The Holy Season of Advent is a time of penance, prayer, and preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. Advent marks the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year and serves a twofold purpose. First, it calls us to make ourselves ready for the birth of the Christ Child; and secondly, it directs the human heart to await expectantly the Lord’s Second Coming at the end of time. For these reasons, Advent is a season for hope, peace, joy, and love.
The Catholic Church has been marking the Holy Season of Advent since the fourth century. Traditions include the Advent Calendar and Advent Wreath. In each of our churches, the wreaths feature four candles. The three purple candles (representing the first, second, and fourth weeks of the season) symbolize both penance and royalty. These candles remind us of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for our sake and his role as “King of Kings” and “Prince of Peace.” The pink candle (representing the third week of the season) symbolizes joy. It reminds us that we should be eagerly and joyfully awaiting the Lord’s Nativity at Christmas.
During this Holy Season of Advent, which begins on Sunday, December 3rd, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport invites you to participate in any and all of the following special events and programs. For more information, please see Father Jim before or after Mass; or contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
Pastor’s Advent Bible Study
Thursdays During Advent
During the Holy Season of Advent, all adult parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Father Jim for a weekly lunchtime scripture study based on the scriptural libretto of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” On four consecutive Thursdays from November 30th through December 21st at 12:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall, Father Jim will lead a one-hour discussion and reflection on the scripture passages used in Handel’s beautiful operatic treatment of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In preparation for each week’s session, participants will be asked to read from Douglas Connelly’s book, “The Messiah: The Texts Behind Handel’s Masterpiece.” All participants are welcome to bring their own lunch and join us for as many sessions as possible. A donation of $20.00 is requested from those who can afford it. Participants will be provided with a copy of the book, along with coffee, tea, or bottled water. If you would like to join us for this special scripture study series, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Youth Faith Formation
Advent Faith & Family Mass
Saturday, December 2nd
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs (Matthew 19:14).” In response to the Lord’s call, all children, parents, grandparents, godparents, and guardians are invited to join Father Jim for our Third Annual Advent Faith & Family Mass on Saturday, December 2nd at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. During Mass, Father Jim will offer a special homily about the Jesse Tree (see Isaiah 11:1-4) and a special blessing for all families and children. In addition, every child will receive a special gift.
Please save the dates for our other upcoming Faith & Family Masses: Saturday, January 6th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church; Sunday, February 18th at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; and Saturday, May 12th at 4:00pm in Saint Ann Church. For more information about our Advent Faith & Family Mass, please see Father Jim or contact Betsy Works at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us reaffirm that Mass is our class! Jesus is our Teacher! Every child is a gift from God! Every family in our pews is a gift from God, too! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent & Christmas Concert
An Annual Holiday Tradition
Sunday, December 3rd
All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited to join Tom Misuraca, LuAnn Pallazola, and our adult and youth music ministries for our Thirteenth Annual Advent & Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 3rd at 2:00pm in Saint Ann Church. All of this year’s musical selections have been chosen to help prepare our hearts to celebrate more fully the Holy Season of Advent and the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. As always, our adult and youth choirs will perform along with talented instrumentalists. In addition, members of our Brazilian Community will perform with us, too! For more information about this popular holiday tradition, please contact Tom Misuraca at email@example.com. Please join us as we share the gift of music! All are invited! All are welcome!
Advent Mission & Retreat
with Sister Elizabeth Wagner
December 6th-December 8th
All are invited to join us for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Advent Mission & Retreat from Wednesday, December 6th through Friday, December 8th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Evening Prayer and Mass at 7:00pm. We will be blessed to welcome back Sister Elizabeth Wagner as our special guest and spiritual director, who will lead us in prayer and reflection each evening after Mass.
Sister Elizabeth lives a contemplative life at Transfiguration Hermitage in Windsor, Maine, which she founded as a semi-eremitical community devoted to prayer and soli- tude according to the Rule of Saint Benedict. She is a hermit, award-winning writer, spiritual director, and retreat leader. Sister Elizabeth is also formation director, garden- er, and groundskeeper of the hermitage.
In addition to Sister Elizabeth’s nightly reflections during our mission and retreat, she will sign copies of her book, “Seasons In My Garden.” This beautiful book intricately weaves insights from her own spiritual journey with observations about the passing of seasons. It offers readers spiritual guidance and understanding that the patient tending of the soul can transform our lives into flourishing gardens that God can use to reflect his glory. Copies of the book will be available for $16.95 per copy.
Sister Elizabeth and Sister Bernadette (the hermitage’s baker and cook) will also tempt us with their famous homemade fruitcakes, cookies, jams, and sauces (all of which will be available for purchase after each evening of the mission and retreat). All proceeds will benefit Transfiguration Hermitage which depends on the generosity of benefactors and friends from around the world. Please note that the Advent Mission & Retreat is free but donations will be gratefully accepted during Mass to support our adult faith formation programs. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
A Holy Day of Obligation
Friday, December 8th
In honor of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday, December 8th, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport invites you and your family to join us for Mass according to the following schedule:
Thursday, December 7th | Vigil Mass
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00pm
Friday, December 8th | Holy Day Masses
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 8:00am
Saint Ann Church at 12:00pm
Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 7:00pm
Since late antiquity, the People of God have believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was sinless and conceived immaculately in the womb of her mother, Saint Ann. This ancient devotion was not defined as doctrine until 1854. Since then, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has been patroness of many causes and nations, including the United States of America. So, please join us as we honor our Blessed Mother and beg her intercession for our families, our parishes, and our country. All are invited! All are welcome!
The Assisi Project
10th Anniversary Advent Gathering
Sunday, December 10th
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit that seeks to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the inspiration and intercession of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Our mission is to serve the Church and to give witness to the Good News of Christ through prayer and formation, pilgrimage and retreat, and educating others about the Franciscan way of life.
In celebration of our tenth anniversary, all are invited to join the Assisi Project for a special gathering during Advent on Sunday, December 10th beginning with Mass at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, we will adjourn to Our Lady’s Parish Hall for a homemade meal of bread, soups, and holiday desserts. In addition, Father Jim and Cliff will share memories and reflections about the group’s ten years together as a “Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit.”
Our tenth anniversary gathering will conclude at 3:00pm with Daytime Prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. All parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are invited! If you plan to join us, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com by Friday, December 8th so that we can plan adequately for food and drink. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
The Light Is On For You!
Confession & Eucharistic Adoration
December 14th & December 21st
The Holy Season of Advent is a time for prayer, penance, and preparation; a time to make ourselves ready for the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas. This Advent, all are invited to experience Christ’s boundless love and mercy through the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and through prayerful adoration of the Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. On two Thursday evenings during Advent, December 14th and December 21st from 6:00pm until 8:00pm, please join us for ‘The Light Is On For You!’ in Saint Ann Church.
These special evenings of prayer and devotion include Evening Prayer and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and an opportunity for those who feel called to participate in the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation. For some, this may be a time for sacramental confession. For some, it may be a time for silent prayer and reflection. And for some, it may be a time to begin or renew the journey of faith. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! For more information, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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