By Father Jim
In Sunday’s Second Reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:10- 13, 17), Saint Paul calls out those who sow division in the Church. He writes: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose (1 Corinthians 1:10-11).”
Even though Saint Paul lives in a world where information travels only as fast as a person can run, he hears from across the miles that some people in Corinth have forsaken their unity as a family of disciples in favor of cliques and rivalries. This disunity has created an atmosphere where believers are dividing themselves according to their allegiance to particular leaders or teachers of the faith. In particular, Paul acknowledges that some Corinthians are loyal to him. Others are partial to Peter. Still others favor Apollos, a gifted preacher who is considered a saint.
In frustration, Saint Paul asks the Corinthians: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” The Apostle wants us to see that division threatens the good and holy work of the Christian community. He reminds us that Jesus is the source, object, and inspiration of our faith. He calls us to preach the Gospel with our lives. And he encourages us to labor together in the Lord’s vineyard to save souls, not to advance particular points of view.
Pope Francis warns us that division leads to destruction. He says: “Jesus asks us for unity in the Holy Spirit. But the devil always divides…In general, the devil does not tempt us with high theology, but with the weaknesses of our brothers and sisters. He is astute. He magnifies the mistakes of others, sows discord, provokes criticism, and creates factions (1-20-21).” In particular, the Holy Father points to gossip as the “most handy weapon” by which the devil threatens every Christian friendship, every Christian family, and every Christian community.
In the spirit of Saint Paul, Pope Francis calls us all to an examination of conscience. Do our thoughts, words, and actions build up or tear down? Do our thoughts, words, and actions strengthen the bonds of community or cause discord and division? Do our thoughts, words, and actions bring people together or pull them apart? If we can answer yes to any of these questions, then the pope exhorts us to call upon the Holy Spirit and pray for unity. Pope Francis says: “The Holy Spirit always inspires us to unity (1-20-21).”
All around us, we see the rotten fruit of division in our culture, politics, and even the Church. What are we to do? Well, if gossip and argument are the weapons of darkness, then prayer and fraternity are the instruments of God’s peace and unity in our world. Pope Francis says: “To pray means to fight for unity (1-20-21).” When we offer even the simplest prayers to Jesus, we enter into a powerful communion that can enlighten even the darkest hearts. This communion can change us; and it can change the world. As the Holy Father teaches: “May prayer be the starting point to help Jesus achieve his dream: that they all may be one.” Saint Paul, teach us to pray! Saint Paul, pray for us!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
A Christian Prayer for Unity
By Bishop Carl Moeddel (1937-2009)
One Holy Spirit of Father and Son
in whom all are baptized,
one giver of many gifts,
one tree of many fruits,
one speaker of every tongue,
renew in our day
the wonders of Pentecost.
Grant that people of every race and nation
may understand one another,
and as one, proclaim the praises of God.
Grant that all may be one
as you, Holy Spirit, with the Father and the Son,
are one God, one Lord.
Grant unity to the Body of Christ;
grant unity to the human family.
Soul breath of every living thing,
may all be one who, in you,
live and move and have their being. Amen.
Call to Prayer
Word of God Sunday
A Solemn Benediction
who has revealed his truth and charity in Christ
make you apostles of the gospel
and witnesses of his love in the world. Amen.
May the Lord Jesus,
who promised his Church
to be present until the end of the ages,
guide your steps and strengthen your words. Amen.
May the Spirit of the Lord be upon you,
so that as you walk the streets of the world,
you may evangelize the poor
and heal the contrite of heart. Amen.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Welcome, Bishop Mark!
As with Baptism and Holy Eucharist, Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism through the outpouring of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Right Judgment, Understanding, Wisdom, and Wonder & Awe. These gifts seal or confirm the mystical union between the candidates and Christ, and they prepare them to actively participate in the prayer, fellowship, and service of the Roman Catholic Church.
This year, forty high school students from both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish have successfully completed the requirements of our Confirmation Preparation Program. During the past two years, they prayed together, attended Mass together and completed a rigorous program of formation as a community of young disciples. These students are now well-prepared to publicly renew their baptismal vows, profess their faith, and live as faithful and faith-filled Catholic Christians.
The Very Reverend Mark O’Connell, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston, will join us as special guest celebrant and homilist for our an- nual celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday, January 21st at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church and Sunday, February 5th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Welcome back, Bishop Mark!
As we make ready for these celebrations, we pray for all of our candidates, sponsors, parents, catechists, and pas- toral team members. In a special way, we thank Betsy Works, Associate Minister for Youth Faith Formation, for her dedication, hard work, and creative spirit. For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come, Holy Spirit! Enkindle in us the fire of your love! Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all!
Come, Holy Spirit!
Preparing for Confirmation
Begins Sunday, February 12th
For too many teenagers, the Sacrament of Confirmation has become a kind of graduation from the Catholic Church, rather than the joyful beginning of life as an adult disciple with the Church. We hope to stem this sad situation by transforming our youth faith formation program into an engaging process for the whole family.
First, we place primary importance on attending Mass. For more than a century, the Church asked every parish to offer sacramental preparation programs for children and teenagers. During recent decades, however, we neglected to remind parents of their baptismal promise to be the first teachers of their children in all matters related to faith and morals; and that the most important part of that responsibility is attending Mass as a family.
In an increasingly busy world, it became commonplace for parents to entrust their children to us for an hour of instruction, but then not join us for Mass on the weekend. We will continue to ask parents to dedicate one hour each week to their children’s religious education — by joining us for one of our six weekend Masses!
In addition, all high school students (beginning in ninth grade) are asked to actively participate in our two year preparation program for the Sacrament of Confirmation. During the first year, students will attend eight interactive workshops about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. These sessions will begin on Sunday, February 12th (weather permitting).
During the second year, students will attend more workshops that are creatively designed to help them grown in prayer, fellowship, and service; prepare them to receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit; and jumpstart their spiritual lives as faithful and faith-filled young disciples.
If your child is now in high school and sincerely wants to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, then please attend our Welcome & Registration Workshop on Sunday, February 12th at 11:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Registration forms are available on our website at ccgronline.com/formation. For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. Spread the word! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Come, Holy Spirit!
Red Cross Blood Drive
Friday, January 27th – 10:00am-3:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Hall
Register at redcross.org
Register by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS
Thank you for your support
Winter Weather Advisory
For the latest information about weather related cancelations during the winter months, please visit our website: ccgronline.com. Announcements will also be made via wcvb.com, cbsboston.com, and WBZ1030-AM. All fellow parishioners are reminded that if public schools are closed due to inclement weather on a particular day, then our Weekday Mass and all parish programs (including adult and youth faith formation programs) are canceled, too. Peace and blessings to all! Keep warm! Stay safe!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Do good and share with others (Hebrews 13:16).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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For Our Newly Confirmed Young Disciples