Our Pastor’s Message
Growing Young Disciples, Part I
Last summer, after much prayer and consultation with experts, parishioners, and other pastors, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport embarked on a journey to reimagine, rebuild, and restructure our youth faith formation programs. Our research and long years of declining participation led us to two important conclusions about youth faith formation. First, the traditional way of teaching our children and grandchildren about Christ and His Church (the classroom model) is no longer an effective way of sharing the faith or forming young disciples. Second, a consensus is emerging throughout the Catholic Church that we should focus our energies on sacramental preparation, family-friendly liturgies, lifelong faith formation, and creative ways of welcoming people of all ages and generations back into our parishes.
When Betsy Works joined our pastoral team last fall as Associate Minister for Youth Faith Formation, we thought that we would be reinventing the wheel. But we soon discovered that we are part of a much larger movement in every region of the country. Betsy is an experienced educator and a person of deep prayer and strong faith. She has a passion for innovative approaches to learning, teaching, and faith formation. She traveled throughout our region and across the country; spoke with countless pastors and lay ministers; and met with many parents and volunteers about creating youth faith formation programs that focus on helping young disciples to develop deep and lasting relationships with Christ and his Church.
During the past ten months, Betsy and a team of dedicated volunteers offered four week-long opportunities for children to meet Jesus, to learn from Jesus, and to grow in faith, hope, and love with Jesus. These Catholic Kids Camps are laser focused on interactive and multi-sensory learning. They made a real difference in the spiritual lives of many of our youngest fellow parishioners. And they received rave reviews from parents, volunteers, children, and catechetical leaders. During the coming school year, we will offer four more camps for younger children (ages 5 through 11) which are conveniently scheduled during school vacations. If a child attends just two camps, then that child will receive more instructional hours under this model of youth faith formation than under the traditional classroom model. More importantly, they will grow in faith and discipleship with Christ, with Christ’s Church, and with other young disciples.
In addition, we have reimagined the way that we will prepare children for the Sacraments of First Penance & Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. For decades, these programs were part of a decade-long process that began in the first grade and concluded during high school. These programs were conducted according to the traditional classroom model. They were long and often interrupted by holidays, snowstorms, and school vacations. They were also expensive and ineffective. Each year, we would rejoice in a family’s enthusiasm during preparations for First Holy Communion; and later we would endure that same family’s growing ambivalence during preparations for Confirmation. For too many teenagers, Confirmation has sadly become a kind of graduation from the Church, rather than the joyful beginning of life as an active adult disciple in the Church. We hope to end this tragic transition from enthusiasm to ambivalence by transforming sacramental preparation into an engaging process for the whole family.
First, we will continue to place primary focus on attending Mass. For more than a century, the Church has required every parish to provide some kind of religious education to children. During recent decades, we have asked parents to dedicate one hour each week to their child’s religious education by enrolling them in a faith formation program. Unfortu- nately, we failed to remind parents of their baptismal promise to be the first teachers of their children in all matters related to faith and morals; and that the most important component of that responsibility is attending Mass as a family. In our increasingly busy, stressful, and over-scheduled world, it has become common for parents to entrust their children to us for an hour of instruction each week but not join us for Mass each weekend. So, we will continue to ask parents to dedicate one hour each week to their child’s religious education — by bringing them to church! Every weekend, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport offers seven opportunities for families to attend Mass. And I will continue to personally invite families with children to four Family Masses which are scheduled for the coming school year.
Second, we will no longer prepare students for First Penance or First Holy Communion through the traditional classroom model. Instead, second grade students and their parents will be asked to join us for Mass and participate in two ninety-minute workshops in preparation for First Penance; and to join us for Mass and participate in three ninety-minute workshops in preparation for First Holy Communion. In order to make our program as family-friendly as possible, each workshop will be offered at three different times. So, each family can choose which option works best for them. This approach to sacramental preparation has been tried and tested in our own archdiocese and throughout the country. It is focused on families. And it is firmly rooted in the Holy Eucharist. Our schedule and registration form are posted below and at ccgronline.com/formation. In coming weeks, I will share more information about preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Until then, please pray for our young disciples and their families!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Saturday, August 13th
An annual tradition continues this summer at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Our next Summer Carillon Recitals is scheduled for Saturday, August 13th 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adult Faith Formation
RCIA & Adult Confirmation
Registration Now Underway!
If you are an adult (age 18 and over) and have not received the Sacraments of Baptism, Penance & Reconciliation (Confession), Holy Eucharist, or Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church, then please consider joining our adult faith formation program which will meet on Sunday mornings after our 8:15am Mass beginning on Sunday, October 2nd in Saint Ann Parish House. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. Our group will meet approximately twice each month to learn about the basic beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic Church. As part of this same process, our Adult Confirmation Program prepares adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation and focuses on the challenges of living a life of faith in the modern world. If you would like to join us for this journey of faith and become part of a unique fellowship in preparation for the Sacraments of God’s Holy Church, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
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 on our website at ccgronline.com/formation. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 26th 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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