Our Pastor’s Message
Update: Our Towering Challenge
One year ago, I shared with you what can be best described as a “towering challenge” for the good and faithful people of Holy Family Parish. As you know, when I became your pastor two summers ago, there was much talk about a proposal to make Saint Ann Church more accessible by installing an elevator and to renovate the parish hall, kitchen, and bathrooms. At the time, the estimated cost of just the elevator (excluding the other projects) was almost one million dollars. And although many thousands of dollars had already been spent on engineering consultants and architectural plans, a thorough inspection of the structural integrity of the church had not been conducted.
So, with the support of our finance council, I requested a professional and thorough inspection of Saint Ann Church. The results were both disturbing and disheartening. Over the years, the virtue of deferred maintenance has become the vice of neglect. The ceiling over the spot where the new elevator would have opened into the church is cracked and crumbling. Archways and ceilings in the choir loft and tower have collapsed to the point where all public access to these portions of the church is now prohibited. The anchors, frames, pins, and sills that support both the large and small rose windows are in such bad shape that they need to be rebuilt. And the buttresses on the front of the church have deteriorated to the point that they are separating from the building and threatening its long-term structural stability.
Many of the church’s problems are caused by masonry leaks in the bell tower that allow water to travel from the steeple, through the tower, and then into the spaces between the exterior stonework and interior plaster. These leaks are causing the tower, the east wall, and the interior (especially in the vestibule and choir loft) to deteriorate at an accelerated pace, causing noticeable damage to the front doors, ceilings, walls, and woodwork of the church. These problems are worsened by severe winters that cause water to freeze, expand, melt, and contract. Overall, we have reached the point where major portions of our beautiful and historic church must be restored (not just repaired) for both safety and structural reasons. This is no longer about maintaining our church; this is about restoring it and saving it. In short, this potentially ruinous situation is urgent and must be addressed now.
During the past year, Saint Ann Church has been poked, prodded, checked and double-checked by local and regional experts to ensure that we have found any and all problems that might affect its long-term structural stability. Competitive bids to complete the restoration work were submitted by four respected contractors. After studying these bids and consulting with our finance council, parish council, pastoral team, representatives from all of our parish ministries, and archdiocesan officials, we have decided to engage the services of Aniceto Historical Restorations, Incorporated of Milford, Massachusetts, a construction firm with a strong reputation for completing similar projects in the Archdiocese of Boston, to complete this project before the end of this calendar year. The overall cost of this necessary project will be approximately one million dollars.
At this point, the success of the Saint Ann Church Restoration Project depends solely on your support. In order to save our church for future generations of faithful and faith-filled parishioners, we must rededicate all of the donations for the so-called elevator project; and we must begin a vigorous campaign for additional donations. Since calling attention to this problem last year, I have spoken with countless parishioners before and after Mass, at parish events, and in private one-on-one conversations about the challenges facing Saint Ann Church and Holy Family Parish. Some parishioners have asked for their money back. But most parishioners have strongly urged us to forge ahead with plans to restore Saint Ann Church before it’s too late. Needless to say, we cannot meet this towering challenge without your encouragement, enthusiasm, prayers, and support. As always, if you have comments, questions, or a few dollars to spare for this good and worthy cause, please do not hesitate to contact me.
More than 800 years ago, a young man named Francis walked into a dilapidated little church and knelt in prayer before an ancient crucifix. He prayed: “Most High and Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity. O Lord, give me insight and wisdom, so that I might always discern your holy and true will. Amen.” Upon completing this prayer, the Crucified Christ spoke: “Francis, go and rebuild my church!” That young man would become Saint Francis of Assisi. Many centuries later, we are faced with a similar prayer and a similar challenge. Let us pray for faith, hope, and love. Let us pray for guidance and wisdom. Let us pray for courage and perseverance to confront our towering challenge. And let us pray for the grace and strength to live the Gospel, to share God’s love, and to rebuild our beautiful church! Amen! Saint Ann, pray for us! Saint Joachim, pray for us! Saint Anthony, pray for us! Saint Francis, pray for us! Saint Peter, pray for us! Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us! May the Sacred of Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Pastor’s Note: On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Father Jim wishes to thank our dear friend, Jody Cole of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, for graciously allowing us to use her beautiful icon of Saint Ann on our website and on the cover of our weekly newsletter. Jody is a very talented iconographer and her work can be seen on her website (see link below). Thanks, Jody!
Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Begins Saturday, August 6th
An annual tradition returns this summer to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Our Summer Carillon Recitals are scheduled to begin on Saturday, August 6th at 5:00pm (rain or shine). Once again, Luann Pallazola, our own very talented organist-keyboardist has prepared programs that include familiar classical and international pieces, popular hymns, patriotic melodies, and even children’s tunes! Installed in 1922, the carillon bells in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church were the first toned set of carillon bells in the United States. Although our bells can be heard from several blocks away, the sound is best near the church. Other recitals are scheduled for the following Saturday afternoons at 5:00pm: August 13th, August 20th, August 27th, and September 3rd. These recitals are free and open to the public! So, bring a cold drink or coffee! Bring a friend! Enjoy this wonderful summer tradition! And don’t forget that Mass begins at 6:00pm! All are invited! All are welcome! For more information, please contact LuAnn Pallazola at email@example.com.
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!
Summer Catholic Kids Camp
The Vatican Express, Part 3
Begins Tuesday, August 23rd
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce that all children (ages 5 through 11) are invited to participate in our next Summer Catholic Kids Camp: The Vatican Express, Part 3 from Tuesday, August 23rd through Friday, August 28th 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 Catholic Church through active and engaged participation in games, music, skits, and easy-to-make crafts. Each day, we will explore a different theme: Day I, Tuesday, August 23rd: The Miracles of the Holy Eucharist and the Saints; Day II, Wednesday, August 24th: The Eucharist Miracle and Saint Clare of Assisi; Day III, Thursday, August 25th: The Eucharist Miracle and Saint Francis of Assisi; and Day IV, Friday, August 26th: The Eucharist Miracle and Blessed Imelda Lambertini.
Each day of the Vatican Express, Part 3 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 School for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, learning, and good times with friends both new and old. The Vatican Express, Part 3 is our latest fun, exciting, and educational program that your children and grandchildren will love! The tuition for this innovative summer vacation youth faith formation program 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 Summer Vacation Catholic Kids Camp: The Vatican Express Part II, please contact Betsy Works at bworks@ccgronline. Please join us! All are invited! 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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