Our Pastor’s Message
Our Church In Crisis
By Father Jim
Just more than fifteen years ago, in the midst of the crisis that engulfed our archdiocese, I was ordained to the priesthood and made three solemn promises in the hands of my bishop: prayer, celibacy, and obedience. I made these promises with a clear conscience, a firm commitment, and a realistic appreciation of the hard journey ahead. Over the years, I have never found it easy to keep these promises, but I have done so with the encouragement, love, and support of my family, my friends, and my fellow parishioners. Being a priest during these times is sometimes difficult, but I have no regrets or second thoughts. At the same time, I find myself increasingly frustrated by this ongoing crisis.
Let me be clear: I am not frustrated with the victims or their families whose lives havebeen devastated by those who committed crimes that deserve society’s condemnation andjust punishment. Any and all victims of abuse deserve our most sincere apology, love, understanding, and ongoing support. I am not frustrated with the news media for reporting the facts: that felony crimes were committed and systematically covered-up or ignored by those in positions of power. However, I am deeply frustrated with those bishops and their minions who have failed over and over again to address this crisis in an effective, honest, and practical way that allows us, the Body of Christ, “to heal wounds, bind what is broken, and bring home those who are lost (Saint Francis of Assisi).”
I am also concerned about factions within the Church that seek to use this crisis as a weapon against Pope Francis, some bishops and priests, and our gay brothers and sisters. Rather than join the Holy Father in applying Church teachings with gentleness and mercy, they seem interested only in excluding others. Rather than becoming instruments of God’s peace, they seem intent on becoming instruments of harsh judgment. Ultimately, this crisis is not about celibacy. It is not about sexual orientation. It is about the mental illness of pedophilia manifested as crimes against children. Rooting out gay priests or lay employees is not the answer. Reporting, investing, and prosecuting sexual abuse is the answer. After all we have been through, how can our bishops not see this crisis for what it is?
For nearly two decades, a dark cloud of suspicion has loomed over those who serve the Church as priests, deacons, and lay ministers. In my experience, almost all of these people are men and women who dedicate their lives to the service of others. They are honest and faithful. They work longer hours for fewer dollars than they might earn elsewhere. They sacrifice time with their families and friends to be present with our community during times of both celebration and sorrow. They are rarely appreciated for all that they do for all of us. They are truly humble servants in the vineyard of the Lord.
Together with these good people and you, our fellow parishioners, we are the Church. We are God’s family. We are the People of God who are called to be the salt of the earth andthe light of the world. We are called to love God, love others, and protect our children. We are the ones that Jesus summons in this weekend’s gospel and says to them: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34).”United in prayer, fellowship, and service, let us lift high the cross that each of us is called to carry and follow Christ—together. Always together.
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Youth Faith Formation
Fall Faith & Family Mass
Saturday, September 23rd
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them: for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all parents, grandparents, godparents, and children of all ages are invited to join Father Jim for our annual “Fall Faith & Family Mass” on Sunday, September 23rd at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special blessing and homily for all families and their children. And during this new school year, we will celebrate four more “Faith & Family Masses” on Saturday, December 1st at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; Saturday, January5th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; Sunday, March 10th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and Saturday, May 11th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church.
Save the dates! Mark your calendars! Invite your families and friends! Now more than ever, let us reaffirm that Mass is our class! Jesus is our teacher! Let us reaffirm that every child in our pews is a precious blessing from God! Every family that joins us for worship is a special gift from God! For more information, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
Youth Faith Formation
First Holy Communion Preparation
Registration Now Underway!
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport offers a creative and innovative way for children to prepare for the Sacraments of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and First Holy Communion. Our program is designed to prepare both children and their par- ents for these sacraments; to encourage lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ and the Church; and to help families grow together in prayer, fellowship, and service.
Our program is simple and family-friendly! First, our top priority is to invite all families to attend one of our seven weekend Masses on a regular basis. Second, all second grade students and their parents, grandparents, or guardians are asked to attend two 90 minute workshops during the fall season and three 90 minute workshops during the winter-spring seasons. Each of these “Faith & Family Workshops” is offered at three different times so that each family can choose which option works best for them.
Our program begins during the weekend of October 12th-13th! Calendars and registra- tion forms are available via the link below. Forms can be returned by mail or hand-delivered to our parish offices (which are located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester). If you have questions or need more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
Confirmation Preparation Program
Registration Now Underway!
For too many teenagers, the Sacrament of Confirmation has sadly become a kind of graduation from the Catholic Church, rather than the joyful beginning of life as an active adult disciple within the Church. We hope to end this tragic transition from enthusiasm to ambivalence by transforming sacramental preparation into an engaging process for the whole family. First, we will continue to place primary focus on attending Mass. For more than a century, the Church has required every parish to provide some kind of religious education for students who seek the Sacrament of Confirmation.
During recent decades, we have asked parents to dedicate one hour each week to their child’s religious education by enrolling them in a youth faith formation program. Unfortunately, we failed to remind parents of their baptismal promise to be the first teachers of their children in all matters related to faith and morals; and that the most important component of that responsibility is attending Mass as a family. In our increasingly busy, stressful, and over-scheduled world, it has become common for parents to entrust their children to us for an hour of instruction each week but not join usfor Mass each weekend. So, we will continue to ask parents to dedicate one hour each week to their teenager’s faith formation — by bringing them to church!
We will also no longer ask teenagers to spend countless hours in a classroom in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Beginning in the ninth grade, all high school students are invited to participate in our two-year program of formation that will prepare them to receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. During the first year, our students will participate in a series of seven interactive workshops about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. These sessions will be scheduled on Sunday mornings to coincide with our weekend Mass schedule.
During the second year, our students will participate in nine additional workshops (including a four-hour mini-retreat) designed to help them grow in prayer, fellowship, and service; to prepare them to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; and to jumpstart their lives as faithful and faith-filled young adult disciples. Registration forms and schedules for each year are posted below. For more information, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection
Joy & Suffering with Padre Pio
Saturday, October 6th
Earlier this year, Pope Francis visited the House for the Relief of Suffering, a hospital founded by Saint Padre Pio. Afterwards, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Shrine of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Italy. In his homily, the Holy Father preached about the call to suffer and the three words that summarize the life of a saint: humility, prayer, and wisdom. The pope said: “All of theology is contained here! If you have a problem, if you are sad, if you are sick, abandon yourself into the arms of Jesus!”
The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina on September 23rd and the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi on October 4th. In commemoration of these two great saints, and as part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s “Year for Discernment”, all fellow parishioners and friends are invited to join Father Jim, Cliff Garvey, the Legion of Mary, and the Assisi Project for a Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection: “Joy & Suffering with Saint Pio” on Saturday, October 6th at Saint Anthony Chapel.
During this four-hour mini-retreat, we will explore the life, ministry, and patronage of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina and his special meaning for those who are called to suffer. 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 Prayers 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 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 our Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection in honor of Saint Pio and Saint Francis, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Bring a friend! Bring your family! 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!
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