Our Pastor’s Message
Becoming Salt & Light
Along with Baptism and 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 Jesus Christ. These gifts also offer the courage, grace, and strength to actively participate in the prayer, worship, and ministry of the Church.
This year, fifty-seven high school students from 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 as a community of young disciples, just as generations of young men and women have done for centuries. These students are now prepared to 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 follower of 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. Even now, Christians tread a difficult path. Our world has become a dangerous place. The threat of terrorism, violence, and war looms over every corner of the globe. In our own country, fear and prejudice prompt our leaders to make choices that conflict with the teachings and traditions of the Church.
Despite these developments, Jesus does not tell us to pursue power, prestige or wealth. Instead, in this weekend’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew (5:13- 16), Jesus calls us to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” He calls us to be pure and virtuous and full of enthusiasm for all that is good, true, and beautiful in our world. He calls us to be beacons of light during dark times and to give luminous witness to faith, hope, and love among our friends, families, and neighbors. As our young fellow parishioners receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, let us offer this prayer to guide them on life’s journey of faith and discipleship:
Almighty God and Father,
Jesus calls us to be salt and light for the world.
He calls us to live in ways that reveal your glory and love.
He calls us to be workers in your vineyard on earth.
Sometimes our task seems overwhelming
and more than we can handle.
And all too often, fear keeps us from being faithful.
We stay silent when we need to speak.
We practice our faith only when it is comfortable or convenient.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit,
we pray for the courage and wisdom to seek justice,
to speak for justice,
and to work for justice
in our hometown, in our country, and in our world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
As we celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation again this weekend, all are reminded that 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 team of catechists: Michael Cimoszko, Jennifer Dort, Mary Duran, Doug Greenfield, Michael LaPenna, and Kathy Roberts. Let us also thank Betsy Works for her commitment to reimagining and rebuilding our youth faith formation programs. Betsy’s creativity, energy, and vision are an inspiration to me and our pastoral team.
Last but not least, let us also 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 of our annual celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation. And let us pray with faith, hope, and love for our Candidates for Confirmation, along with their parents, sponsors, and families. May God bless you! May the Holy Spirit guide you now and always! Congratulations!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Special Request for Prayers
A Prayer for Immigrants & Refugees
Each month, Pope Francis issues a call to prayer for a particular intention. During February, the Holy Father asks us to pray for the poor, but especially for immigrants, migrants, and refugees. And earlier this week, Cardinal Sean wrote: “Every nation has a right to its domestic security and protection, but this right should be exercised within the standards of social justice, compassion, and respect for the human dignity of vulnerable individuals and families. Complex problems are not resolved with simplistic solutions, nor do they cancel the basic human duties that bind all nations, even in the midst of a threatening international climate.”
As our nation and its leaders consider difficult issues surrounding homeland security, immigration policy, and refugee resettlement, let us unite our hearts and voices in prayer for our less fortunate brothers and sisters throughout the world. Let us pray for prudence and wisdom. Let us pray for courage and grace. Let us pray for faith, hope, and charity. And let us pray for those who are forced by violence, poverty, or persecution to flee their home countries and to seek sanctuary in other lands, including our own. In this spirit, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers the following prayer:
when you multiplied the loaves and fishes,
you provided more than food for the body,
you offered us the gift of yourself,
the gift that satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst!
Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt,
but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd,
welcoming them as brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus, you call us now to welcome the members of God’s family
who come to our land to escape persecution, violence, and war.
Like your disciples, we are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion.
We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace
to banish fear from our hearts,
so that we may embrace each of your children
as our own brother and sister;
to welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity,
while responding to their many needs;
to realize that you call all people to your holy mountain
to learn the ways of peace and justice;
to share your abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
and to give witness to your love for all people,
as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.
We praise you and give you thanks
for the family you have called together from so many people.
We see in this human family a reflection
of the divine unity of the Trinity
in whom we make our prayer:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
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.
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
Saint Valentine’s 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 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!
Electronic Giving Made Safe & Easy
Available at Both Parishes!
Electronic giving is now available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. At ParishPay, it is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Donations can be made on a one-time-only or ongoing basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. So, please prayerfully consider supporting your parish by giving electronically! For more information about electronic giving in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please visit parishpay.com or contact Father Jim at email@example.com. If you need any assistance with setting up an account, please contact Claire Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous and ongoing support of our parishes!
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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