By Father Jim
According to the Code of Canon Law, a parish is a definite community of the Christian faithful established on a stable basis within a particular church (515). In other words, a parish is a geographic community centered around a place of worship. The ancient etymology of the word parish prompts us to reflect on ideas such as neighbor, nearness, pilgrimage, and house — both God’s house and our house as an extended family of disciples.
Here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, we are blessed with two parishes, four churches, a small but talented pastoral team, and a dedicated corps of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who give their time, talent, and treasure to help us fulfill our mission to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church in our small corner of the world.
In recent months, Pope Francis has reflected on the importance of parishes in the life of the Catholic Church. He fondly remembers his six years as a young parish priest. He especially enjoyed celebrating Masses for children and their families; and sharing with them the joy of the Gospel of Christ. The pope also knows that parish life depends on strong relationships within families between adults who are able and willing to share our faith and young people who are open and curious about learning and believing in something beyond themselves.
At the same time, the Holy Father appreciates more than many church leaders the challenges facing parishes in the modern world. He points to gossip, indifference, closed minds, hard hearts, and locked doors as the great enemies of parish life. He says: “People never tire of asking and calling, so we must never tire of opening the doors and windows (3-25-23).” So on Easter Sunday, now more than ever, we reaffirm the longstanding rallying cry of both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish: All are welcome!
Our doors are open to every saint and every sinner. Our doors are open to the rich and the poor, the young and the old, and everyone in between. Our doors are open to married couples, and single people, straight people and gay people, and anyone who is discerning their way in the world. Our doors are open to every citizen and non-citizen, and any person who seeks a community of prayer. Our doors are open to healthy people and to sick people, and to all people who long for the Lord’s healing presence in their lives.
In the end, Pope Francis writes: “The parish is a blessed place, where one goes in order to feel loved. Those who knock at the door of our churches are often looking for a welcoming smile; they look for open arms and hands, eyes eager to meet, and a fullness of affection (3-25-23).” As disciples, humble laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, our job is to unlock the doors, share that smile, offer that welcome, and reach out to any brother or sister who seeks the Risen Lord.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis prayed for parishes. He says: “Sometimes I think we should put a sign on the door of parishes that reads Free Admission! Parishes should be close-knit communities without bureaucracy, people-centered, and a place where the gift of the sacraments is found. Parishes must be schools of service and generosity, with doors always open to those who feel excluded.” This Easter, we joyfully renew our shared mission, proclaim our shared values of prayer, fellowship, and service; and cry out with one joyful voice: Free admission! All are welcome! Always! Happy Easter! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Call to Prayer
One Solitary Life
By James Allan Francis
He was born in an obscure village,
the child of a peasant.
He grew up in another small village,
where he worked in a carpenter shop
until he was thirty years old.
For three years, he then was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a home.
He did not go to college.
He never lived in a big city.
He never traveled more than two hundred miles
from the place of his birth.
He did none of the things
that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials except himself.
He was only thirty-three years old
when the tide of public opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied him.
He was turned over to his enemies
and endured the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While he was dying,
his executioners gambled for his garments,
the only property he owned on earth.
When he was dead,
he was laid in a borrowed grave
through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone,
and today he is the central figure of the human race.
I am well within the mark when I say
that all the armies that ever marched,
all the navies that ever sailed,
all the parliaments that ever sat,
all the kings that ever reigned,
all put together,
have not affected the life of those on earth
as powerfully as this one solitary life.
Divine Mercy Sunday
A Celebration of God’s Love
Sunday, April 16th
In 2000, Saint John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska and designated the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy. This devotion reflects a message from Jesus that Sain Faustina shared with the world: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy. This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the Risen Christ and offers to all people.”
In this spirit, all are invited to join Father Jim and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 16th from 2:00pm until 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. Here’s our schedule: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:00pm; Holy Rosary at 2:15pm; Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm; and Daytime Prayer & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 3:30pm.
A Divine Mercy Prayer
I offer you the Body and Blood,
Soul and Divinity
of your dearly beloved Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins
and those of the whole world.
For the sake of his sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us
and on the whole world.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us
and on the whole world. Amen.
We hope and pray that you and your family can join us for all or at least part of this special afternoon of prayer and devotion. For more information, please contact Jane Russo at email@example.com. Let’s pray together! All are invited! All are welcome!
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Spring Garage Sale
Saturday, April 22nd
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join the Holy Family Women’s Guild for a Spring Garage Sale on Saturday, April 22nd from 9:00am until 1:00pm in the courtyard behind Saint Ann Church. All proceeds will support Holy Family Parish.
Come and browse and buy our selection of arts and crafts, home décor, household items, small furniture, and cool vintage stuff! If necessary, the rain date for our garage sale is Saturday, April 29th from 9:00am until 1:00pm. For more information about the Women’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Arlene Lesch at firstname.lastname@example.org. New members and volunteers are always welcome! Thank you for your generous support!
Living the Gospel
First Holy Communion
Begins Saturday, May 6th
As Roman Catholics, we believe that the Holy Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324).” We believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. And like Pope Francis, we believe in our hearts: “The Eucharist is essential for us. It is Christ who wishes to enter into our lives and fill us with his grace. The Eucharist, although it is the fulness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak (EG 47).” In this spirit, sixty-three children in youth faith formation program are now ready to receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Jesus for the first time. As our annual celebrations of First Holy Communion approach, all are encouraged to be mindful of our upcoming schedule:
- Sain Ann Church
Saturday, May 6th & May 13th
- Saint Joachim Church Sunday, May 14th
- Our Lady of Good Voyage
Sunday, May 7th, May 14th & May 21st
If your child, grandchild, or godchild has completed the second grade but has not received the Sacraments of Baptism and-or First Holy Communion, we have a special program of preparation just for them! It’s called The Way for Kids! Beginning on Saturday, April 29th from 4:30pm until 5:45pm in Our Lady’s School, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead a four week series of workshops for young disciples. After each workshop, the children and their families will attend our 6:00pm Mass. For more information about The Way for Kids, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. As we make final preparations for First Holy Communion, please pray for all of our young disciples and their families! Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all!
Sharing God’s Love
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
We Need Your Support!
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is an international organization that is dedicated to responding to any request from any person or family in need. Here on Cape Ann, we work through Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish to serve the poor and the needy. Help us help others! Donations can be pushed through the mail slot in the parish office, dropped in the collection basket at any Weekend Mass, or mailed to:
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
74 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
New members and volunteers are always welcome! For more information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and its good work in our parishes and hometowns, please contact Harry Miller at 978-281-8672 or Robert Weeks at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or someone you know needs our help, please call 978-281-8672. Thank you for your generous support for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society! May God bless you!
Red Cross Blood Drive
Thursday, April 20th
Our Lady of Good Voyage Hall
1:00pm until 6:00pm
Register at redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS
Thank you for your support!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Without cost you have received. Without cost you must give (Matthew 10:8)
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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