Our Pastor’s Message
Welcome Home for Easter!
As a child, I grew up in a household infused with religious belief and practice. As a family, we attended Mass on a weekly basis. We said grace before meals. We even prayed the Rosary together. And as a high school and college student, I volunteered with my home parish’s youth faith formation program. For me, the Church has always been a place of peace, a consolation during times of trial, and a second home.
Sadly, we know that many people of faith and goodwill do not feel this way. During the past few decades, all too many people have left the Catholic Church behind. Some feel unable to join us for Mass for cultural, family, financial, or personal reasons. Others simply feel unwelcome for reasons related to their marital status, sexual orientation, or simple lack of knowledge about the Catholic Church and its teachings and traditions.
At Easter, however, many of our brothers and sisters in faith come home to the Church to experience again the miraculous joy of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if just for one Easter Sunday Mass, they come in search of peace, consolation, and meaning in their lives. They come in search of something that the world cannot offer: God’s endless love, intimate friendship, and boundless mercy. Whether they know it or not, they are called by the Lord to join us and to find their place in the Church, our spiritual home.
To those who join us this week for the first time or for the first time in a long time: I welcome you with open arms and a joyful heart on behalf of all of your fellow parishioners. We welcome you back to Mass with the fervent prayer that you will join us again and again as often as you can. And we say to you with love and all sincerity: Welcome Home! You are always welcome here!
To those who join us regularly for Mass and for the many opportunities for prayer, fellowship, and service that are offered at our parishes, I welcome you as always with a handshake, a hug, and a smile on behalf of all of your fellow parishioners. We welcome you back with the fervent prayer that we will together practice what we preach, welcome the stranger, truly live the Gospel, share it with love, and work together to strengthen the Church, which is now and always our second home. Welcome home!
At Easter and always, be assured of my humble and sincere prayers for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, and for all who join us to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter. And I beg you to pray for me and for our pastoral team. Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Peace and blessings to all for a Happy Easter!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
A Joy Which Is Ever New
An Easter Exhortation by Pope Francis
The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew. In this exhortation, I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it and end up resentful, angry, and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the Risen Christ.
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step toward Jesus, we come to real- ize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways, I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.” How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost!
Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” times (Matthew 18:22), has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again, he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire us more than this new life, which impels us onward! Source: “The Joy of the Gospel” by Pope Francis
Learn More: Official Vatican Website
The Resurrection of the Lord
Our Easter Worship Schedule
The Celebration of Holy Mass is the source and summit of our community’s joy and its life of prayer, fellowship, and service. All are welcome to join us for Mass and to participate in Holy Communion in accordance with personal conscience and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. During Holy Week and Easter, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will gather to pray and celebrate Mass according to the following schedule. Come and pray with us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Vigil of Easter | March 26th
Easter Vigil Mass | 7:00pm at Saint Ann Church
Note: No Saturday Vigil Masses.
Easter Sunday | March 27th
Mass | 7:00am at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Mass | 8:15am at Saint Ann Church
Mass | 10:00am at Saint Joachim Church
Mass | 11:45am at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
For more information, please see one of our priests or deacons or a member of our pastoral team before or after Mass; or contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Happy Easter!
A Year of Mercy Special Event
Friday, April 1st
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). Last December, 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, penance, 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 VII convoked the first jubilee year in the Roman Catholic Church and offered all believers an opportunity for the 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 Friday, April 1st in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Our vigil of prayer will begin at 12:00pm with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Daytime Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. At 3:00pm, we will pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. From 5:00pm until 6:00pm, Father Jim will hear confessions. And at 6:30pm, we will conclude with Evening Prayer (with Homily) and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Please join us for all or part of this special day of devotion, prayer, and worship. All are welcome!
Throughout the year, other programs and special events will include opportunities for scripture study, group spiritual direction, spring and fall mini-courses, and a summer retreat all focused on offering our fellow parishioners and friends opportunities to deepen their personal relationships with the Lord and to experience God’s love and mercy in their own lives. Throughout the year, let us pray for each other and for our parish communities: that the Lord will bless us with his boundless love and mercy. For more information about the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. May God have mercy on us all!
Divine Mercy Sunday
A Celebration of God’s Love
Sunday, April 3rd
On April 3rd, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport for Divine Mercy Sunday from 2:00pm until 3:30pm in Saint Ann Church. Our program of prayer will begin with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic Adoration at 2:00pm; the Holy Rosary at 2:30pm; and the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm. We will conclude with Daytime Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 3:30pm. Please join us for all or part of this special celebration of God’s love and mercy! For more information about this special annual event, please contact our Sacristan, Jane Russo, at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Learn More: Guide for Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet
Spring Catholic Kids Camp
The Vatican Express
Begins Tuesday, April 19th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce that all children (ages 5 through 11) are invited to participate in our first-ever Spring Vacation Catholic Kids Camp, entitled “The Vatican Express”, from Tuesday, April 19th through Friday, April 22nd from 8:00am until 12:30pm at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer and fellowship, children will learn about the traditions and treasures of the Vatican through active and engaged participation in games, music, skits, and easy-to-make crafts. The tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program for children is just $25 per child for the entire week! Scholarships are available to those who cannot afford tuition. Also, adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are invited to join us as volunteers! For more information, please contact Betsy Works at bworks@ccgronline. Please join us! All are welcome!
Registration Form: The Vatican Express
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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline.com