Our Pastor’s Message
Giving & Discipleship
As we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Magi presented the Christ Child with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we are reminded about the link between giving and discipleship. We are reminded that part of our journey with Jesus is our stewardship of the temporal goods entrusted to our care, especially our church buildings. As the Christmas Season concludes, I am asking again for your help to repair and restore Saint Ann Church. As you know, masonry leaks in the bell tower have allowed water to travel from the steeple, through the tower, and into spaces between the exterior stonework and interior plaster. These leaks have caused the tower, east wall, and parts of the church interior (especially the vestibule and choir loft) to deteriorate at an accelerated and dangerous pace, causing noticeable damage to the front doors, ceilings, walls, and woodwork.
During the past two years, Saint Ann Church has been poked, prodded, checked, and double-checked by local and regional experts to ensure that we have found all problems that might affect the building’s long-term structural integrity. Competitive bids to complete the necessary repairs and restoration of the bell tower and steeple were submitted by four respected contractors. After studying these bids and consulting with our finance and parish councils, representatives of our parish ministries and organizations, and archdiocesan officials, we contracted with Aniceto Historical Restorations of Milford, Massachusetts, a construction company with a strong reputation, to complete the project by next summer.
Work began during the fall, has been suspended for the winter, and will resume this spring. 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 beloved church for future generations of faithful parishioners like you and your family, we must do three things. First, we must pray every day for the grace and strength to meet our sacred obligation to lovingly care for God’s house. Second, we must rededicate all donations from the so-called elevator project to complete this project. And third, although we have now raised more than $190,000 in new donations (more than $30,000 during the past month), we must still raise an additional $120,000 to cover the cost of the restoration project and preserve the integrity of our parish savings account.
According to our records, approximately three thousand families are currently enrolled in Holy Family Parish. If every registered parish family managed to give $50, then we would easily reach our goal. As the son of working class parents, I know that not every family can afford that much. So, every donation, whether it’s $5, $50, or $500 will be much appreciated and will go a long way toward helping us repair and restore our beautiful and historic church. Offertory envelopes were mailed last month to every parish family and are available at the church’s entrances and from our parish office. Please feel encouraged to place your offering in the collection basket at Mass or mail it to me at your earliest possible convenience. If you have questions or need more information about this project, please remember that you are always welcome to make an appointment to meet with me; to talk with me before or after Mass; or to contact me at email@example.com.
As this new year begins, please pray for me, for our pastoral team, and for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Please pray for those who will complete the hard work of repairing and restoring Saint Ann Church. And last but not least, please pray for the success of this important fundraising effort. And as always, be assured of my prayers for you and your family. Thank you in advance for your prayers and generous support!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Note: On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Father Jim wishes to thank Jody Cole of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, for allowing us to use her inspirational icon of the Epiphany of the Lord on our website and cover of our weekly newsletter. Prints of this icon are available for purchase. For more information, please visit: jcoleicons.com.
The Epiphany Proclamation
While a day like Christmas is fixed in our minds and on our calendars as December 25th, many of the important feast days of the Church Year move based on the date of Easter Sunday. Each year, Easter is scheduled for the first Sunday following the “Paschal Full Moon” and can occur between March 22nd and April 25th. In ancient times, before calendars were commonplace, most people did not know the dates for the feasts of the new liturgical year. On Epiphany Sunday, the dates were “proclaimed” during the celebration of Holy Mass. After the proclamation of the Gospel, a cantor, deacon, or lector, in keeping with the ancient practices of the Church, may announce from the ambo the moveable feasts of the new year.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
know that as we have rejoiced at
the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
so by leave of God’s mercy,
we announce to you now the joy of his Resurrection,
who is our Savior.
On the First Day of March will fall Ash Wednesday,
and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the Sixteenth Day of April,
we will joyfully celebrate Easter Sunday,
the Paschal Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Twenty-Fifth Day of May,
the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Fourth Day of June, the Feast of Pentecost.
On the Eighteenth Day of June,
the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
On the Third Day of December,
the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen!
The Assisi Project
Tenth Annual Fall Pilgrimage
November 3rd-November 10th
For the tenth consecutive year, Father Jim Achadinha, Cliff Garvey, and the Assisi Project are sponsoring a week-long, small-group pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy. Each year, our pilgrims have literally walked in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. This year, from November 3rd through November 11th, we will journey again to Assisi and to the Franciscan Sanctuary at La Verna. There may even be one or two surprises in store in celebration of our tenth anniversary!
