Our Pastor’s Message
Our Third Anniversary
This weekend, the Catholic Church celebrates Pentecost: the fiftieth day after the Resurrection of the Lord when God’s Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and gave them the strength to spread the Good News of Christ throughout the world. Also this weekend, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport celebrates our third anniversary: the 1,095th day since the good and faithful people of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish began their journey together as a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service.
During these three years together, we have experienced some ups and downs. We have lost some old friends. And we have made many new friends. We have passed through some dark valleys. And we have ascended some heavenly heights. We have faced some towering challenges. And we have celebrated many miracles. But whatever the task, whatever test, and whatever the trial, we have stood together (more and more together) as a people dedicated to living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding the Church. One thing is for sure: the people of Gloucester and Rockport never, ever give up and they never, ever abandon their church!
Sometimes people ask: How do you do this? How do you keep up the pace? How do you manage all of the confessions, all of the funerals, all of the home visits, all of the weddings, all of the Masses, all of the meetings, and all of the challenges associated with being the pastor (and only full time priest) responsible for more than fifteen thousand parishioners? Sometimes I answer with a laugh or a shrug. Sometimes I ask for prayers. But here’s the real answer: it’s because of you. I am able to preside over all of the funerals and weddings and Masses because of you—because of your prayers, because of your support, and because of your trust. I am able to answer all of the questions, make all of the home visits, and shoulder all of the responsibilities of being the pastor of our two parishes because of you—because of your generosity, because of your dedication, and because of your love for the Church.
Sometimes being your pastor is not easy. Sometimes I get frustrated. I get lonely. I miss my friends, my parents, and my godparents. Sometimes I miss my brother and my sister. I miss my nephew and my nieces. Sometimes I lose track of time and realize that there aren’t enough hours in a day to do what needs to be done. But time and time again, I am strengthened by the fact that I am never alone. To be sure, the Lord is with me. And so are all of you. During the past three years, not a day has passed when a fellow parishioner has not deepened my faith, encouraged my priesthood, or offered me a helping hand that reminds me that the Lord works through each and every one of us, each and every day.
Last month, at a gallery in Tenants Harbor, Maine, I came across a painting entitled “The Shepherd Heading Home” by Kris Johnson (see detail above or cover of this week’s newsletter). For me, this beautiful painting illustrates our journey together as disciples. Note that the shepherd does not lead his flock as a grand marshal might lead a parade. Instead, the shepherd leads from behind. He walks among his sheep, beside his sheep, and with his sheep every step of the way. He seeks to ensure that not a single sheep is ever left behind. This is my job as your pastor: to walk with you during times of trial and triumph; to celebrate with you during times of happiness and joy; to cry with you during times of grief and tragedy; and to ensure that all are welcome and that not a single soul is ever left behind.
To be sure, I am not perfect. Far from it. During the past three years, I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. For these mistakes and for those yet to come, I offer you and our Lord a humble and sincere apology. At the same time, let us rejoice in our progress. Let us celebrate the good works of our many ministries and service organizations. Let us give thanks for the dedication of our pastoral team and for the hard work of our volunteers. As our journey continues, I invite you to walk with me and with your fellow parishioners into the future—together! Let us march on blessed by our Father in Heaven, redeemed by the Risen Lord, and strengthened by the Holy Spirit—together! Let us forge ahead as a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service—together! And let us renew our commitment today and every day to live the Gospel, to share God’s love and mercy, and to build-up and strengthen the Church here in Gloucester & Rockport—together!
Peace, blessings, and many thanks to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Sequence of the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away;
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore.
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.
Come, Holy Spirit, into my heart,
so that I might see
the things that are of God.
Come Holy Spirit, into my mind,
so that I might know
the things that are of God.
Come, Holy Spirit, into my soul,
so that I might belong only to God.
Come, Holy Spirit, into my life,
sanctify all that I think, say, and do,
so that all will be for the Glory of God.
Instruments of Christ
Book Study & Faith Sharing for Adults
Begins June 22nd
The summer season is a great time to stretch out on your favorite lawn chair with a cool drink 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 are offering 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 Catholic Church, and the timeless traditions of Franciscan prayer and spirituality.
This series continues with “The Summer Read”, a three-week book study and faith sharing program during which participants will read together and share their reactions to “Instruments of Christ: Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi” by Father Albert Haase, OFM. This little book (only 81 pages) offers a brief but powerful introduction to the deep spirituality of the so-called “Peace Prayer.” It also challenges readers to truly become peacemakers in our homes, parishes, and troubled world.
All adult parishioners are invited to join us for this special program which will run on three consecutive Thursday evenings: June 22nd, June 29th, and July 6th in Saint Anthony Chapel (located on the corner of Saint Louis Avenue and Farrington Avenue in Gloucester). Each evening will begin with Eucharistic Adoration at 6:00pm, followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:45pm. Our “Summer Read” sessions 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 format will provide our group with 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 commit- ment to read the book and come prepared to ask questions and offer personal impressions and insights about one of the most powerful prayers ever composed. 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, June 19th. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Catholic Kids Camp
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Begins June 27th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce that all children (ages 5 through 11) are invited to participate in our next “Catholic Kids Camp: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus” from Tuesday, June 27th through Friday, June 30th from 8:00am until 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer and fellowship, our children will learn about the Catholic Church’s devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the gift of the Lord’s boundless love through active and engaged participation in games, music, skits, and craft projects. Here’s the schedule for the week:
- Day I: Tuesday, June 27th
The Sacred Heart: Love One Another
- Day II: Wednesday, June 28th
Jesus & Saint Margaret Mary: Love Finds Joy in God
- Day III: Thursday, June 29th
Jesus & Saint Peter: Feed My Sheep
- Day IV: Friday, June 30th
Jesus & Saint Paul: The Meaning of Love
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 invited and encouraged to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of dedicated volunteers will lead the children to Our Lady’s School for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, hands-on learning, and good times with friends both old and new! Catholic Kids Camp is a fun, exciting, and educational program that your children and grandchildren will love!
The tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program is just $25 per child for the entire week! Scholarships are available for those families who cannot afford tuition. Also, adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are welcome to join us as volunteers and will be most appreciated! For more information about our next Catholic Kids Camp, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Learn More: Catholic Kids Camp Registration
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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