Our Pastor’s Message
Giving & Discipleship
Saint Ann Church Restoration Update
OUR GOAL: $310,000 | DONATIONS SO FAR: $196,296
Earlier this month, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Magi presented the Christ Child with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And we were reminded about the link between giving and discipleship. We were reminded that part of our journey with Jesus is our stewardship of the temporal goods entrusted to our care, especially our church buildings. 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 is 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 $195,000 in new donations (more than $35,000 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 our work together continues, 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 for your prayers and generous support!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achdadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Feast of Saint Blaise
Traditional Blessing of Throats
Friday, February 3rd
On Friday, February 3rd, the Roman Catholic Church 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, Saint Blaise has been venerated as Patron Saint of those suffering from illnesses of the throat. He is also venerated as a patron of animals, veterinarians, infant children, and Sicily.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate the Feast of Saint Blaise with the Traditional Blessing of Throats on Friday, February 3rd 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, Our Lady’s Church will remain open for Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until Benediction at 7:30pm. For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! And through the intercession of Saint Blaise, may God deliver us from every disease of the throat and from every other illness! Saint Blaise, Bishop & Martyr, pray for us!
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!
Reluctant Saint: A Life of Francis of Assisi
Book Study & Faith Sharing for Adults
Begins Thursday, February 9th
The winter season is a great time to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a good book. It’s also a great time to refresh and renew our spiritual lives. This year, in celebration of the Assisi Project’s 10th Anniversary (2007-2017), Father Jim and Cliff will offer a series of adult faith formation programs designed to help us better understand the life and legacy of Saint Francis of Assisi, his influence on Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church, and the timeless traditions of Franciscan prayer and spirituality.
We will begin with “The Winter Read”, a four-week book study and faith sharing program during which participants will read together and share their reactions to “Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi” by Donald Spoto. This contemporary and best-selling biography of Saint Francis chronicles the life of the so-called “Poor Man of Assisi” in a straightforward and sometimes painfully honest way. By reading this book, we will learn about life in the Middle Ages and we will come to know Francis of Assisi as a man, as a sinner, and ultimately as a saint.
All adult parishioners are invited to join us for this special program which will run on four consecutive Thursday evenings: February 9th; February 16th; February 23rd, and March 2nd in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each week, participants will be asked to read approximately 70 pages from the book so that we can complete it by our final session. Each evening will begin promptly at 7:00pm with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After our time of prayer, Cliff will briefly introduce the readings for the week. This will leave our group plenty of time for discussion, questions, and faith sharing. Our gatherings will conclude with Night Prayer and a Final Blessing.
A donation of $20.00 is requested from those who can afford it, along with a sincere commitment to read the book and come prepared to ask questions and offer your impressions and insights about the life and times of Saint Francis of Assisi. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to ensure that we have an adequate number of books on hand, please register by Monday, February 6th. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Valentine’s Day Bake Sale
Weekend of February 11th-12th
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 many fundraising events and social gatherings, including seasonal bake sales, the Strawberry Festival, and the Christmas Fair. During the weekend of February 11th—February 12th, the Holy Family Women’s Guild will host a Bake Sale after the 4:00pm Mass in Saint Ann Church, 8:15am Mass in Saint Ann Church, and 10:00am Mass in Saint Joachim Church. As always, we will have homemade cakes and cookies, brownies and other baked goods for sale. Here’s your chance to buy something sweet for someone you love and to support Holy Family Parish at the same time! For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at 978-281-4279 or email@example.com; or Janet Lucido at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your generous support! Please join us! 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 email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
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