OUR WINTER GOAL – $32,500
As a sad year passes into history and a new year begins, we look ahead with hope and we pray for better days. This is also a good time to count our blessings and confront our challenges with courage and honesty. On the bright side, our churches are open (albeit with limited seating capacity and strict safety guidelines). Our young disciples are preparing remotely for First Holy Communion and Confirmation (see below). Babies are being baptized. Confessions are being heard. Funerals and weddings are being celebrated in small, more intimate ceremonies. Our online ministries now attract at least 2,000 visitors every week. New technologies allow us to pray with the sick and the lonely in ways that keep everyone safe. And last but not least, thanks to your ongoing generosity, our bills are paid and our budget is balanced as we end the first half of the fiscal year.
But winter is upon us. Regardless of how many parishioners can be welcomed into Saint Ann Church and Saint Joachim Church for Sunday Mass during the pandemic, our churches and parish buildings must be heated, insured, and maintained. Parking lots must be plowed. Sidewalks must be shoveled and kept clear of ice. The remaining members of our pastoral team (including me), who are working harder than ever, must be paid. And we simply must be ready to resume our ministries and programs with evangelical fervor, one day one, when this crisis finally passes.
Anyone who knows me knows that economy and thrift were taught to me at an early age. My parents worked day and night to provide for our family and make ends meet. Believe me, we are doing everything we can to control costs and reduce expenses. But the short and long-term financial stability and pastoral viability of Holy Family Parish is in our hands. We are solely responsible for our own fundraising and for paying our own bills. The future of our beloved and historic home parish depends entirely on parishioners like you and me. It’s all up to us!
Each year, the Grand Annual Collection bridges the gap between our weekly gifts and the overall costs of operating our parish. This year, we must raise $65,000 by the end of the fiscal year. Our goal right now is to raise $32,500 by Easter Sunday. If every parish family gives $46 to our Winter Grand Annual Collection, then we will reach our goal by Easter Sunday, balance our budget, and ensure the financial security of our parish. Giving and praying together, we can make this happen!
Every family that is registered in Holy Family Parish has been mailed a gift envelope that can be returned at Mass or by mail. Additional envelopes are available in the church vestibule, too. If you did not receive an envelope and would like to be added to our parish census, please contact me at email@example.com. Thank you in advance for your prayers and generous support of Holy Family Parish! Be smart! Stay safe! Peace and blessing to all!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
A Call to Prayer
Our Sorrow Unites Us
By Cardinal Wilton Gregory
At this twilight hour,
our beloved nation reverently pauses in supplication
to remember and to pray
for the many thousands of people
who have died from the coronavirus
during the past year.
We turn to the Lord of all to receive
these our sisters and brothers into Eternal Peace
and to comfort all of those
who grieve the loss of a loved one.
This virus more than taking the lives
of too many of our citizens,
as well as people around the globe,
has left in its wake a sobering awareness
that we are all united in the sorrow
that we recognize today.
We pray for those who have died
and the families and loved ones
that they have left behind.
We do so not as strangers or disinterested persons,
but as fellow citizens who share
some limited portion of their grief and sorrow.
We pray for the countless families and relatives
who had to surrender their loved ones
without the comfort and consolation
of a familiar funeral ritual
according to their chosen religious tradition.
That privation only added to the sadness
engendered by the death of a friend, relative, or colleague.
May our prayer…serve as a small expression
of our national desire to comfort and strengthen
those who have endured the loss
of a loved one to this pandemic,
and may it be a resounding gesture of gratitude
for all those who have cared for the victims
of this virus and their loved ones.
Our sorrow unites us to one another
as a single people with compassionate hearts.
May our prayer strengthen our awareness
of our common humanity and our national unity
at a time when harmony is a balm
that seeks to comfort and strengthen us
as a single people facing a common threat
that has no respect for age, race, culture, or gender.
Let us with one heart commend those
who have died from this virus
and all of their loved ones
to the providential care of the One
who is the ultimate source
of peace, unity, and concord. Amen.
Sharing God’s Love
Welcome Bishop Mark O’Connell!
Along with Baptism and Eucharist, Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism through the outpouring of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Right Judgment, Understanding, Wisdom, and Wonder & Awe. These gifts seal or confirm the mystical union between the candidates and Christ; and they prepare them to actively participate in the prayer, worship, apostolic ministry, and countless good works of the Roman Catholic Church.
This year, fifty-seven high school students from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish have successfully completed the requirements of our Confirmation Preparation Program. During the past two years, they attended Mass together and completed a rigorous program of formation. In addition, they participated remotely in the New Spirit Evening of Reflection; completed a fundraising project for their home parish; and prayed together as a community of young disciples. These students are now well-prepared to publicly renew their baptismal promises, profess their faith, and live as faithful and faith-filled Catholic disciples.
The Very Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston for the North Region, will join us as special guest celebrant and homilist for our annual celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday, January 23rd and Saturday, February 6th at Saint Ann Church and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Father Jim will preside over additional celebrations on Sunday, February 7th at Saint Joachim Church and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
As always, the success of our youth faith formation program depends on volunteers. The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport gives God great thanks and praise for the good work of Betsy Works and for our dedicated and hardworking team of catechists: Peter Brau, Jennifer Dort, Angelica Duran, Mary Duran, and Rosalie Nicastro. Their generous gifts of time and talent have ensured that all of our catechists are ready to accept and embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at their Confirmation. Thank you! May God bless you!
As we begin our celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation, please pray for our candidates and their parents, sponsors, and families. For more information about youth faith formation in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all!
A Call to Prayer
A PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Holy Spirit of God,
Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity,
there was a day when by your love and mercy,
a bishop called me by name and said:
‘Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit!’
That was the day on which I was confirmed.
On that blessed day,
the spirit of courage and reverence,
wisdom and understanding,
knowledge and right judgment,
and wonder and awe of you, O Lord,
was called down upon me.
On that blessed day,
when the holy oil was traced
in the form of a cross on my forehead,
my soul was sealed with the Holy Spirit,
and was marked with a forever blessing.
I was made a temple of the Holy Spirit,
in both my body and my soul.
My God, thank you
for the amazing grace of confirmation!
Let me never do anything
that would violate or desecrate the temple
that you have dedicated and consecrated.
Let me never be ashamed of my Christian faith.
Let me serve you bravely and faithfully,
no matter what, all the days of my life.
Lord, help me to realize
that as long as I stand with Jesus,
I can be certain of your love and mercy,
and so find perfect happiness
with God in heaven forever and ever.
Come, Holy Spirit! Amen!
Saint Ann, pray for us!
Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Our Lady of Good Voyage, pray for us!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is safe and simple to make online donations to your home parish using a credit cared or debit card. Donations can be made on an ongoing or one-time-only basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. For assistance or more information about this important fundraising resource for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you for your generous support for our parishes during these difficult times! Peace, blessings, and many thanks to all!
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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