This Week’s Message
Martyr for Charity

By Cliff Garvey

When the Roman Catholic Bishop of Honolulu, Hawaii decided that the leper colony on the island of Molokai needed a priest, he asked for volunteers. Father Damien de Veuster of Belgium (1840-1889) was the first volunteer. He arrived at Molokai on May 10, 1873 and never left. Long after his death and canonization, this would become his feast day.

Rather than flee from this hell on earth, Father Damien settled in and broke all of the rules. He was told not to eat with lepers, not to touch them, not to come within an arm’s length of them. But how could he anoint them? How could he baptize them? How could he share the Eucharist with them? How could he share God’s love if he could not touch them like Jesus touched the sick and suffering in the gospels? Father Damien was forced to choose between the civil law governing leprosy and the divine law of love. He chose love. He chose the gospel.

Over the years, Father Damien became a tireless advocate for the lepers of Molokai. He begged, borrowed, and harassed every bishop and politician who crossed his path. He asked journalists to spread the word about conditions on Molokai and prepared lists of food, medicines, building supplies, and other resources needed to make life bearable for the lepers who were separated by law from their families and communities because of their illness.

Although Father Damien’s assignment in Molokai was supposed to be temporary, he decided during his first week that he would never leave. He told his bishop: “I wish to sacrifice myself for the poor lepers. The harvest here seems ripe.” In 1884, eleven long years after Father Damien began his ministry among the lepers, he burned his foot with scalding hot water, but did not feel any pain. He realized then that he was also infected with leprosy. Yet even as his conditioned gradually worsened, Father Damien continued to work harder than ever.

On April 15, 1889, Father Damien died of leprosy at the age of forty-nine, but he did not die in vain. His good work was continued by Sister Marianne Cope and the Sisters of Saint Francis who joined his ministry a year before his death, cared for him during his final illness, and con- tinued to look after the lepers well into the twentieth century. Father Damien and Sister Marianne were canonized on the same day by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. They are venerated together as patrons of the sick, especially those who suffer from leprosy and HIV-AIDS.

Father Damien is sometimes called a Martyr for Charity. He still has much to teach us about living the Gospel and healing God’s family. He reminds us that prayer is both the foundation and the fuel for a life of discipleship. He reminds us that prayer empowers us to carry our cross wherever it leads. He reminds us to be patient, persevering, and outspoken in the face of injustice. He reminds us to give, love, and serve without counting the cost. And he reminds us to help our neighbors who need our closeness, compassion, and tender support.

Father Damien began every homily with these words: “My fellow lepers…” Across long years and vast oceans, he still speaks to all of us: friends, neighbors, sinners, beaten and broken, fearful and uncertain, grieving and disillusioned, longing for love and a share in God’s kingdom. And he proclaims the Gospel of Christ: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has great love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Saint Damien of Molokai, pray for us! Saint Marianne Cope, pray for us!

Cliff Garvey
Associate Minister
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport

CCGR Weekly Newsletter (5-7-23)
Bringing Home the Word (5-7-23)
The Kids Bulletin (5-7-23)

Art Credit: Saint Damien of Molokai by Waltzing Matilda


Call to Prayer
A Prayer to Saint Damien of Molokai
Feast Day – May 10th

Saint Damien of Molokai,
you are our brother on the journey,
and a happy and generous missionary,
who loved the Gospel more than life.

Out of love for Jesus,
you left behind your family,
your homeland, your security, and your dreams.
Teach us now to give our lives
with a joy like yours,
to be in solidarity with the outcasts of this world,
and to contemplate the Holy Eucharist
as the source and summit of our faith.

Help us to love until the very end,
and with the strength of the Holy Spirit,
to persevere in compassion
for the poor and the forgotten
so that we may be good disciples
of the Risen Jesus
and our Blessed Mother.

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.

Saint Damien of Molokai, pray for us!
Saint Marianne Cope, pray for us!
Our Lady, Mother of the Sick, pray for us!

Listen: Martyr for Charity – Saint Damien of Molokai


Sharing God’s Love
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
    4:00pm Mass
  • Saint Joachim Church Sunday, May 14th
    10:00am Mass
  • Our Lady of Good Voyage
    Sunday, May 7th, May 14th & May 21st
    11:45am Mass

For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Betsy Works at 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!

Watch: Sacrament of Holy Eucharist (1 Minute)


Mother’s Day Mass for Families
Youth Faith Formation Special Event
Saturday, May 13th

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all parents, grandparents, godparents, and children of all ages are invited to join Father Jim for our Mother’s Day Mass for Families on Saturday, May 13th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church.

During Mass, Father Jim will preach a special homily about Mother’s Day and offer a blessing for all mothers, families, and children. In addition, those who gather for this Mass will join in the Annual Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary! As our Mother’s Day Mass for Families approaches, we reaffirm that Mass is our best class! Jesus is our best teacher! And every family with children that joins us is indeed a gift from God! For more information, please contact Father Jim at Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!


