Our Pastor’s Message
Remembering Father Alves
The Meaning of a Life
By Father Jim
On Friday, February 8th, Father Eugene Alves, our longtime pastor and senior priest, passed away surrounded by his devoted and loving family. After hearing this sad news and looking through some boxes in a rectory closet, I found some wonderful old photographs of Father Alves, including one from his first Mass, which was celebrated fifty-eight years ago this month at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. As a priest for almost sixty years, Father Alves celebrated an untold number of daily and weekend Masses. He baptized thousands of babies and adult converts. He offered First Holy Communion to generations of young disciples. He heard an untold number of confessions and absolved millions of sins. He presided over the weddings and funerals of countless numbers of family, friends, and fellow parishioners. He visited the sick, comforted the afflicted, counseled the troubled, and offered good advice both in private and on the front steps of this historic church.
Shortly after Father Alves died, I was blessed to visit with his family. Reflecting on his ministry, his niece, Anita, said that every single family in Gloucester and Rockport probably has a photograph of her uncle from some community event, parish celebration, or family gathering. That prompted me to think about the tumultuous times during which Father Alves lived and served as a priest: Vietnam; Vatican II; the Civil Rights Movement; the assassinations of Mar- tin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy; the social and political upheaval of the late sixties; the cultural and sexual revolutions of the seventies and eighties; the rise of computer and digital technologies; deadly terrorist attacks; seemingly endless wars; and a sexual abuse crisis that goes on and on. Father Alves also served under four archbishops and six popes. Through it all, Father Alves stood calmly at the helm, charted our course, and led us forward — ever confident that our community could do anything as long as we worked together.
Needless to say, Father Alves was not perfect. From personal experience alone, I know that he could be difficult, stubborn, and sometimes uncompromising. But beneath that hard exterior lived an exceptionally kind, decent, and generous man. Father Alves was singularly dedicated to Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish and its parishioners. He was a good and faithful priest who gave his entire life — heart, mind, body, and soul — in service to God’s people without ambition, avarice, or bitterness. He loved his priesthood and his parish family. In so many ways, Father Alves was larger than life: and he will live on in the hearts and memories of generations of parishioners who were blessed to know him, to love him, and to learn from him.
During funerals, Father Alves would often say that death doesn’t make sense unless you have faith. With humility, I might add that life itself doesn’t make sense unless we are willing to love and serve others. On the same day that Father Alves died, Pope Francis said: “Life has value when we give it, when we give it in love, when we give it in truth, and when we give it to others in everyday life.” One might think that the Holy Father was thinking about Father Alves when he shared these words with the world! May God bless Father Alves. May God bless all who grieve his passing. And may God bless us with the courage, grace, and perseverance to give to others what Father Alves gave to all of us — a life so well-lived; a life so truly dedicated to prayer, fellowship, and service. Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Adult Faith Formation
Winter Day of Prayer & Reflection
Prayer & Healing with the Children of Fatima
Saturday, February 23rd
Francisco Marto (1908-1919) and Jacinta Marto (1910- 1920), brother and sister, and their cousin, Lucia dos Santos (1907-2005), were children from a small village near Fatima in Portugal, who were blessed to give witness to several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Fatima. Much is known and much is often misunderstood about the apparitions and their meaning. But we can learn a great deal from these children, especially Francisco and Jacinta, about life, love, prayer, and healing.
In commemoration of the Feast of Saints Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto (February 20th), all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for a “Winter Day of Prayer& Reflection: Prayer and Healing with the Children of Fatima” on Saturday, February 23rd in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. During this special four-hour morning retreat, we will explore the different but complimentary spiritual lives of the Children of Fatima. We will also consider what these young saints can teach us about coping with illnesses of mind, body, and spirit.
Our day of prayer and reflection will proceed according to the following schedule: Celebration of 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. After our program, all are invited to join us for a delicious potluck lunch in the parish hall.
Throughout the morning, there will be scheduled breaks and time for faith sharing, fellowship, and questions. Coffee, tea, bottled water, and refreshments will be available throughout the morning. During Mass, a collection will be taken up in support of our adult and youth faith formation programs. If you would like to participate in this special event, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Available at Both Parishes
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is easy, simple, and safe to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Donations can be made on a one-time-only or ongoing basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. Just choose the appropriate link below and click “Make a Donation.” Please prayerfully consider supporting your parish by giving electronically! For more information about electronic giving in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim or contact Melissa Unis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support!
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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