FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Christmas Mass Schedule 2016

Our Pastor’s Message
A Call to Look & Listen for the Lord

Each of our weekly messages during this Holy Season of Advent has been based on a particular theme designed to help us prepare (both as individuals and as a community) for the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. During the first week of Advent, we considered the “new beginning” that Advent offers us to pause, breathe, and reflect on the mystery of God’s coming into the world as a poor child, born in a manger. During the second week of Advent, we reached out to those who feel alone or alienated from the Church; and we offered them a “radical welcome” to join us in living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding our parishes as vibrant centers of prayer, fellowship, and service. And during the third week of Advent, we responded to the Lord’s “call to joy” by finding Christ Jesus, our loving and merciful savior, the true light of the world, during the darkest season of the year and during the darkest times of our lives.

During this fourth and final week of Advent, we are challenged by the Sunday Mass readings to answer a “call to look and listen” for the Lord. In the first reading, Isaiah calls the people of Israel (and the people of Gloucester and Rockport) to discern, hear, and watch for the Lord, who will soon come into the world as the child of a virgin (Isaiah 7:10-14). In the responsorial psalm, we are called to seek, worship, and welcome into our midst the Lord, the King of Glory (Psalm 24). In the second reading, Saint Paul beckons us to follow in his footsteps as a disciple who is called by the Lord, listens with an open heart, and responds in obedience by living with faith, hope, and love (Romans 1:1-7). And finally, in the Sunday Gospel, we encounter Joseph, a simple but righteous man, who listens to the voice of God’s holy angel and heeds God’s call to discipleship by loving the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child (Matthew 1:18-24).

The Catholic Church does not just offer these readings on the Fourth Sunday of Advent to prepare us for the celebration of Christmas. Rather, these readings remind us that after the celebration of Christmas comes the long walk of faith. They fortify us for the difficult path of discipleship. And they strengthen us for the sometimes rocky road that commands us to love God and all those we meet along the way. Through these readings, we encounter the timeless call to welcome the Lord into our hearts and lives, and to share the Lord’s boundless love and mercy with our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

As the days darken, the pace quickens, the final presents are purchased, and the final preparations are made for the coming feast. As Christmas approaches, let us pause, breathe, and reflect again on the wonder of this blessed season. Let us reach out with love to those who are lost and welcome them into our community of faith. Let us look for the light of Christ in the deepest shadows of our lives. Let us find joy in the love of family and friends. And let us pray for peace in our country and in our world, and for the courage to share God’s grace with others.

As the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ draws near, please share our Christmas Mass Schedule by phone, e-mail, social media, or word-of-mouth. Please make ready to welcome new friends and visitors into our churches (and into our pews) with happy hearts and warm smiles. And as always, please be assured of my prayers for you, for your family, and for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. May God bless you! Merry Christmas!

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

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

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (12-18-16)
Bringing Home the Word (12-18-16)

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Pastor’s Note
Congratulations, Deacon Ray!
Bishop Cheverus Medal Recipient

On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, I wish to congratulate the Reverend Mr. Raymond Wellbank, Permanent Deacon, who received the Bishop Cheverus Medal from His Eminence, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, during a Solemn Vespers Service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday, December 4th. Deacon Ray was born and raised in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from West Chester University and DeSales University, where he earned degrees in Accounting and Finance. During his long business career, Deacon Ray worked as an accountant, controller, and property manager. During the final fourteen years of his career, he served as a fiscal analyst for the largest non-profit organization in Philadelphia.

Before joining us last year, Deacon Ray served for eight years as a Permanent Deacon in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He and his wife, Patti, have been deeply involved in parish ministry for decades. They have served together as lectors, extraordinary ministers, and lead couple for marriage preparation classes. Ray and Patti have been married for thirty-two years, raised four children, and have six grandchildren. Since moving to Gloucester, they have been active as volunteers with the Holy Family Women’s Guild and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, along with their longstanding service as lectors and Eucharistic ministers.

On a personal note, Deacon Ray has been an enormous help to me during the past eighteen months. He visits and prays with the sick and homebound. He celebrates baptisms, weddings, and funerals. And he offers good advice and words of encouragement when they are needed most. Deacon Ray is a kind man, a hard worker, and a good friend. So, I was delighted to learn that the Very Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop for the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston, nominated Deacon Ray for the Bishop Cheverus Medal.

The Bishop Cheverus Medal was created in 2008 to honor those humble servants in the Lord’s vineyard whose lives are dedicated to ministry and service to the People of God and to the Church. Current and past recipients include lay ministers and volunteers, religious men and women, and deacons. On behalf of our pastoral team and all of our fellow parishioners, congratulations to Deacon Ray Wellbank for receiving the Archdiocese of Boston’s Bishop Cheverus Medal! Please join me in thanking Deacon Ray and Patti for all they do for all of us! Please pray for them, for their family, and for their ministries!

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

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

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The Light Is On For You!
Confessions & Eucharistic Adoration
Thursday, December 22nd

The Holy Season of Advent is a time for prayer, penance, and preparation; 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 and through prayerful adoration of the Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. On Thursday, December 22nd from 6:00pm until 8:00pm, all are invited to join us for “The Light Is On For You!” in Saint Ann Church. This special evening of prayer and devotion 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 contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com.

Learn More: Guide to Making a Good Confession

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Youth Faith Formation
Advent Faith & Family Mass
Saturday, December 17th

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all children, parents, grandparents, and godparents are invited to join Father Jim for our Second Annual Advent Faith & Family Mass on Saturday, December 17th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily about Advent and a special blessing for all families and children. And every child (under age 18) will receive a special gift. In addition, please mark your calendars for our next Faith & Family Masses: Sunday, March 5th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and Saturday, May 13th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. For more information, please contact Betsy Works at bworks@ccgronline.com. Mass is our class! Jesus is our Teacher! Every child in our pews is a gift from God! All families are welcome!

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Youth Faith Formation
Celebration of First Penance

This year, fifty-six of our youngest fellow parishioners from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish are preparing for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. Last weekend, those young disciples participated in the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) for the first time. In addition, sixty-one high school students from our both of our parishes are preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. As these sacramental preparations continue, please pray for all of our students and their families, and for all of our catechists and volunteers! For more information, please contact Betsy Works at bworks@ccgronline.com.

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Youth Faith Formation
Annual Christmas Pageant
Saturday, December 31st

Each year, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Season of Christmas from December 25th through the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During Christmastime, we commemorate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ; the choir of angels praising God in heaven; the call of the shepherds; and the adoration of the Magi with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s celebration of the Season of Christmas, we invite the children of our parish communities (both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish) to participate in our Youth Christmas Pageant during the 4:00pm Vigil Mass on Saturday, December 31st in Saint Ann Church. This annual dramatization of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ depends on the participation of young angels and shepherds, along with those interested in playing the roles of the Magi and the Holy Family. For more information, please contact Betsy Works at bworks@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!

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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!

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