Our Pastor’s Message
The Heartbeat of Discipleship
Two years ago, my life changed. Not by accident. Not by chance. But by choice. By simply saying “yes.” Two years ago, my life changed when Cardinal Sean asked me to become pastor of the newly created collaborative between two historic parishes: Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. When I said “yes” to the Cardinal’s invitation, did I know what I was getting into? Did I anticipate how much my life would change? Did I fully appreciate the demands of being a pastor in this new era of evangelization? Did I understand the weight of the cross of discipleship that would be handed to me here in Gloucester and Rockport? No, I did not. But did I embrace that cross with eagerness, energy, and joy? Anyone who knows me knows the answer to this last question: “Yes!”
This weekend marks the second anniversary of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. It is hard to believe that two years have passed already. It is hard to believe how much life has changed for me, my family, and my closest friends. As you know, I love my work. I love my ministry. I truly love being a priest. At the same time, I miss my family and my friends. As a parochial vicar, I saw my parents and godparents almost every day. I saw my brother and sister, and my nieces and nephew almost every week. And I saw my closest friends in “The Loop” almost every month. It’s harder now. The demands of being a pastor, the distance, and the cross of discipleship make it more difficult to see and spend quality time with those who mean so much to me.
Don’t feel badly for me! Although I carry a heavy cross, I am supported by the love and prayers of my family, my friends, and our fellow parishioners! And those prayers mean everything to me! Truth be told, I struggle with prayer. As a young child, it seemed so easy to pray. Each night after dinner, we prayed the Rosary as a family. Each weekend, we went to Mass as a family. And at the seminary, we prayed as a community every morning, every evening, and every day at Mass. But the daily demands of being both priest and pastor sometimes make it difficult for me to sit down, slow down, quiet down, and find the time necessary to pray. If you are raising a family, running a business, or working hard to make ends meet, then you may share in this struggle to pray.
Why do I mention this personal struggle with prayer? What is the connection between my struggle and our second anniversary as a community of disciples? What is the connection between my spiritual life and our spiritual life as a community of disciples? The answer is simple. Prayer is the center, the core, and the foundation of everything we do. Prayer is the source of our relationship with the Risen Lord. Prayer is the origin of our faith, our hope, and our love for Christ and for each other. Prayer is our lifeline in times of sorrow or stress. Prayer is our joy during times of blessing and happiness. Prayer is the heartbeat of discipleship.
Without prayer, how can we hope to carry the cross that has been given to us? How can we hope to be a good parent, a good friend, a good employee, a good person, or a good pastor? How can we hope to fulfill the commandment to love God and to love others? By making a personal commitment to daily prayer, we accept an invitation to sit at the feet of Christ Jesus, who is our brother, our friend, our teacher, and our savior. By making a personal commitment to daily prayer, we grow closer to the Son of God, who lived, suffered, died, and rose for our sake. And by making a personal commitment to daily prayer, we grow closer to each other as friends, neighbors, and fellow disciples. We grow closer as a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service.
As I begin my third year as your pastor, I make this solemn commitment: to pray every day for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport; to pray for our pastoral team and for all who have embraced the cross of discipleship in our parishes; and to pray for those who joyfully strive to live the gospel, to share God’s love, and to rebuild the Church. I also make this solemn commitment: to pray every day for those who gossip, who seek to tear down, and who struggle to embrace change and renewal in parish life. Finally, I make this solemn commitment: to pray every day for the grace to be a good disciple, a good man, a good priest, and a good pastor. I beg you to join me in making prayer the center of our lives as individual disciples and as fellow parishioners. As we forge ahead together, please accept my humble and sincerest thanks for your ongoing encouragement, kindness, and support; for your generous gifts of time, talent, and treasure; and most especially for your prayers for me, for our pastoral team, and for our parish communities. Thank you! May God bless you now and always!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Welcome, Claire Murphy!
As your pastor, I am responsible for both the spiritual and temporal well-being of our parishes. That means that in addition to being a shepherd of souls, I am also accountable for the financial stability of our parishes. Before my ordination to the priesthood, I studied math in college and worked at a bank. In addition, my hardworking parents taught me a great deal about how to balance a family budget, make ends meet, and save for the future. Although I am not an accountant or a financial expert, these experiences help me to appreciate the financial challenges and opportunities facing our two parishes.
