By Father Jim
During his recent Apostolic Journey to Malta, Pope Francis visited the Saint John XXIII Peace Laboratory, which teaches people from different races, nations, and cultures how to make peace, build friendships, show solidarity, and offer hospitality. It is a place where people learn how to open their hearts and minds so that they can open the doors of their churches, homes, workplaces, and community organizations to all people — no matter who they are, no matter whom they love, no matter where they’re from, and no matter what they’ve done in this life. It is a place where an unusual and unquestioned kindness is practiced and shared with people from all around the world.
In this extraordinary place, the Holy Father issued an extraordinary call to all Christians and people of goodwill. He called us to become “witnesses and agents of welcome and fraternity” in order to avoid the “shipwreck of civilization.” Not for the first time, Pope Francis argued passionately that greed, bigotry, indifference, and an easy propensity for violence are tearing down at the pillars of the earth and breaking down the foundation stones of human society. He said that it is up to us — you and me working together — to build a culture rooted in faith, fraternity, kindness, and mutual support.
Every Easter, my message to our friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners is about the radical welcome that we offer here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Our church doors are open to every saint and every sinner. Our doors are open to the rich and the poor, to the young and the old, and to everyone in between. Our doors are open to married couples and single people, to straight people and gay people, and to all who are discerning their way in the world. Our doors are open to every citizen and non-citizen, and to all who seek a community of prayer. Our doors are open to healthy people, to sick people, and to all who long for the Lord’s healing presence in their lives.
Ours is a radical welcome; but we must do more. We must reach out. We must learn from our brothers and sisters who have left the Church because they have been hurt, excluded, or made to feel unwelcome by those who preach the gospel, but fail to live it. We must hear from those who have been told that their child can’t be baptized or their mother can’t receive a Christian burial because their family doesn’t measure up to some hidebound interpretation of the Church’s teachings and traditions. And we must do a better job of sharing the good news that every person is beloved by God and that all are welcome here.
Last fall, Pope Francis opened the Synod on Synodality, a two year process of “mutual listening that involves the entire People of God.” It is a dynamic process of getting to know each other better, listening with open hearts and minds, and walking together on the journey of life. According to Pope Francis: “Closeness is the program!” In this spirit, our pastoral team (myself included) wants to hear from people who do not feel close to the Church; who do not feel welcome in the Church; or who have been turned away because of who they are and how they live. If this is you, contact us! If it’s not you, spread the word among your friends, families, and neighbors. This Easter, we renew our mission to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church by reaching out, listening with love, and proclaiming with one voice: ALL ARE WELCOME! HAPPY EASTER! ALLELUIA!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Pastor’s Note: On behalf of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we give thanks for our dear friend, Jody Cole of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who allows us to use her beautiful icons in our weekly newsletter and online. This week, we feature a detail from Jody’s icon from the Myrr Bearing Women. For more information about Jody and her work, visit jcoleicons.com. Happy Easter! Peace and blessings! — Father Jim
Call to Prayer
A Prayer for Peace & Fraternity
By Pope Francis
Lord God, Creator of the universe,
source of all freedom and peace,
love and fraternity,
you created us in your image,
breathed in us the breath of life,
and made us sharers
in your own life of communion.
Even when we broke your covenant,
you did not abandon us to the power of death,
but continued, in your infinite mercy,
to call us back to you,
to live as your sons and daughters.
Pour out upon us your Holy Spirit
and grant us new hearts,
sensitive to the pleas, often silent,
of our brothers and sisters who have lost the warmth
of their homes and homeland.
Grant that we may give them hope
by our welcome and our show of humanity.
Free us from fear and prejudice,
enable us to share in their sufferings,
and to combat injustice,
for the growth of a world
in which each person is respected
in his or her inviolable dignity,
the dignity that you, O Father,
have granted us and your Son has consecrated forever.
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.
Divine Mercy Sunday
Sunday, April 24th
In 2000, Saint John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy. This devotion reflects a message from Jesus that Saint Faustina shared with the world: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy. This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the Risen Christ and offers to all people.” In this spirit, all are invited to join the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 24th from 2:00pm until 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. Here’s our prayer schedule for the afternoon:
- Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:00pm
- Holy Rosary at 2:30pm
- Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm
- Daytime Prayer & Benediction at 3:30pm
For more information about Divine Mercy Sunday in Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please contact Jane Russo at email@example.com. We hope and pray that you and your family will be able to join us for all or part of this special afternoon of prayer! All are welcome! Happy Easter!
