Our Pastor’s Message
A Time for Prudence
By Father Jim
Prudence is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (along with faith, fortitude, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and wonder at God’s living presence in the world). It is also one of the Four Cardinal Virtues (along with fortitude, justice, and temperance). Prudence is defined as the quality of being cautious; as acting with great care and concern for the future. According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, the virtue of prudence helps us to act with wisdom. It requires us to take counsel; to consider options that point toward what is good and right; to make wise decisions; and to implement those decisions with diligence and empathy. Saint Thomas calls prudence “right reason in action.”
Let’s be clear that I do not think of myself as being a particularly prudent person. You know me. My natural impulse is to forge ahead, plan on the fly, and adapt as we move along. But now is not the time for instinct. Too much is at stake. Lives are at stake. The future of our parishes and all that we have worked toward during the past six years hangs in the balance. Now is the time for caution. Now is the time for prudence. Now is the time for right reason in action.
As you know, Cardinal Sean has asked every pastor to develop a plan for a cautious re-opening of our churches. Before any church can open for public prayer and worship, each plan must be personally approved by our regional bishop. Last weekend, I met again with the members of the working group that is helping me to develop our plan to re-open Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on a very limited basis. While this group appreciates the longing to resume the public celebration of Holy Mass, we are unanimous in our deep concern for the health, safety, and well-being of our friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners in Gloucester and Rockport.
It is worth repeating that we are mindful of the unique character of our communities. While many parishes slow down during the summer season, our churches see a notable increase in the number of people who worship with us. This calls us to effectively communicate our re-opening plans with both year-round residents and summer visitors. This will be made more difficult by social distancing requirements that limit seating our capacity: 28 people in Saint Joachim Church, 36 people in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, and 56 people in Saint Ann Church.
In order to attend any public celebration of the Holy Eucharist, all parishioners will be asked to reserve an assigned seat via an easy-to-use online reservation system that is being tested and customized for our parishes. For parishioners who do not have access to a computer or the internet, some seats will be reserved for registration by telephone. Every parishioner who successfully registers will receive a confirmation message via email or telephone. And it is important to keep in mind that for safety reasons, we cannot allow anyone into our churches unless they participate in this registration process.
It is also important to consider that each of our churches must be cleaned thoroughly after every public liturgical celebration: funeral services, wedding ceremonies, and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. This includes cleaning of bathrooms, entrances, worship spaces, sacristies and sanctuaries, and any surface that someone might touch. For this reason, our working group concluded that the Mass schedule must reflect this new reality for now. When our churches re-open on a limited basis, Masses will be celebrated according to the following schedule:
- Vigil Mass (Celebrated Privately & Posted Online)
- Sunday at 8:15am in Saint Ann Church
- Sunday at 10:00am in Saint Joachim Church
- Sunday at 11:45am in Our Lad of Good Voyage Church
Under these circumstances, our Daily Mass Schedule will remain suspended until further notice; our music ministries will remain suspended until further notice; and all missalettes will be removed from our churches. Please note that parishioners will be able to bring their own personal worship aid into the church. And a dedicated corps of volunteers has already been recruited to serve as ushers before, during, and after every liturgical service.
Other important factors worth repeating are that these new safety measures will change the ways we enter and exit our churches; where we sit; how we reach those seats; how we worship; and how we receive Holy Communion. In accordance with Cardinal Sean’s guidelines, everyone who enters our churches must wear a mask; maintain a safe social distance at all times; and receive Holy Communion in their hands. Needless to say, your patience, cooperation, and generous support are needed now more than ever!
Our working group also decided that before we can announce a date for this limited re-opening of our churches, we should consult first with the parents of the children who have spent the last two years preparing for First Holy Communion. Because of this crisis, their long-anticipated celebrations were postponed. We believe that it would be an expression of love for these young disciples and a show of support for the future leaders of our church if we care first for their spiritual needs, then open our doors as best we can to the rest of God’s family.
