By Father Jim
In the Lord’s vineyard, some among us are called to preach — to proclaim and explain the Word of God in churches, classrooms, and other public settings. At the same time, all of us are called to preach the Good News with our lives — with every thought, word, and deed. Believe me, it is easier to preach the Gospel than to actually live it. For this reason, we can turn to Saint Joseph for strength, comfort, and inspiration.
In the Gospel of Matthew for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Mt 1:18-24), we are reminded of the contrast between the Annunciation of Mary and the Annunciation to Saint Joseph. When the Blessed Virgin is visited by an angel and told that God has chosen her to be the mother of his Son, she embraces her new role with words. She says: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be done with me according to your word (Luke 1:38).” But when Joseph is visited in his dreams, he does not speak. In fact, we never hear him speak.
Pope Francis recently reflected on what we can learn from Saint Joseph’s silence. He says: “The Gospels do not contain a single word uttered by Joseph of Nazareth. Nothing. He never spoke. This does not mean that he was taciturn. There is a deeper reason why the Gospels do not say a word. With his silence, Joseph confirms what Saint Augustine writes: ‘To the extent that the Word — that is, the Word made man — grows in us, our words diminish.’ To the extent that Jesus grows, in our spiritual lives, our words diminish (12-21-21).” Saint Joseph, then, is not just a quiet man. He is a profoundly prayerful person who embraces God’s call to live the Gospel with quiet faith and action.
We should also remember that God tells Saint Joseph to act — to take Mary as his wife; to leave Bethlehem and flee to Egypt; and to return to Israel when it becomes safe. Douglas Hare (1929-2015), a well-respected scripture scholar, affirms that Joseph is called to active discipleship. He writes: “Matthew…by selecting Joseph as his leading actor, stresses the active component in the human response. Three times Joseph is instructed by an angel in a dream, and three times he must do something.” In this way, Saint Joseph is no mere bystander. He is not an extra in the drama of salvation history. Saint Joseph plays an active and pivotal part in the Nativity of the Lord.
In light of Matthew’s Gospel, Pope Francis hopes that we all might cultivate moments of silence so that we can truly listen for God’s voice, hear God’s Word, and then act on it. He says: “Let us not be afraid! It will do us good. The benefit [of silence] to our hearts will also heal our tongues, our words, and above all, our choices (12-21-21).” We can learn from Saint Joseph to listen more faithfully for God’s call; and act on it by more faithfully living the Gospel and sharing God’s love in our families, our parishes, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our sick and suffering world.
The Holy Father calls us to pray for this grace: “Saint Joseph, man of silence, who in the Gospel did not utter a single word, teach us to fast from vain words, to rediscover the value of words that edify, encourage, console, and support. Be close to those who suffer from words that hurt, like slander and backbiting, and help us always to match words with deeds. Amen.” Saint Joseph, pray for us — now and always!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
The Gift of Saint Joseph
By Pope Francis
Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice, but in self-gift. In him, we never see frustration, but only trust. His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust. Our world today needs fathers. It has no use for tyrants who would domineer others as a means of compensating for their own needs. It rejects those who confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, and power with destruction.
Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself, which is the fruit of mature sacrifice. The priesthood and consecrated life likewise require this kind of maturity. Whatever our vocation, whether to marriage, celibacy, or virginity, our gift of self will not come to fulfillment if it stops at sacrifice; were that the case, instead of becoming a sign of the beauty and joy of life, the gift of self would risk being an expression of unhappiness, sadness, and frustration (From With a Father’s Heart).
A Prayer by Pope Francis
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
To you, God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us, too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
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.
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
Pastor’s Note: Wearing face masks is an effective way to slow the spread of a virus that has killed more than 1,086,800 Americans (12-17-22). In this spirit and in solidarity with the sick, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions, we strongly encourage all friends and fellow parishioners to continue wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer, and practicing social distancing inside all of our churches and parish buildings. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and support! Peace and blessings! Merry Christmas! — Father Jim and Our Pastoral Team
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 email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Special Message of Thanks
Our parishes are blessed with the gift of beautiful music! Whether praying with us during Mass, celebrating with us at weddings, grieving with us at funerals, or performing at special events throughout the year, our music ministers bless us by their talent, dedication, and hard work.
Earlier this month, friends, neighbors and fellow parishioners gathered in Saint Ann Church for the Annual Ad- vent & Christmas Concert which is among our most cher- ished holiday traditions. It was a wonderful afternoon of choral and instrumental music that prepares our hearts to welcome the Christ Child at Christmas.
Our deepest thanks go to Tom Misuraca, LuAnn Pallazola, and Patty Natti for directing our adult and youth ministries; and we sincerely thank each and every member of the choirs for their ongoing gifts of time and talent. Peace and blessings for a Merry Christmas! — Father Jim
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Those who are generous are blessed (Proverbs 22:9).
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 Ann Mitchell