By Father Jim
In his message for the 56th World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on January 1st, Pope Francis asks us to consider how the coronavirus pandemic has effected our daily lives, our relationships with others, and our concern for the world around us. He writes: “This experience has made us all more aware of the need for everyone, including peoples and nations, to restore the word ‘together’ to a central place in our lives. For it is together, in fraternity and solidarity, that we build peace, ensure justice, and emerge from the greatest disasters.” Here in our own corner of the world, we should consider what it means to be a family of disciples that prays together, works together, and journeys together in search of the true peace that the Christ Child offers us at Christmas.
At this time of year, our churches are more crowded than usual. This is a true blessing. Some of the people you see are here every weekend. Some come to church once or twice each month. Some join us maybe once or twice each year. And some are taking a chance again on God and on us. Do we welcome them with open arms? Do we make room for them in our favorite pew? Do we greet them with a smile, kind word, or best wishes for the holiday season? When we do these things, we do more to nurture our shared faith than any homily, parish program, or marketing campaign could ever do.
Let’s be honest. We are living during a time when too many people are afraid, angry, and anxious. We grieve over so much that has been lost. We are suspicious of our civic and religious leaders. We lack trust in our institutions. We feel alienated from each other. We lack a sense of belonging to our community and to one another. Too many of us do not come to church because we don’t see the point or because we don’t feel welcome or worthy to be here. But Pope Francis reminds us of a profound truth. He says: “We all need each other. Our greatest and yet most fragile treasure is our shared humanity as brothers and sisters, as children of God. And none of us can be saved alone.”
As this year ends and a new year dawns, it is long past time for us and for the Church universal to embrace the reality that we cannot prevail against the darkness of our times by retreating into our comfort zones. Over and over again, the Holy Father calls us to be a community of missionary disciples that opens wide the doors; welcomes the stranger; embraces those who feel left behind; and preaches the gospel with every thought, word, and deed. It is long past time for us, all of us, to become instruments of God’s peace in a world that is being torn apart by bigotry, division, and violence.
At Christmas and beyond, let us renew our core values of prayer, fellowship, and service. Let us reaffirm our mission to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church. Let us open our hearts in welcome to anyone and everyone who seeks to know the Lord. Pope Francis says: “The time has come for all of us to endeavor to heal our society and our planet, to lay the foundations for a more just and peaceful world, and to seriously commit ourselves to pursuing the common good.” In this spirit, let us pray together, walk together, and work together to take care of each other and our common home. Peace and blessings to all! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
We Greet Your Coming
By Carlem Micklem
We greet your coming, God, with wonder.
You come to be with us;
yet you remain far greater than we can imagine.
You are near;
yet your wisdom sets you apart from us.
You appear among us;
yet we cannot describe your glory.
We greet your coming, God, with repentance.
We are more or less satisfied with ourselves;
but your presence exposes our sin and failure.
We are self-confident;
but you challenge our confidence in ourselves.
We are proud of our understanding;
but you show us that we do not know everything.
We greet your coming, God, with joy.
We had no true idea of what you are like;
but you have shown us yourself in Jesus Christ.
We felt our human life could be of no importance to you;
but you have shown its value by appearing among us.
We are aware of the gulf between us and you;
but you have bridged it with love.
God, we greet your coming in Jesus Christ our Lord!
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 1,089,500 Americans (12-24-22). 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 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 Roman 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!
The Assisi Project
We Pray for You Every Day!
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, 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 Good News of the Poor Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 14 to 98. We pray every day for those who ask for our prayers.
If you would like us to pray for you, your family, or your special intention, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff, see Father Jim, or visit our website (see link below). New members are always welcome! Please join us! May the Lord give you peace at Christmas and throughout the coming new year!
The Assisi Project
My God & My All!
Saturday, January 7th
Session 3: Communion & Fraternity
Saint Francis of Assisi teaches us that discipleship is not just about the gift of faith. It’s not just about coming to church or memorizing a catechism. It’s really all about loving God and loving neighbor. It’s about meeting Christ in prayer and in the people we meet along life’s journey. It’s about joy and suffering, communion and fraternity, prayer and action. It’s ultimately about living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding the Church.
About discipleship, Pope Francis says: “It is about living close to Jesus…It is about embodying the Gospel in everyday life. It is a fire that starts another fire.” It is no accident that the Holy Spirit gave us a pope who chose the name “Francis” and calls us back to the basics of prayer, good works, and a more simple way of life.
In this spirit, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff for My God & My All!: A Course on Discipleship. Over the course of the next several months, you and your family can join us online or in-person. First, you can attend upcoming gatherings of the Assisi Project on Saturday, January 7th and Saturday, February 4th. Each session begins with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, followed by a reflection, faith sharing, and the rosary. We conclude by 10:00am.
You can join us on four consecutive evenings next spring: Tuesday, April 25th through Friday, April 28th at Saint Anthony Chapel beginning with Evening Prayer at 6:30pm; followed by a reflection, faith sharing, and the rosary. Each session will conclude by 8:00pm. Podcasts of each reflection will be available soon online! A donation of $25 is requested from those who can afford it. For more information, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the dates! Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
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 Peter Feeney