Our Pastor’s Message
Miracles All Around
By Father Jim
Later this week, on Friday, September 3rd, the Catholic Church throughout the world will celebrate the Feast of Saint Gregory the Great (540-604), Pope and Doctor of the Church. Saint Gregory is remembered and venerated for his countless contributions to liturgy, literature, and music. He is also widely remembered for a breathtaking miracle. As Pope Gregory raised the host during the celebration of Mass, it was miraculously transformed into the actual Body of Christ, who appeared to the amazed congregation as the Man of Sorrows.
As a parish priest for more than eighteen years, I have never been blessed with this kind of miracle. But I can still be filled with amazement at the small miracles that happen among us every day. Here are just a few examples:
A few years ago, I was surprised when a man who had rejected his faith long ago agreed to pray with me and be anointed with the Sacrament of the Sick. He was dying, depressed, and hopeless; but he somehow knew in his heart that God was with him and his family. He blessed himself, held my hand, and recited the prayers of his childhood. While not a conversion experience, God’s merciful love brightened a dark hospital room and brought peace to a dying man.
Not long after this experience, a young disciple approached me after Mass on the sidewalk in front of Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. This boy was just three years old at the time. He watched as I prayed with and blessed a family grieving the loss of a loved one. All of a sudden, the boy ran to me and asked: “Father, can you bless me, too?” Barely able to control my emotions, I knelt, placed my hands over his little head, and begged the Lord to bless and protect this little brother in Christ and his family. After invoking the blessing of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the boy smiled peacefully and ran off into the arms of his astonished mother.
Then there was the time that I watched with wonder as a member of our pastoral team talked with a troubled parishioner near the back of one of our churches for more than an hour. After their conversation, which wasn’t an easy one, you could see real peace on the face of that fellow parishioner. Indeed, you could almost literally see how the grace of God had worked through both of them to resolve a very challenging situation.
As Catholics, we believe and we know in our hearts that Jesus is really present in the Blessed Sacrament and in all of the Holy Sacraments of the Church. Jesus is also truly present in the prayers and good works of our friends, families, and fellow parishioners. Even during these challenging times, marked by so much sickness, division, and uncertainty, small miracles are happening all around us. God’s boundless mercy is at work in our lives. His abundant love is active in our sick and suffering world. This week, let’s pray together for the grace to see it, embrace it, and act on it.
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
A Prayer of Saint Gregory
Patron of Teachers & Students
When we come together
through the power of our prayers,
we hold each other’s hands
and we walk side by side
along the slippery pathways of life.
In this spirit,
through the bountiful gifts
of God’s love and mercy,
it comes about that
the harder we lean
on someone else,
the more firmly we are fixed
together in fraternal love.
Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Summer Carillon Concerts
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Friday, September 3rd
Final Concert of the Season!
A much-loved summer tradition concludes this week at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport! Our Summer Carillon Concerts will conclude for the season on Friday, September 3rd at 6:30pm (rain or shine)!
This year, Lucy Pallazola, Cynthia Cafasso, and Thomas Dort have prepared programs that include familiar classical and international pieces, popular hymns and songs, patriotic melodies, and even selections especially for kids! We are especially excited that Thomas Dort, a young disciple who just turned thirteen years old and has learned to play the carillon bells during the pandemic, will be performing along with our talented adult musicians!
Installed in 1922, the carillon bells in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church were the first toned set of carillon bells in the United States. Although the bells can be heard from blocks away, the sound is best near the church. This year, Our Lady’s Guild will be selling cold drinks, ice cream, and even 50-50 raffle tickets to support our efforts to repair and restore our historic bell towers which were damaged during a late winter wind storm.
Our Summer Carillon Concerts are a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to gather with fellow parishioners to savor the gift of music! Once again, our Summer Carillon Concerts conclude on Friday, September 3rd at 6:30pm. But be sure to listen for the bells every Sunday!
For more information about these special musical programs, please contact Lucy Pallazola at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spread the word! All Summer Carillon Concerts are free and open to the public! Please join us outside! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, September 4th
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 mis- sion 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, September 4th beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. 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! But please wear a face mask!
After Mass, Father Jim and Cliff will lead a discussion about what the pandemic teaches us about the importance of prayer in our lives. Pope Francis has said again and again 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 reflect on questions related to our personal experiences during the pandemic: What does prayer mean to you? What role does prayer play in your daily life? What did you learn during the pandemic about 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 email@example.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!
Youth Faith Formation
Sacrament of Confirmation
Registration Now Underway!
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 each candidate and Christ Jesus; and they prepare each candidate to actively participate in the prayer, worship, apostolic ministry, and countless goods works of the Church in their home parish and throughout the world.
Unfortunately, for many teenagers, the Sacrament of Confirmation is regarded as a kind of graduation from the Catholic Church, rather than the joyful beginning of life as an adult disciple within the Church. We hope to end this sad situation by continuing to transform our two-year sacramental preparation program into an engaging experience for the whole family. Due to the ongoing pandemic, our program will emphasize an in-person encounter with Jesus at Sunday Mass; and a simple, user-friendly video-based remote program that includes questions for prayer and reflection. All students who wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation early next year are expected to complete the following requirements:
- Attend: Sunday Mass (See schedule below)
- Watch: Wild Goose Video Series (See schedule below)
- Reflect: Wild Goose Journal Question (See schedule below)
If your son or daughter has completed the first year of our program and sincerely wants to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, please print and complete a registration form and return it to us as soon as possible. Tuition of $100 is requested at the time of registration. Scholarships are available for families in need. Registration forms and schedules are available via the links below. For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. As our fall program gets underway, please pray for all of our students and their parents, sponsors, and families. Peace and blessings to all!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Electronic giving has become an essential component of parish support in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport; and it is available in both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is safe and easy to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check.
Donations can be made on a weekly, monthly, or one-time-only basis; and it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. In additional to the weekly offering, you can also give electronically to our church restoration funds which helps us plan for the repair and maintenance of our beloved and historic churches.
During these challenging times, Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish need your support more than ever before! Please prayerfully consider enrolling in our ‘We Share!’ electronic giving program! For more information about setting up a new account or for assistance with your existing account, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you for your generous support for our parishes! May God bless you and your family, now and always!
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 Daniel Leahy