Our Pastor’s Message
Salus Populi Romani

In the early hours of the morning of August 5, 358, snow fell upon the Esquiline, one of the seven hills of Rome. During that same miraculous summer night, Pope Liberius and a prominent local family were asked by God in their dreams to build a church on that hill in honor of Our Lady. More than eighteen centuries later, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major remains very dear to the hearts of Catholics in Rome. On Saturday, August 5th, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The Eternal City has four great basilicas: Saint Peter, Saint John Lateran, Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, and Saint Mary Major. In this way, the Blessed Virgin Mary is honored with the Rock, the Beloved Disciple, and the Apostle of the Gentiles as an essential figure in the founding of God’s Holy Church.

Inside the Basilica of Saint Mary Major is an ancient icon of Our Lady through which she is venerated as “Salus Populi Romani” or “Protector and Health of the Roman People.” Tradition holds that this icon was copied from an original painted by Saint Luke; and that it appeared miraculously in a church built by Saint Peter and Saint John. In the late sixth century, the icon was brought to Rome and placed in the church by Saint Gregory the Great. Although created many centuries ago, the Catholic Church’s devo- tion to this icon has intensified in recent years because of reverence shown by a succession of modern popes: Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. Most recently, Pope Francis has shown a deep devotion to this icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed, on the day after his election as pope, he made a pilgrimage to the basilica and prayed before the icon. And during the first year of his pontificate, he visited the icon at least on six occasions.

Over the years, Pope Francis has returned many times: sometimes with great fanfare and sometimes more quietly as a simple pilgrim who carries with him a small bouquet of flowers for Our Lady’s icon. After almost every visit, the pope has offered words of wisdom about Mary’s powerful prayers for us and for the whole world. In July 2013, for example, after a long journey home from World Youth Day in Brazil, the Holy Father went directly from the airport to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major where he of- fered prayers for young people and for peace. During that same year, Pope Francis led the Rosary before the icon and offered a brief reflection about the Blessed Mother’s role in our lives. He said: “Mary is a mother who always worries about the health of her children. She knows how to care for us with great and tender love. She guards our health. What does it mean that Our Lady guards our health? Above all, it means three things: she helps us to grow, to face life, and to be free.” In short, the pope reminds us that Mary loves us, protects us, strengthens us, and helps us to be better people.

The Holy Father also reminds us that Mary’s prayers are so powerful because she stands alone as a perfect and true disciple. She raised the Lord with a mother’s unfailing love. She walked with the Lord as he preached to the people of Galilee. She suffered with him at the foot of the cross. She rejoiced with him when he rose from the dead. Most importantly, she listened intently to the Lord’s every word and then she acted. And according to Pope Francis, action is the key to discipleship. He said: “The disciple truly puts his (or her) entire life at the service of the Gospel.” In order to do so, we again need the Blessed Mother as our example, our intercessor, and our protector. We need her love and her prayers and her witness to make the most of the one life that God has given to us.

The Holy Father once said that “Mary’s whole life is a hymn to life, a hymn to love for life.” As we commemorate the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, let us remember the ancient image that evokes Our Lady as the disciple who devotes her life to the Gospel and who loves and protects all of God’s children. And let us pray with the words of Pope Francis: “Holy Mother of God, we fly to your protection. Scorn not our petitions in our hour of need. O Glorious and Blessed Virgin, deliver us from every peril.” Our Lady, Protector and Health of the Roman People, pray for us! Our Lady, Protector and Health of All People Everywhere, pray for us and for our troubled world!

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (7-30-17)
Bringing Home the Word (7-30-17)


Holy Family Women’s Guild
Ice Cream Social
Tuesday, August 1st

On Tuesday, August 1st at 7:00pm in Saint Ann Hall, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a “Make Your Own Sundae!” ice cream social. We will also welcome back our members and we will hopefully welcome some new members, too! Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and the community. Throughout the year, the Women’s Guild hosts various fundraising events and social gatherings. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month. Dues are $15.00 per year. For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at Please join us! New members are always welcome!


Holy Family Women’s Guild
Salty Frank’s Fundraiser
Thursday, August 3rd

On Thursday, August 3rd, all are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a fundraising afternoon at Salty Frank’s (located at 6 Rogers Street in Gloucester). From 2:00pm until 8:00pm, Salty Frank’s will donate 10% of all proceeds to Holy Family Parish! Please invite your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for this fundraiser and enjoy together an ice cream, hot dog or 1⁄4lb lobster roll. For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Always!


Summer Carillon Recitals
An Our Lady of Good Voyage Tradition
Saturday, August 5th

Our Summer Carillon Recitals, an annual tradition at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, will begin next Saturday, August 5th at 5:15pm (rain or shine)! LuAnn Pallazola, our own very talented organist-keyboardist will perform programs that include classical works, sacred hymns, patriotic melodies, and even children’s tunes! Installed in 1922, the bells at Our Lady’s Church were the first set of toned carillon bells in the United States. Summer Carillon Recitals are also scheduled for August 12th, August 19th, August 26th & September 2nd at 5:15pm. All recitals are free and open to the public! So, please join us for wonderful summer tradition! All are invited to join us for Mass at 6:00pm! For more information, please contact LuAnn Pallazola at All are invited! All are welcome!

Learn More: Our Lady’s Carillon Bells


Fourth Annual Summer Retreat
The Little Flowers
Begins Monday, August 7th

The summer season is a great time of year for stepping back from the business and busy-ness of daily life in order to focus on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, few among us are able to leave work, family, and friends behind for a real retreat from the world. For this reason, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is pleased to announce our Fourth Annual Summer Retreat!

From Monday, August 7th through Friday, August 11th, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual peace and renewal of a week-long retreat without leaving home! Each evening of our summer retreat will begin at 7:00pm in Saint Anthony Chapel with Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. After our shared prayer, Father Jim and Cliff will lead our community in a period of reflection, discussion, and faith sharing. Each evening will conclude at 8:30pm with Night Prayer. During each day of the retreat, the chapel will open at 12:00pm for silent personal prayer and reflection.

This year, we will explore “The Little Flowers” of Saint Francis and Pope Francis. After his death in 1226, nearly eight centuries ago, the early followers of Saint Francis of Assisi wrote a series of little stories about his life and the miracles that he performed. These “Little Flowers” serve now as the foundation of our knowledge and understanding of Saint Francis and his lasting impact on the Church. In our own time, Andrea Tornielli, a journalist who covers the papacy, has assembled the so-called “Fioretti” or Little Flowers of Pope Francis, a heartwarming collection of stories about how the Holy Father lives the Gospel each and every day.

Between each night of the summer retreat, participants will be asked to read brief selections from both the “Little Flowers of Saint Francis” and the “Little Flowers of Pope Francis.” In this way, we will gain a better appreciation of these two holy men and their impact on the Church; and we will grow closer to Christ by learning from their good deeds and good works among God’s people. If you would like to join us for our Fourth Annual Summer Retreat, please contact Cliff Garvey at by Sunday, August 6th. A donation of $30 is requested from those who can afford it. Copies of both books, along with cold drinks, will be provided. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Always!


About Us

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. All are invited! All are welcome! Always!

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