Our Pastor’s Message
Making Miracles Together
By Father Jim
Each week, Pope Francis receives visitors at a Weekly General Audience at the Vatican during which he offers a reflection on some aspect of the Christian life. In recent weeks, despite health and safety guidelines that keep him and his few visitors at a safe social distance, the Holy Father has been offering a brilliant catechesis on the importance of prayer during these difficult times. Earlier this week, the pope spoke eloquently about prayer in daily life, setting the state for the coming penitential season.
In all of these reflections about prayer, Pope Francis has emphasized the central importance of the Eucharist. But because so many people all around the world are not able to gather together because of the pandemic, he reminds us that our personal prayers are also very important, not just to ourselves and our own lives, but to the lives of others. These daily prayers (whenever, wherever, and however we offer them) can heal hearts, move mountains, and change lives for the better.
Pope Francis quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Prayer in the events of each day and each moment is one of the secrets of the Kingdom [of God] revealed to the ‘little children’, to the servants of Christ, to the poor of the beatitudes. It is right and good to pray so that the coming kingdom of justice and peace may influence the march of history, but it is just as important to bring the help of prayer into humble, everyday situations; all forms of prayer can be the leaven to which the Lord compares the kingdom (CCC 2660).”
What does this mean? Pope Francis has a simple and profound answer. He says: “Prayer works miracles.” Right here. Right now. During the pandemic. After the pandemic. Forever and always. In your life, in my life, in everyone’s life. The pope calls us to pray all day and every day. He beckons us to pray for what we need as individuals and for what we need as a community. He challenges us to pray for others, especially for those we find it difficult to love. He says: “Open your heart, pardon, give others the benefit of the doubt, understand, be close to others, be compassionate, be tender, like Jesus.” This, I think, is what it means to make miracles through prayer!
During the past year, much has been written about the importance of spiritual communion; about being together and praying together even though we cannot safely gather together in person. In this spirit, during this bleakest of midwinters, when so many people are sick and suffering, it is more important than ever that we pray together even though we can’t be together. It is more important than ever that we life our hearts and voices by praying for each other and for better days. It is more important than ever that we join in a powerful spiritual communion to pray for God’s mercy, healing, and protect: for our sake and for the sake of the whole world.
Pope Francis says: “Have courage. Pray in every moment and in every situation so that the Lord may come near to us. When we pray according to the heart of Jesus, we make miracles.” As Lent approaches, let’s resolve to begin again, to love each other, to pray for each other, to pray without ceasing, and to pray for God’s grace to make this a better world. In short, let’s make some miracles…together!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Wednesday, February 17th
The Holy Season of Lent is a time for prayer, penance, and almsgiving during which all Christian disciples are called to renew their faith in preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 17th, which is a Holy Day of Abstinence & Fasting for all Roman Catholics. All are reminded, however, that Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation to attend any worship services. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Mass with limited attendance and distribute ashes according to the following schedule:
- Saint Joachim Church at 8:00am
- Saint Ann Church at 12:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00pm
In an effort to ensure the health and safety of all parishioners, we will continue to follow all of the health and safety guidelines recommended by the Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These precautions include mandatory face masks, temperature checks, social distancing, and pre-registration. In order to attend one of our Ash Wednesday Masses, all are required to register by clicking the link below beginning on Sunday, February 14th at 12:00pm. This reservation period will end on Tuesday, February 16th at 6:00pm. Reservations for Ash Wednesday Mass must be completed online. Registration by phone or e-mail will not be accepted. No exceptions.
Please note that ashes will not be distributed on foreheads this year. Instead, we will distribute Lent Care Packages during Mass that include a packet of blessed ashes, our traditional donation can for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, and prayer booklets for both adults and children for use at home. If you would like to receive a Lent Care Package by mail or pick-up, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. These special resources are free to parishioners. Donations will be gratefully accepted. Quantities are limited.
