Our Pastor’s Message
Go! Rebuild My Church!
HOLY FAMILY PARISH ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT
Just over two years ago, Cardinal Sean 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 bank accounts and accounting procedures; and continues to be solely responsible for its own bills, building maintenance, and pastoral programs.
During the past two years, Holy Family Parish has been blessed in many ways. Despite necessary changes to our worship schedule, attendance is growing and spirits are high. Fundraising events like the Christmas Fair, Strawberry Festival, and a recent “Pastor’s Challenge” have been successful both by raising funds and by building and strengthening our parish as a vibrant community of prayer, fellowship, and service. In addition, out-of-town friends and visitors to both Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church have both spoken and written to me about the commitment, energy, and spirit in our parish. And although it has been sometimes challenging, parishioners from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish are now praying together, working together, and helping each other live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church here in Gloucester and Rockport.
Along with our many blessings come both challenges and opportunities. Included in this weekend’s newsletter (see below) is a financial summary for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016. Thanks to the good advice and guidance of our finance council, I am pleased to report that our parish budget is balanced; and despite the City of Gloucester’s decision not to renew its lease agreement for the school building, we anticipate a balanced budget for the coming year based on fundraising, weekly offertory, Grand Annual Collection, and ongoing efforts to reduce overall expenses. As always, our long-term financial stability depends on parishioners like you who give so generously of their time, talent, and treasure to help us raise the funds necessary to pay our bills and to continue the good and necessary work of sharing God’s love and mercy with the people of Gloucester and Rockport and beyond.
Our biggest challenge, our towering challenge, is to repair and restore Saint Ann Church. As you know, 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 integrity. Competitive bids to complete the necessary restoration of the church’s bell tower and front façade were submitted by four respected contractors. After studying these bids and consulting with our finance council, parish council, representatives from all of our parish ministries, and archdiocesan officials, we have engaged the services of Aniceto Historical Restorations, Inc. of Milford, Massachusetts, a construction firm with a strong reputation for completing similar projects in the Archdiocese of Boston, to complete this project as soon as possible.
Scaffolding and other preparatory work is already underway, but the overall cost of this project will be approximately one million dollars. Needless to say, the success of the Saint Ann Church Restoration Project depends on your prayers and support! In order to save our church for future generations of faithful and faith-filled parishioners, we must do three things. First, we must rededicate all donations for the so-called elevator project to this project. Second, we must ask for additional donations from all parishioners to repair and restore our church. And third, we must pray every day for the grace and strength to meet our obligations to lovingly care for God’s house.
On Tuesday, October 4th, the Catholic Church will celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. More than 800 years ago, Francis walked into a dilapidated little church and knelt in prayer before an ancient crucifix. Upon completing his prayers, the Crucified Christ spoke to him: “Francis, go and rebuild my church!” Many centuries later, we are faced with a similar challenge. So, let us pray together for faith, hope, and love. Let us pray for guidance and wisdom. Let us pray for courage to confront our towering challenge. And let us pray for perseverance to rebuild our beautiful church.
Next month, every registered family at Holy Family Parish will receive an offertory envelope for the Saint Ann Church Restoration Project. All are encouraged to either place an offering in the collection basket during Mass or mail it to me as soon as possible. Additional envelopes will be available in our parish office and at the doors of both Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church. As we repair and restore our beautiful church, please join me in praying that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to this vitally important fundraising effort. Finally, please accept my deepest thanks for your prayers and encouragement during my first twenty-eight months as your pastor. Your kindness and support both 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 ongoing support for Holy Family Parish!
Peace and blessings to all,
Celebrating Saint Francis
The Blessing of the Animals
Sunday, October 2nd
Saint Francis of Assisi is venerated throughout the world as patron of animals and the environment. In anticipation of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport (whether you own a pet or not) are invited to join Father Jim for the traditional “Blessing of the Animals” on Sunday, October 2nd at 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Rectory Parking Lot. All friendly family pets are welcome (but must be leashed or secured in carriers). For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass. All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Learning to Love with Saint Francis
Wednesday, October 5th
Established in 2005, the Holy Family Parish Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and community. Throughout the year, the Women’s Guild hosts various fundraising events and social gatherings, including the Palm Sunday Bake Sale, the Strawberry Festival in June, and the Christmas Fair in November. The Guild’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 5th at 7:00pm in Saint Ann Church Hall. Our special guest will be Cliff Garvey, who will share a brief reflection on “Learning to Love with Saint Francis of Assisi.” Cliff will speak about the connection between love, prayer, mercy, and service. In addition, a special collection will be taken for the Saint Vincent De Paul Society along with our annual dues. All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for this special event! Refreshments will be served (including strawberry shortcake)! For more information about the Holy Family Women’s Guild and its good work in our parish community, please contact Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com. New members are always welcome! Please join us!
Year of Mercy Special Event
Friday, October 7th
Last year, Pope Francis announced that the Roman Catholic Church would celebrate a Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (last December 8th) and concluding on the Feast of Christ the King (this coming November 20th). And last December, Pope Francis inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy by opening the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Overall, the theme of this extraordinary jubilee year is “Merciful Like the Father” and its primary focus is an ongoing invitation to all people to experience God’s forgiveness, love, and mercy through prayer, penance, worship, and the Sacraments of the Church.
The tradition of the jubilee year is rooted in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus (Lev 25:8-13). In 1300, Pope Boniface VII convoked the first jubilee year in the Roman Catholic Church and offered all believers an opportunity for the universal forgiveness of sins. Since then, such holy or jubilee years have been celebrated every 25 or 50 years. The Catholic Church last celebrated a Jubilee Year in 2000 to mark the beginning of a new millennium. This Jubilee Year of Mercy is “extraordinary” because the Holy Father broke from tradition and announced it without advance notice or planning.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we are celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy with special programs and events throughout the year. For example, our next “Mercy Friday” is scheduled for Friday, October 7th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Our vigil of prayer will begin at 12:00pm with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Daytime Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. At 3:00pm, we will pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. From 5:00pm until 6:00pm, Father Jim will hear confessions. And at 6:30pm, we will conclude with Evening Prayer (with Homily) and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Please join us for all or part of this special day of devotion, prayer, and worship. All are welcome!
Throughout the Year of Mercy, other programs and special events for adults include scripture study, a summer retreat, and our Advent and Lent Missions. All of these programs offer our parishioners opportunities to deepen their personal relationships with the Lord and to experience God’s love and mercy in their own lives. Throughout the year, let us pray for each other and for our parish communities: that the Lord will bless us with his boundless love and mercy. For more information about experiencing the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us, sinners!
Adult Faith Formation
RCIA & Adult Confirmation
Begins Sunday, October 16th
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 16th 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
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