Call to Worship
Ascension of the Lord
Thursday, May 18th

A Holy Day of Obligation

On Thursday, May 18th, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which commemorates Christ’s elevation into heaven in the presence of the disciples on the fortieth day after his resurrection. On this Holy Day of Obligation, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will celebrate Masses according to the following schedule:

  • Wednesday, May 17th
    Mass at 5:30pm in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
  • Thursday, May 18th
    Mass at 8:00am in Saint Joachim Church
    Mass at 12:00pm in Saint Ann Church

For more information about the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, please contact Father Jim at Please join us! All are welcome!


Congratulations, Father Jim!
Celebrating 20 Years of Priesthood
Weekend of May 20th & 21st

Twenty years ago this month, our pastor was ordained to the diocesan priesthood by Bishop Richard Lennon at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston. Since then, Father Jim has served as Parochial Vicar at Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Woburn, Parochial Vicar of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge, and as pastor of both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. In commemoration of his two decades of faithful priesthood, Father Jim will celebrate two Masses of Thanksgiving here in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport:

  • Mass of Thanksgiving
    Saturday, May 20th at 4:00pm
    Saint Ann Church
  • Mass of Thanksgiving
    Sunday, May 21st at 11:45am
    Our Lady of Good Voyage Church

On Saturday, May 20th, we will be pleased to welcome Father Paul Ritt as Guest Concelebrant & Homilist at the Vigil Mass in Saint Ann Church. Father Ritt currently serves as Pastor of Ave Maria Parish in Lynnfield and Vicar Forane of the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston. For many years, Father Ritt also served as Director of the Pre-Theology Program at Saint John Seminary, so he knows our pastor very well! As we prepare to welcome Father Ritt and celebrate Father Jim’s anniversary, we pray for all of our priests:

Gracious and Loving God,
we thank you for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence
in the holy sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocations.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.
Grant them wisdom, understanding, and strength
so that they may follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Inspire our priests with the vision of your kingdom.
Give them the necessary words to preach the Gospel.
Enable them to experience joy in their ministries.
Assist them in becoming instruments of divine grace.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever. Amen.

If you and your family would like to express your appreciation for Father’s Jim’s ministry as both priest and pastor, please feel welcome to place cards, gifts, and-or messages in the collection basket along with your weekly offering; or mail them to our parish office at the following address:

Father Jim Achadinha
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
74 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930

As Father Jim’s 20th Anniversary approaches, please pray for him, for his brother priests, and for all who live, work, and worship in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Congratulations, Father Jim! Thank you for all you do for all of us!


Holy Family Women’s Guild
Memorial Day Cemetery Baskets
Now Accepting Orders!

The Holy Family Women’s Guild is accepting orders for Memorial Day Cemetery Baskets until Monday, May 22nd. Once again, the Guild is working with Cressey & Sons in Rowley to provide these beautiful baskets in memory of our fallen heroes. Baskets are available for $30 each and may be picked up on Saturday, May 27th from 10:00am until 12:00pm at Saint Ann Church. For more information or to place an order, please call Celia Gray at 978-281-2072 or Jane Marshall at 978-283-5111.

Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and the wider community. Throughout the year, the Women’s Guild sponsors social gatherings and fundraising events including our seasonal bake sales and the Christmas Fair. For more information about the Holy Family Women’s Guild and its good work in our parish, please contact Arlene Lesch at Please join us! New friends, members, and volunteers are always welcome!


Our Lady of Good Voyage
Crowning Feast of the Holy Spirit
Begins Monday, May 22nd

All are invited to join Father Jim, the Holy Name Society, Our Lady’s Guild, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, and the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in celebrating the Crowning Feast of the Holy Spirit from Monday, May 22nd through Sunday, May 28th. Here’s our schedule of events for this beautiful annual tradition:

  • Monday, May 22nd
    Holy Rosary at 6:30pm
    Carillon Concert & Outdoor Social at 7:00pm Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
  • Tuesday, May 23rd
    Holy Rosary at 6:30pm
    Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
  • Wednesday, May 24th
    Holy Rosary at 6:30pm
    Holy Mass at 7:00pm
    Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
  • Thursday, May 25th
    Holy Rosary at 6:30pm
    Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
  • Friday, May 26th
    Sung Rosary in Portuguese at 6:30pm
    Outdoor Supper & Concert by TimeSync at 7:00pm
  • Saturday, May 27th
    Holy Rosary at 5:15pm
    Holy Mass at 6:00pm
  • Pentecost Sunday, May 28th
    Holy Mass & Crowning Ceremony at 11:45am
    Crowning Luncheon at 1:00pm
    Our Lady of Good Voyage Church & Hall

Tickets for Sunday’s Crowning Lunch are available after all Weekend Masses in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church or through our parish office. A donation of $20 per person is requested. Donations of gift cards for the Crowning Raffle are also appreciated! Pre-orders for the tradi- tional Rosquilhas (round sweet bread) are now being accepted. For more information, please contact Matt Parisi at 978-360-2357 or; Beth Fosberry at 978-790-0196 or; or our parish office at 978-281-4820. Save the date! Spread the word! Bring your family and friends! All are invited! All are welcome! Come, Holy Spirit!


Safe & Easy Electronic Giving

God loves a cheerful giver. — 2 Corinthians 9:7

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 Thank you for your generous support for our parishes! May God bless you and your family, now and always!

Support Holy Family Parish
Support Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish


About Us

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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