Our Pastor’s Message
Advice for the Journey
By Father Jim
This year, forty-six high school students from Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish successfully completed the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Confirmation Preparation Program. As we celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with our students, it is important to remember that Confirmation is not a form of graduation. Rather, it is meant to be the beginning of a mature person’s lifelong spiritual journey andthe starting point of their work as a faithful and faith-filled disciples of Jesus Christ.
As these young fellow parishioners receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, I am mindful of the life and example of Saint Angela Merici (1474-1540) whose feast day is celebrated on January 27th. Even though Angela Merici lived more than five centuries ago, she is still remembered as a devoted and effective advocate for women and children. As a teenager, she dedicated her life to prayer and service. She became a teacher and shared her deep faith with young girls in her hometown. Later in life, she founded a community of lay women that was dedicated to educating young wives and mothers.
Even now, Saint Angela Merici is remembered not because she was rich and powerful, but because she made the best use of the one life that she was blessed to live on this earth. Given that Saint Angela lived during a time when the rights of women were neither respected nor protected, it is perhaps most miraculous that she accomplished so much without ever asking for permission or support from church leaders. She simply saw a need; prayed about how her gifts and talents might address that need; invited other young women with similar interests to join her; and together, they went to work.
Shortly before her death, Saint Angela Merici wrote some instructions for those who would carry on her work with the young mothers and children who had come to rely on her. In an opening passage about the need for inspiration and vision, she wrote: “Do not be afraid of not always knowing or not being able to do what is needed…Do something. Get moving. Be confident. Take risks. Stick with it. Get down on your knees and pray. And then be ready for big surprises.” I cannot imagine better advice for our children and grandchildren as they begin to take the next step along life’s long spiritual journey.
My prayer for our newly confirmed fellow parishioners is that they will fully embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; continue to grow in faith, hope, and love; continue to join our community in prayer, fellowship, and service; and come alive to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church. My prayer is that they will open their hearts and minds to Jesus and to what he asks of them during their lives. My prayer is they will follow the good advice of Saint Angela Merici. Do something. Get moving. Be confident. Take risks. Stick with it. Get down on your knees and pray. And then be ready for big surprises. May God bless them on their journey! May the Holy Spirit guide them! Come, Holy Spirit!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Sacrament of Confirmation
Welcome Bishop Mark O’Connell!
Saturday, January 26th
On behalf of Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, a warm welcome is offered to the Very Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop for the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston. Bishop Mark joins us this weekend at the 4:00pm Mass in Saint Ann Church for our first celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Bishop Mark, we welcome you to the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! May God bless you and your ministry! — Father Jim
Special Message of Thanks
As the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport celebrates the Sacrament of Confirmation this Saturday, January 26th and next Saturday, February 2nd, let us join together in a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving for those who prepared our students to receive this important sacrament: Peter Brau, Jennifer Dort, Mary Duran, and Doug Greenfield. Let us also pray in thanksgiving for Betsy Works, Associate Minister for Youth Faith Formation. Taken together, their dedication and hard work ensure that all of our Candidates for Confirmation are ready to receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit! Thanks to all for a job well done! May God bless you and your ministry! — Father Jim
Feast of Saint Blaise
Traditional Blessing of Throats
February 2nd & February 3rd
During the weekend of Saturday, February 2nd and Sunday, February 3rd, all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join us in celebrating the Feast of Saint Blaise, Bishop & Martyr. Little is known about Saint Blaise except that he lived during the fourth century and served as Bishop of Silvas (Turkey). During the Roman persecutions of Christians, he was martyred for refusing to deny his faith in the Risen Christ.
Tradition holds that as Bishop Blaise was being arrested, a mother approached him with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blaise’s command, the child coughed up the bone and was healed. Since then, he has been venerated as the patron saint of those suffering from illnesses of the throat. Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate the traditional Blessing of Throats at all weekend Masses on Saturday, February 2nd and Sunday, February 3rd. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Saint Blaise, pray for us!
Youth Faith Formation
Confirmation Preparation Program
Year I 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 adult disciple within the Church. We hope to end this tragic ambivalence by transforming sacramental preparation into an engaging process for the whole family.
We place primary focus on attending Mass. For more than a century, the Church asked every parish to offer sacramental preparation programs for children and teenagers. During recent decades, however, we neglected 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 their responsibility is attending Mass as a family.
In our increasingly busy world, it has become common for parents to entrust their children to us for an hour of instruction, but then not join us for Mass each weekend. So, we will continue to ask parents to dedicate one hour each week to their child’s religious education by joining us for just one of our seven weekend Masses!
In addition, all high school students (beginning in ninth grade) are invited to participate in our two-year program of formation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. During the first year, students will attend seven interactive workshops about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. These sessions begin on Sunday, February 10th. During the second year, students will attend additional workshops and a 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 faith-filled young disciples.
If your child is now in high school and wants to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, please complete a registration form (see link below) and return it as soon as possible! For more information about our youth faith formation programs 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!
Winter Weather Cancellations
For the latest information about weather related cancellations during the winter months in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please visit our website at ccgronline.com. Announcements will also be made on WBZ1030-AM and cbsboston.com. All parishioners are advised that if public schools are closed on a particular weekday due to inclement weather, then our daily Mass and all adult and youth faith formation programs will be cancelled on that day, too. In addition, please note that if the Town of Rockport declares a snow emergency, all Masses at Saint Joachim Church will be cancelled (even on Sunday). Peace and blessings to all for a 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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