During the past four months, I have become (by necessity) more intimately involved in the day-to-day financial management of our two parishes. This time of transition was made easier by the very able and dedicated members of our Finance Councils: Patricia Bertero, Jean Madruga, and Ann Marie Noble at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish; and Joseph Grella, Robert Krause, Rosa Ladd, Sheila McCarthy, and the late Rudy Macchi at Holy Family Parish. Their gifts of time and talent should be applauded and much appreciated by every single parishioner in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport.
I am now delighted to announce that Claire Murphy has accepted the position of Administrative Assistant for Finance. Claire has more than thirty years of experience in banking, consulting, fundraising, and non-profit management. She has been a small business owner, community volunteer, and catechist in her home parish’s youth faith formation program. Claire and I have known each other for more than ten years. And I am confident that she will make an outstanding addition to our pastoral team. Finding the right person to assist me and our Finance Councils in ensuring the long-term financial stability of our parishes was not an easy task. And I am grateful for the advice, assistance, and support of many fellow parishioners and pastoral team members who helped with this process, especially Patty Bertero, Cliff Garvey, Joe Grella, and Rosa Ladd. I am also grateful to Jane Russo and Lori Thorstensen who have worked very hard during the past month to envision and prepare an office for Claire.
On behalf of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, I warmly welcome Claire Murphy to our parishes and pastoral team. I ask you to pray for her as she begins her all-important ministry as our Administrative Assistant for Finance. And I ask you to continue to pray for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport.
Peace and blessings to all,
Chairs & Tables Fundraiser
Since last fall, Michael Horgan, our buildings and facilities manager, and a team of dedicated local carpenters, masons, painters, and technicians have been working hard to repair and renovate Saint Ann Church Hall for both our use and for future generations of parishioners. During the last six months, our team identified and repaired cracks in the foundation of the church that allowed moisture and water to leak into the church building threatening to undermine both the structural integrity of the hall and our priceless stained glass windows. They painted the hall for the first time in many decades. A new heating system and a new tile floor were professionally installed. This project was funded largely by rental income from the former parish school and was unanimously approved by our finance council. Please keep in mind that renovations to the entrances, bathrooms, and kitchen will come next. But at this point, our renovation of the church hall is nearly complete!
We now need your help to finish the job! Our current stock of folding chairs and event tables are in poor condition and should be replaced for both aesthetic and safety reasons. Each new folding chair will cost approximately $30 and each new table will cost approximately $100. During the weekend of June 4th and June 5th, a second collection will be taken at all weekend Masses in Holy Family Parish (Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church). Our goal is to raise at least $7,500 for new folding chairs and lightweight (but durable) folding event tables for Saint Ann Church Hall. Your prayers and generous support for this “Pastor’s Challenge” fundraiser will be much appreciated by all who visit our hall and by all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! Thank you in advance for your prayers and support! As always, if you have questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace and blessings to all,
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Saturday, June 4th
On Saturday, June 4th from 9:00am until 2:00pm, the Holy Family Women’s Guild will host the Annual Strawberry Festival in Saint Ann Church Hall. For the second year, the Guild will honor the Gloucester Fishermen with the Lobstermen’s “mug up” served in ceramic mugs made by local potters along with delicious homemade biscotti. Homemade muffins will also be available for sale. We will also have decorative lobster buoys for sale (which will be paired with a gift certificate). The buoys are a new item and will look great hung on a door or shed! Family and friends who live away from the island will also love a piece of authentic Gloucester! Along with Grannie’s Attic, Italian cookies, pies, and other homemade baked goods, we’ll also have a Bread Board with Irish Bread, Nisu, Sweet Bread, Lebanese Bread, and an assortment of quick breads. We’ll also have homemade jam, spring wreaths, note cards, and other crafts! Finally, we’ll have Strawberry Shortcake to boost your strength while you shop! For more information, please contact Janet Lucido at 978-526-1543. 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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