By Father Jim
At ordination, all priests make three solemn promises. We promise to live chaste celibate lives. We promise to pray daily for the Church with the Liturgy of the Hours: Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer, etc. And we promise obedience to the our bishop, whose authority can be traced back without interruption to the apostles, including Saint Peter.
Eighteen years ago, I was ordained to the priesthood during a tragic time in the life of the Roman Catholic Church. That spring, the clergy abuse scandal culminated in the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and the admission that our bishops had conspired to conceal hundreds of cases of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston. Across the United States, the number of cases climbed into the thousands. Years later, it remains almost impossible to describe the pain and suffering of so many victims and their families. And the damage done to the reputation and moral credibility of the Catholic Church continues to cast some shadow over every effort at evangelization and outreach. If at all, it will take generations for God’s holy family to heal and recover from the crimes of the past.
Given all that was happening back then, you might think that a young seminarian would struggle with making those three promises — especially the one about lifelong obedience to the local bishop. But Cardinal Law was replaced temporarily by Bishop Richard Lennon, the Rector of Saint John Seminary, who was called upon to preside over the ordination of my class. Bishop Lennon died almost two years ago. He was not a perfect man, a perfect priest, or a perfect bishop. But he was dedicated in body, mind, and spirit to prayer, the priesthood, and the quiet service of God’s people. His whole life embodied those three ancient promises of celibacy, prayer, and obedience. At my ordination, I was blessed and humbled to place my hands in his and promise my obedience to him and to his successors.
The priest’s promise of obedience, however, is not just about loyalty to a living bishop. It is also about the mystical link between Christ Jesus, the priest, the people, and the great chain of pastors that stretches back through history to the apostles. It is our spiritual connection to the first pastor, a fisherman from Galilee called Peter. And it about our relationship with the current pastor, a shepherd from Argentina called Francis. Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, the Supreme Pontiff, and the Vicar of Christ. His ecclesial authority is derived from Christ himself who said: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church (Matthew 16:18).” At the same time, the Holy Father’s credibility comes from his good works, good example, and abiding message of mercy, inclusion, fraternity, and concern for all of God’s creatures. His credibility comes from casting the nets and opening wide the doors so that all people feel loved, welcomed, and respected in our community.
At the heart of it all, Saint Peter was a local fisherman called by Christ to do great things and change the world. In a similar way, Pope Francis is very much like his predecessor. He is a person of humble origins who is called by Christ to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church. He, too, is called to change the world. Now more than ever, whatever our vocation in life and wherever our spiritual journeys take us, we can all make at least one solemn promise. Let’s join Saint Peter in praying each and every day for Pope Francis! May God bless Pope Francis! May God save the Church! Viva Papa Francesco! Viva San Pietro!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
A Prayer for Pope Francis
we offer our joyful prayers
for our Holy Father, Pope Francis,
who is the Vicar of Christ
and Servant of the Servants of God.
In Pope Francis,
we recognize the successor to Saint Peter,
the touchstone for the mission of the Church.
We pray that your Holy Spirit
will strengthen him
as a messenger of love, peace,
and unity in our suffering world.
We give thanks
for the many gifts
offered to all of us
by this true Shepherd
of God’s Church.
May he please you in his holiness
and guide his flock
with love and watchful care,
especially the poor, the sick,
and the vulnerable.
We pledge our love and support for him.
With him, we accept the invitation
to spread the Good News of the Gospel
in word and deed.
We offer these prayers
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever. Amen.
Saint Peter, pray for us!
Pastor’s Urgent Appeal
Our Grand Annual Collections
Let’s Pray for Miracles!
Fiscal Year Ends on June 30th!
Recently, we celebrated the feast of a patron of our parishes: Saint Anthony. If you are Portuguese, you may know him as Saint Anthony of Lisbon. If you are Italian, you may know him as Saint Anthony of Padua. And of course, almost everyone knows him as the Patron Saint of Lost Things and Lost Souls. Saint Anthony is also remembered as a miracle-maker and wonder-worker. Because of his deep faith, profound learning, evangelical preaching, and abiding love for the Infant Jesus, tradition holds that God gave him the power to work many miracles. Here’s a short version of a Miracle Prayer to Saint Anthony:
Holy Saint Anthony, gentlest of all saints,
your love for God and charity for all creatures
made you worthy, when on earth,
to possess miraculous powers.
Miracles waited on your word,
which you were ever ready
to speak for those in need.
Encouraged by these thoughts,
we beg you to obtain for us
(ask for what you need).
The answer to our prayer may require a miracle,
but you are the Saint of Miracles!
Gentle and loving Saint Anthony,
whose heart is always full of sympathy,
whisper our petitions
into the ears of the Sweet Infant Jesus,
who loved to be held in your arms,
and the gratitude of our hearts
will be yours forever and ever. Amen.
We need miracles! In just a few days, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will mark the end of its fiscal year! Both of our parishes need your help! Our most urgent need is to meet the goals of our Grand Annual Collections. By June 30th, Holy Family Parish must raise $10,535 to reach our goal of $65,000; and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish must raise $12,500 to reach our goal of $45,000. Neither of these goals is easy, but both are vitally important! The Grand Annual Collections bridge the gap between our weekly offering and our overall financial obligations including building maintenance and repair, salaries and benefits for our pastoral team (including me), and essential parish programs like adult and youth faith formation.
Donations can be placed in the collection basket during Mass; made online via our safe and easy electronic giving program; or mailed to the parish of your choice at 74 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930. Quite simply, without your support before June 30th, the short and long-term financial stability of our parishes is at risk. Until then, let us raise our hearts and voices in a prayer to Saint Anthony for miracles: for good health, for better times, for balanced budgets, and for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Thank you for your generous support! Peace and blessings to all!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, July 3rd
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in North America, Europe, and Africa. Our mission is to help believers of all ages and backgrounds better live the Gospel of Christ through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
Our next Saturday Morning with Saint Francis is scheduled for Saturday, July 3rd beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. With God’s help, we will gather in-person to pray together and renew the bonds of faith, friendship, and mutual support that have sustained us for more than a decade! If you haven’t joined us before, please prayerfully consider joining us now! After Mass, Father Jim and Cliff will lead a discussion about our spiritual lives during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Pope Francis has said that this kind of crisis changes us; and that we cannot simply return to some ideal sense of normal.
With the Holy Father’s good advice in mind, we will re- flect on five questions related to our personal experiences during the pandemic: Did you pray? How did you pray? Where did you pray? What did you pray for? How did the pandemic affect your relationship with Christ, with the Church, and with friends, colleagues, family members, and fellow parishioners?
All parishioners and friends are invited to join us for the Assisi Project’s Saturday Morning with Saint Francis! If you plan to join us or want more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit our website: assisiproject.com. Please join us! All are welcome! Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace — now and always!
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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