Our Pastor’s Message
After New Zealand
By Father Jim
Last week in Christchurch, New Zealand, a young man stood at the door of his place of worship. His ministry was hospitality and welcome. When a stranger approached, he did not turn away. He did not block the door. He said: “Welcome, brother.” Moments later, that young man lay dead in the doorway, the first of more than seventy-five victims of a terrorist and his gun. That could happen here. It could happen to me. It could happen to Betsy or Cliff or Melissa or Sheila or Tom or any member of our pastoral team. It could happen to any one of our fellow parishioners who stand at the doors of our churches as living witnesses of our firm belief that “All are welcome!”
Last weekend at Mass, we heard Luke’s account of the Transfiguration of the Lord; that moment when Jesus reveals the fullness of his identity to the apostles. He appears to them in dazzling white. He appears to them in glory. He is divine. He is human. He is the Messiah. He is one of us. At the moment of this great revelation, God speaks from heaven: “This is my chosen son. Listen to him (Luke 9:35).” Over the course of his public ministry, Jesus teaches us that the entirety of God’s law can be fulfilled by observing the two great commandments: to love God and to love each other (John 13:34-35). Clear. Concise. Undeniable. No exceptions. We are called to love God and to love our neighbor: no matter who they are; no matter where they are from; no matter what color they are; no matter what religion they practice; no matter whom they love.
The teachings of the Gospel of Christ and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are simple and straightforward. Racism is sinful. Racism is evil. Bigotry, hatred, and violence are completely incompatible and irreconcilable with God’s law of love. Four decades ago, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) forcefully declared: “Racism is a radical evil that divides the human family and denies the creation of a redeemed world.” Three decades ago, Pope Saint John Paul II said: “Every upright conscience cannot but decisively condemn any racism, no matter inwhat heart or place it is found. Racism always emerges in ever new and unexpected ways, offending and degrading the whole human family.” And more recently, Pope Francis said: “Racism is the ultimate evil in today’s world!”
As Christian disciples, we are obligated to condemn bigotry, hatred, and violence of any kind, toward anyone, anywhere as wholly inconsistent with the Good News of Christ. We are obligated to condemn bigotry, hatred, and violence of any kind, toward anyone, anywhere as incompatible with our shared vocation to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild our Church. And we are obligated to turn away from the apologists, defenders, and purveyors of this ideology of hatred, whether they live in New Zealand, New York, Washington, or even in our own hometown.
Let us, then, renew our commitment to the Lord’s commandment to love and our determination to work for justice in our community, our country, and our world. Let us pray for the guts to speak out against bigotry, hatred, and violence; and for the courage to speak instead for fraternity, goodwill, and peace between all peoples, all religions, and all nations. Let us pray for the grace to overcome bigotry, hatred, and violence with small acts of generosity, kindness, and mutual understanding. Let us simply love each other as brothers and sisters, as children of the same God. Let us pray for the perpetrators; and let us always pray for the victims. Above all, let us open our hearts and minds to the voice from heaven that cries out: “This is my chosen son. Listen to him!”
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, March 30th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a “Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit” with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Africa, and Europe. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to the God’s Holy Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The Assisi Project meets on the last Saturday of each month in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church for Mass, formation, fellowship, and faith sharing.
Our next “Saturday Morning with Saint Francis” is scheduled for March 30th beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will continue our study and discussion of the Franciscan Saints; and we will consider how throughout history average people like us have become saints. All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are always invited to join us this month and every month! For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Catholic Kids Camp
Walking with Jesus During Holy Week
Begins Tuesday, April 16th
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: Walking with Jesus During Holy Week” from Tuesday, April 16th through Friday, April 19th 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 Jesus and his disciples and the heartbreaking and triumphant events of Holy Week. Here’s our schedule for the week:
- Day I: Tuesday, April 16th
What Is Holy Week?
- Day II: Wednesday, April 17th
Jesus and the Entry into Jerusalem
- Day III: Holy Thursday, April 18th
Jesus and the Last Supper
- Day IV: Good Friday, April 19th
Jesus and the Way of the Cross
Each day 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 encouraged to join us! After Mass, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers willlead 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 is just $30 per child for the entire week! Scholarships are available for those families who cannot afford tuition. Adults and older children (ages 12 and up) are also welcome to join us as volunteers! Their help will be much appreciated! For more information about our next Catholic Kids Camp, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Stations of the Cross
A Traditional Lenten Devotion
Fridays During Lent
For more than five hundred years, the Stations of the Cross are one of the most enduring and moving traditional devotions of the Roman Catholic Church. By uniting our prayers with those of the suffering Christ through both word and imagery, we make a spiritual pilgrimage with our Lord as he experiences the Passion of the Cross. During Lent, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in praying the Stations of the Cross on six consecutive Friday afternoons (March 8th through April 12th) at 3:00pm in Saint Ann Church. For more information about the Holy Season of Lent in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at email@example.com. Please spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Light Is On For You!
Confessions & Eucharistic Adoration
Wednesdays During Lent
During the Holy Season of Lent, all Catholics are invited to experience Christ’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession). On five consecutive Wednesday evenings during Lent (March 13th through April 10th), all are invited to join us for “The Light Is On For You!” from 6:00pm until 8:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. These special evenings of prayer will include Evening Prayer and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours; Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; and two full hours of confessions for those who feel called to participate. For some, this may be a time for confession and sacramental reconciliation. For some, it may be a time for silent prayer and adoration. And for others, it may be a time to begin or renew a spiritual journey. For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Grand Annual Collections
Every Dollar Makes a Difference!
Last year, thanks to your generous support, both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish were able to balance their respective budgets. Two big reasons for this accomplishment is the success of our Grand Annual Collections. In each of our parishes, the Grand Annual Collection bridges the gap between our weekly gifts and our financial obligations (such as salaries and benefits, insurance premiums, utility bills, snow plowing, and essential parish programs). The Grand Annual Collections also help us to maintain our historic church buildings.
In order for each parish to balance its budget and ensure its long-term financial stability, we must meet our goals of $75,000 for Holy Family Parish and $45,000 for Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. These fundraising campaigns are essential components of our annual parish budgets. Each year, we ask all parishioners to contribute what they can to our Grand Annual Collections. Every gift, large or small, helps us to achieve our goals and balance our budgets. Offertory envelopes are located at the doors of all of our churches. Please place your offering in the collection basket during Mass or mail it directly to me.
Although we have made good progress toward reaching our goal, we have much work ahead before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. As we begin the final quarter of the fiscal year, all parishioners are encouraged to prayerfully consider giving to the Grand Annual Collection at either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Every penny raised goes directly to the parish of your choice. Please join me in praying that each of us, according to our means, will give generously to one of these all-important fundraising efforts. Thank you in advance for your generous and ongoing support of our amazing parishes! Peace and blessings to all! — 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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