Our Pastor’s Message
Year for Vocations: Pray, Discern & Respond
Two years ago, Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, a time for the Catholic Church throughout the world to pray and reflect on God’s great gift of forgiveness. During that Year of Mercy, a special emphasis was placed on deepening our understanding of the Lord’s boundless love and mercy for each and every person — no matter who they are, what they’ve done, or where they’re from. This year, more locally, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport begins what we are calling a “Year for Vocations”, a time for us to think deeply about who God calls us to be and what God calls us to do with the one life that we are blessed to live on this earth. The word vocation has lin- guistic origins in the Latin word “vocare” which means “to call.” As Christians, we believe that God calls us to live as faithful and faith-filled disciples. But in what form of life are we called to live our discipleship?
As a woman, are you called to marriage, motherhood, religious life, or the single life? As a man, are you called to marriage, fatherhood, priesthood, or the diaconate? As a child of God, are you called to a life of contemplation and solitude? Or are you called to a life of active ministry and service? What is your calling? What is your vocation? Who are you called to be? What are you called to do? These are both timeless and troubling questions that sometimes can take a lifetime to answer. But with hearts open to prayer and discernment, God can help us find our way in the world. Discernment is the spiritual process by which we can learn what God calls us to be and what God calls us to do with our lives. It is the process by which we can recognize and respond to God’s vocation for us — whether that vocation leads us into the cloister, the wedding chapel, or the world of commerce. Each and every one of us (regardless of age or gender) can discover, rediscover, and respond to God’s plan for our lives. But it takes work and sometimes requires help. Hence, we embark on this Year for Vocations!
Throughout the coming year, all of our adult faith formation programs will focus on helping us to understand the spirituality of vocation, praying about our vocation both as indi- viduals and as members of a community, discerning what God asks of us during our lives, and responding to God’s call at every stage of life. We will offer seasonal book study pro- grams, two days of prayer and reflection (spring and fall), and other special events. And Sister Elizabeth Wagner will return to guide us on the path of discernment. Finally, beginning in February, we will gather on the First Friday of every month from 12:00pm until 6:00pm for “Vocation Fridays.” These monthly prayer vigils will include Eucharistic Ado- ration, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, and a Rosary for an increase of vocations to the diocesan priesthood. My hope is that you and your family will be able join us for at least one of these special afternoons of prayer, discernment, and devotion. And throughout this “Year for Vocations”, my prayer is that each of us, in our own way, will learn to pray, discern, and respond to God’s call with faith, hope, and love.
Peace and blessings to all for a happy new year!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
The Epiphany of the Lord
The Epiphany Proclamation
While Christmas Day is fixed in our minds and on our calendars as December 25th, many of the important feast days of the Church Year move based on the date of Easter Sunday. Each year, Easter is scheduled for the First Sunday following the “Paschal Full Moon” and can occur between March 22nd and April 25th. In ancient times, before calendars were commonplace, most people did not know the dates for the feasts of the new liturgical year. On Epiphany Sunday, the dates were proclaimed during the celebration of Holy Mass. After the proclamation of the Gospel, a cantor, deacon, or lector, in keeping with the ancient practices of the Church, may announce from the ambo the moveable feasts of the new year.
Dear brothers and sisters,
know that we have rejoiced
at the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
so by leave of God’s mercy,
we announce to you also
the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Savior.
On the Fourteenth Day of February
will fall Ash Wednesday,
and the beginning of the fast
of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the First Day of April,
you will celebrate with joy Easter Day,
the Paschal Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Tenth Day of May
will be the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Twentieth Day of May, the Feast of Pentecost.
On the Third Day of June,
the Feast of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ.
On the Second Day of December,
the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Sacrament of Confirmation
Saturday, January 13th
Along with Baptism and Holy Eucharist, Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism through the outpouring of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Right Judgment, Understanding, Wisdom, and Wonder & Awe. These gifts seal or “confirm” the mystical union between the candidate and Christ Jesus and prepare them to actively participate in the prayer, worship, and apostolic ministry of the Catholic Church.
This year, forty-two high school students from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish have successfully completed the requirements of our Confirmation Preparation Program. During the past two years, they attended Mass together and completed a rigorous program of formation. In addition, they participated in the “New Spirit Evening of Reflection”; completed service projects; and prayed together as a community of young disciples. These students are now well-prepared to publicly renew their baptismal vows, profess their faith, and live as faithful and faith-filled Roman Catholics.
The Very Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop for the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston will join us for our annual celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday, January 13th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; and Saturday, February 3rd at 6:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
As always, the success of our youth faith formation program depends on volunteers. So, on behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, Father Jim gives God great thanks and praise for this year’s dedicated and hardworking team of catechists: Peter Brau, Jennifer Dort, Mary Duran, and Doug Greenfield. Their generous gifts of time and talent have ensured that all of our candidates are ready to accept and embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at their Confirmation. Thank you! As we approach our celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation, please pray for them and for their parents, sponsors, and families. For more information about our youth faith formation programs, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Winter Weather Cancellations
For the latest information about weather related cancellations during the winter months in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please join us here at ccgronline.com. Announcements will also be made on WBZ1030 and cbsboston.com. All parishioners should note that if the public schools are closed during the week due to inclement weather, then our weekday Mass and all adult and youth faith formation programs will be canceled on that day. Peace and blessings to all for a Merry Christmas and a very safe winter season! — Father Jim
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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