FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT

Our Pastor’s Message
Advent: A New Beginning

Advent is a time for preparation, prayer, and new beginnings. It is a time to open our hearts, minds, and spirits to the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. All too often, however, our worldly preparations during Advent overwhelm our spiritual preparations. We decorate our homes. We listen to holiday music. We brave the malls and the traffic to buy presents. We bake cookies and cook lavish meals. But what about prayers? What about our spiritual lives? All of these other activities can be good. They can be tangible expressions of our love for family, friends, and neighbors. They can convey our generosity, love, and service to others. But again, what about prayer? What about our love for God? What about preparing ourselves for the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus? These are very challenging questions! And believe me, I still don’t have all the answers. I still struggle (and often fail) to balance my ministry and work with my personal need for prayer and spiritual preparation.

Given the ever-increasing hustle and bustle of the holiday season, how can we prayerfully prepare for the coming of our Savior? A friend of mine, who is a good spiritual director, suggests that we should “pause” in the midst of our busy lives and “take a deep spiritual breath.” My friend counsels that we cannot reconcile our practical preparations for Christmas with our spiritual preparations for Christmas without recognizing the need to pause, slow down, and reflect deeply on what is about to happen to us and to our world. A poor young maiden named Mary will soon embrace the gift of motherhood through God’s astonishing grace. A poor laborer named Joseph will answer God’s call to care for this mother and her unborn baby. And finally, after a frantic search for lodging, their poor child, who is both Son of God and Savior of the World, will be born poor in a stable.

The miracle of Advent is not found in our ability to somehow find the time to cook all the meals, bake all the pies, or wrap all the presents. The true miracle of Advent is found in our ability to pause, breathe, and reflect again upon the awesome blessings that are given to us through a young woman’s openness to God’s grace, a young couple’s summons to love, a child of light born at the darkest time of year, and a world changed forever by the coming of its Savior. The miraculous gift of Advent is unwrapped when we pause in the midst of our busy lives to begin again our relationship with Jesus, who is true light in the darkness, true love in a land divided by bigotry and suspicion, and true peace in a world wracked by hatred and violence.

As we begin this Holy Season of Advent, let us beg for the grace to pause, breathe, and reflect on the joyful mysteries of our faith. Let us “walk in the light of the Lord (Isaiah 2:5)” and become true instruments of the Lord’s peace in our homes, neighborhoods, parishes, and offices. Let us journey hand-in-hand as brothers and sisters united in prayer, fellowship, and service. And let us pray heart-to-heart for each other, that all of us, no matter who we are or where we are on the journey of faith, will find the courage and humility to set aside what seems most important and to answer the Father’s call to renew our relationship with Jesus. In short, let us pause, breathe, and reflect! And let us begin again!

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Contact: frjim@ccgronline.com

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (11-27-16)
Bringing Home the Word (11-27-16)

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The Light Is On For You!
Confessions & Eucharistic Adoration
Thursday Evenings During Advent

The Holy Season of Advent is a time for prayer, penance, and preparation and a time to make ready for the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. This Advent, all are invited to experience Christ’s boundless love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and through prayerful adoration of the Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. On three Thursday evenings during Advent (December 1st, December 15th, and December 22nd) from 6:00pm until 8:00pm, please join us for “The Light Is On For You!” at Saint Ann Church.

These special evenings of prayer will include Evening Prayer and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and an opportunity for all who feel called to participate in the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation. For some, this may be a time for sacramental confession. For some it may be a time for silent prayer and reflection. And for some, it may be a time to begin or renew a life of faith. Wherever you are on your faith journey, please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass or contact him at frjim@ccgronline.com.

Learn More: Guide for Making a Good Confession

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Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Christmas Giving Trees
Begins This Weekend!

This year, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society will once again sponsor the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Annual Christmas Giving Trees which help share the blessings of Christmas with local families in need. The Giving Trees will be placed at the entrances of Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church during the weekend of November 26-November 27th. Each tree will be decorated with colored stars that indicate a particular Christmas wish. If you can help fulfill this wish, please take a star! Each donated gift should be new, unused, and unwrapped; and placed under the tree with the original star or delivered to our parish offices.

