Our Pastor’s Message
The Balanced Life
During my days off this summer, I have been digging, designing, and planting a perennial garden at my little house in rural Maine. For a son of the city who grew up in a crowded neighborhood and in a house with a very small back yard, becoming a weekend gardener is a new and often back-breaking experience! But I love it! In my garden on a large flat rock rests a small stack of stones that I brought home from a vacation in Iceland. The stones are dark, flat, almost perfectly round, and are balanced one on top of the other. Sometimes I envy these stones. Nothing disturbs their balance and serenity. For more than three years, they have stood undisturbed by rain, snow, wind, and the occasional mischievous critter that finds its way into the garden.
As you know, I love being a priest and a pastor. I love my family and my friends. And I love my work. But sometimes I feel like something is a bit off; like life is somehow out-of-balance. If you have a spouse, children, grandchildren, endure a long commute, or work hard to make ends meet, then you may sometimes feel this way, too. One year ago this week, I wrote to you about finding balance in our lives by creating a practical plan to reconcile the competing demands of work, rest, family, and prayer. Last year’s summer retreat, based on the life and writings of Saint Benedict, offered realistic suggestions to achieve, maintain, and restore balance in our increasingly busy lives. We read and prayed with Robert Benson’s book, “The Good Life: Benedict’s Guide to Everyday Joy”, in which he writes that “prayer is not meant to be an attachment to the life that you live; it is meant to be the center of the life that you live.”
For a busy person in a busy world, this may seem impossible. But consider some ways by which we can truly make prayer the center of our lives: Daily Mass, the Holy Rosary, or the Liturgy of the Hours; grace before meals, turning long commutes into times of prayer or spiritual reading; or transforming the routine chores of daily life (gardening, grocery shopping, or folding laundry) into moments of grace through humble and simple prayers. Making prayer the center of our lives does not necessarily mean praying during every moment of the day. It means praying during those precious opportunities that are giv- en to us by our good and gracious God. On Monday, July 11th, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia, founder of western monasticism and apostle of the good and balanced life. Let us celebrate his feast by taking full advantage of those few quiet moments, by transforming them into prayer, and by finding some sense of balance and stillness in our lives.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Feast of Saint Benedict
Monday, July 11th
On Monday, July 11th, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia. He was the founder of western monasticism and a great teacher in the discipline of balanced living. Although written for sixth century monks, the Rule of Saint Benedict is all about achieving and maintaining balance in our lives. It remains vitally relevant today. Here are two passages from his ancient rule for our prayer and reflection:
Hour by hour,
keep careful watch on all that you do,
aware that God’s gaze is upon you,
wherever you may be.
The Lord waits for us daily to translate into action,
as we should, his holy teachings.
Every time you begin a good work,
you must pray to him most earnestly
to bring it to perfection.
Serve one another in love,
for such service increases reward and fosters love.
If there are artisans among us,
they should practice their craft with all humility.
Relieve the lot of the poor, clothe the naked,
visit the sick, bury the dead,
help the troubled, and console the sorrowful.
Refrain from too much eating & sleeping.
Do not be lazy. In his goodness,
God has already counted us as his children,
so we should not grieve him with our actions.
Remember that with his good gifts within us,
we must obey him at all times.
Day by day,
remind yourself that you will pass from this life.
Do not show too great a concern
for the fleeting and temporal things of this world.
One must not be excitable, anxious, extreme,
obstinate, jealous, or overly suspicious.
Such people are never at rest.
There are times when good words
are to be left unsaid out of esteem for silence.
Diligently cultivate silence at all times, especially at night.
There should be specific periods
for both work and spiritual reading.
All things should be done with moderation.
Nothing is so inconsistent
with the life of any Christian as overindulgence.
Show forethought and consideration in all things,
and whether the task at hand concerns God or the world,
be discerning and moderate.
Arrange everything so that the strong have something to yearn for
and the weak have nothing to run from.
Saint Benedict, pray for us!
Saint Ann Church Hall Fundraiser
GOAL: $7,500 | RAISED SO FAR: $9,086
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 (after necessary repairs to the church tower).
At this point, our renovation of the church hall is nearly complete! And we needed 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 chair will cost approximately $30 and each new table will cost approximately $100. Our goal was to $7,500. During the past month, we have raised more than $9,000! Your generosity and support for this fundraiser is simply overwhelming! Thank you! Additional donations are still most welcome and can be sent directly to the “Pastor’s Challenge” c/o Father Jim at 60 Prospect Street, Gloucester, MA 01930. Your support for this Pastor’s Challenge fundraiser will be appreciated by all who visit our hall and by all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! Thank you for your prayers and generous support for this Pastor’s Challenge! If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com. Thank you again! May God bless you and your family!
Peace and blessings to all,
Youth Faith Formation
Pastor’s Message of Thanks
Amazing! Awesome! Very cool! These are just some of the great things that I heard about the good work done during our recent Second Annual Summer Catholic Kids Camp: “The Vatican Express, Part II.” During this week-long program, fourteen young disciples learned about the Miracles of Jesus and the Holy Eucharist through interactive activities, crafts, music, and video. Everyone involved in this special program (children, parents, and volunteers) agree that it was a big success! The success of this special program depended on a team of dedicated ministers and volunteers. Our young disciples wish to sincerely thank the following parishioners who volunteered their time and talent to this program: Rizza Anderson (age 12), Fernanda Brown, Mary Duran, Angelica Duran (age 14), Grace Figuerido, Michael LePenna, MaryEllen McLeod, Jean Madruga, Ann Marie Noble, and Vivien Sheng. Most of all, they wish to thank Betsy Works for her creative, energetic, and innovative approach to teaching children about the teachings and traditions of the Church! Our next Summer Catholic Kids Camp is scheduled for August 23rd through August 26th! Mark your calendars! More information coming soon! For more information about youth faith formation, please Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Faith Formation
Father Jim’s Summer Art Contest
Calling Young Disciples!
All young disciples (ages 5 through 11) are invited to participate in Father Jim’s Summer Art Contest by creating an original work of art based on the theme that “Jesus Is Our Teacher!” Submissions should be no smaller than 8 by 11 inches and no larger than 18 by 24 inches; created, colored, drawn, or painted by hand; and depicting one of the following images of Jesus: Christ the Teacher, Christ the Good Shepherd, The Divine Mercy, and the Face of Christ. All original art projects are due by Friday, September 2nd and will be judged by Father Jim and a committee of judges! The winning submission will be professionally framed and displayed prominently in our pastoral office! Coloring sheets (for younger children) and suggested icon images (for older children) can be found by clicking on the link below. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Third Annual Summer Retreat
The Jesus Prayer
Begins Monday, August 8th
The summer season is a great time of year for stepping back from the business and busy-ness of daily life in order to focus on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, few among us are able to leave work, family, and friends for a real retreat from the world. For this reason, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce our Third Annual Summer Retreat! From Monday, August 8th through Friday, August 12th, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual peace and renewal of a week-long retreat without leaving home! Our retreat will be based on John Michael Talbot’s book, “The Jesus Prayer: A Cry for Mercy, A Path for Renewal.” For centuries, the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!) has led countless disciples toward a deeper and more intimate experience with Christ and his gifts of love and mercy. Talbot’s book offers readers a step-by-step and word-by-word approach for understanding the Jesus Prayer and for making it a central component of our spiritual lives.
Each evening of our retreat will begin promptly at 7:00pm in Saint Anthony Chapel with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After that, Father Jim and Cliff will lead our community in a period of reflection, discussion, and faith sharing. We will conclude each evening at 8:30pm with Night Prayer. Between each retreat session, participants will be asked to read brief selections from John Michael Talbot’s book and to engage in a daily prayer exercise. During each day of the retreat, Saint Anthony Chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent personal prayer and reflection. In order to adequately plan for the retreat, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to join us. A donation of $25 is requested from those who can afford it. Copies of the book, along with coffee, tea, and cold water will be provided. 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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