Sharing God’s Love
Spring Icon Retreat with Jody Cole
Begins Monday, May 2nd
An icon is a religious work of art that according to faith and tradition serves as a window into the spiritual world. In the Roman Catholic tradition, icons are sometimes referred to as the “Bible of the Poor” because throughout history, along with statuary and stained glass windows, they enabled those who could not read an opportunity to learn about the holy scriptures and the lives of the saints through sacred imagery.
In The Meaning of Icons, Thomas Merton writes: “It is the task of the iconographer to open our eyes to the actual presence of the Kingdom of God in the world, and to remind us that although we see nothing of its splendid liturgy, we are, if we believe in Christ the Redeemer, in fact living and worshipping as fellow citizens of the angels and saints, built upon the chief cornerstone with Christ.” In this way, icons are not objects of worship, but instruments of God’s grace in our world.
Jody Cole’s icons have appeared often on our website and on the cover of our weekly newsletter. Jody is a good friend, a person of deep faith, and a very talented iconographer. She has been “writing” icons for more than twenty years and she loves to share her craft with others. For five consecutive days, from Monday, May 2nd through Friday, May 6th, Jody will be here to lead us in a Spring Icon Retreat in Saint Ann Church Hall.
Each morning from 9:00am until 1:00pm, Jody will share the basic techniques of icon writing through hands-on experience. Guided by the Holy Spirit and Jody’s gifted instruction, participants will write (paint) their own icon of either Christ Jesus or the Blessed Mother in just twenty hours over five days. No prior art experience is necessary. Beginners are welcome. A donation of $150 per person is requested. Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford it. If you would like to participate in this exciting icon workshop, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited to just ten participants!
Each evening (Monday through Thursday) at 6:00pm, all friends and fellow parishioners are invited to join Father Jim for Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours in Saint Ann Church Hall, followed by a brief reflection by Jody and a period of discussion and faith sharing. In addition, a gallery show of Jody’s icons will be on display for all to appreciate and enjoy. The evening session is free and open to all! For more information about our Spring Icon Retreat, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com or visit Jody’s website (see link below). Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!
Our Pastor’s Message
Gift & Responsibility
Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
Bell Tower Restoration Project
Goal: $150,000 – Raised So Far: $91,207
By Father Jim
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of managing the collaborative of two historic parishes is the ongoing maintenance of our ten buildings — all of which are more than one hundred years old. In one way or another, all of the parish buildings in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are in constant need of attention.
At Saint Ann Church in Holy Family Parish, we have completed the primary installation of new doors on the north and south sides of the church. A new emergency exit door was installed beside the altar of Saint Joseph; and another new door was installed beside the tabernacle. This second door will make our church more accessible to parishioners with disabilities because it is designed to open automatically. Unfortunately, the mechanism for the automatic door has been delayed due to supply chain issues, but it should be installed sometime soon. Everyone at Holy Family Parish is very grateful to Sal, JoAnn, and Liliana Testaverde, who donated these doors in loving memory of Captain Peter and Anna Scola. Thank you!
At Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, several emergencies arose in recent months that forced us (with approval from our finance council) to spend down our parish savings account. First, repairs to the ovens that bake our famous sweet bread required an expenditure of approximately $3,500. Second, the kitchen needed a new commercial refrigerator that cost $4,500. And third, the kitchen also needs a new commercial dishwasher that will force us to spend approximately $5,000.
In addition, the boiler that heats Our Lady’s Hall could no longer be maintained or repaired because of its advanced age. After a new boiler was installed, it was determined that the heat return pipes (buried under the hall’s hardwood floors) were leaking and needed replacement. The installation of the new boiler and new plumbing (that did not damage the floor) required an expenditure of approximately $28,000. As you can imagine, our parish savings account is now all but depleted!
Finally, everyone remembers that the West Bell Tower of Our Lady of Good Voyage Church was severely damaged by a wind storm last year. This tower contains our historic carillon bells. With approval from our finance council and advice from archdiocesan engineers, we have contracted with American Steeple of Salem to repair the tower and replace the roof. It is our hope that this project will begin sometime this year. Although insurance will cover some of the costs, it is estimated that repairs to just one of our two towers will require our parish to raise approximately $150,000.
It is vitally important to remember that we are solely responsible for our beloved and historic parish buildings and the financial stability of our parishes. It falls to us — you and me — to repair, restore, and maintain our buildings so that future generations can make their spiritual home here. Now more than ever, Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish need your support! If you would like to learn more about how you and your family can help, please contact me as soon as possible. Peace, blessings, and sincere thanks to all for your ongoing generosity!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
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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In Memory of Hubert & Ginger Cluett