This weekend marks the sixth anniversary of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. But this is no time for celebration. It is a time for patience, prayer, and prudence. The coming weeks and months will surely test our bonds of prayer, fellowship, and service. They will challenge us to consider new ways to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church. But always working together as humble servants in the Lord’s vineyard, we can do anything! Ever together! Peace, blessings, and sincere thanks to all! Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Pastor’s Note: Even though we cannot gather together right now for praise and worship, we can still pray together. Using the links below, all are invited and encouraged to sanctify the various times of the day with these prayers for God’s mercy, healing, and protection from all illness. Let’s pray together! Ever together in prayer! — Father Jim
Special Guest Message
The Virus of Racism
By Archbishop Wilton Gregory
In astonishment, we are seeing the reactions of people across the United States as they express feelings of frustration, hurt, and anger in their cry for justice for George Floyd, whom we painfully watched being suffocated in front of our eyes on video in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past week. Many of us remember similar incidents in our history that accompanied the Civil Rights Movement, where we repeatedly saw Black Americans viciously brutalized by police on television and in newspaper photos. Those historic moments helped to rouse our national conscience to the African American experience in the United States and now, in 2020, we tragically still see repeated incidents of police brutality against African Americans.
We find ourselves in this national moment again with the awakening of our conscience by heartbreaking photos and video that clearly confirm that racism still endures in our country. On television and in social media, we are observing an overflow of pain felt acutely in the African American community & shared by too many other communities. Moments like this cause people of good will, who believe in the value, respect, and dignity of every human life, to wonder if and how we can move on from here. The horror of George Floyd’s death, like all acts of racism, hurts all of us in the Body of Christ since we are each made in the image and likeness of God, and deserve the dignity that comes with that existence. This incident reveals the virus of racism among us again even as we continue to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
We owe immense appreciation to our first responders who are currently working tirelessly to care for us and keep us safe. We remain grateful to them for their commitment to serve our community by protecting and saving lives. However, a society must find ways to understand and respond to the pain of our brothers and sisters. We see racism destroying the lives of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian people because of their religious and ethnic heritages. Racism triggers the divisive and xenophobic attitudes of nationalism. It also targets people because of their cultural traditions or physical appearances and it threatens immigrant people who seek nothing more than the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
We must non-violently and constructively work together to heal and build the Beloved Community that was spoken about by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…I join my brother bishops throughout our nation in calling on the Holy Spirit in the most urgent way. We must examine our own attitudes and actions in order to end personal and structural racism. Now and everyday, we must pray to find the strength to do what is right and just as we encounter our neighbors from a culture, country, religion, race, or experience different from our own and see in them God’s creative design.
This moment calls us to be the Church of hope that Jesus Christ created us to be in a world full of pain and despair. We pray for a new Pentecost: a renewal of love, justice, and truth in our hearts. We are called to do justice and love goodness in order to walk humbly with God. Since we are confident that God always hears our prayer for reconciliation, together, we join in peaceful, non-violent protest, action, and prayer for the balm to cure all forms of racism starting today. Please join me in asking Our Father for the balm of love, justice, peace, compassion, and mercy to end racism and hatred now. Come, Holy Spirit, come.
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 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 effort 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
Call to Prayer
A Prayer for Peace
O Lord our God,
in your mercy and kindness,
no thought of ours is left unnoticed,
no request is ignored.
You have proven that blessings abound
when we fall on our knees in prayer,
and so we turn to you
in our hour of need.
Surrounded by violence
and cries for justice,
we hear your voice
telling us what is required:
‘Only to do justice
and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly
with your God (Micah 6:8).’
Fill us with your mercy,
so that we, in turn,
be merciful to others.
Strip away pride
and suspicion and racism
so that we may seek peace and justice
in our communities.
Strengthen our hearts
so that they beat only
to the rhythm of your holy will.
Flood our path with your light
as we walk humbly toward a future
filled with encounter and unity.
Be with us, O Lord,
in our efforts,
for only by the power of your grace
can we progress toward justice and virtue.
We ask this through
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Updated Saturday, June 6th – 11:15am
In light of Governor Baker’s plan to re-open the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport has begun its work, in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Boston, to develop a plan to cautiously and slowly our churches on a very limited basis. This weekend, I will meet for the third time with a working group comprised of pastoral team members and parishioners to continue the difficult work of drafting our plan. Our primary commitment remains the health and safety of our friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners. For these reasons, all of our churches and our parish office will remain closed until further notice.
Also, Cardinal Sean has renewed his dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for all Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston. All public Masses (including funerals), ministries, programs, and social events remain suspended at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Pastoral assistance is available by phone or email. Please contact us at 978-281-4820 or email@example.com. As a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, let us continue to trust in God, believe in science, pray without ceasing — and practice the virtue of patience! 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!
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