Our Pastor’s Message
By Father Jim
Last weekend, after finishing our YouTube Vigil Mass, my best friend said to me: “Jim, this is the best opportunity you have right now to connect with our parishioners. You need to smile. You need to look happy. You need to share your joy with the people.” For the rest of that evening, I was angry and frustrated. I brooded and sulked. I didn’t want to face the truth. But when someone you trust feels compelled to offer constructive criticism, you should listen to it; take seriously; and reflect on how you might make things better.
The truth is that these are not joyful times for me. More than four million people in our country have been infected with this mysterious virus. More than 142,000 have died. Millions of people are unemployed. Countless small businesses have closed their doors for good. Families are torn between their child’s education and their child’s safety. Families with aging parents and grandparents are isolated from each other. Our homebound neighbors are more isolated than ever. And too many people seem more concerned about the politics of wearing masks and social distancing than they are about the simple fact that these simple practices save lives.
As a priest, it has never been my habit to shutter myself indoors and spend long hours in contemplative prayer. Anointing the sick, praying with the dying, consoling the grief-stricken, counseling those in need, and crisscrossing Gloucester and Rockport on this errand or that home visit or this funeral or that wedding is not just my ministry. For me and for many others, the hard work of ministry is the foundation of the spiritual life. Not doing these things in the usual way is gut wrenching. It eats away at my heart, my soul, my way of life.
Concern for my own health and an even deeper concern for the health of our parishioners makes many of these good works almost impossible right now. Even this weekend’s resumption of public Masses seems surreal. Our ministry of hospitality has been replaced by a ministry of precautions. Reservations. Temperature checks. Assigned and limited seating. No singing or sign of peace. No handshakes. No hugs. Perhaps your perspective changes when you know someone who has died or lived through the coronavirus. I know mine has changed. This virus is evil, cruel, and relentless. It destroys lives and families and whole communities. It must be beaten back with patience, prayer, and every possible precaution — and then by good science.
Where is the joy? Where can I find it? How can I share it with you? Well, it is still summer. Sunrises, sunsets, and starry nights can still leave us awestruck at the majesty of God’s creation. Honey bees, hummingbirds, and little dachshunds with big personalities remind us that the best gifts often come in small packages. Home gardens are blooming and providing us with baskets of fresh flowers and vegetables. Many families have learned to cook again, eat together again, and talk with each other again. Some among us have even learned new ways to communicate with each other.
Babies are still being baptized. Couples are still tying the knot. Neighbors are still helping neighbors. So many of you are still giving generously in support of our parishes. And some of the most moving moments of my priesthood have come during FaceTime calls with the sick and dying where families are taking part in ways that seem to channel God’s grace like never before. This is real joy! Where is your joy nowadays? Where do you find it? Please share your joy with me so that I can share it with our parishioners! Peace, blessings, and joy to all!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Pastor’s Note: Even though we can’t gather together in the usual way right now, 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
Living the Gospel
The Angelus Prayer
July 26th: Feast of Saints Ann & Joachim
By Pope Francis
The Angelus Prayer is a beautiful and popular expression of faith. It is a simple prayer, recited at three specific times during the day. It thus punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities: in the morning, at midday, and at sunset. But it is an important prayer, too. I encourage each one of you to recite it, along with the Hail Marys. It reminds me of a luminous event that transformed human history: the Incarnation, the moment when the Son of God became man in Jesus of Nazareth.
On July 26th, the Catholic Church celebrates the parents of the Virgin Mary, the grandparents of Jesus, Saint Ann and Saint Joachim. In their home, Mary came into the world, accompanied by the extraordinary mystery of the Immaculate Conception. Mary grew up in the home of Ann and Joachim. She was surrounded by their love and their faith. In their home, she learned to listen to the Lord and to follow his will.
Saint Ann and Saint Joachim were part of a long line of people who had transmitted their faith and love for God, expressed in the warmth of their family’s life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and gave him to the world, to us. How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!
Grandparents are important for family life; for passing on the human history and religious heritage that is so essential for each and every society. It is important to have intergenerational exchanges and dialog, especially within the context of our families. ‘Children and the elderly build the future of peoples — children because they lead history forward; the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives (Aparecida, 447).’
This relationship and dialog between generations is a treasure to be reserved and strengthened! Let us salute grandparents! May young people salute their grandparents with great affection and thank them for the ongoing witness of their wisdom…And now we turn to Mary, that she may protect our homes and make them places of faith and love in which the presence of Jesus her Son is felt. Saint Ann, pray for us! Saint Joachim, pray for us! Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us! Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!
Sharing God’s Love
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Help Us Help Others!
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is an international organization that is dedicated to responding to any request from any person or family in need. Here on Cape Ann, we work through Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish to serve the poor during these difficult times. Due to the pandemic, our food pantry and clothes closet are currently closed. However, our service to the needy and newly unemployed continues! Now more than ever, we need your support! Help us help others! Please send donations to the following address:
- Saint Vincent de Paul Society
74 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
For more information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and its good work in our parishes, please contact Barbara Frontiero at firstname.lastname@example.org or Harry Miller at 978-281-8672. If you or your family needs our assistance, please contact us at 978-281-8672. Thank you for your generous and ongoing support for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society! May God bless you and your family!
Rebuilding the Church
The Assisi Project
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey during their first pilgrimage to Italy, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit. Our mission is to help believers of all ages and backgrounds grow closer to Christ, the Catholic Church, and each other through the intercession, inspiration, and life of example of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 12 to 94 and live in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, and all around the world. We pray each day for all who ask for our prayers. If you would like us to pray for you or your special intention, please contact Cliff at email@example.com. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!
Balancing Our Budgets
Our fiscal year ended on June 30th! We need your help now more than ever! Your weekly gifts are essential to the financial health and well-being of both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Our parishes depend solely on the generosity of our fellow parishioners to pay bills, make ends meet, and help to ensure the financial stability of our parishes communities. All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are encouraged to mail their offering or to give electronically. Our mailing address is 74 Prospect Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930. In addition, our We Share program is a safe and easy way to make donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Put simply, we need your help now more than ever! For more information about how to support our parishes during these challenging times, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support! May God bless you and your family! 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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