By Father Jim
During the Season of Advent, we are called to reflect on the threefold coming of Christ into the world: the Nativity of the Lord at Christmas, the Lord’s everyday presence in our lives, and his Second Coming at the End of Days. Ever mindful of this sacred and timeless calling, we pause on the Third Sunday of Advent (also known as Gaudete Sunday) to rejoice in everything that Jesus has done and will do for us.
At Mass, we cry out with the psalmist: “The Lord God keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free. The Lord gives sight to the blind; the Lord raises up those who were bowed down. The Lord loves the just; the Lord protects strangers. The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The Lord shall reign forever, your God, O Zion, through all generations (Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10).” Indeed, we have good reason to rejoice and give thanks!
As Christians, our joy is unique. It springs from the heart, from the core of our being, because we know deep down that Jesus is forever close to us. He lives among us. He walks beside us. He suffers with us. He rejoices with us. Today. Tomorrow. Always. No matter who we are. No matter what we have done. Jesus is here, reaching out, offering us his gifts of friendship, love, and mercy. We may turn away from him, but he will never turn away from us. Pope Francis says: “Thanks to his help, we can always begin again (12-15-13).”
Some may doubt that such new beginnings are possible. Some may say that God looms over our lives in judgment. Some say that this person or that person is going to hell because of their past, their present, their politics, their way of life. Pope Francis says: “This is wrong! You can begin from scratch! Why? Because Jesus is waiting for you, he is close to you, he loves you, he is merciful, he forgives you, he gives you the strength to begin again from scratch! Everyone! As so, we are able to reopen our eyes, overcome sadness and mourning, and strike up a new song (12-15-13)!” If we take this advice into our hearts, we can joyfully sing: “God is love! The name of God is mercy!”
We begin again by embracing the gift of faith. We begin again by resolving to love God and serve others. We begin again by building and strengthening our relationship with Jesus through daily prayer and the sacraments. We begin again by turning away from the anger and materialism of the world and turning toward the simple gifts of faith, hope, and love. We begin again by being good, doing good, and aspiring to goodness in all that we think, say, and do. We begin again by pausing, taking a breath during this hectic season, and opening our hearts and minds to the everlasting joy that Jesus offers us.
Pope Francis says: “May the Virgin Mary help us to hasten our steps to Bethlehem, to encounter the Child who is born for us, for the salvation and joy of all people. To her, the angel said: ‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you!’ May she obtain for us the grace to live the joy of the Gospel in our families, at work, in our parishes, and everywhere — an intimate joy, fashioned of wonder and tenderness (12-15-13).” As our Advent journey continues, may each of us discover anew the joy that comes, the joy that never abandons, and the joy that comes again and again into our lives! Lord, come and save us! Alleluia!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
A Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Feast Day – Monday, December 12th
On Monday, December 12th, the Catholic Church com- memorates the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This feast marks the miraculous moment in 1532 when the Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. She gave the young man proof of her appearance: a bundle of exotic winter roses (not found in Mexico) and the holy image of herself imprinted on his tilma (or cloak). Centuries later, Our Lady of Guadalupe is much loved and widely venerated as Patroness of the Americas, and so we beg her to pray for our country and its people.
A Prayer by Cameron Bellm
We all have our Teypeyac,
our hill we’re hurrying over in these December days.
Perhaps, like Juan Diego, we are avoiding you.
We are even avoiding you
in our rush to get where we’re going:
to finish the shopping,
to hang the decorations,
to prepare the meal.
May each one of us be stunned,
stopped in our tracks,
by your call to us in our native tongue.
Alone as we may feel this Advent,
speak to us once more.
Remind us of this:
that you are here,
that you are our Mother,
that you love us tenderly and unfailingly.
May we gather your roses,
so improbably blooming in the winter chill,
and shower them on a weary world,
hungry for hope. Amen.
Cameron Bellm is a writer and contemplative in action. She combines her love of language with a deeply rooted spirituality to compose poems, prayers, and devotionals that link our modern lives with our ancient faith. You can learn more about Cameron’s life and work at cameronbellm.com.
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 email@example.com. 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!
Calling Young Disciples
Youth Choir & Music Ministry
Christmas Eve at 6:00pm
As parishes across the country and around the world reimagine their youth faith formation programs, it is important to remember that all children and teenagers and invited and encouraged to fully participate in the life of their home parishes as altar servers, volunteers, participants in our Youth Christmas Pageant (see next page), or as members of our Youth Choir & Music Ministry.
Such programs are formative opportunities for children of all ages and backgrounds to gather in prayer, learn about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, make new friends, and live their faith in active spirit of prayer, fellowship, and service.
Our Youth Choir & Music Ministry rehearses on Tuesdays at 4:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and will resume its good and blessed work at Christmas Eve Mass at 6:00pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Aspiring choir members and musicians (ranging in age from elementary school through high school) are encouraged to contact Patty Natti at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Call to Worship
Christmas Mass Schedule
December 24th & 25th
The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport joyfully invites you and your family to join us for Holy Mass in celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas! Come home for Christmas! All are invited! All are welcome! Please mask up for Mass! Thank you!
Christmas Eve – December 24th
- Saint Ann Church at 4:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 6:00pm
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at Midnight
Christmas Day – December 25th
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00am
- Saint Ann Church at 8:15am
- Saint Joachim Church at 10:00am
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 11:45am
Christmas Mass on YouTube
- Available on Christmas Eve at 4:00pm
Calling Young Disciples
Youth Christmas Pageant
Saturday, January 7th
Each year, the Catholic Church celebrates the Season of Christmas from December 25th through the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on January 9th. During Christmastime, we commemorate the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Choir of Angels praising God in heaven, the Call of the Shepherds, and the Adoration of the Magi with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
As a special part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s celebration of the Christmas Season, we invite children from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish to participate in our Youth Christmas Pageant on Saturday, January 7th at the 4:00pm Vigil Mass in Saint Ann Church.
This dramatization of the Nativity of the Lord depends on the participation of young angels and shepherds, along with those children interested in portraying the Magi and the Holy Family. Being a part of this favorite holiday tradition is an excellent way for our children and grandchildren to be a part of the life of their home parish and learn about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church.
If your child, grandchild, or godchild would like to participate in this year’s Youth Christmas Pageant, please con- tact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Spread the word! Bring your family! Bring your friends! All are invited! All are welcome! Blessings to all for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Assisi Project
Rebuild My Church Campaign
Goal: $15,000 – Raised: $17,195
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
Share What You Have (Hebrews 13:26)
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 Betty Sampson