Our Pastor’s Message
Welcome Home for Easter!
As a child, I grew up in a household infused with religious belief and practice. As a family, we attended Mass on a weekly basis. We said grace before meals. We even prayed the Rosary together. And as a young adult, I volunteered with our parish’s youth faith formation program. For me, the Catholic Church has always been a place of peace, a consolation during times of trial, and a second home. Sadly, we know that many people of faith and goodwill do not feel this way. During the past few decades, all too many people have left the Catholic Church behind. Some feel unable to join us at Mass for cultural, familial, financial, and personal reasons. Others simply feel unwelcome for reasons related to their marital status, sexual orientation, or simple lack of knowledge about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church.
At Easter, however, many of our brothers and sisters in faith come home to the Church to experience again the miraculous joy of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if they come for just one Easter Sunday Mass, they come in search of peace, consolation, and meaning in their lives. They come in search of something that the world cannot offer: God’s endless love, limitless friendship, and boundless mercy. Whether they know it or not, they are called by the Lord to join us and to hopefully find their place in the Church, our spiritual home.
For some time now, I have been thinking and praying about Pope Francis, his message of mercy and inclusiveness; and his outreach to the poor, especially the poor in spirit. I have been praying for those among us, friends and family members, who might feel excluded from the beauty of our shared faith, the richness of our traditions, and the spirit of our parish life. When I became your pastor nearly three years ago, one of my first decisions was to ensure that every announcement about every event or program in our parishes included this message: “All are welcome!” However, we don’t often fully ex- plain what this means and to whom it applies. So, here goes!
Let’s be clear. The celebration of Holy Mass is the source and summit of our community’s joy and its life of prayer, fellowship, and service. All are welcome to join us for Mass and to receive Holy Communion in accordance with a personal examination of conscience and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In this spirit, all are welcome means just that: “All are welcome!” So, whether you are a sinner or a saint, all are welcome! Whether you attend Mass every day, every week, or just every so often, all are welcome! Whether you know the difference between an Apostolic Letter and an Apostolic Exhor- tation, all are welcome! Whether you are healthy, living with a chronic illness, or suffering from a terminal illness, all are welcome! Whether you are fat or skinny or somewhere in between, all are welcome! Whether you are rich or poor or somewhere in between, all are welcome! Whether you are single, married, or divorced, all are welcome! Whether you are straight, gay, or not so sure, all are welcome! Again and again and again, all are welcome means all are welcome!
This Easter Sunday and beyond, let us join together in prayer, fellowship, and service to live the Gospel, to share God’s love, and to rebuild the Church. Let us open wide the doors of our churches and our hearts! And let us exclaim with one voice for the glory of God, forever and always: “All are welcome!”
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Easter Sunday Mass Schedule
7:00am Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
8:15am Saint Ann Church
10:00am Saint Joachim Church
11:45am Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
God Welcomes Everyone!
An Easter Exhortation by Pope Francis
A Church that goes forth is a Church whose doors are open. Going out to others in order to reach the fringes of humanity does not mean rushing out aimlessly into the world. Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way. At times, we have to be like the father of the prodigal son, who always keeps his door open so that when the son returns, he can readily pass through it.
The Church is called to be the House of the Father, with its doors wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our churches should be open to all, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes to us looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that also should not be closed. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community. Nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself a door: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of our sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as judges of grace rather than its agents. But the Church is not a toll-house; it is the House of the Father, where there is a place for everyone with all their problems.
If the whole Church takes up this missionary impulse, she has to go forth to everyone without excep- tion. But to whom should she go first? When we read the Gospel, we find a clear indication: not so much to our friends and wealthy neighbors, but above all to the poor and sick, those who are usually despised and overlooked, and those who cannot repay you. There can be no room for doubt or for excuses that weaken so clear a message. Today and always, the poor are the privileged recipients of the Gospel; and that it is preached so freely to them is a sign of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them.
Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to both priests and lay people alike: I prefer a Church that is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church that is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and ends up being caught in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light, and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures that give us a false sense of security, within rules that make us hard judges, within habits that make us feel safe, while at our doors people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat (Mark 6:37).” Source: Evangeli Gaudium (46-49)
Youth Faith Formation
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 4 | 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! If you would like more information about our upcoming “Catholic Kids Camp: Jesus Is Risen!”, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Divine Mercy Sunday
An Afternoon of Prayer & Devotion
Sunday, April 23rd
On April 23rd, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport for Divine Mercy Sunday from 2:00pm until 3:30pm in Saint Ann Church. This special afternoon of prayer and devotion will proceed according to the following schedule: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:00pm; The Holy Rosary at 2:30pm; The Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm; and Daytime Prayer & Benediction at 3:30pm. Please join us for all or part of this special celebration of God’s love and mercy! For more information, please contact Jane Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org. All are invited! All are welcome!
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Our Lady’s Guild Spring Fair
Saturday, April 29th
All are invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for its annual Spring Fair on Saturday, April 29th from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Highlights include our famous fried dough breakfast and our equally famous linguiça and hot dog lunch! Sale tables will include jewelry, religious items, and the general store. We’ll have homemade sweet bread, baked goods, and fudge for sale! And we’ll also have raffles and prizes throughout the day! Donations and volunteers are always welcome! For more information, please contact Joyce Lacerda at 978-283-3465 or Jean Madruga at 978-281-4820.
Since 1944, Our Lady’s Guild has worked to build community among women of all ages in Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish through prayer, good works, social activities, and fundraising events. The Guild meets on the first Monday evening of each month in the Our Lady’s Parish Hall at 6:30pm. New members are always welcome! For more information about Our Lady’s Guild and upcoming events, please contact Linda Galvin at email@example.com.
The Joy & Power of the Rosary
A Day of Prayer & Reflection
Saturday, May 6th
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join the Legion of Mary, the Assisi Project, and their spiritual director, Cliff Garvey, for “The Joy & Power of the Rosary” on Saturday, May 6th at Saint Anthony Chapel. During this four-hour mini-retreat, we will explore the spiritual significance of the Holy Rosary, with particular emphasis on the Franciscan “Crown Rosary” which focuses on seven joyful events in the life of Our Blessed Mother. This special morning of prayer and reflection will proceed according to the following schedule: Holy Mass at 8:00am; Morning Prayer & Reflection at 9:00am; Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 10:00am; Daytime Prayer & Reflection at 11:00am; Angelus & Closing Prayer at 12:00pm.
Throughout the morning, there will be scheduled breaks and time for faith sharing, fellowship, and refreshments. Coffee, tea, and bottled water will be available throughout the morning. And after our closing prayers, all are invited to remain for a picnic lunch. During Mass, a free will donation will be taken in support of our adult faith formation ministry. If you would like to join us for this special day of prayer and reflection, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org (so that we can adequately plan for food and drinks). Please join us! All are invited! 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. Working together as a Roman Catholic community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, we are committed to living the Gospel of Christ, sharing God’s love and mercy with all people, and rebuilding the Church in Gloucester & Rockport.
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