By Father Jim
Last month, the Archbishop of San Francisco singled out a prominent politician by publicly announcing that she was not welcome to receive the Holy Eucharist because of her position on abortion. In response, the Archdiocese of Washington gave notice that this prohibition would not apply within its churches. And since then, an unfortunate public squabble has ensued between bishops and theologians about who should and who should not receive Holy Communion.
As Roman Catholics, we believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ. We believe that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324).” And like Pope Francis, we believe in our hearts: “The Eucharist is essential for us. It is Christ who wishes to enter into our lives and fill us with his grace. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of the sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine for the weak (Evangelii Gaudium, 47).”
One of my best friends likes to tell the story of how he rediscovered his Catholic faith in his mid-twenties. He says that as a young man, he did the things that many young men do. At the same time, he felt drawn to Holy Communion. He felt called to Daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. But he did not feel comfortable with the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation. He did not yet feel comfortable confessing his sins of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” to a priest.
So he did the next best thing. He spoke with a nun. Sister Maryann had advanced degrees in theology from a pontifical university. She told my friend to receive and adore the Body and Blood of Christ as often as possible. She promised him that our Risen Lord would eventually beckon him into the confessional. And she was right. Jesus led my friend to confess his sins, do his penance, and dedicate his life to Christian service. It is a beautiful conversion story and it happens more often than you might think.
As a priest for nineteen years, I have never denied the Eucharist to anyone for any reason. Each week, I look into the eyes of hundreds and hundreds of people — sinners all, just like me. How can I know or read the conscience of every person whose cupped hands await the Real Presence of the Merciful Christ? How can I know each person’s heart? Should I deny the Eucharist to every civic leader whose opinions I do not share? Every corporate executive who puts profits ahead of protecting the environment? Every small business owner who fails to offer good health benefits to every employee?
Should we deny the Eucharist to every gossip who spends more time tearing down their parish than helping to build it up? Every married couple who doesn’t bring a sacramental record to the altar? Every single person who doesn’t wear a chastity ring? Should we deny the Eucharist to every parishioner who cannot agree with every single line of the catechism? Or how about every know-it-all who thinks that they are more Catholic than the pope?
In a message to his fellow Catholics in Dubuque, Iowa (see below), Archbishop Michael Jackels writes: “As Jesus said, it is the sick people who need a doctor, not the healthy, and he gave us the Eucharist as a healing remedy; don’t deny people who need the medicine (see Luke 5:31-32).” I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the ability to read hearts or minds. And as a sinner, I need the Bread of Life as much as anyone. I wouldn’t want the Eucharist denied to me. I have no right to deny it to any one of you. After all, as Pope Francis said so simply and profoundly at the beginning of his pontificate: “Who am I to judge?” Amen, Holy Father. Amen.
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Body & Blood of Christ
Scandal and the Healing of the Eucharist
By Archbishop Michael Jackels
Pity the grocery shoppers in Buffalo,
the school kids in Texas, their grieving families,
and everyone now more afraid than ever
of doing those simple, everyday things.
You’ve got to wonder about reasons
for refusing reasonable limits on gun ownership,
which are inspired by the common good
and offering protection from harm.
We readily identify things
like abortion and capital punishment as life issues,
which Catholic teaching identifies
as absolutely wrong under any circumstance.
But protecting the earth, our common home,
or making food, water, shelter,
education & health care accessible,
or defense against gun violence…
these are life issues, too.
Some people want to repair the scandal
of pro-choice Catholic politicians
by refusing them the Eucharist.
But that is a misguided response
for at least two reasons:
As Jesus said, it is the sick people
who need a doctor, not the healthy,
and he gave us the Eucharist as a healing remedy;
don’t deny the people who need the medicine.
Also, to be consistent,
to repair the scandal of Catholics being indifferent
or opposed to other life issues,
they would have to be denied Holy Communion as well.
Better, I think,
to put the Eucharist in the hands of such Catholics
in hopes that one day soon
they would put their hands to work on behalf of life,
in defense of all life.
Call to Prayer
Praying for Our Fathers
On Sunday, June 19th, families all around the world will pause and give thanks for our dads and for all of the mentors, friends, and father-figures who enrich our lives. In this spirit, we share the following meditation by an anonymous author of all of our fathers.
Strength of a Mountain
God took the strength of a mountain,
the majesty of a tree,
the warmth of a summer sun,
the calm of a quiet sea,
the generous soul of nature,
the comforting arm of night,
the wisdom of the ages,
the power of the eagle’s flight,
the joy of a morning in spring,
the faith of a mustard seed,
the patience of eternity,
the depth of a family need.
Then God combined these qualities
when there was nothing more to add.
God knew his masterpiece was complete,
and so, he called it…Dad.
A Prayer for Our Fathers
God our Father, bless these men,
that they may find strength as fathers.
Let the example of their faith
and love shine forth.
Grant that we,
their sons and daughters,
may honor them always with love
in a spirit of profound respect.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever. Amen.
Saint Peter’s Fiesta
Outdoor Mass & Procession
Sunday, June 26th
This year, Saint Peter’s Fiesta runs from Wednesday, June 22nd through Sunday, June 26th. All are invited to join Father Jim for an outdoor celebration of Holy Mass next Sunday, June 26th at 10:00am at Saint Peter’s Square in Gloucester. After Mass, all are welcome to join friends and fellow parishioners for the procession through the streets of our beloved city.
Trailers are still available for groups, families, and individuals who wish to participate in the procession with a religious-themed float in celebration of the fiesta. For more information about the 95th Saint Peter’s Fiesta, please contact Rose Aiello at 978-283-1664 or visit the fiesta website: stpetersfiesta.org. Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are welcome!
Let’s Pray Together!
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, the Celebration of Holy Mass is the wellspring of our community’s joy and the guiding light of our shared life of prayer, fellowship, and service. All are welcome to join us for Mass and to receive Holy Communion in accordance with a personal examination of conscience and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to our weekend schedule, we also pray together throughout the week.
Mass at 5:30pm
Followed by Eucharistic Adoration & Confessions
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Thursday & Friday Mornings
Rosary at 7:30am
Mass at 8:00am
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
First Saturdays of the Month
Mass at 8:00am Followed by the Assisi Project
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
All parishioners are reminded that wearing face masks is an effective way of slowing the spread of a virus that has killed more than one million people in our country. In a spirit of solidarity with the sick, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions, we ask all of our friends and fellow parishioners to continue wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and practicing safe social distancing in all of our churches and church buildings. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and support. We hope and pray that you and your family will join us in prayer and adoration! All are invited! All are welcome! Peace and blessings to all for a safe and healthy summer!
Mass Intentions Book
Thursday, June 30th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Mass Intentions Book (August 2022 through December 2022) will be opened on Thursday, June 30th from 11:30am until 1:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Hall. All parishioners are welcome to book one Sunday Mass and one weekday Mass at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, or Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
Please note that on June 30th, all Mass intentions must be booked in person. No e-mail, fax, or phone requests will be accepted. No exceptions. Any remaining Masses may be booked on or after Friday, July 1st. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support! Peace and blessings to all!
End of Fiscal Year Fundraising
As we enter the final weeks of the fiscal year, all friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners are encouraged to prayerfully consider a gift to the Pastor’s Challenge at Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish or the Grand Annual Collection at Holy Family Parish. These fundraising campaigns are essential components of our parish budgets; and they are both vitally important to the financial stability of our beloved home parishes.
Donation envelopes are available at the entrances of our churches and on request from the parish office. For more information about how you and your family can help ensure that we end the fiscal year with balanced budgets, please see Father Jim or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also give electronically to both of our parishes at the links below! Thank you for your generous support for Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Peace and blessings to all!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
The righteous give generously (Psalm 37:21).
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 Myles Reardon