This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118:24)!
By Father Jim
In her beautiful book entitled The New Stations of the Cross, Megan McKenna writes: “There is darkness ahead, but now there is always another reality, no matter what we must face, no matter what people do to one another or to the earth. We are the people of God, the people of the resurrection, and the children of light…We must encourage one another in preaching, in poetry, in music and prayer, in the corporal works of mercy, and in the insistence on justice for all, beginning with the largest majority in the greatest need. We must dance it, crawl it, dig it out of the ground, empty the tombs and take down the bodies from the crosses with our bare hands. The power of love unto death, and life beyond death, has been given to us in Resurrection and in our baptisms.”
Since becoming your pastor almost six years ago, it has become customary to use our Christmas and Easter messages as a way to remind guests, weekly churchgoers, and our fallen away brothers and sisters that all are welcome in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. All are welcome to join us for prayer and worship no matter who they are, no matter where they’re from, and no matter what they’ve done in their lives. But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, our church doors are closed and locked for now. Because we believe in the gifts of science and medicine, we follow the guidelines to stay at home, practice social distancing, and take extra precautions to protect the health and safety of our families, friends, and loved ones.
At the same time, we are a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service. We are a people dedicated to living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding the Church. We are a family that cares deeply, gives generously, and looks out for the poor in fact and the poor in spirit. We feed the hungry, minister to the sick and homebound, and provide warm clothes for children and families in need. It is not our way to self-isolate, close our doors, or hide behind walls of perceived safety and security. It is not our way to pray alone, worship via the internet, or take comfort in a spiritual communion that sometimes seems to remind us of our fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future.
Nevertheless, we can reach out. We must reach out. Make a list of those you know who may live alone or need groceries. Check in on them. Find a way to have groceries delivered to them. Make a list of the friends, fellow parishioners, and pastoral team members that you miss seeing everyday or every week. Call them. Text them. Send them an email. Perhaps even write to them: “Just a note to remind how much you are loved and appreciated! I am praying for you! May God bless you at Easter and always!” Such small acts of generosity and kindness can do more than just brighten someone’s day. They could save a life.
During this time of isolation and suffering, it is impossible to know what will happen next. It is impossible to know how long we will be kept apart. And yet, we are ever together in our prayers for each other, our love for each other, and our ability to share the Good News of the Risen Jesus with each other. So, whether you dance it, sing it, post it on social media, shout it from your front porch, or live it through some small act of charity, let us reach out and cry out with joy in our hearts: This is still the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad! Alleluia! Alleluia! Peace and blessings to all for a Happy Easter!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Available at Both Parishes!
Brothers and sisters! Our parishes depend solely on your generous gifts in order to pay for the salaries and benefits of our priests and remaining pastoral team members; groundskeeping, utility bills, insurance premiums, and necessary repairs in our churches and parish buildings. Now more than ever, your generosity will ensure that the good work of our parishes can continue after this crisis ends; and also the long-term financial stability of both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish.
All are encouraged to mail their donations or slide them through the mail slot at our parish office. Another increasingly important component of our ongoing fundraising efforts is electronic giving. Our We Share program is a safe and easy way to make secure online donations to your home parish using a credit, debit card, or electronic check. For more information about supporting our parishes during this difficult time, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support! Prayers, and blessings for all! — Father Jim
A Prayer for Easter
By Father Jim
Lord, how this Lent slipped by.
It seemed like a cold February morning
just a few hours ago.
Now, the sun shines longer,
the days are warmer.
How I have suffered these winter months.
How I have wished for the darkness
to hold me forever in its grasp.
How I have forsaken the light
by my actions, my thoughts, my moods.
How I have yearned to say goodbye
to what I thought was pain and despair.
But now the flowers rise from the earth,
blossoms come awake from their long sleep.
Lord, you do not let darkness win.
No, darkness always loses.
Do I have that same chance as nature?
Can I spring up again?
Lord, you have never let your touch
be far from me, have you?
You have stayed my hand these past months.
You have me confront all that had choked me.
You still love me,
how hard that is to accept.
The little snow,
the ice in my soul melts and drips.
The birds of the morning
ring out your Easter praise.
Let me join with them,
let me give thanks
for this new springtime in my life.
The Creativity of Love
A Message from Pope Francis
in this time of difficulty and suffering,
I can imagine you and your families,
living an unusual life to avoid contagion.
I am thinking about the liveliness
of children and young people,
who cannot go out, attend school,
or live their lives.
I have in my heart all the families,
especially those who have a loved one
who is sick or who are mourning
due to the coronavirus or other causes.
These days, I often think about
people who live alone,
and for whom it is more difficult
to face these moments.
Above all, I think of the elderly,
who are very dear to me…
It is a difficult time for everyone.
For many, very difficult.
The Pope knows this and,
with these words, he wants to tell you
of his closeness and affection.
Let us try, if we can,
to make the best use of this time:
let us be generous;
let us help those in need in our neighborhood;
let us look out for the lonely people,
perhaps by telephone or social networks;
let us pray to the Lord
for those who suffer in the world.
Even when we are isolated,
thought and spirit can go far
with the creativity of love.
This is what we need today:
the creativity of love….
Beside each other,
in love and patience,
we can prepare for better times…
Make a gesture of tenderness
toward those who suffer, toward children,
and toward the elderly.
Tell them that the Pope is close to them;
tell them to pray;
tell them that the Lord will deliver us.
Please pray for me! See you soon!
Liturgy of the Hours
The Prayer of the Church
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 email@example.com or Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Peace and blessings to all for a happy and healthy Easter Season!
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: email@example.com or 978-281-4820.
- All churches and parish buildings are closed to the public.
- 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
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