Our Pastor’s Message
Eating the Shark
The Holy Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1st. Throughout the day, ashes in the form of a cross will be applied to the foreheads of parishioners in our churches, patients in our nursing homes and hospitals, and friends and neighbors in their homes and workplaces. As the sign of the cross is traced upon each forehead with these blessed ashes, the priest, deacon, or lay minister will say: “Repent and believe in the Gospel!” This ancient tradition reminds us that Lent is a period of prayer, penance, and almsgiving; a season to renew our relationship with the Lord and his Church; and a time to ask God again and again for his love and mercy.
During Lent, we are not just called to fast on Fridays, make a good confession, or give up some particular pleasure or vice (like caffeine, sweets, or television). We are called to conversion: a true and lasting conversion of heart and mind. We are called to discipleship: a true and lasting resolution to take up the cross and follow the Lord wherever he leads. We are called to evangelization: a true and lasting commitment to love God and love others in every thought, word, and action. And we are called again to be true Christians: ready, willing, and able to live our faith each day, every day, our whole life long.
If Lent is a time for confessions, then you should know that I truly love being a priest. The hardest part of my ministry is not celebrating Masses each weekend, hearing confessions, celebrating baptisms, weddings or funerals, sitting at the bedside of a homebound parishioner, counseling a troubled person, or being called to the hospital during the dark hours of night to anoint a dying accident victim. God called me to priesthood to serve God’s people during times of both celebration and sadness. He called me to priesthood to help you carry the crosses of joy and suffering through prayer, fellowship, service, and sacrament. It is the joy of my life.
For the past three years, I have been blessed to work with Denise Ehlen of Catholic Leadership Institute regarding what it means to be both a priest and pastor during a time of change and transition in the Archdiocese of Boston. Denise is a person of uncommon ability and skills, who knows the Church through and through, understands what must be done to make the best use of limited resources, and possesses keen insights into the hearts and minds of those with whom she works. Needless to say, Denise knows me well. She knows my strengths and my weaknesses. She reads me like a book. She understands that for me, the hardest part of being a pastor is finding some balance between being a priest and being an administrator of a large budget and organization.
During a recent conversation over lunch, Denise told me to practice “eating the shark.” Denise was referring to an incident several years ago during a family vacation in Iceland when I was barely able to swallow and keep down a local delicacy: putrefied shark! Don’t even ask! Suffice it to say that I ate the shark because it was expected of me. After all, true freedom is not necessarily doing what we want to do, but doing what we should do. As a guest in someone’s home, it was my obligation to eat the shark. As a pastor, it is sometimes my obligation to do things that I would prefer not to do. Truth be told, then, the hardest part of my ministry is to ask you for money. As the son of immigrants who worked long hours, counted every dollar, and saved every penny, I know how hard it is to make ends meet in today’s world. And throughout my pastorate here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, I have worked hard, along with our finance councils and pastoral team, to economize whenever possible and to make the best use of the gifts that you give so faithfully each and every week.
As Lent begins, I am compelled to ask you again to pray about your contributions to two ongoing collections. At Holy Family Parish, we need your help to raise the funds necessary to repair and restore Saint Ann Church. So far, we have raised more than $202,000 for this project, but we still need at least $108,000 more to complete the job. And at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, we need your help to raise the funds necessary to balance our annual budget. So far, we have raised more than $22,000 for the Grand Annual Collection, but we still need approximately $28,000 to reach our goal of $50,000. As always, every contribution, large or small, will be much appreciated and will go a long way toward reaching our goals. If you have questions about either of these fundraising campaigns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please pray for me, for our pastoral team, and for all of our fellow parishioners. Please pray, too, for the success of these two vitally important fundraising efforts. And as always, be assured of my prayers for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport: that the Lord will help us to “repent and believe in the Gospel” and to grow together in prayer, fellowship, and service. Thank you for your prayers and generous support!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Knights of Columbus
New Member Initiation
Sunday, February 26th
The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal charitable organization of Catholic men that serves the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Since 1897, our award winning council has sponsored many works of charity on Cape Ann, including annual events like our blood drive, food drive, golf tournament, and Coats for Kids; along with ongoing support for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and Holy Family Women’s Guild.
On Sunday, February 26th at 5:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall, all are invited to join us for an initiation meeting for new members. All Catholic men over age 18 are invited to join us. If you have twenty-four hours to volunteer for charity, we can transform that commitment into meaningful results for you, your family, and our community. For more information, contact Mark Natti at email@example.com.Please join us! New members are always welcome!
Wednesday, March 1st
The Holy Season of Lent is a time of prayer, penance, and almsgiving during which all Catholics are called to renew their faith in preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. This year, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 1st, a holy day of fasting and abstinence. In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate Mass and distribute ashes according to the following schedule:
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church | Mass at 8:00am
- Saint Ann Church | Mass at 12:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church | Mass at 7:00pm
In addition, we will celebrate a Service of the Word (with distribution of ashes) at 5:00pm in Saint Joachim Church. For more information about the Holy Season of Lent in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org or see a member of our pastoral team. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Stations of the Cross
Begins Friday, March 3rd
The Stations of the Cross are one of the most enduring and moving devotions of the Roman Catholic Church. By uniting our prayers with the sufferings of Christ through both word and imagery, we make a spiritual pilgrimage with Lord on his way to the Cross. During Lent, all are invited to joinL us in praying the Stations of the Cross on six consecutive Fridays (March 3rd through April 7th) according to the following schedule:
- Saint Ann Church | Fridays at 3:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church | Fridays at 6:30pm
Please note that on Friday evenings at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, Mass will be celebrated at 6:30pm before we pray the Stations of the Cross. For more information about the Holy Season of Lent in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Lent Mass for Families
Sunday, March 5th
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 (Mt 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all parents, grandparents, godparents, and children are invited to join Father Jim for a Lent Mass for Families on Sunday, March 5th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily about the Holy Season of Lent and a special blessing for all families and children.
Because Lent is a season for prayer, penance, and almsgiving, every child and their family will be asked to help us raise $1,000 during Lent for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, a service organization in our parishes that provides food and financial assistance to local families in need. During the Family Mass, each child (and any interested adult parishioner) will be given a “campaign can” to collect coins for this most worthy cause. As our Lent Mass for Families approaches, let us reaffirm these basic principles: Mass is our class! Jesus is our teacher! And every family in our pews is a gift from God! For more information about youth faith formation, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Electronic giving is now available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Via 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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