By Father Jim
Each October, the Catholic Church in the United State celebrates Respect Life Month, a time for us to reflect on the inherent value of every human life and our sacred responsibility to cherish and protect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. This year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) highlights Saint Joseph as the patron of the Church’s efforts to promote a “gospel of life” from the moment of conception until natural death.
Needless to say, it is good and important and necessary that we pray and give voice to our shared commitment to the sanctity of life. It is equally important that we work together toward a more just and equitable society; a society that truly lives the Gospel and share’s God’s love in concrete and effective ways; a society that embodies the life and example of Saint Joseph.
In his apostolic letter entitled With a Father’s Heart (2020), Pope Francis explains that Saint Joseph is a powerful patron and protector of human life because he embodies the noble virtues of a good parent. Saint Joseph is brave, humble, loving, accepting, and hard working. When God beckons Joseph to accept Mary, unwed and pregnant, as his wife, he answers the call with his whole heart. He marries Mary. He loves her and her child. He cherishes them, shelters them, and protects them all the days of his life.
Saint Joseph accepts God’s call with faith, hope, love, and courage. By example, Saint Joseph teaches us how to embrace life; and to make the very best of life as it actually exists. He shows us how to love and embrace one another without exception or judgment. He shows us how to love and care for one another without con- ditions or counting costs. Pope Francis says simply: “In Saint Joseph, Jesus saw the tender love of God.”
In these ways, Saint Joseph gives true witness to the gospel of life. It is not just about marches, novenas, and court cases. It is not just about birth. It’s about actually taking care of children and their parents. It’s about taking care of the poor, the sick, and the homebound. It’s about reaching out to the addict, the lonely, and the forgotten. It’s about safe streets, good schools, and affordable housing. It’s aboutday care, health care, and elder care for every single person in our community.
The Holy Father challenges us to do whatever we can — in the most practical ways possible — to respect life by caring for every single life. No one should be left out. No one should be left behind. No one should be forgotten. As a pro-life people, we should stand in solidarity with those who cannot defend or take care of themselves. As a pro-life people, we must never heed the dark voices who tell us that one life is more important than another; that one family is better than another; or that one person is less worthy because he or she does not fit into some neat and tidy category. As Pope Francis likes to say: “No one is saved alone.” We are all in this together. We need each other…now more than ever.
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
Respect Life Month
Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron & Protector of Life
Dearest Saint Joseph,
at the word of an angel,
you lovingly took Mary into your home.
As God’s humble servant,
you guided the Holy Family on the road to Bethlehem,
welcomed Jesus as your own son
in the shelter of a manger,
and fled far from your homeland for the safety
of both Mother and Child.
We praise God
that as their faithful protector,
you never hesitated to sacrifice
for those entrusted to you.
May your example inspire us
to welcome, cherish, and safeguard
God’s most precious gift of life.
Help us now
to faithfully commit ourselves
to the service and defense
of human life,
especially where it is vulnerable
Obtain for us the grace
to do the will of God in all things.
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.
Adult Faith Formation
Begins October 9th
‘The Way’ was among the earliest names for followers of the Risen Christ. ‘The Way’ also appears as a reference for the early Christian communities in the Acts of the Apostles. In addition, tradition teaches that both before and after his conversion, Saint Paul referred to the disciples of Christ as part of ‘The Way.’
More than two thousand years later, Catholic Christians are still part of ‘The Way!’ But a life of discipleship is not just a hobby. It is a vocation, a way of life that lays claim to our whole heart, mind, and strength. As disciples, our lives should be focused on and inspired by our faith in Christ, who is our merciful redeemer, friend, and brother. As disciples, we are called to reach out to those who need help in growing closer to Christ and the Church.
In this spirit, all adults (age 18 and over) who have not received all of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation) are invited to join ‘The Way.’ Typically called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), the Way is a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter. In addition, as part of this same program, we will prepare adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Other fellow parishioners who have received the Sacraments are also welcome to join us!
Our group will gather for fellowship, formation, and faith sharing twice each month. As a community of disciples, we will learn together about the basic beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Church; and we will explore the methods of prayer and spirituality that have brought centuries of believers closer to Jesus, closer to the Church, and closer to each other. In addition, we will talk openly and honestly about the challenges of living an authentic life of faith, hope, and love in the modern world.
Our first gathering will be in-person on Saturday, October 9th at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. If you would like to become part of this unique fellowship in preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Virtual Fall Retreat
Let Us Dream
Begins October 20th
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 via ccgronline.com, assisiproject.com, and our YouTube channel. We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement and support for our efforts!
Over the years, our annual summer retreat has been our most popular adult faith formation program. For six consecutive summers, under the direction of Cliff Garvey, we gathered and prayed together over a wide variety of topics: Desert Spirituality, Benedictine Spirituality, Franciscan Spirituality, Eastern Monastic Spirituality, Discipleship & Mission, and the Universal Call to Holiness.
This year, the ongoing pandemic and Cliff’s unexpected surgery and long recovery prompted us to postpone, then cancel our plans for an in-person summer retreat. In our disappointment, Cliff and I read and talked together about a compelling new book: Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future by Pope Francis. Written during the worst of the pandemic, the Holy Father reflects on this and other worldwide crises, the dark voices that divide us, and a way forward that can bring us together around a common mission to care for each other and for our common home.
In Let Us Dream, produced in collaboration with his friend, Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis writes: “This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities — what we value, what we want, what we seek — and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of. What I hear at this moment is similar to what Isaiah hears God saying through him: Come, let us talk this over. Let us dare to dream. God asks us to dare to create something new…We need to slow down, take stock, and design better ways of living together on this earth.”
In this spirit, we are happy to announce our Virtual Fall Retreat: Let Us Dream from Wednesday, October 20th through Saturday, October 23rd. On each day of our virtual retreat, Cliff will offer a daily reflection via podcast that corresponds with each section of the book: 1) Wednesday, October 20th: A Time to See; 2) Thursday, October 21st: A Time to Choose; and 3) Friday, October 22nd: A Time to Act.
Finally, on Saturday, October 23rd at 8:00am, all are welcome to join Father Jim in celebrating Holy Mass for the intentions of God’s mercy, healing, and protection from the coronavirus; and for an increase in peace, justice, and solidarity in our suffering world. Cliff will also post a concluding podcast on Saturday morning!
All are invited to join us on retreat! You do not need to read the book in order to fully participate, but copies are available for $26.00 each. If you would like to purchase a copy, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s pray together! Spread the word! All are welcome!
Living the Gospel
Sacrament of Baptism
Welcome Young Disciples!
The Sacrament of Baptism is the first of three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The two other Sacraments of Initiation are Eucharist and Confirmation. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism, we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church, and made sharers in her mission (CCC 1213).”
During the month of September, Father Jim baptized and blessed the following children with holy water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Caden Mark Couture
Laura de Souza
Rafael de Souza
Ronaldo de Souza
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, the Sacrament of Baptism is currently celebrated during Sunday Mass at 10:00am in Saint Joachim Church; on the second Saturday of the month at 11:30am in Saint Ann Church; and on the third Saturday of the month at 11:30am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
If you would like to schedule your child’s baptism in either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Sheila McCarthy-Durkin at email@example.com. May God bless our newly baptized young disciples, along with their parents, godparents, & family members! Congratulations 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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