Our Pastor’s Message
A Prayer for Confirmation
Along with Baptism and Holy Eucharist, Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism through an outpouring of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Right Judgment, Understanding, Wisdom, and Wonder & Awe. These gifts seal or “confirm” the mystical union between the Candidates for Confirmation and Christ Jesus. These gifts also offer them the courage, grace, and strength to actively participate in the prayer, worship, and apostolic ministry of the Catholic Church.
This year, fifty-seven high school students from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish have successfully completed the requirements of our Confirmation Preparation Program. During the past two years, they attended Mass and formation gatherings. They participated in the “New Spirit Evening of Reflection.” They completed service projects and essays that connected their good works with their faith. And they prayed together as a community of young disciples, just as generations of young men and women have done for centuries. These students are now well-prepared to publicly renew their Baptismal promises, profess their faith, and live as faithful and faith-filled Roman Catholics.
Living as a Christian disciple is not easy in today’s world. Indeed, choosing to live as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ may be the most radical choice that these young men and women may ever make. They are not alone. Discipleship has never been easy. For centuries, Christians have been mocked and martyred for choosing to live according to the gospel. More than fifteen centuries ago, a young man named Augustine, who had lived by the trends and temptations of the world, made the radical decision to live as a Christian. He made the radical decision to love God and to love others; and to live in accordance with the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Augustine’s life was not easy, but he succeeded through faith, perseverance, and prayer. Today, we know him as Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church!
As our young fellow parishioners receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, let us together and offer for them the following prayer by Saint Augustine to guide them and to strengthen them on life’s long journey of faith and discipleship:
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit,
so that my thoughts may be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit,
so that my work may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit,
so that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit,
so that I may defend all that is Holy.
As always, the success of our youth faith formation program depends on volunteers. So, on behalf of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, let us give God great thanks and praise for this year’s dedicated and hardworking team of catechists: Michael Cimoszko, Jennifer Dort, Mary Duran, Doug Greenfield, Michael LaPenna, and Kathy Roberts. In addition, let us thank Betsy Works, our Associate Minister for Youth Faith Formation, for her commitment to reimagining and rebuilding our program. Her creativity, energy, and vision are an inspiration to me and to our pastoral team. Taken together, these generous gifts of time and talent have ensured that each and every one of our fifty-seven candidates are well-prepared to accept and embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at their Confirmation!
In addition, on behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, I wish to welcome the Very Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop for the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston, for joining us as Principal Celebrant & Homilist for our annual celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation at Holy Family Parish (Saturday, January 21st at 4:00pm) and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish (Saturday, February 4th at 6:00pm). And last but certainly not least, please join me in praying for our Candidates for Confirmation, along with their catechists, parents, sponsors, and families. May the Lord bless them and may the Holy Spirit guide them now and always! Come Holy Spirit!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Banner Art: “Holy Spirit Prayer” by Jen Norton
A Prayer Vigil for Life
Friday, January 27th
At every Mass throughout the week, we pray for the respect of each and every human life. As Pope Francis reminds us: “We are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our society and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment.”
In communion with Pope Francis, Cardinal Sean, and the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us for “A Prayer Vigil for Life” on Friday, January 27th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. This vigil coincides with the “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. and with similar events around the country that make manifest our devotion to the “seamless garment of life.”
Our “Vigil for Life” will begin at 12:00pm with Daytime Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Throughout the afternoon, all are welcome to join us in silent prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At 3:00pm, we will pray a Rosary for Life in honor of the Holy Father’s call to reach out and respect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. The “Vigil for Life” will conclude at 5:00pm with Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. All are also invited to join in praying the following prayer for the protection of all human life from the moment of conception through natural death:
Father & Maker of All,
you adorn all creation with splendor and beauty,
and fashion human lives in your image and likeness.
Awaken in every heart
reverence for the work of your hands,
and renew among your people
a readiness to nurture and sustain
your precious gift of life.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. We pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or part of this special afternoon of prayer with certain knowledge that God hears and answers our prayers for all human life. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Tenth Anniversary Year
Begins Saturday, January 28th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is an international fellowship of “Franciscans in Spirit” with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Beginning at 8:00am on January 28th, the Assisi Project will now meet on the last Saturday of each month in Saint Ann Church for Mass, formation, and fellowship. If you are interested in growing closer to Christ and learning more about Saint Francis of Assisi, please prayerful- ly consider joining us! You do not need to travel with us to Assisi to be part of the Assisi Project! All are invited! All are welcome! For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace, now and always!
Adult Faith Formation
Sacramental Preparation Program
Begins Sunday, January 29th
If you are an adult (age 18 and over) and have not received the Sacraments of Baptism, First Penance & Reconciliation (Confession), First Eucharist, or Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church, then please prayerfully consider joining our adult faith formation fellowship which will meet on Sunday mornings after the 8:15am Mass beginning on January 28th in Saint Ann Parish House. All books and materials will be provided. Over the course of the next four months, our program will meet regularly (for approximately on hour) to prepare interested adults for reception into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 15th. We will learn about the teachings and traditions of the Church and address the challenge of living a life of faith in the modern world. If you or someone you love would like to join us in preparing for the Sacraments of God’s Holy Church, then please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
Confirmation Preparation Program
Begins Sunday, 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!
Feast of Saint Blaise
Traditional Blessing of Throats
Friday, February 3rd
On Friday, February 3rd, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport celebrates the Feast of Saint Blaise, Bishop & Martyr. Little is known about Saint Blaise except that he was Bishop of Silvas (Turkey) and was martyred in the fourth century during the Roman persecution of Christian believers. Tradition holds that as Blaise was being arrested, a mother approached him with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blaise’s command, the child coughed up the bone and was healed. Bishop Blaise was executed for refusing to abandon his Christian faith. For more than one thousand years, he has been venerated as Patron Saint of those suffering from illnesses of the throat.
Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate the traditional Blessing of Throats on Friday, February 3rd, the Feast of Saint Blaise, during Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and again during Evening Prayer at 6:30pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After the blessing of throats, the church will remain open for Eucharistic Adoration until 7:30pm. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, may God deliver us from every disease of the throat and from all other illnesses! Saint Blaise, Bishop & Martyr, pray for 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome!
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