Our Pastor’s Message
Welcome Home for Easter!
By Father Jim
As a child, I grew up in a household infused with religious belief and practice. As a family, we attended Mass on a weekly basis. We said grace before meals. We even prayed the Rosary together. Later, as a young adult, I volunteered as a catechist for our parish’s youth faith formation program. For me, the Catholic Church has always been a place of peace, a consolation for me during times of trial, and a second home. Sadly, we know that many people of faith and goodwill do not feel this way. During the past few decades, all too many people have left the Catholic Church behind. Some feel unable to join us for cultural, familial, financial, or personal reasons. Others simply feel unwelcome for reasons related to their marital status, sexual orientation, or basic lack of knowledge about the teachings and traditions of the Church.
At Easter, however, many of our brothers and sisters in faith come home to the Church in order to experience again the miraculous joy of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if just for one Easter Sunday Mass, they come in search of joy, solace, and meaning in their lives. They come in search of something that the world cannot offer: God’s endless love, intimate friendship, and boundless mercy. Whether they know it or not, they come — called by the Lord — to find their place in the Church, our spiritual home.
For some years now, I have been thinking and praying about Pope Francis; his message of mercy and inclusiveness; and his outreach to the poor, especially the poor in spirit. I have been praying for those among us, friends and family, who might feel excluded from the beauty of our shared faith, the richness of our traditions, and the spirit of our parish life. When I became your pastor almost four years ago, one of my first decisions was to ensure that every announcement about every parish program and event included this message: “All are welcome!” However, we rarely explain what this means and to whom it applies. So here goes!
Let’s be clear. The celebration of Holy Mass is the source and summit of our community’s joy and its life of prayer, fellowship, and service. All are welcome to join us for Mass and to receive Holy Communion in accordance with a personal examination of conscience and the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. In this spirit, all are welcome means just that: “All are welcome!” Whether you are a saint or a sinner, all are welcome! Whether you attend Mass every day, every week, or just every so often, all are wel- come! Whether you are healthy, living with a chronic illness, or suffering from a terminal illness, all are welcome! Whether you are overweight or underweight or somewhere in between, all are welcome! Whether you are rich or poor or somewhere in between, all are welcome! Whether you are single, married, or divorced, all are welcome! Whether you are straight, gay, or not so sure, all are welcome! Whatever your race, color, or life experience, all are welcome! Again and again and again, all are welcome means all are welcome!
This Easter and beyond, let us join together to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church. Let us open wide the doors of our churches and the gates of our hearts! And let us exclaim with one voice for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, forever and always: “All are welcome!” and “Happy Easter!” Alleluia! Alleluia!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Prayer Vigil for Vocations
Friday, April 6th
As Catholic Christians, we believe that God calls us to live as faithful disciples. But in what way of life are we called to live our discipleship? What is your calling? What is your vocation? These questions can sometimes take a lifetime to answer. But with hearts open to discernment and prayer, God can help us find our way in the world. Each and every one of us (regardless of age, gender, or life experience) can discover, rediscover, and respond to God’s plan for our lives.
This year, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is celebrating a ‘Year for Vocations,’ a time to pray and reflect on 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. In this spirit, we will gather on Friday, April 6th for ‘Vocation Friday’ in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Our prayer vigil will begin with Mass at 8:00am, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. At 11:00am, we will pray the Rosary for an increase in vocations to the priesthood. And we will conclude at 12:00pm with Benediction.
These ‘Vocation Fridays’ will be held throughout the year on the First Friday of each month. Our hope is that all parishioners and their families will be able to join us for at least one of these special days of prayer, discernment, and devotion. If you are not able to join us this month, please take a few moments to pray this powerful prayer for vo- cations by Cardinal Joseph Bernadin:
Lord of the harvest,
your Word finds a home in our hearts,
calls us into community,
and invites us to generous service
to the human family.
Bless with courage and spirit
your priestly people,
called to full participation
in the one Body of Christ.
May many choose to respond
in public service to your call
offered in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Throughout this ‘Year for Vocations,’ let us pray together that each one of us, in our own way, will learn to pray, discern, and respond to God’s call with faith, hope, and love in our hearts. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Divine Mercy Sunday
A Celebration of God’s Love
Sunday, April 8th
FEATURING RELIC OF SAINT FAUSTINA
In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina Kowalska and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy (popularly known as Divine Mercy Sunday). During the past two decades, the devotion has spread throughout the world and reflects a mystical message that the Risen Christ gave to Saint Faustina which was recorded in her diary: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy. This is the Easter gift that the Church received from the Risen Christ and offers to all people.”
