Our Pastor’s Message
Creating Our First Pastoral Council
It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly three years since Cardinal Sean asked me to serve as pastor of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, the newly-created collaborative between Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. As you know, the collaborative model of parish life is the product of an archdiocesan pastoral plan called “Disciples in Mission.” This innovative plan called for multiple parishes to remain canonically and financially independent, but served by one pastor, one pastoral team, and one pastoral council.
When I became your pastor in June 2014, the success of our collaboration was uncertain. Almost immediately, it became clear that because of the priest shortage, only one priest would be assigned to our parishes on a full-time basis for the foreseeable future. Soon after, it became necessary to evaluate our buildings, finances, programs, worship schedule, and the work of our pastoral team. Some changes went unnoticed. Other changes were more difficult to accept. And although our first months together were sometimes challenging, we have made steady progress toward truly becoming a faith community united in prayer, fellowship, and service.
The measure of our progress is a tribute to the deep faith, dedication, and resilience of our parishioners. Your ongoing prayers, kindness, and generous spirit mean the world to me. In addition, we should thank our pastoral team which has weathered some difficult storms with grace and resolve. We should also thank our parish finance councils for their good advice and ongoing commitment to the long-term financial stability of our parishes. And we should thank our individual parish councils who continued to serve during these early years of our collaborative. Perhaps my deepest regret during these first years as your pastor was not meeting as often as I would have liked with our parish councils. But now, with your advice, counsel, and support, I hope to change that by creating the first pastoral council for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport.
Unlike a traditional parish council, whose members focus on the needs of one particular parish, our pastoral council will be called to think beyond the boundaries of “my parish” toward a broader appreciation for what is best for “our parishes.” In accordance with archdiocesan guidelines, our pastoral council will meet approximately five times each year; will be comprised of an equal number of members from both parishes; and will also include the pastor, pastoral associates, and permanently assigned deacons. As such, our council will include two members from Holy Family Parish, two members of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, two members of our pastoral team, and myself.
During the next six weeks, I ask you to pray about a fellow parishioner whom you believe could make a constructive contribution to our pastoral council and to strengthening the collaboration between our two historic parishes. Your nominee to serve on the pastoral council must be an adult (age 18 and over); a registered parishioner in one of our parishes; a weekly participant in the sacramental life of our parishes; and a person who is committed to the success of our collaborative. In addition, all members of our pastoral council must be able to work in a positive and productive way with me, our fellow parishioners, finance councils, pastoral team, and other members of the council.
In the coming weeks, all registered parish families will receive a nomination form by mail. These forms will also be available online, in church, and at our parish offices. Because this process marks the creation of our first official pastoral council, we should not think of this as an election. Rather, it is a process of prayer and discernment. In accordance with archdiocesan guidelines, nominations will be reviewed by me and a small committee comprised of members of our finance councils and pastoral team. The strongest nominees will be asked to participate in a brief conversation with me to ensure that they are able to commit themselves to the mission of our council and the work of our parishes.
Nominations will be accepted through Sunday, April 30th. With your help and support, my hope is that our council will meet for the first time in June. If you have any questions after receiving your nomination form, please remember that you are always welcome to contact me. Until then, I beg your prayers for me, for our finance councils and pastoral team, and for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. May the Holy Spirit unite us in prayer, fellowship, and service; and help us to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Lord Jesus, Think On Me!
A Prayer for Lent
During this Fourth Week of Lent, we pray with the text of an ancient hymn of the early Church by Synesius of Cyrene (370-430). Synesius was a philosopher and man of the world who was only a marginal Christian when he was appointed Bishop of Cyrene and Ptolemais (cities in modern day Libya) in 410. Although Synesius is not venerated as a saint or remembered by history as a particularly holy man, his writings reveal that his faith deepened during his two decades as a bishop. Indeed, during an era when bishops were often political leaders just as much as religious leaders, Bishop Synesius focused on strengthening his faith and the faith of others.
During the last decades of his life, Bishop Synesius composed eighteen hymn-prayers that are still sung and prayed throughout the world. More than 1,500 years after his death, the following hymn-prayer, entitled “Lord Jesus, Think On Me”, is still included in modern English editions of the Liturgy of the Hours and is suggested for use during the Holy Season of Lent. As our Lenten journey continues, let us raise our hearts and voices in prayer to our most merciful Lord who loves us, forgives us, lifts us up when we stumble, points out the better way, and leads us to eternal life.
Lord Jesus, think on me,
and purge away my sins.
From earth-born passions,
set me free and make me pure within.
Lord Jesus, think on me,
with care and woe oppressed.
Let me your loving servant be
and taste your promised rest.
Lord Jesus, think on me,
amid the battle’s strife.
In all my pain and misery,
be my health and my life.
Lord Jesus, think on me,
don’t let me go astray.
Through darkness and perplexity,
point me toward your heavenly way.
Lord Jesus, think on me,
so that when this life is past,
I may eternal brightness see,
and share your joy at last.
Saint Ann & Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Saint Anthony & Saint Francis, pray for us!
Saint Peter & Saint Paul, pray for us!
Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Catholic Kids Camp
Jesus Is Risen!
Begins Tuesday, April 18th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport invites all children (ages 5 through 11) to participate in our next “Catholic Kids Camp: Jesus Is Risen!” from Tuesday, April 18th through Friday, April 21st from 8:00am until 12:00pm at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer and fellowship, our young fellow parishioners will learn about the Lord’s Resurrection and the Holy Season of Easter through active and engaged participation in games, music, skits, and craft projects. Here’s our schedule for the week:
- Day 1 | Tuesday, April 18th The Easter Story
- Day 2 | Wednesday, April 19th Merciful as the Father
- Day 3 | Thursday, April 20th Saint Faustina
- Day 3 | Friday, April 21st Divine Mercy Prayers
Each day of our Catholic Kids Camp will begin with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. All parents, grandparents, and guardians are welcome to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead the children to Our Lady’s School for faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, learning, and good times with friends both old and new. Catholic Kids Camp is a fun, exciting, and educational experience that your children and grandchildren will love!
The tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program during school vacation week is just $25 for the entire week! Scholarships are available for those families that cannot afford tuition. Adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are welcome to join us as volunteers and will be much appreciated! For more information about our next “Catholic Kids Camp: Jesus Is Risen!”, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Lent Icon Raffle
Our Lady’s Grand Annual Collection
The Assisi Project is sponsoring a Lent Raffle for the beautiful hand painted icon of the “Pieta” which beautifully depicts Our Sorrowful Mother embracing the Crucified Christ. Throughout the world, icons are venerated as windows into heaven and are known to be powerful tools of divine grace and miracles. This icon was handcrafted in Greece using traditional tempera paint and gold leaf, and is covered with a protective varnish. It was blessed on the relics of Saint Spyridon the Wonderworker, a third century saint whose incorrupt relics are believed to be the source of many miracles. All proceeds from the Assisi Project’s Lent Raffle will be donated to Our Lady’s Grand Annual Collection. A donation of $1.00 per ticket is requested. Tickets can be purchased after various daily and weekend Masses in Our Lady’s Church; at our parish offices; and by contacting Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner of the Assisi Project’s Lent Raffle will be drawn on Easter Sunday, April 16th. Thank you for your generous support!
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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