Needless to say, these are extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. But again, our fervent prayer is that if we offer some small sacrifices now, then by God’s grace, we will be together sometime soon as a happy and healthy community united in prayer, fellowship, and service. Until then, please support your home parish, take good care of your family, and look out for your neighbors. Thank you in advance for your ongoing prayers, support, and cooperation! Trust in God! Believe in science! Pray without ceasing! Peace and blessings to all!
Call to Prayer
Season of Lent
Lent with Our Lady
OFFERING THE ANGELUS PRAYER
FOR GOD’S MERCY, HEALING & PROTECTION
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s twin goals have been to do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of our parishioners and to provide free and high quality spiritual nourishment online. We are deeply grateful for your kind words of encouragement and support for our efforts so far.
As you may know, our Lent Mission & Retreat has been one of our most popular adult faith formation programs. Each year, we have gathered, prayed, and reflected together on a variety of spiritual matters under the direction of a diverse group of guest spiritual directors. Unfortunately, because of ongoing restrictions on large gatherings, it has become necessary to cancel plans for our annual in-person mission and retreat. In our disappointment, we turned to the Blessed Mother for advice:
Let us entrust to the Virgin Mary,
our trials and tribulations,
together with our joys and consolations.
Let us beg her to look upon us with love,
especially during times of trial,
and make us worthy of beholding,
today and always,
the merciful face of her son, Jesus! Amen!
This prayer by Pope Francis inspires us to offer a series of mixed-media online resources during the Season of Lent that are designed to build and strengthen the spiritual communion among our parishioners through the intercession of Our Lady and the Angelus Prayer. The Holy Father writes: “The Angelus Prayer is a beautiful and popular expression of faith. It is a simple prayer, recited at three specific times a day. It thus punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities: in the morning, at midday, and at sunset. It is an important prayer that I encourage each of you to recite.”
In this spirit, all are invited to join Father Jim (via YouTube) in praying the Angelus at least once each day (morning, afternoon, or evening) for the special intention of God’s mercy, healing, and protect from the coronavirus. In addition, Father Jim will offer three reflections (via YouTube) on the power and spirituality of the Angelus on Friday, February 26th; Friday, March 12th, and Friday, March 19th; and Cliff Garvey will share three podcasts (via the Assisi Project) about the spiritual communion and the scriptural foundations of the Angelus on Friday, February, 19th; Friday, March 5th; and Friday, March 19th. For more information, please contact Cliff at email@example.com. During Lent, let’s pray together! Please join us!
Call to Prayer
A Prayer for Solidarity
Preparing for Lent
God of all peoples,
as we look ahead to our Lenten journey,
may our fasting be a hunger for justice,
our alms an offering of peace,
and our prayers a reflection
of humble and grateful hearts.
We ask the Holy Spirit to accompany us
as we spend these forty days
reflecting on what it means
to be companions on a journey of encounter
with our global human family.
How may this encounter
with our neighbor transform our lives?
How may our prayers, fasting, and almsgiving
support those worldwide
who are forced to leave their homes
for a safe and better way of life?
We make this prayer
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Sharing God’s Love
Sanctuary Candles & Gifts
At each of our churches in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, sanctuary candles and gifts (hosts and wine) can be donated for a special intention or in memory of a friend or loved one. The requested donation for both sanctuary gifts and candles is now $25 per week. Each week, donations can be offered at:
- Saint Ann Church
- Saint Joachim Church
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- New! Chapel of the Archangels
Please note that Cardinal Sean has given permission to create a Eucharistic Chapel in Our Lady of Good Voyage Rectory. The Chapel of the Archangels, dedicated to Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, is located on the first floor of the rectory. You can see the sanctuary candle from the street. In addition to their better-known patronages, Archangel Michael is venerated as a patron of the sick and suffering; Archangel Raphael is a patron of medical professionals; and Archangel Gabriel is patron of priests. We need their prayers and protection like never before!
If you would like to donate a sanctuary candle or sanctuary gifts at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, Saint Anthony Chapel, or our new Chapel of the Archangels, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support! May God bless you!
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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In Memory of Reverend Eugene Alves