This Week’s Message
Remembering Victim 001
By Cliff Garvey
The morning of September 11, 2001 dawned brilliantly in New York City. The air was unseasonably crisp and clear. The sky was cloudless. But the brilliance of that late summer day was shattered by terrorists who hijacked passenger jets and crashed them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The emergency response to the attacks was immediate. Police, paramedic, port authority, and fire fighting units rushed to the scene. These first responders raced courageously into the burning towers. Among them was Father Mychal Judge, a Franciscan friar and priest, who served as senior chaplain of the New York City Fire Department.
Father Mike was widely known as a compassionate, outgoing, and relentlessly busy priest. In addition to Father Mike’s active ministry as chaplain for the city’s fire fighters and their families, he worked tirelessly with alcoholics, addicts, the homeless, and those living with HIV-AIDS and other chronic illnesses. Throughout his decades of ministry in New York City, Father Mike was a bright and cheerful presence, always ready with a joke, a sympathetic word, or a humorous story. On the morning of September 11th, however, Father Mike paced in the lobby of Tower One. Dressed in his firefighter’s helmet and jacket, he stood clear of the first responders, fingered the beads of a rosary, and prayed. We know this because two documentary filmmakers were there and provided us with the last living images of a kind man and priest.
Suddenly, an unspeakable roar shook the earth. Tower Two was collapsing, turning one of the world’s great skyscrapers into a twisted wreck of dust and debris. After the tower fell, those in the lobby of the other tower began a slow and steady evacuation. Amidst the dust and darkness, a flashlight illuminated the face of man who lay still and was buried under some rubble. It was Father Mike. No pulse. He was dead. Some firefighters carried his lifeless body to a nearby church and rested it near the altar. Father Mychal Judge was recorded as the first official casualty of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He was “Victim 001.”
In the years since Father Mike’s death, some have petitioned for his canonization as a saint. Those who knew him best, however, seem more concerned with continuing his ministry rather than the possibility of sainthood. Some have founded charitable organizations in his memory. One of these charities is “Mychal’s Message” which provides food, clothing, and basic necessities for homeless people in New York City. Another is the “Mychal Judge Recovery Center” at Saint Anthony Shrine in Boston which provides counseling and other services for recovering addicts and their families.
Those of us who did not know Father Mike personally can still honor his memory and ministry by remembering and perhaps imitating his deep spirituality and his abiding faith in the Franciscan way of life. Like his patron, Saint Francis of Assisi, Father Mike always seemed busy. On a daily basis, he rushed from the bedside of an injured firefighter to the side of a recovering addict in crisis. Like Saint Francis, he reached out to those often shunned by modern society: drug users, AIDS patients, and the homeless. Like Saint Francis, most often because of his energy and zeal, he sometimes irritated those with power and authority. And because Father Mike’s wardrobe often seemed so worn and threadbare, he often received gifts of clothing. More often than not, he gave those gifts away to the poor.
When we read about Father Mike’s life and ministry, we may ask: how did he do it? How did he keep the pace? How did he accomplish so much? The life and example of Saint Francis can answer some of these questions. More than 800 years ago, Francis traveled widely, always on foot, and often barefoot, in his ministry to live and preach the gospel. He embarrassed his followers by his energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to imitating the life and ministry of Jesus. And like Jesus, Francis sometimes retreated from the world for prolonged periods of prayer and retreat. Father Mike, a truly modern man, but still a Franciscan, did the same. When Father Mike needed to refuel his spiritual engines, he retreated into the city he loved. He took long solitary walks from the friary in Manhattan to the outer boroughs across the Brooklyn Bridge. From that historic bridge, he could step back from the gritty and suffering streets of the city and gaze at the grandeur of the skyline. In an urban sense, he could see the whole of the forest, not just the trees. There, he would pray for himself and for the city and the people that he loved so much.
This weekend, we remember in prayer the victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001 and their families. We pray for all who lost their lives and for those left behind. We pray for the soul of Father Mychal Judge and for all who were touched by his good works of faith, hope, and love. We pray for all who serve our communities as first responders and for all who serve our country in uniform. We pray for reconciliation and understanding between peoples and cultures. Last but certainly not least, we pray for peace in our troubled world.
May the Lord give you peace,
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Grand Annual Collection
OUR GOAL: $50,000
Just over two years ago, Cardinal Seán O’Malley established the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport as a collaborative of two historic parishes: Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Although our parishes share one pastor and pastoral team, each parish remains fully and canonically independent; maintains its own back accounts and accounting procedures; and continues to be solely responsible for its own bills, building maintenance, and pastoral programs. During the past two years, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish has been blessed in many ways. Despite necessary changes to our worship schedule, attendance is good and growing (especially among young adults and young families at our 11:45am Sunday Mass). Fundraising events and the Annual Crowning Feast of the Holy Spirit remain successful both by raising needed funds and by building and strengthening our parish as a vibrant community of prayer, fellowship, and service. And although it sometimes has been difficult, parishioners from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish are now praying together, working together, and helping each other to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church here in Gloucester and Rockport.
Despite these blessings, we face serious financial challenges at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. For the second straight year, we have been unable to balance our budget. These imbalances have been caused by those necessary changes to our worship schedule; increasing costs associated with building maintenance; and the loss of an anonymous benefactor whose generous donations over the course of many years contributed to the financial stability of the parish. During the past two years, we have worked diligently to significantly reduce our operating costs across the board: wages and benefits, office administration and equipment, and especially utilities without diminishing the pastoral ministries of our parish. Despite these efficiencies and more professional accounting procedures, we are unable to balance our annual budget. This means that we have been forced again and again to use funds from our savings account in order to make ends meet on a weekly basis. Inserted into this week’s newsletter is our Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2016 which summarizes our actual income and expenses in various categories; and our budget for the coming fiscal year. This report is also available in our pastoral office and is posted below.
For these reasons, I am writing to ask all parishioners at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish to help me raise $50,000 during this year’s Grand Annual Collection. This fundraising campaign is vitally important to our parish’s annual budget and our long-term financial stability. It helps us bridge the gap between our weekly offerings and our financial obligations (such as salaries and benefits, insurance premiums, essential parish programs, routine building maintenance and repair, utilities, snow plowing, and stipends for our senior priests). Each year, we ask all parishioners to contribute whatever they can to our Grand Annual Collection. This year, it is especially important! Every contribution, whether it’s $10 or $100, helps us to achieve our goal of a balanced budget. Every penny raised goes directly to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Anyone who tells you something else is simply not telling the truth!
In the coming week, every registered parish family will receive an offertory envelope for the Grand Annual Collection. Please place your offering in the collection basket at Mass during the weekend of September 10th and September 11th or mail it to me as soon as possible. Additional envelopes will be available at the doors of the church. As our Grand Annual Collection begins, please join me in praying that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to this all-important fundraising effort. Finally, please accept my deepest thanks for your prayers and encouragement during my second year as your pastor. Your kindness and support humble me and sustain me in my ministry. Please continue to pray for me, for our dedicated pastoral team, and for each other; and please know that you and your family are always in my prayers. Thank you in advance for your prayers and generous support of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Youth Faith Formation Update
Sacramental Preparation Programs
Registration Now Underway!
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is now offering a creative and innovative way for young children to prepare for the Sacraments of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and First Holy Communion. Our program is designed to prepare both children and their parents for these sacraments, encourage lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, and help families grow in prayer, fellowship, and service. Our program is simple and family friendly! First, we will continue to place primary focus on inviting families to attend one of our seven weekend Masses. Second, all second grade children and their parents are asked to attend two 90 minute workshops during the fall season; and three 90 minute workshops during winter-spring seasons. Each “Faith & Family Workshop” is offered at three different times, so each family can choose which option works best for them! Our program begins in October! Registration for all “Faith & Family Workshops” is now underway!
In addition, registration is now underway for our Confirmation Preparation Program. Beginning in the ninth grade, all high school students are invited to participate in our two-year program of formation that will prepare them to receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. During the first year, our students will participate in a series of interactive workshops about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. These sessions will be scheduled on Sunday mornings to coincide with our weekend Mass schedule. During the second year, our students will participate in four additional workshops (and a four hour mini-retreat) designed to help them grow in prayer, fellowship, and service; to prepare them to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; and to jumpstart their lives as faithful and faith-filled young adult disciples.If you have questions or need assistance, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Knights of Columbus News
Second Annual Golf Tournament
Friday, October 14th
The Knights of Columbus is an organization of men that remains true to its founding principles of charity, unity, and fraternity. Founded in 1882, the Knights remain an organization dedicated to the mutual assistance of members and their families, but also to serving the disabled, the poor, and the sick. The Knights also sponsor education, charitable, and religious programs. Council 215 serves the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport at Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 13th at 7:00pm in Parish Center.
In addition, all are invited to join the Knights for their Second Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, October 14th at the Cape Ann Golf Course. Tee off at 1:00pm. Registration forms are available at kofc215.com and at the doors of Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. All proceeds benefit the charitable work of the Knights of Columbus in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. For more information about joining the Knights of Columbus or participating in the Golf Tournament, please contact Mark Natti at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
Saint Joachim Church Maintenance
Thanks to a generous gift from two parishioners, Saint Joachim Church will be closed from September 12th through September 17th for a complete floor to ceiling cleaning. In addition, the exterior of the church will be scraped, primed, and painted. To facilitate this work, the church will be unavailable for funeral services, daily prayer, and daily Mass. During this period, all daily Masses will be celebrated at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Saint Joachim Church will re-open on Sunday, September 18th. May God bless our benefactors for their generosity! Thank you! Peace and blessings to all!
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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline