By Father Jim
On the Second Sunday of Advent, Isaiah proclaims that “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse and from his roots a bud shall blossom (Isaiah 11:1).” As Christians, we believe that the bud described in this prophecy is Jesus. But who is Jesse? In the Old Testament, we learn that Jesse is a prominent citizen of Bethlehem. He is the father of King David, ancient Israel’s most celebrated leader. According to Jewish tradition, rabbinic scholars teach that Jesse is one of four figures to pass from this life free from sin. And in the New Testament, Jesse is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Jesse may not be a major figure in the drama of salvation his- tory, but he stands as a symbol of goodness, loyalty, and service to the community.
The stump of Jesse, then, is the foundation upon which Isaiah teaches us about the coming of the Messiah and his reign over God’s people and over all of God’s creation. Rather than raise up a tyrant with terrifying powers over heaven and earth, Isaiah describes a peaceful kingdom infused with hope, kindness, and compassion. He speaks of wisdom and understanding, not harsh judgment. He predicts mercy for the accused, justice for the poor, and a community built on the principles of peace, fraternity, and mutual assistance.
According to Isaiah, the only creatures seemingly destined for God’s wrath are those who decide in favor of anger, gossip, and injustice. And when Isaiah predicts that wolves and lambs, leopards and goats, lions and calves, and bears and cows will live together in harmony, he is telling us that by God’s grace, peace is possible even when our differences and disagreements seem impossible to overcome. By God’s grace and mercy, even natural enemies can approach each other, gather together in peace, and worship their Creator with love and wonder. In Christ’s kingdom, all things are possible when we believe, when we trust, and when we choose to love God and love our neighbor without judgment and without counting the costs.
During a recent pilgrimage to his family’s ancestral home in northern Italy, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the local cathedral. During the homily, the pope asked challenging questions about the future of the Church. He said: “It is up to us to choose whether to be spectators or involved. We see today’s crises: the decline in faith and the lack of participation. What do we do? Do we limit ourselves to making theories? Do we limit ourselves to criticizing? Or do we roll up our sleeves, take life in hand, and pass from the ‘if’ of apologies to the ‘yes’ of prayer and service? We all know what’s wrong with society. We talk every day about what is wrong in the world and in the Church…But do we do anything? Do we get our hands dirty like our God nailed to wood or do we stand with hands in pockets and watch (11-20-22)?”
Needless to say, the Holy Father challenges us to act, do good, and make a positive difference in our corner of this troubled world. In the end, we are free to choose or reject the hopeful vi- sion offered by Isaiah’s ancient prophecy. All around us, we are confronted by a culture that veers recklessly toward the vices described in today’s second reading. But we have the capacity, inspired by our faith, the witness of the saints, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, to choose a better way, a more holy way. During this Advent season, let’s work together to nurture the little shoot that sprouts from the stump of Jesse so that it blossoms as peace, justice, and fraternity in our community and beyond. Let’s make ready the way of the Lord!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
Born from the Stump of Jesse
A Prayer for Advent
By Cliff Garvey
God of Advent,
as winter’s cold and darkness
spread across the land,
we find a sign of new life,
born from the stump of Jesse.
From this remnant,
a small branch springs forth
and reaches for warmth
during this season of shadows.
In the eyes of the world,
this small life holds no promise.
It can boast of nothing:
not power, not possessions,
not anything of value.
But for us,
for those who believe,
this tendril born of grace
takes root in our hearts,
enlightens our minds,
and sanctifies our souls
for an everlasting journey.
This shoot, born poor and naked,
breaks into our lives
from stump to stable.
He grows and grows,
and fills us with faith, hope, and charity:
love of God, love of neighbor,
love of all creation.
God of Advent,
help us to see the Christ Child
who is born from the stump of Jesse.
Give us the grace to embrace him;
nurture him in thought, word, and deed;
and share his promise of mercy
with the whole world.
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.
Youth Faith Formation
Advent Faith & Family Mass
Saturday, December 3rd
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 9:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all children, parents, grandparents, godparents, and guardians are invited to join Father Jim for our Advent Faith & Family Mass on Saturday, December 3rd at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily about the Christmas Creche and a special blessing for all of God’s children and their families. In addition, every child will receive a small gift!
Please save the following dates for our upcoming Faith & Family Masses: Saturday, January 7th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; Sunday, February 26th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and Saturday, May 13th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church For more information, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Mass is our class! Jesus is our teacher! Every child is a precious gift from God! Every family is welcome to join us! Spread the word! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent & Christmas Concert
An Annual Holiday Tradition
Sunday, December 4th
All parishioners, friends, neighbors, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Tom Misuraca, LuAnn Pallazola, Patricia Natti, and the Adult Music Ministry for our 16th Annual Advent & Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 4th at 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church. As always, this year’s music selections have been carefully chosen to help prepare our hearts to faithfully celebrate the Holy Season of Advent and the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. For more information about this beloved holiday tradition, please contact Tom Misuraca at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Call to Worship
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 7th & 8th
In commemoration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport invites you to join us for the celebration of Mass:
Wednesday, December 7th
Vigil Mass at 5:30pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Thursday, December 8th
Mass at 8:00am in Saint Joachim Church
Mass at 12:00pm in Saint Ann Church
Since late antiquity, the People of God have believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was sinless and conceived immaculately in the womb of her mother, Saint Ann. This ancient devotion was defined as doctrine in 1854. Since then, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has been patroness of many causes and countries, including the United States of America. Please join us as we honor our Blessed Mother Mary and beg her powerful intercession! All are invited! All are welcome!
Most Blessed Mother,
heart of love, heart of mercy,
ever listening, caring, and consoling, hear our prayers!
As your children, we beg for your intercession with Jesus your Son.
Receive with compassion and understanding
the petitions we place before you.
We take comfort in knowing
that your heart is always open
to those who ask for help.
We trust to your gentle care those whom we love
and those who are sick, lonely, or hurting.
Holy Mother, help us
to bear the burdens of this life
until we may share eternal life
and peace with God forever and ever. Amen.
Our Lady of Good Voyage
Christmas Yard Sale
Saturday, December 10th
Begins at 9:00am – Featuring Sweet Bread & Linguica Box Lunch
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are cordially invited to join Our Lady’s Guild for a Christmas Yard Sale with Sweet Bread and a To-Go Linguiça Box Lunch on Saturday, December 10th from 9:00am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall.
All are welcome to browse our yard sale tables for unique treasures! In addition, our famous freshly baked sweet bread and-or a to-go box lunch of a linguiça sandwich with drink, chips, and cookie will be offered for sale. We’ll also have various raffles including the Super Raffle with a chance to win one of 60 gift cards from generous local businesses! All proceeds from the day will benefit Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish!
For more information about the Yard Sale or Our Lady’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Beth Fosberry at email@example.com or leave a message at 978-281-4820. Spread the word! Please join us! Bring your family and friends! All are invited! All are welcome! Best wishes for a Merry Christmas!
Mass Intentions Book
Thursday, December 15th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Mass Intentions Book will be opened on Thursday, December 15th from 9:00am until 10:30am in Our Lady’s Hall, which is located at 142 Prospect Street in Gloucester. On that day and time, all parishioners are welcome to book one Sunday Mass and one Weekday Mass at Saint Ann Church, Saint Joachim Church, and Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.
Please note that on Thursday, December 15th, all Mass intentions must be booked in person. No mail, fax, text, or phone requests will be accepted. No exceptions. Any remaining daily and weekend Masses can be booked on or after January 1, 2023. For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and ongoing support for Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Peace and blessings to all!
Celebrating New Disciples
Sacrament of Baptism
The Sacrament of Baptism is the first of the three Sacra- ments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The two others 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 November, Father Jim baptized the following children with holy water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Remy Scott Fulford
Juliette Grace Gelfand
Madelyn Mae Greeke
William Rhodes Panagiotakos
Natalie Marie Rainone
Stephen Fiore Ruta
Ronald Hudson Thompson
In the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, the Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated during any 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 and their families!
The Assisi Project
Rebuild My Church Campaign
Goal: $15,000 – So Far: $13,820
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers throughout the world. Our mission is to help believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
In celebration of our 15th anniversary, we are seeking to raise $15,000 for our Rebuild My Church Campaign. Your generous gift will enable us to create a guest speakers program, offer scholarships for pilgrims and students, assist local parishes with special projects, and support our podcasts and faith formation programs.
The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization. You can support our ministries and programs via GoFundMe or by sending a donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. All donations are tax-deductible. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you! May the Lord give you peace!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)
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!
Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline
This Week’s Homepage
In Memory of Sister Theresa Cunningham, SNDdeN