In this spirit, all are invited to join us for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 8th from 2:00pm until 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. This special afternoon of devotion and prayer will proceed according to the following schedule: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:00pm; the Holy Rosary at 2:30pm; the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm; and Daytime Prayer & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 3:30pm. In between these periods of shared prayer, all are invited to pray in silence in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday, all are encouraged to pray with the following prayer which is traditionally recited each day at 3:00pm to commemorate the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Jesus, you died
but the source of life
flowed out for the souls
and the ocean of mercy
opened up for the whole world.
O Fountain of Life,
immeasurable Divine Mercy,
cover the whole world
and empty yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water
which flowed out
from the heart of Jesus,
as a Fountain of Mercy for us,
I trust in you!
Holy God, Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us
and on the whole world!
We are also blessed and pleased to announce that our celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday will include veneration of a sacred relic of Saint Faustina. For more information about Divine Mercy Sunday in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Jane Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or part of this special event! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Annual Fashion Show
Tuesday, April 12th
All are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a Fashion Show on Thursday, April 12th at 7:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Come and see what real women wear with clothing from Dress Barn and Marshalls! Don’t miss this special evening of fun, fashion, fellowship, and refreshments! Tickets are $10.00 each. Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and community. Throughout the year, the Women’s Guild hosts many fundraising events and social gatherings, including seasonal bake sales, the Strawberry Festival, and the Christmas Fair. For more information, please contact Lydia Bertolino at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Catholic Kids Camp
The Holy Names of Jesus
Begins Tuesday, April 17th
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 Holy Names of Jesus” from Tuesday, April 17th through Friday, April 20th from 8:00am until 12:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this exciting week of prayer, fun, and fellowship, children will learn about the many names and images of Jesus Christ through active and engaged participation in games, music, skits, and craft projects. Here’s our schedule for the week:
- Day I: Tuesday, April 17th The Light of the World
- Day II: Wednesday, April 18th The Good Shepherd
- Day III: Thursday, April 19th The Teacher
- Day IV: Friday, April 20th The Bread of Life
Each 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 welcome to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead the children to Our Lady’s School for a faith-filled and fun-filled morning of activities, learning, and good times with friends both old and new. Catholic Kids Camp is an exciting and educational program that your children and grandchildren will love!
The tuition for this innovative youth faith formation program during the spring school vacation week is just $25 per child for the entire week! Scholarships are available for those families that cannot afford tuition. Also, adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are welcome to join us as volunteers! Registration forms are available on our website: ccgronline.com/formation. For more information about the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s next Catholic Kids Camp, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Adult Faith Formation
Spring Day of Prayer & Reflection
Saturday, May 5th
MARY: MOTHER OF GOD, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
Earlier this year, Pope Francis announced that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church should be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost and celebrated each year in churches throughout the world. In anticipation of this new feast and as part of our “Year for Vocations,” all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join the Legion of Mary, the Assisi Project, and their spiritual directors, Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, for “Mary: Mother of God, Mother of the Church” on Saturday, May 5th at Saint Anthony Chapel (located at 21 Farrington Avenue in Gloucester).
During this four-hour morning retreat, we will explore the Blessed Virgin Mary’s twin vocations as “Mother of God” and “Mother of the Church.” This special morning of prayer and reflection will proceed according to the following schedule: Celebration of Holy Mass at 8:00am; First Reflection & Faith Sharing at 9:00am; Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 10:00am; Second Reflection & Faith Sharing at 11:00am; Angelus & Closing Prayer at 12:00pm.
Throughout the morning, there will be scheduled breaks and time for faith sharing, fellowship, and refreshments. Coffee, tea, and bottled water will be available throughout the morning. After our closing prayers, all are invited to remain for a picnic lunch. During Mass, a collection will be taken in support of our adult faith formation ministry. If you would like to join us for this special morning of prayer and reflection in honor of our Blessed Mother, please contact Cliff Garvey email@example.com (so that we can adequately plan for food and drink). Please join us! All are invited! 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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline