CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC UPDATE
Monday, March 16, 2020 – Updated 4:00pm
Pastor’s Note: In cooperation with medical experts and local and state authorities, Cardinal Sean O’Malley has suspended all public Masses in the Archdiocese of Boston until further notice. The Cardinal has also issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for all Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese. Funeral and wedding services will continue as scheduled for now.
In order to do what we can locally to safeguard the health and safety of all friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport announces the following changes until further notice:
- Our parish office is closed to visitors.
- Pastoral assistance is available by phone or email.
- Contact us: email@example.com or 978-281-4820.
- Confessions & Eucharistic Adoration are suspended.
- All adult & youth faith formation programs are suspended.
- All parish programs, ministries, and social events are suspended.
All are invited and encouraged to pray with us at home using the resources below my weekly message. Additional resources are coming soon! Let us now pray for each other! Stay tuned for further updates! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Our Pastor’s Message
Patience, Prayers & Precautions
By Father Jim
My friend, Gianpaolo, is my age. He is a devoted husband and loving father of two young daughters. He serves as primary caregiver to his elderly father. He owns a home and a small driving service in Assisi, Italy. Even during the best of times, Gianpaolo, like so many of us, finds it difficult to make ends meet. Earlier this week, he contacted me to beg for our prayers.
The spread of the coronavirus has prompted the Italian government to declare a national lockdown that restricts travel within the country; and closes all churches and businesses (except for grocery stores and pharmacies). Even the churches in Rome and the Vatican City are closed. Although necessary to curtail community spread of the disease, these measures have crippled the local economy to the point where my friend may soon be unable to pay his bills and provide for his family.
Our own country’s struggle with this global pandemic has both changed and worsened. Whatever happens next, it is important for us as a community of faith to trust in God and believe in science; to remain calm and take every precaution to protect ourselves and our friends, families, and neighbors.
In response to the spread of the coronavirus in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency and a ban on all public gatherings of 25 people or more. Because every church and parish hall in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport has a seating capacity of more than 25 people (updated 3-15-20), our buildings are now closed until further notice. Also, in accordance with Cardinal Sean’s wishes, all Masses, prayer services, parish programs, and outreach ministries are suspended until further notice. This includes the Assisi Project, Holy Name Society, Holy Family Women’s Guild, Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary, Our Lady’s Guild, and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. In addition, our parish office is closed to visitors until further notice. Pastoral assistance is still available by phone at 978-281-4820 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taken together, these necessary precautions will prevent us from gathering as a community for some unknown period of time. If they keep just one person from getting sick, then they are worth it. If they save just one life, then they are worth it. But the closure of our churches and the cancellation of worship services and parish programs cannot keep us from praying together and caring for each other in our hearts.
Beginning now, let us take advantage of this difficult time to renew our spiritual lives. Let us rededicate ourselves to praying for each other. Let us keep in touch with friends, family, neighbors, and fellow parishioners by email, phone, and social media. Let us check-in on elderly or isolated neighbors by asking about their health and their supply of basic necessities. Let us be patient, prudent, and persevering in all that we think, say, and do. Most of all, let us pray for each other!
Needless to say, my primary concern now is for the health, safety, and spiritual well-being of all parishioners. At the same time, I am also concerned about the financial stability of our parishes. It remains vitally important that we continue to support our home parishes through generous giving. Even though Masses are cancelled, please make every effort to send your weekly gift by mail or via our safe and easy electronic giving program (see below). Your generosity during this uncertain time is most appreciated!
Now more than ever, we must pray. We must pray harder than ever, with more dedication and discipline than ever before. As a way of keeping together in spirit, if not in person, I pledge to pray for all parishioners throughout the day via the Liturgy of the Hours; by celebrating a private Mass every day for the intentions already scheduled and for all of our fellow parishioners; and by praying the Angelus each day at noon for the intercession of the Blessed Mother. All are invited to join me and our pastoral team in prayer by using the resources below.
From across the oceans, my friend, Gianpaolo, asks us to also pray for the intercession of Saint Frances of Rome, who was a wife, mother, Benedictine Oblate, and founder of a lay movement of caregivers for the sick. In Italy, Saint Frances of Rome, who lived more than five centuries ago, remains widely venerated as a protector against epidemic illnesses. Gianpaolo offers this simple but powerful prayer: “Saint Frances of Rome, protector of the sick, the world needs you more than ever! Help us during this time of trial! Pray for us!” Let us also ask Saint Ann, Saint Joachim, Saint Anthony, Saint Francis, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter, and Our Lady of Good Voyage to pray for us, protect us, and guide us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Peace and blessings to all!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
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Hope of the Sick
For more than 1,000 years, the Roman Catholic Church has venerated Saint Joseph as patron of fathers, protector of children (both born and unborn), and guardian of single mothers. He is also venerated as patron of carpenters, laborers, immigrants, and those who doubt their faith. And during these uncertain times, it is also good to remember that Saint Joseph is also a patron of the sick. This year, the Church throughout the world will celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph on Thursday, March 19th. Traditional devotions to Saint Joseph remain strong and vibrant in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. In this spirit, let us raise our hearts and voices in prayer for the intercession of Saint Joseph, Hope of the Sick.
Benevolent Saint Joseph,
the Son of God placed his life in your hands.
With the Virgin Mary, our Blessed Mother,
you cared for the Child Jesus,
who is the force of life in our world.
May your compassion embrace our fragility
and bring us the comfort of the divine presence.
Loving Saint Joseph,
we join with you in prayer by crying out:
Lord Jesus, Son of the Living God,
say a word for our healing!
Make us sensitive to the illnesses
of those closest to us.
Support us in our efforts
to care for our sick brothers and sisters.
Give us courage in the fight against evil.
Help us to find meaning
in God’s great project for humanity
beyond the sickness and suffering that blind us.
May the Love of God be with us,
because our only hope is with Him.
We make this prayer
through the intercession of Saint Joseph
to Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Saint Joseph, Hope of the Sick, pray for us!
Prayer for Spiritual Communion
I believe that you are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things,
and I desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive you sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
and unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.
Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever.
In addition to participating in the sacramental life of our parishes, all Catholics are called to holiness through daily prayer. As one way of encouraging members of our community to grow closer to Christ through prayer, we recommend the following online resources for daily prayer and reflection which can be accessed by clicking on the links below:
- Assisi Project
- Coloring Pages for Children
- Daily Mass Readings
- Divine Mercy Chaplet
- Drawing God for Children
- Liturgy of the Hours
- The Pope Video
- Sharing the Word
- Sunday Soundbites
- Saint of the Day
- The Way of the Cross
Check back soon for additional resources! If you have questions or need further suggestions about daily prayer during these difficult and uncertain times, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com or Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liturgy of the Hours
In his First Letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul writes: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess 5:16).” For centuries, Christians have puzzled over what it means to pray without ceasing. But one ancient practice provides us with an answer: the Liturgy of the Hours.
Since the middle ages, the Church has used a daily practice of prayer called the “Divine Office” or “Liturgy of the Hours” to mark and sanctify the various hours or times of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night. It uses a four-week cycle of psalms, canticles, and scripture read- ings to draw us into deeper relationship with Christ and the Church by uniting us with the Lord and each other through prayers of petition, praise, and thanksgiving.
At ordination, our deacons and priests make solemn promises to pray with the Divine Office each and every day. However, the Liturgy of the Hours is not just for deacons, priests, and those consecrated to religious life. Countless lay men and women around the world make the Liturgy of the Hours the foundation of their daily prayer and worship. Indeed, in Canticum Laudis, the Apostolic Constitution of the Church, we read: “The purpose of the Divine Office is to sanctify the day and all human activity. The Divine Office is the prayer not only of the clergy but of the whole People of God.” The Liturgy of the Hours can be prayed alone or in community. If you are interested in praying online, please click on the link below:
If you have questions or need further suggestions about daily prayer during these difficult and uncertain times, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com or Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grand Annual Collections
Help Us Balance Our Budgets
Every Dollar Makes a Difference!
Last year, thanks to your generous support, both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish balanced their fiscal year budgets. Two big reasons for these accomplishments are 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 enable us to repair and improve our historic, but very expensive to maintain, 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. So 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.
We have made some good progress toward reaching our goals, but we have much work ahead before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. So, 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. For more information about the Grand Annual Collections in either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you in advance for your prayers and generous support for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport!
Electronic Giving Made Safe & Easy
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 contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous and ongoing 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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline