Our Pastor’s Message
Finding Joy in Our Grief:
Remembering Deacon Ray Wellbank
This weekend all around the world, the Catholic Church celebrates the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete (GOW-de-tay) is the Latin word that begins the opening antiphon of this Sunday’s Mass and it means “rejoice.” On this day, we are called as disciples to rejoice in the coming of our Lord and Savior who will be born among us on Christmas Day. Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, however, our joy is diminished by the sudden death of Deacon Raymond Wellbank, who passed away last weekend. Indeed, our joy is overwhelmed by grief over the loss of a beloved husband, father, and grandfather; sadness over the loss of a faithful deacon; and sorrow over the loss of a faith-filled friend and fellow parishioner.
Deacon Ray was born and raised in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from West Chester University and DeSales University, where he earned degrees in accounting and finance. During his long business career, Deacon Ray worked as an accountant, controller, and property manager. During the final fourteen years of his career, he served as a fiscal analyst for the largest non-profit organization in Philadelphia. Before being assigned by Cardinal Sean to the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Deacon Ray served for eight years as a Permanent Deacon in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Ray and his wife, Patti, were married for almost thirty-four years and were blessed with four children and six grandchildren. Ray and Patti were a true team and were deeply involved in parish ministries for many decades. They served together as lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and even the lead couple for marriage preparation classes. They also served in our community as volunteers with the Holy Family Women’s Guild and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Their enthusiasm and good humor were infectious; and their dedication and hard work were inspirational.
During Deacon Ray’s all too brief time with us in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, he became a vitally important member of our pastoral team. He visited and prayed with the elderly, the homebound, and the sick. He celebrated countless baptisms, funerals, and weddings. He served as spiritual director for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. And last year, Deacon Ray was awarded the Bishop Cheverus Medal by Cardinal Sean in recognition of his many years of devoted ministry and service to God’s people and the Catholic Church. On a personal level, Deacon Ray was an indispensable help to me. He was a good man, a dedicated deacon, and a dear friend. Like all those whose hearts were touched by his kindness, love, and good works, I remain heartbroken by his death. I already miss turning to him for advice and assistance. And I wish I had done a better job of thanking him for all that he did for all of us. Along with all of you, I weep with Patti and their family.
And yet, despite our grief, we are called today to rejoice! Despite our sadness, we are called to wait with joyful expectation for the coming of the Lord at Christmas. Through our tears, we are called to join the shepherds in looking for the star that will lead us to a manger. Through our pain, we are called to walk together, hand-in-hand, to the place where a blessed child is born for us. And even though our hearts are broken, we are called to trust in the promise of this Christ-Child, who is all goodness, all love, and all mercy.
As a husband, father, grandfather, brother, deacon, and friend, Deacon Raymond Wellbank trusted in that very promise. Let us honor Deacon Ray by praying for him, by supporting his family, and by continuing his good work. So that when we meet him again, he will join our Risen Lord in saying to us what was undoubtedly just said to him: “Well done, my good and faithful servant…Come, share your master’s joy (Matthew 25:21)!” May God bless Deacon Ray Wellbank! May he rest in peace! May God bless all who mourn his passing! And may God help us to find the joy in our grief!
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
The Light Is On For You!
Confession & Eucharistic Adoration
Thursday, December 21st
The Holy Season of Advent is a time for prayer, penance, and preparation; a time to make ourselves ready for the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. This Advent, all are invited to experience Christ’s boundless love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and through prayerful adoration of the Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. On two Thursday evenings during Advent, December 14th and December 21st, from 6:00pm until 8:00pm, please join us for ‘The Light Is On For You!’ in Saint Ann Church.
These special evenings of prayer and devotion will in- clude Evening Prayer and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and an opportunity for all who feel called to participate in the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession). For some, this may be a time for sacramental confession. For some, it may be a time for silent prayer and reflection. And for some, it may be a time to begin or renew the journey of faith. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at email@example.com.
Christmas Mass Schedule
December 24th-December 25th
All Are Invited! All Are Welcome!
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport cordially invites you and your family to join us for the celebration of Holy Mass in celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. In Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, Holy Mass will be celebrated according to the following schedule:
Sunday, December 24th
4:00pm in Saint Ann Church
4:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
6:00pm in Saint Ann Church
Midnight in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Monday, December 25th
8:15am in Saint Ann Church
10:00am in Saint Joachim Church
11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Calling Young Disciples
As parishes throughout the country reimagine their youth faith formation programs, it is important to remember that all children and teenagers are invited to participate in the life of our parishes: as altar servers, as participants in our upcoming Youth Christmas Pageant, and as instrumentalists and singers in our Youth Choir & Music Ministry. These are not just special events but formative opportunities for children of all ages to gather in prayer; learn about the teachings and traditions of the Church; and live their faith in a true spirit of prayer, fellowship, and service. For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Choir & Music Ministry
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Youth Choir & Music Ministry meets for rehearsal every Tuesday at 5:00pm in Saint Ann Church. The Youth Choir, along with an ensemble of talented young instrumentalists, performs every weekend during Mass. Our youth music ministry is a great way to make new friends and participate in the life of our parishes! For more information, please contact Patty Natti at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
Youth Christmas Pageant
Saturday, January 6th
Each year, the Catholic Church celebrates the Season of Christmas from December 25th through the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6th. During Christmastime, we commemorate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ; the choir of angels praising God in heaven; the call of the shepherds; and the adoration of the Magi with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
As part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s celebration of the Christmas Season, we invite children from our parish communities to participate in our Youth Christmas Pageant on Saturday, January 6th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. This dramatization of the Nativity of the Lord depends on the participation of young angels and shepherds, along with those interested in playing the roles of the Magi and the Holy Family. If your child would like to participate in this wonderful holiday tradition, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! 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. All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
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