Each morning, we will begin with Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and Mass. Father Jim celebrates Masses at the Basilica of Saint Francis, the Basilica of Our Lady of Angels, the Carceri Hermitage, and the Sanctuary at La Verna. Each afternoon, our pilgrims will have the free time and guidance to explore Assisi at their own pace and to visit its many churches, cafes, museums, and shops. Each evening, we will gather for supper, followed by Evening Prayer, a reflection, and faith sharing.
As a fellowship of pilgrims, we will explore the historic Basilicas of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Each of these great basilicas contains the tombs of the saints, holy relics, priceless frescoes and other works of art, along with quiet chapels for personal prayer and worship. We will also visit the Basilica of Saint Rufino, where Francis and Clare were baptized; the Church of Saint Damian where Christ spoke to Francis and hastened his conversion; the Carceri Hermitage where Francis and his first followers retreated for prayer and contemplation; and the chapel known as the Porziuncola, which is considered the home church of the worldwide Franciscan community.
In addition, we will spend leisurely afternoons in and around the Piazza del Commune, Assisi’s city center, with its ancient Roman temple (now a Catholic Church), sidewalk cafes, restaurants, and shops. Our more adventurous pilgrims will also have a chance to visit the Rocca Maggiore, the great medieval fortress with its stunning views of Assisi, the Spoleto Valley, and Mount Subasio. And finally, we will travel to La Verna, the mountain sanctuary in Tuscany, where Saint Francis received the stigmata. At La Verna, we will celebrate Mass, have lunch, and participate in the daily procession that commemorates how Saint Francis received the five wounds of the Crucified Christ.
The cost of this extraordinary pilgrimage is $3,399 per person and includes roundtrip airfare & fees; ground transportation (except personal taxi services); guest house accommodations (single room & bathroom); and all meals in the guest house. Please note that this pilgrimage involves some strenuous physical activity, including walking up and down steep hills and stairways. In addition, access to many pilgrimage sites in Italy is limited for those with physical disabilities. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is very limited! Please join us!
Youth Faith Formation
Confirmation Preparation Program
Begins February 5th
For too many teenagers, Confirmation has sadly become a kind of graduation from the Church, rather than the joyful beginning of life as an adult disciple in the Church. We hope to end this tragic ambivalence by transforming sacramental preparation into an engaging process for the whole family. First, we will place primary focus on attending Mass. For more than a century, the Church has asked every parish to provide a sacramental preparation program for children. During recent decades, however, we have neglected 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 world, its has become common for parents to entrust their children to us for an hour of instruction 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!
In addition, all high school students (beginning in the ninth grade) are invited to participate in our two-year program of formation that will prepare them to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. During the first year, students will participate in a series of interactive workshops about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. These sessions will begin on Sunday, February 5th and coincide with our weekend Mass schedule. During the second year, 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 faith-filled young adult disciples. If your child is currently in high school and wants to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, please complete a registration form (see link below) and return it to us as soon as possible. For more information, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Pastor’s Note of Special Thanks
To Some Very Special People
As the Christmas Season comes to a close, let us join together in a prayer of thanksgiving for the parishioners and pastoral team members who dedicated their time, talent, and treasure in helping us celebrate these holy days with a spirit of faith, hope, and love for the Lord! On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, I wish to thank Cliff Garvey, Natalie Gillis, Suzanne McLaughlin, Matt Maglio, Jane Russo, Lucy Sheehan, Lori Thorstensen, and Cynthia Wood for their good work in decorating our churches so beautifully for the holidays.
We also thank Barbara Frontiero, Tracy DaSilva, Annette Kennedy, Marie Linquata, Lori Thorstensen, Ethel Weeks, Margaret Wiberg, and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society for their hard work with this year’s Christmas Giving Trees. In addition, we thank those adults and children who served as acolytes, lectors, ushers, and Eucharistic ministers during Mass, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Last but not least, our sincere thanks to Tom Misuraca, Luann Palazolla, Patty Natti, and our adult, youth, and Brazilian music ministries for giving us the gift of beautiful music during both the Advent and Christmas Seasons. Peace and blessings to all for a happy new year! Thank you! And may God bless us, everyone!
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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