Our Pastor’s Message
Saint Peter’s Question
Here’s a short story about Saint Peter and the man who lived near the river. The man heard a radio report that the river would soon rise and flood the whole town; and that all residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said: “I am religious. I pray. God loves me. God will protect me.” The waters began to rise and surround the homes in town. A man in a boat rowed up and shouted: “Hey, the town is flooding! Come with me! I’ll take you safely away from here!” But the man shouted: “I am religious. I pray. God loves me. God will protect me.”
Then the waters rose further and came closer to the man’s house. A helicopter ap- peared overhead. Through a megaphone, the pilot shouted: “Hey, the town is flooding! Come with me! I’ll drop a ladder and take you safely away from here!” But again, the man shouted: “I am religious. I pray. God loves me. God will protect me.” Then the waters rose even higher. The town flooded. The man in the house drowned. Suddenly, the man stood at the gates of heaven. He shouted at Saint Peter: “I was religious! I prayed! I believed that God loved me! I believed that God would protect me! Why did God let this happen?” Saint Peter looked knowingly at the man and said: “Why are you here? God sent you a radio report, a rowboat, and a helicopter. What more could you want from him?”
This story illustrates the folly of human life. We pray. We believe. We go to Mass. We volunteer. We give what we can to our home parish. And we think we’re cov- ered. But the pathway to heaven sometimes seems blocked by addiction, anxiety, family, finances, health, stress, traffic, work, and on and on. All too often, it seems like our daily concerns and worries are like a rising river that threatens to wash away all that is good and holy in our lives. But do we ever stop and think about the blessings that God offers us every day? Do we ever stop and think about those moments that bend our lives toward heaven? Do we ever pause and consider the holiness of the kind word, the helping hand, or the rare sunny day that warms the heart, brightens the spirit, and gives us the courage to carry on?
Each day, God gives us the means to our salvation. Mass is celebrated every day. The Rosary is prayed every day. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed every day. There are three 24 hour Catholic television networks on cable and online. There is a 24 hour Catholic radio station. Thousands of good books about our shared faith and spirituality are published every year. And then there’s the boundless generosity and goodwill of the parishioner who sits beside you each weekend at Mass. Each day, God calls to us from radios, rowboats, and helicopters. He calls to us from computer screens and television screens. He calls to us from pulpits and through the smiles and good works of our neighbors. Are we paying attention? Are we listening for God’s voice? Are we accepting God’s many gifts? Are we acting on God’s abundant grace in our lives? What more could we want from him?
As we celebrate the Feast of Saint Peter, let us pray for the discernment to be more mindful of God’s many blessings; for the grace to give thanks for those blessings each and every day; and for the courage to respond to those blessings in all that we think, say, and do. Let us pray for the man who drowned in the flood. Let us pray that Saint Peter will never be forced to ask us what he asked the man who believed in God but failed to hear God’s voice! And together, as a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, let us cry out: Saint Peter, pray for us!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Our Grand Annual Collections
Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of Saint Anthony (June 13th), Doctor of the Church and Patron of Lost Things. Tradition holds that Saint Anthony earned his famous patronage when he lost a book of the psalms in which he had written notes for preparing sermons. Distraught over the loss of both the book and his precious notes, Anthony prayed fervently to the Child Jesus, to whom he had a great devotion, and the book was miraculously returned to him. But Saint Anthony is not just the patron of lost things. He is also the patron of fishermen and mariners, the patron of the poor and hungry, and the patron of harvests. Indeed, it is this last patronage that resonates most during the final days of our fiscal year.
As you know, our Grand Annual Collections are vitally important components of our annual budgets in both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. These collections help us balance our books by bridging the gap between our weekly collections and overall financial obligations. They help us pay for the salaries and benefits for our priests, deacons, and pastoral team members. They help us pay for insurance premiums and utility bills. They help us pay for snow removal, grounds keeping, basic administrative costs, and building maintenance and repairs. And they provide necessary funding for our creative and innovative adult and youth faith formation programs. Without your generous support, it becomes almost impossible to balance our annual parish budgets.
The current fiscal year ends on Friday, June 30th. Put simply, I need your help! This weekend, we’re having second collections at all Masses in support of our Grand Annual Collections. Please prayerfully consider what you and your family can give to this year’s Grand Annual Collections. Every contribution, whether it’s for $1 or $10 or $100 or $1,000 goes directly to the parish of your choice (either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish). And every contribution helps ensure the financial stability of our parishes. As the son of parents who worked hard to make ends meet, I know how hard it is for a family or retiree to give again and again. At the same time, our love for God calls us to give what we can to ensure that the good work of the Church will continue for generations to come.
Saint Anthony once said: “Charity is the soul of faith. It gives it life. Without love faith dies.” During the past month, faith, hope, and love were very much alive in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! We celebrated our third anniversary as a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service. Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish commemorated the Solemnity of Pentecost with a truly inspirational Crowning Feast of the Holy Spirit. And Holy Family Parish enjoyed another very successful Strawberry Festival. Needless to say, it is impossible to individually thank everyone who made these events so special! So, let us pray in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s Guild, the Holy Name Society, the Knights of Columbus, and the Holy Family Women’s Guild for their ongoing dedication and hard work in our parishes. Let us pray in thanksgiving for our pastoral team. And let us pray for each and every one of our fellow parishioners who enrich our lives every day with a kind word or a helping hand.
As summer begins, we know that the seasonal harvest of flowers, fruits, and vegetables is accomplished through persistent hard work in our gardens. And as humble workers in the Lord’s vineyard, we know that the harvest of souls for God is accomplished through our on-going contributions of time, talent, and treasure. Let us pray for the grace and strength to give what we can and do what we can in our parish communities. And let us pray for courage and perseverance to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church in Gloucester and Rockport. Saint Anthony, pray for us!
Peace, blessings, and thanks to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Saint Peter’s Fiesta
Welcome Bishop O’Connell
This year, the Saint Peter’s Fiesta runs from this weekend through Sunday, June 25th. On Sunday, June 25th, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Mass according to the following schedule:
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00am
- Saint Ann Church at 8:15am
- Saint Joachim Church at 10:00am
- Saint Peter Park Outdoor Mass at 10:00am
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 11:45am
This year’s Saint Peter Park Outdoor Mass will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston. Please join Father Jim and our pastoral team in welcoming Bishop Mark back to the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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