The Christmas Giving Trees will remain at the entrances of Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church through Sunday, December 11th. All gifts should be returned to our parish offices by Tuesday, December 13th at noon. Gifts will be wrapped and delivered to families in need on Thursday, December 15th. For more information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society’s Giving Tree Program, please contact Barbara Frontiero at barbara.frontiero@gortons.com. Thank you in advance for your generous support of the Christmas Giving Trees! May God bless us, everyone!

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Pastor’s Note
Mass Intentions Book
Opens Thursday, December 1st

The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Mass Intentions Book (January 2017 through June 2017) will be opened on Thursday, December 1st from 11:00am until 2:00pm at our pastoral office, which is located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. On that day, all parishioners are welcome to book two weekend Masses and two weekday Masses at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. A donation of $10 for each Mass intention is requested. Please note that on December 1st, all Mass intentions must be booked in person. No email, fax, or phone requests will be accepted. No exceptions! Any remaining Masses can be booked on or after Monday, December 5th during regular business hours. For more information, please contact Melissa Unis at office@ccgronline.com. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and generous support of our parishes! Peace and blessings to all!

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Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Our Lady’s Guild Christmas Fair
Saturday, December 3rd

All are welcome to join Our Lady’s Guild for their Annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 3rd from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Parish Hall. Highlights will include a fried dough breakfast, a linguiça & hot dog lunch, coffee & soft drinks, and all the fixings! Sale tables will include the general store, Christmas decorations, religious items, jewelry, plants, homemade sweet- bread, cookies & fudge, and other baked goods. We will also have a Mega Raffle Table featuring many wonderful items! Volunteers are still needed for set-up and clean-up! For more information, please contact Linda Galvin at 617- 803-6050 or lingalv2010@gmail.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!

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Adult & Youth Music Ministry
Advent & Christmas Concert
Sunday, December 4th

All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Tom Misuraca, LuAnn Pallazola, and the Holy Family Parish Music Ministry for its Twelfth Annual Advent & Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 4th at 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church. All of this year’s musical selections have been chosen to help prepare our hearts to celebrate more fully the Holy Season of Advent and the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. As always, both our adult and youth choirs will perform with talented instrumentalists. In addition, members of our Brazilian Community will perform with us, too! For more information, please contact Tom Misuraca at tmisuraca@ccgronline.com. Please join us as we share the gift of music! All are invited! All are welcome!

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Adult Faith Formation
Advent Mission & Retreat
December 6th-December 8th

All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for our Third Annual Advent Mission & Retreat from Tuesday, December 6th through Thursday, December 8th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Evening Prayer & Mass at 7:00pm, followed by a reflection on the theme of “Journeying with Mary During Advent.”

Our special guest and spiritual director for this year’s Advent Mission & Retreat will be Sister Ellen Dabrieo, SND. Sister Ellen is a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame. For many years, she has served the Church in both parish ministry and as a missionary in Brazil. Sister Ellen currently serves as a hospital chaplain in Salem and as a lay minister to the Brazilian Community of Saint Thomas Church in Peabody. For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass or contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!

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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Holy Day of Obligation
Thursday, December 8th

In honor of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Thursday, December 8th, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule: Wednesday, December 7th (Vigil Mass) in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00pm; Thursday, December 8th (Holy Day Masses) in Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am, Saint Ann Church at 12:00pm, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00pm.

Since late antiquity, the People of God have believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was sinless and conceived immaculately in the womb of her mother, Saint Ann. This ancient belief was not defined as doctrine until 1854. Since then, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has been named patroness of many causes and nations, including the United States. So, please join us as we honor our Blessed Mother and beg her intercession for our families, our parishes, and our country. All are welcome!

Learn More: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

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About Us

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 frjim@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are welcome!

Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline