks for his abundant love and mercy. And our response to these verses is to proclaim: “The Lord is kind and merciful!” But despite all that we hear during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we rarely pause to reflect on the real meaning of the Lord’s mercy in our lives.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines mercy as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish. And in his announcement of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis writes: “When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is always ready to forgive (Misericordiae Vultus).” These passages remind us that mercy is a generous gift and that while God is all powerful, his inclination toward us is not punishment or vengeance for our sins and shortcomings, but always toward forgiveness and love.

Indeed, God’s forgiveness and love are boundless. When we examine our consciences, consider our sins, and seek forgiveness, God’s mercy overcomes our sins, heals the wounds inflicted by those sins, and initiates a process of conversion that can lead us to holiness. No matter what we have done, the Lord responds to our prayers with a measure of love and mercy that is beyond measure, beyond comprehension, and beyond words. Consider this verse from this week’s responsorial psalm about God’s mercy: “He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion (Psalm 103: 3-4).” It is no wonder that we cry out: “The Lord is kind and merciful!”

Of course, we are called to cooperate with the Lord’s gift of mercy. During Lent, we are called to pray for the grace to take a hard look at ourselves; to remember those times when we have chosen a course that conflicts with God’s great commandment to love and serve; and to seek God’s pardon; to make amends for our failures and faults; and to show mercy toward others. And we are called to cooperate with God’s mercy through faithful prayer and participation in the Sacraments of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and Holy Eucharist.

When we do these things, we become partners in God’s great gift of mercy in our world. As our Lenten journey continues, let us renew our faith in God’s boundless love and mercy; let us strive to love each other as God loves us; and let us proclaim together with confidence: “The Lord is kind and merciful!”

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Contact: frjim@ccgronline.com

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (2-28-16)
Bringing Home the Word (2-28-16)

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Jubilee Year of Mercy
The Meaning of Mercy

“Patient and merciful. These words often go together in the Old Testament to describe God’s nature. His being merciful is concretely demonstrated in his many actions throughout the history of salvation where his goodness prevails over punishment and destruction (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus).”

In the Old Testament, mercy is predicated of God (Deuteronomy 7:9), and His attitude toward the repentant sinner is mercy rather than punishment. He calls upon all to show the same mercy to others that He shows to them. Mercy is an attitude which brings one to come to the aid of those in distress, and through the Incarnate Word, mercy is irrevocably present in the world (Hebrews 2:17). But the sinner should not presume that God will auto- matically or mechanically offer divine mercy, for it is only granted by God if the sinner assumes it to be incalculable and beyond measurement. Mercy does not override justice, but rather transcends it and converts the sinner into a just person by bringing about repentance and openness to the Holy Spirit.

Human mercy is an expression of divine mercy. Mercy sees the distress of others, identities with it, and seeks to overcome it as one seeks to have one’s own suffering, guilt, and burdens overcome with the aid and assistance of others. Human mercy manifests divine mercy because of Christ’s identification with our plight through His passion, death, and resurrection. The Christian must forgive seven times seventy times, and Christian mercy is an expression of the double commandment to love God and neighbor. Mercy united with love fulfills the command of perfection (Colossians 3:14), showing the hospitality to others that is shown to Christ. Source: Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia (Revised), pp. 666-667.

Learn More: Year of Mercy

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Mass & Rite of Candidacy
First Year Confirmation Students
Sunday, February 28th

All first-year Confirmation students and their families (parents, grandparents, siblings, and sponsors) are invited to join Father Jim for a Youth Mass & Rite of Candidacy on Sunday, February 28th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily and blessing for all of the high school students who have recently begun their preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Please note that there will be no classes on Sunday, February 28th. For more information, please contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!

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The Light Is On For You!
Confessions & Eucharistic Adoration
Wednesday, March 2nd

During the Holy Season of Lent, all Catholics are invited to experience Christ’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession). On six consecutive Wednesdays during Lent (February 17th through March 23rd), at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church from 6:00pm until 8:00pm, all are invited to join us for “The Light Is On For You!” These special evenings of prayer will include Evening Prayer and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours; Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; and two full hours of confessions for those who feel called to participate. Please note that this program will be preempted on Wednesday, March 9th for our Lent Mission & Retreat. For some, this may be a time for sacramental reconciliation. For some it may be a time for silent prayer and reflection. And for some, it may be a time to begin or renew a life of faith. Wherever you are on your faith journey, please join us! All are welcome! For more information about the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please visit our website: ccgronline.com; or contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com.

Learn More: Guide for Making a Good Confession

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Jubilee Year of Mercy
Lent Mission & Retreat
March 8th-March 10th

All are invited to join us for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Lent Mission & Retreat from Tuesday, March 8th through Thursday, March 10th at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Evening Prayer at 7:00pm, followed by Mass. Each evening will also feature a reflection centered on the themes of Lent and the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Our special guest and spiritual director will be Sister Ellen Dabrieo, SND. Sister Ellen is a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame. For many years, she has served the Church in both parish ministry and as a missionary in Brazil. Sister Ellen currently serves as a hospital chaplain in Salem and as a lay minister to the Brazilian Communi- ty of Saint Thomas Church in Peabody. The Lent Mission & Retreat is free but donations will be gratefully accepted at Mass during each evening of the retreat. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Please join us! Bring a friend or neighbor! All are welcome!

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ParishPay
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Available at Both Parishes

Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. At parishpay.com, donations can be made on a one-time 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! For more information about electronic giving in the Catholic Com- munity of Gloucester & Rockport, please visit parishpay.com or contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com. Thank you for your generous and ongoing support of our parishes!

Learn More: ParishPay.com

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About Us

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 frjim@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are welcome!

Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline