Friday, March 27th
Brothers and sisters: On Friday, March 27th, in the midst of the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis offered us an extraordinary blessing for all people all around the world. Anyone who watches this blessing and completes the following spiritual exercises will receive a plenary indulgence which results in the remission of all temporal punishment for our sins (aka time in purgatory):
- Read the sacred scriptures for thirty minutes; or pray the Holy Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or Stations of the Cross.
- Promise to participate in the Sacraments of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and Holy Eucharist (when it becomes possible).
The Holy Father’s blessing was broadcasted live to the world from the Vatican and can be viewed in full via Vatican News. During this time of trial, affliction, and uncertainty, let us live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church through our heartfelt prayers for each other and for our suffering world. For now, our work together is our prayer together! Ever together in prayer! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Our Pastor’s Message
Ever Together in Prayer
By Father Jim
As we begin a second week of self-isolation and social distancing, it is difficult to find words of comfort and encouragement. As your pastor, I find my energy and strength in being together: celebrating Mass, visiting the sick and homebound, meeting with couples preparing to marry, counseling a soul in need, and welcoming parishioners and guests to our churches. All of sudden, all of these activities are “suspended.” Our Masses are still celebrated, in private, for the intentions of the day; and for all of you: for God’s mercy, healing, and protection from all harm and illness. Our hospitals and nursing homes, out of an understandable abundance of concern for our most-vulnerable brothers and sisters, do not allow families, friends, or pastoral ministers to visit. Our dedicated pastoral team is still working, still reaching out to parishioners in need, but now they do so remotely (via card, email, or telephone) rather than the in-person encounters that build community, touch hearts, and in some cases, even change lives.
As you may have guessed, I have never felt called to silence, solitude, or monastic living. Until now, my typical week included racing about town from one appointment or meeting or visit to the next. My weekends are sometimes a blur of funerals, weddings, confessions, and as many as seven Masses over two days. If you work, care for a family, or even actively volunteer in a busy retirement, then you already know more than I do about the frenzy of modern life. At the same time, my daily routine has always been punctuated by prayer. For more than twenty years, Daily Mass, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours have marked the various times of day. They still do, but now these times are more quiet, more solemn, and in some ways, infinitely more precious.
Now more than ever, this time of trial reminds me that my most important work as your pastor is to pray: to pray for you; to pray for us, to pray for the poor, sick and suffering; to pray for the lonely and left behind; to pray for the souls of those who have passed from this life. This crisis has reminded me again and again that our prayers matter. In the movie, Shadowlands, which is about the life and grief of C.S. Lewis, we hear Anthony Hopkins (as Lewis) say: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.” Now, Lewis never actually said or wrote this, but these lines contain some real truth. Being more or less confined to the rectory, unable to reach out in the usual ways, I find myself gasping and grasping for God. I do feel helpless, but I also feel his presence perhaps more keenly than ever before. As each day passes in this new but surreal normal, I sense that you may feel this way, too.
So, what can we do? Whatever happens next, our work continues. Our website features a vast array of resources for daily prayer and reflection. Share them with your families, friends, and fellow parishioners who may not have access to the internet. Even if we can’t gather together right now, we can worship together. We can pray together: morning, midday, evening, and at bedtime. We can unite our poor prayers with our friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners. We can raise our voices in a chorus of praise and petition up to the heavens. We can offer our hearts in a spiritual communion that builds and strengthens the love that keeps us together even when we are kept apart by circumstances beyond our control. Let us live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church through our prayers for each other and for our suffering world. All are invited to pray with me throughout the day using the links below! So for now, our work together is our prayer together! Ever together in prayer!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
All parishioners, friends, and neighbors are reminded that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, has suspended all public Masses until further notice. The Cardinal has issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for all Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese. Also, in order to do what we can locally to safeguard the health and safety of our fellow parishioners, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport has made the following necessary changes until further notice:
- Our parish office is closed to visitors.
- Pastoral assistance is available by phone or email.
- Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-281-4820.
- All adult & youth faith formation programs are suspended.
- All parish programs, ministries, and social events are suspended.
For more information about new policies regarding funerals and weddings, please contact us. All are invited and encouraged to pray with us at home using resources below. Additional resources are being added almost daily! Let us now pray for each other! Every together in prayer! Stay tuned for further updates! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
We Need Your Help!
Brothers and sisters! Your weekly gift helps us to pay for the salaries and benefits of our pastoral team (who continue to serve during this public health crisis); utility bills, insurance premiums, and any necessary repairs that may be needed in our churches and parish buildings. Now more than ever, your generosity ensures the good work and financial stability of Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, and the Catholic Commu- nity of Gloucester & Rockport.
All are encouraged to mail their offering or slide it through the mail slot at our parish office during business hours (Monday through Friday from 10:00am until 4:00pm). Another important component of our ongoing fundraising efforts is electronic giving. Our “We Share” program is a safe, secure, and easy way to make secure online donations to your home parish using a credit, debit card, or electronic check.
If you have questions or need more information about supporting our parishes during this difficult time, please contact me at email@example.com. On behalf of our pastoral team and all fellow parishioners, thank you for your generous support! Peace, prayers, and blessings for you and your family! — Father Jim
For Adults, Families & Children
Friday, March 27th – Updated 11:00pm
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:
Recommended Resources of the Day (Click Links Below)
- Home Prayer Service
- Word Among Us: When Prayer Is A Struggle
- Word Among Us: Mass Readings & Meditation
- Bishop Talley’s Daily Spiritual Exercises
- Cardinal Tagle: Emergencies & Charity (Video)
Cardinal Sean’s Virtual Retreat
Christ: Our Light in the Darkness
- Watch Day 1: Prayer
- Watch Day 2: Mercy
- Watch Day 3: Faith
- Watch Day 4: The Good Samaritan
- Watch Day 5: The Seven Last Words
Resources for Adults (Click Links Below)
- Assisi Project
- C21: God Pods
- C21: Living Lent Devotional
- C21: Why I Believe
- Daily Mass Readings
- Divine Mercy Chaplet
- Franciscan Media Video
- Liturgy of the Hours
- The Pope Video
- Pray the Rosary
- Sharing the Word
- Sunday Soundbites
- Saint of the Day
- Way of the Cross
- Vatican Museums: Virtual Tour
Resources for Families (Click Links Below)
- Celebrating Sacred Time
- Coloring Pages for Children
- Craft Ideas
- Drawing God for Children
- Drawing God: Prayer Intentions
- Drawing God Stations of the Cross
- Helping Children Develop Their Gifts
- Making Family Prayer a Priority
- Our Lady of Fatima Coloring Page
- Saint Joseph
- Saint Patrick
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Cliff Garvey at email@example.com.
Special Guest Message
Report from Ireland
By Father Paddy Moran
Greetings from Ireland! First and foremost, let me wish everyone every blessing for the Feast of Saint Patrick (Patron of Ireland and Patron of the Archdiocese of Boston). As you might imagine, it was a very quiet celebration here in Ireland. Like all countries, COVID19 has reached our shores and is making its way through our population. The numbers affected grow daily so there is quite a lot of anxiety as people adjust to the new reality. There is much talk about hand washing and social distancing.
Last Thursday was the last day for schools and universities to be open. They are all closed now. Pubs have been shut down and most restaurants are doing deliveries only. The simple message is to stay home and limit the people with whom you are in contact. All public Masses have been suspended so many people are following services that are being live-streamed.
For one day, there was panic shopping but that has stopped. Great credit must go to the su- permarkets who are keeping their doors open. Every day brings new information and it is easy to feel drowned in all that is being said. There is a real challenge with the spread of mis-information on social media. Every evening, our health professionals give an update through a news conference. This is part of the nightly news and keeps us all informed about the spread of the virus. So everyday, we wait and see. Our towns are like ghost towns and that is good as people are listening to the message to self-isolate.
In all of this, I borrow the words given to me by a friend of mine who was a Protestant mis- sionary in Ethiopia. Like me, he has left Ethiopia and is now working in Australia. I asked how he was doing and his response was: “It is well with my soul.” I had heard this expression before and so I looked it up. It turns out that those words are from a hymn written by an American named Horatio Spafford. This hymn was written after traumatic evens in Spafford’s life. The first two were the death of his four-year-old son and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially.
His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent his family ahead while he delayed on business. While crossing the ocean, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with another sea vessel. All four of Stafford’s daughters died. His wife, Anna, survived and sent him this most dreadful telegram: “Saved alone.” Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died. Thinking about that shocking suffering, I am in awe of a faith that can withstand such dreadful suffering.
So in a similar way, I can assure you that all is well with my soul. I cannot leave my house, so my life has narrowed physically. In many ways, that is a good thing. I am reminded of the great English poet, William Blake, who wrote: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand and Eternity in an hour.” Like many others, I am learning to slow down, to see more deeply the things that matter. There is a grace in appreciating the simple things of life.
I have noticed that in the last few days, I am finding a consolation in prayer that is honestly magnificent. There is a grace in appreciating the simple things of life. I have a great sense of being held in the embrace of God during these uncertain times. In our lives, our circumstances change but it is character that carries us through. I am reminded of a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. It is a conversation between Gandalf, the wise wizard, and Frodo, the young hobbit. Frodo, dismayed at life, says: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf responds: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
This time is given to us to act with courage and faith. There is still great goodness all around us. Today our churches rang out their bells at 11:00am. The shops are opening at certain times only for the elderly so that they can buy what they need. People sing from balconies in Italy and Spain. This is us at our best. There is fear but there is also kindness and goodness. Here in Ireland, restaurants are bringing free meals to the homebound. Neighbors are looking after each other with phone calls and leaving shopping at the doors of those who are struggling with mobility. People are donating to a fund to support the front line health workers. These things are good and worthy of praise and admiration. Many people will discover resilience and strength in their darkest hour.
We will be changed. That is certain. Maybe that will be a good thing. Maybe COVID19 spread- ing through so many countries reminds us that we are all part of the human family and should care for each other. Be strong, friends. This too shall pass. God is very near. Know this, too. We will see better days. I’m not sure when, but I’ll be back to Cape Ann. Until then, know that I hold you all in my heart in prayer. Finally, let my last words (for now) go to a sea captain. Captain Ahab, the hero in Hermann Melville’s book Moby Dick has a great line where he says: “I know not all that may be coming, but be it what is will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
About the Author
Reverend Patrick Moran is a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, com- monly known as the Redemptorists. Members of the congregation are priests and religious brothers who minister in over 100 countries. Father Paddy now teaches at a school in Ireland, but still longs to return to his missionary work in Ethiopia. For almost two decades, Cape Ann and its faithful people have held a special place in Father Paddy’s heart. Earlier this week, Cliff contacted Father Paddy and asked if he might be willing share a prayer or brief message for our weekly newsletter. Within a few hours, this reflection arrived by email! Needless to say, we are so grateful for these beautiful words of faith, consolation, and wisdom. Thank you Father Paddy! Stay safe and healthy! Pray for us! Be assured always of our prayer for you, your ministry, and all people in Ireland! May God bless you always! — Father Jim
Ever Together in Prayer
A Prayer During Time of Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose.
May we who have the flexibility
to care for our children when schools close
remember those children who will go hungry
with no school meals being served.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those with no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of economic markets remember
those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time of trial and uncertainty,
when we cannot physically
wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways
to be the loving embrace of God
to our families, friends, and neighbors.
Through Jesus Christ,
whose arms of love embrace us all.
Glory to the Father, to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever.
Saint Ann, pray for us!
Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Saint Anthony, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, pray for us!
Saint Patrick, pray for us!
Saint Peter, pray for us!
Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
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 groups. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Cliff Garvey at email@example.com.
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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