A Message from Our Pastoral Team
In his book, Let Us Dream, Pope Francis writes that all of us experience a “personal Covid” during our lives. These are moments when life as we know it ends and we are called to start over. The Holy Father points to a time of serious illness when he was a young man as his first such moment. He says: “What I learned was that you suffer a lot, but if you allow it to change you, you come out better. But if you dig in, you come out worse (44).”
During the past two years, face masks, hand washing, and social distancing have become a new normal. All of us now live differently. We shop differently, work differently, pray differently, and interact differently with our friends and families. All of us know someone who has been sick. Almost all of us know someone who has died during the pandemic. We weep at the staggering losses inflected on our sick and suffering world. But through tears, we envision better days ahead.
In light of improving statistics related to the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Charlie Baker and Cardinal Sean O’Malley recently announced that the indoor mask requirements that they imposed late last year will be lifted on Monday, February 28th. In its statement, the Archdiocese of Boston also urged parishes to exercise and encourage caution; and parishes could continue to require masks at the discretion of the local pastor.
Last weekend, Father Jim met with our pastoral team and finance councils. He asked us to consider how our parishes should proceed during the “latest new normal.” Our response was clear and unanimous. We will continue to celebrate Sunday Mass for YouTube and offer high quality spiritual resources online. We will continue to offer socially distant seating at all liturgical services in Saint Ann Church. And in solidarity with the sick, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions, we will continue to encourage all parishioners to wear face masks, use hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing in all of our churches and parish buildings at least through Easter Sunday, April 17th.
Why? Wearing a face mask is a small individual sacrifice that has proven effective in slowing the spread of a virus that has killed more than 5.8 million people worldwide and more than 934,000 in our own country. Wearing a face mask is sign of support for those who are afraid, anxious, or unable to be vaccinated due to a serious medical condition. And it is a sign of support for our pastor who lives with a chronic medical condition and comes into contact with hundreds of people every week. If Father Jim is quarantined, it is almost certain that we will be forced to close our parishes until he recovers. This would require us to cancel Masses; postpone baptisms, confessions, funerals, and weddings; and deal with the financial instability that would result.
These are difficult times. There are no easy one-size-fits-all answers. Our core values of prayer, fellowship, and service are being tested over and over again. Our mission to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church is more challenging than ever. But we are ever-grateful for the encouragement and support of our fellow parishioners. And we are inspired by the courageous witness of Pope Francis and the timeless wisdom of his predecessors. Saint John Paul II once said: “Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we want, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Now more than ever, we stand ready to do the right thing. Let’s do it together — always together!
CCGR Pastoral Team
The Synodal Way
How Does God Speak?
Synod Spiritual Exercise 1
When Pope Francis opened the Synod on Synodality last fall, he made clear that becoming a “Listening Church” is not about hearing each other complain about this or that challenge facing the local or universal Church. It is more about opening our hearts and minds to the faith experiences of our fellow parishioners, learning from those experiences, living out the lessons of our experiences, and sharing the wisdom of our experiences with others.
During the past nine years, the Holy Father has encouraged us over and over again to pray daily with the Holy Gospel. He says: “Try reading the Gospel for at least five minutes every day. You will see how it changes your life.” Those who attend Mass on a daily basis can attest to the power of the scriptures in their lives. Priests, deacons, and lay people who pray with the Liturgy of the Hours can also give witness to how praying with the psalms and scriptures can influence how they think, speak, and act throughout the day. Indeed, anyone who attends Sunday Mass, prays the Rosary, or participates in bible study programs has been touched by the beauty and challenge of God’s Word.
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we take the Synodal Way very seriously. In order to better live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church, we need to listen to each other and learn from each other so that we can work together to reach out to those who do not know God or have turned away from the Church. In this spirit, we are asking our friends and fellow parishioners to engage in a series of spiritual exercises designed to give voice to how our shared faith has changed our lives.
Our first spiritual exercise is simple! How does God speak to you through the sacred scriptures? Which line, verse, or passage from scripture fills your heart and inspires your life? Pray about it. Think about it. Discern how God’s Word lives in you. Then write down your answer (including book, chapter, and verse) and drop it into the collection basket; email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or mail to us at the following address:
74 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
Please share your name, contact information, and favorite scriptures with us before the Solemnity of Saint Joseph on Saturday, March 19th. If you would like your contribution to remain anonymous, please let us know. For more information about the Synodal Way, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com; or click on the link below. Thank you in advance for your prayers, discernment, and faith sharing. Let’s get to know each other! Let’s learn from each other! Let’s rebuild the Church together — always together!
Season of Lent
Wednesday, March 2nd
The Holy Season of Lent is a time for prayer, penance, and almsgiving during which all Christians are called to renew their faith in preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter. Lent begins on Wednesday, March 2nd, which is a Holy Day of Abstinence & Fasting for all Roman Catholics. In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we will celebrate Mass and distribute ashes according to the following schedule: Mass at 8:00am in Saint Joachim Church; Mass at 12:00pm in Saint Ann Church; and Mass at 5:30pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. For more information, please visit ccgronline.com or contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Season of Lent
The Light Is On For You!
Wednesdays at 5:30pm
During the Holy Season of Lent, all Catholics are invited to experience God’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession). On five consecutive Wednesdays during Lent, March 9th through April 13th, all are invited to join us for The Light Is On For You! from 5:30pm until 7:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. These special evenings of prayer will begin with the celebration of Holy Mass at 5:30pm; followed by Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:00pm; and an hour of confessions for those who feel called to participate. For some, this may be a time for confession and sacramental reconciliation. For some, it may be a time for silent prayer and adoration. And for others, it may be a time to begin or renew the spiritual journey. For more information, please visit ccgronline.com or contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Season of Lent
Way of the Cross
Fridays at 3:00pm
For more than five hundred years, the Stations of the Cross are one of the most enduring and moving traditional devotions of the Roman Catholic Church. By uniting our prayers with those of the suffering Christ through both word and imagery, we make a spiritual pilgrimage with our Lord as he experiences the Passion of the Cross. During Lent, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in praying the Way of the Cross on six consecutive Friday afternoons, March 4th through April 8th, at 3:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. For more information, please visit ccgronline.com or contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
We’re Praying for You!
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia. We are dedicated to helping believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ through the intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Members of the Assisi Project, ranging in age from 13 to 97, pray every day for those who ask for our prayers. If you would like our fellowship to pray for your or your special intention, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. 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!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Blessed are the Givers
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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