Our Pastor’s Message
RCIA & Adult Confirmation: A Year in Review
During the past ten years, Cliff Garvey and I have worked together to prepare adults for the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation) seven times. Each year that we have been blessed to participate in this important ministry, the Lord has given us a diverse group of adults who prepare for the sacraments for different reasons. Some come simply because they have not received the sacraments and are preparing for marriage or hoping to serve as a godparent to a newborn niece or nephew. Others come because they are not Catholic but are married to a Catholic spouse, are attending Mass regularly, but are unable to participate fully in the life of the Church. Still others come with a real hunger for prayer and instruction in the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. They long to become part of the Church for Christ’s sake and for their own. Whatever the reason, the work of preparing adults for the sacraments can be both challenging and rewarding.
This year was no different. Six women from different backgrounds and generations joined us for our combined Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and Adult Confirmation Preparation Program. In addition to Jillian, Alexandra, Marjorie, Heather, Pamela, Margaret, Cliff and myself, we were also joined by two fellow parishioners, Paul Makowski and Patricia Natti, who offered their guidance, prayers, and support; and also shared their own spiritual journeys and perspectives. We met bi-weekly on Sunday mornings after Mass for a ninety minute session of catechesis and faith sharing designed to prepare them to receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil.
Each participant was given a Catholic Prayer Bible and a subscription to Magnificat to help them develop a discipline of daily prayer and scripture study. During our seven months together, we also read Chad Torgerson’s compelling book entitled “Waking Up Catholic: A Guide to Catholic Beliefs for Converts, Reverts, and Anyone Becoming Catholic.” And we focused on a different topic at each session: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Marriage, Conscience, Penance & Reconciliation, Prayer, Tradition, Our Lady, and the Communion of Saints. We also spent much time getting to know each other as friends and fellow parishioners, sharing our faith experiences, and praying together as a small fellowship of Christian disciples.
Last Sunday, our fellowship met for the final time. We shared coffee, pastry, and the fruits of a long journey together that recently reached its climax at the Easter Vigil. At that Mass, during which we experience the broad scope of salvation history through sacrament, scripture and song, Margaret and Pamela were baptized and received their First Holy Communion; and all six of them received the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was a truly miraculous moment for these women and they were eager to share their experiences and impressions with us.
One said that she had only decided to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation so that she could serve as the godmother for a newborn nephew and proceeded to share some recent photos. But over the course of these many months, she also said that something had occurred to broaden her spiritual horizons. She now plans to make the Church a regular part of her life so that she can pass her faith experience along to her godson. Another shared with us that something had occurred in her life, too. She felt more content and more at peace with her life as a wife and mother. She said that she swears less frequently now! And she concluded by saying that she wanted to “share the love” that she had experienced during our program and at the Easter Vigil with her family and friends.
One of our newly baptized fellow parishioners also shared how wonderful it felt to participate in an ancient sacramental tradition that dated back to the time of the apostles. She described a feeling of “timelessness” when being baptized with the newly blessed holy water and anointed with the newly blessed oil of chrism. Another shared how incredible it was to see so many people gathered in darkness as the Easter Vigil began and then to see those same people reach out and help each other light their candles and thereby illuminate the whole church. She described being moved by watching her fellow parishioners “working together” to accomplish this goal.
Jillian, Alexandra, Marjorie, Heather, Pamela, and Margaret are now fully initiated into the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. They are our fellow parishioners. They are our sisters in faith, hope, and love. They are united with us in prayer, fellowship, and service. And like us, they are the sheep in this weekend’s gospel reading when Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27).” Like these six women, let each of us respond to the call of Christ. Let us follow where he leads us. And let us pray for the courage, grace, and mercy to become the men and women that Christ calls us to be. Amen! Amen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Youth Faith Formation
Celebration of First Holy Communion
Concludes This Weekend!
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith community’s joy and the center of our life of prayer, fellowship, and service. This spring season, after almost one year of prayer, preparation, and study, sixty-two students in our youth faith formation program will receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord for the first time. As our annual celebrations of First Holy Communion continue, all parishioners are encouraged to be mindful of our remaining schedule: Sunday, April 10th at the 11:45am Mass in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; Sunday, April 16th at the 4:00pm Mass in Saint Ann Church; and Sunday, April 17th at the 8:15am Mass in Saint Ann Church. 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. As we make final preparations for First Holy Communion, please pray for all of our young disciples, their parents, families, and catechists! Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support!
Youth Faith Formation
Catholic Kids Camp: Vatican Express
Begins 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: The Vatican Express, from Tuesday, April 19th through Friday, April 22nd from 8:00am until 12:00pm 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.
Day I: Tuesday, April 19th
Pope Francis: Our Holy Father
Day II: Wednesday, April 20th
The Crossed Keys: Saint Peter and the Popes
Day III: Thursday, April 21st
The Holy Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure
Day IV: Friday, April 22nd
The Monstrance: Becoming a Missionary for Jesus
Each day of the Vatican Express will begin with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. All parents, grandparents, and guardians are welcome to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead the children to Our Lady’s Parish Hall for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, learning, and good times with friends both new and old. The Vatican Express is a fun, thought-provoking, and faith-based program that your children and grandchildren will love! The tuition for this innovative spring vacation 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 welcome to join us as volunteers and will be much appreciated! For more information about our Spring Catholic Kids Camp: The Vatican Express, please contact Betsy Works at bworks@ccgronline. Please join us! All are welcome!
Registration Form: The Vatican Express
Calling Young Disciples!
Youth Choir & Music Ministry
All children and teenagers are invited to participate in the life of our parishes as altar servers, greeters, or members of our music ministry. The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Youth Choir & Music Ministry meets for practice and rehearsal every Tuesday afternoon at 5:00pm in Saint Ann Church. The Youth Choir sings every weekend at one of our three churches: Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. The Youth Choir welcomes new members (ranging in age from kindergarten through eighth grade). And singing in the choir is a great way to make new friends and participate in the life of our parishes! For more information about our Youth Choir & Music Ministry, please contact Patty Natti at email@example.com. For more information about other opportunities for our young disciples, please see Father Jim or contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Our Lady’s Guild Spring Fair
Saturday, April 30th
All are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for its annual Spring Fair on Saturday, April 30th from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Highlights include our famous fried dough breakfast, a linguiça & hot dog lunch, and fun activities for children! Sale tables at this year’s fair include baked goods & fudge, jewelry, religious items, and the general store. We’ll also have raffles (including a bountiful basket of wine, cheese, and crackers)! Donations and volunteers are always welcome! For more information about the Spring Fair, please contact Joyce Lacerda at 978-283-3465 or Jean Madruga at 978-281-1992. Please join us! All are welcome!
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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