Our Pastor’s Message
The Certainty of Uncertainty
By Father Jim
Last week, we defined prudence as the quality of being cautious; as acting with great care and concern for the future. Cicero, the great Roman academic and statesman, once said: “Prudence is the knowledge of things to be sought and those things to be shunned.” As we continue to plan for a cautious and limited re-opening of our churches, we will do well to follow Cicero’s classic advice. In our case, what we seek is to resume moments of public worship while doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of our parishioners, neighbors, and guests. What we shun is anything that might endanger the people we care so much about.
In recent days, it has become abundantly clear that any limited re-opening of our churches will not be easy. Earlier this week, we learned that two parishes which opened are once again closed because someone who participated in the celebration of Mass tested positive for the coronavirus. In these cases, the priests, along with volunteers, parishioners, and pastoral team members are now quarantined for two weeks. No one is to blame for these situations, but it illustrates the complexities involved in re-opening our churches during this time of pandemic.
During the past two weeks, I have outlined the precautions and procedures that will govern any limited re-opening of our churches. These new safety measures will change the way we enter and exit our churches; where we sit; how we reach those seats; and how we worship. Everyone who enters our churches must wear a mask; maintain a safe social distance at all times; receive Holy Communion in our hands; and cooperate with all of the guidelines recommended by the Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In addition, in an effort to reduce the risks associated with public worship, we will now be required to take the temperature of every person entering the church (using a touch-free thermometer). It is worth noting again that every church must be cleaned thoroughly after every public liturgical celebration: funeral services, baptism and wedding ceremonies, and all celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. This includes cleaning bathrooms, entrances, worship spaces, sacristies, and sanctuaries, along with any surface that someone might touch.
Under these circumstances, our Daily Mass Schedule must remain suspended until further notice; our music ministries must remain suspended until further notice; and all missalettes must be removed from our churches. And unfortunately, our Sunday Mass Schedule will be reduced to the following for the duration of the pandemic:
- 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 Lady of Good Voyage Church
Our working group will meet again this weekend to choose tentative dates for testing these new procedures and for a cautious and limited re-opening of our churches. But by now, it is clear to me and to you that the new normal will be anything but normal. The only certainty is the uncertainty of these difficult days. Your prayers, patience, and support are needed now more than ever. May God keep you and your family safe and healthy. And may God continue to bless, guide, and sustain us as a community united in prayer, fellowship, and service.
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
A People Who Journey
By Pope Francis
Today is the feast in which the Church praises the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist. While on Holy Thursday we commemorate its institution at the Last Supper, this day is for adoration and giving thanks. To adore the Eucharistic Jesus and to walk with him. These are the two inseparable aspects of this feast; two aspects that characterize the entire life of the Christian people: a people who adore God and a people who do not stand still; a people who journey!
First of all, we are a people who adore God. We adore God who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave himself for us, offered himself on the Cross to atone for our sins, and by the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in the Church. We have no other God!
When adoration of money is substituted for adoration of the Lord, the pathway leads to sin, to self-interest and exploitation. When God is not adored, we become adorers of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence. Your land, so beautiful, knows the signs and consequences of this sin. This is the adoration of evil and contempt for the common good. This evil must be fought! It must be cast out! One must say No! to it! The Church must be committed to raising awareness; must be ever more concerned that goodness prevail. Our children demand it. Our youth, in need of hope, demand it. Faith can empower us to respond to these needs. Those who follow the evil path are not in communion with God.
Let us today confess our faith as we turn our gaze to the Corpus Christi: the Sacrament of the Altar. By this faith, we renounce the devil and all of his machinations. Let us re- nounce the idols of money, vanity, pride, power, and violence. As Christians, we do not worship anything or anyone in this world except for Jesus Christ, who is ever present in the Holy Eucharist.
This faith in the true presence of Jesus Christ, truly God and truly human, in the conse- crated bread and wine, is authentic, when we commit ourselves to walk with him and behind him. A people who adore him and journey with him. Let us walk with him and behind him as we seek to practice the Great Commandment, the one he gave to the dis- ciples at the Last Supper: “Even as I have loved you, that you also love one another (John 13:34).” People who adore God in the Holy Eucharist are people who walk in charity. To adore God in the Eucharist is to walk with God in fraternal charity…
I encourage you to give concrete witness in solidarity with all of your brothers and sis- ters, but especially those who are most in need of hope, justice, and tenderness. The tenderness of Jesus is a Eucharistic tenderness — so pure, so delicate, and so fraternal. Thanks be to God that there are signs of hope in our families, in our parishes, associa- tions, and movements. The Lord Jesus never ceases to inspire acts of charity in the peo- ple who walk with him!…Let no one steal your hope! Adoring Jesus in your hearts and staying united with Him will help you to stand up to evil, injustice, and violence with strength, goodness, honesty, and virtue.
Brothers and sisters, the Eucharist brings you together. The Body of the Lord makes us a single thing — one family, the People of God united around Jesus who is the Bread of Life. What I tell young people, I now tell you: If you adore Christ, walk with him, and walk behind him, your parishes will grow in faith, in charity, and in the joy of evangelization. You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, catechists, children, men and women religious, and old and young people walk with each other, support each other, help each other, and love each other — especially in difficult times! May Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, whom you venerate in your churches…go before you on this journey of faith. May she help you stay together so that the Lord may continue to give life to the world. Amen.
Pastor’s Note: Pope Francis delivered the preceding homily on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 14, 2014, during a pastoral visit to Calabria in Southern Italy. After six years, the Holy Father’s words speak to our hearts and seem ever more relevant to our current circumstances. Even though we still cannot gather together around God’s altar to share in the Holy Eucharist, we can still join together in a powerful spiritual communion by walking together in prayer, charity, and solidarity. Now more than ever, let’s pray to- gether! Let’s be a people who journey together! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Prayers for Home
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds, hide me.
Let me never be separated from you.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to you,
that with your saints,
I may praise you
forever and ever. Amen.
CORPUS CHRISTI PRAYER
Almighty God and Father,
you know the depths of our hunger
and intensity of our thirst.
Satisfy us and make us, like you,
fountains overflowing with goodness
for the sake of others.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
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 email@example.com. Thank you for your generous support! Prayers, and blessings for all! — Father Jim
Updated Saturday, June 13th – 11:30am
In cooperation with the Archdiocese of Boston, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is working on a plan to cautiously re-open our churches on a limited basis. This weekend, I will meet for the fourth 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 offices will remain closed until further notice, but we hope to announce a tentative date for our limited re-opening very soon.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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