OUR WINTER GOAL – $22,500
As a sad year passes into history and a new year begins, we look ahead with hope and we pray for better days. This is also a good time to count our blessings and confront our challenges with courage and honesty. On the bright side, our churches are open (albeit with limited seating capacity and strict safety guidelines). Our young disciples are preparing remotely for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Babies are being baptized. Confessions are being heard. Funerals and weddings are being celebrated in small, more intimate ceremonies. Our online ministry now attracts 2,000 visitors every week. And new technologies allow us to pray with the sick and the lonely in ways that keep everyone safe. Last but not least, thanks to your ongoing generosity, our bills are being paid and our budget is balanced as we end the first half of the fiscal year.
But winter is upon us. Regardless of how many parishioners can be welcomed into Our Lady of Good Voyage Church during the pandemic, the church and other parish buildings must be heated, insured, and maintained. Parking lots must be plowed. Sidewalks must be shoveled and kept clear of ice. The remaining members of our pastoral team (including me), who are working harder than ever, must be paid. And we simply must be ready — on day one — to resume our ministries and programs when this crisis passes.
Anyone who knows me knows that economy and thrift were taught to me at an early age. My parents worked day and night to provide for our family and make ends meet. Believe me, we are doing everything we possibly can to control costs and reduce expenses. But the short and long-term financial stability and pastoral viability of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish is in our hands. We are solely responsible for our own fundraising and for paying our own bills. The future of our beloved and historic home parish depends entirely on parishioners like you and me. It’s all up to us!
Each year, the Grand Annual Collection bridges the gap between our weekly gifts and the overall costs of operating our parish. This year, we must raise $45,000 by the end of the fiscal year. Our goal right now is to raise $22,500 by Easter Sunday, April 4th. If every parish family gives $37 to our Winter Grand Annual Collection, then we will reach our goal by Easter Sunday, balance our budget, and ensure the financial security of our parish. Giving and praying together, we can make this happen!
Every family that is registered with Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish has been mailed a gift envelope that can be returned at Mass or by mail. Additional envelopes are also available in the church vestibule. If you did not receive an envelope and would like to be added to our parish census, please contact me as soon as possible. Thank you in advance for your prayers and generous support of Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish! Be smart! Stay safe! Wear a mask! Peace and blessings to all! — Father Jim
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
This Week in Washington
By Father Jim
In 1969, my mother immigrated to the United States from Portugal at the age of nineteen. One year later, my father followed. They did not understand a word of English. They learned it together by watching television, listening to the radio, and interacting with friends, neighbors, and colleagues. My mom worked at a factory. My dad worked at a shipping company. Eventually, my parents became citizens, found community in their parish and neighborhood, forged good friendships, and raised three children. They worked hard, played by the rules, made ends meet, saved whatever they could, and earned a small share in the American Dream.
My dad is now seventy-six years old. He still walks three miles every morning. He often says: “I have lived a good life.” My parents’ life together is deeply rooted in faith, family, honesty, hard work, and mutual respect. Everything else is up for discussion. Everything else is open for compromise. Over the years, I have known my parents to vote for Catholics and Non-Catholics, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. They read the newspaper. The watch the news. They talk with their kids. They talk with their friends. Then my parents made a decision. They choose the best candidate, the best person: that man or woman who best embodies their core values of faith, family, honesty, hard work, and mutual respect.
Their expectations for our civic leaders are simple. Do your job. Get it done. Make it work. Feed the hungry. Care for the sick. Take care of the elderly. Obey the law. Serve the people. Everything else is up for discussion. Everything else is open for compromise. My parents don’t believe in conspiracy theories. They don’t care much about partisan politics or philosophical debates. They do care about living in safe neighborhood. They do care about good schools for their grandchildren.
My parents don’t understand why so many people are poor; why so many people lack health insurance; why so many people are so mean and unhappy in the freest and richest country in the world. But my parents know a liar when they hear one. They know an instigator of violence when they see one. They know what it means to be a sore loser and a spoiled brat. They know who is responsible when an angry crowd becomes a violent mob that attacks the building that symbolizes everything they have achieved in their adopted country; the country that they have loved for more than fifty years.
“My country,” my mom says with a sigh, “America is my country.” My mom’s country, our country, was attacked this week by domestic terrorists. The United States Capitol was invaded by thugs and vandals whose feverish devotion to one man possessed them, overpowered all conscience and reason, and swept aside any concern for public safety and the common good. Five people died because some among us cannot accept the outcome of a free and fair election. Here. In this country. In our time. On our watch. I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know what to say to my parents. I don’t know what to say to all of you. Fortunately, a few bishops and pastors found the courage to speak out this week:
Father Brian Massingale wrote: “What we witnessed in Washington [on Wednesday, January 6th] is a direct consequence of four years of enabling complicity, cynical appeasement, and cowardly silence.” Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago tweeted: “What has been unfolding at the Capitol…should shock the conscience of every patriotic American and every faithful Catholic. The eyes of the world look on in horror as we suffer this national disgrace. May our elected officials heed the counsel of their better angels to stand up for the Constitution they swore to defend, speak the truth, and recognize the threats to our democracy, no matter their source.”
Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. wrote: “We are called to be a people of democratic values that respects the opinions of others, even when we disagree with them. As a people of faith seeking to bring the Lord into this world by how we live, we must acknowledge the human dignity of those with whom we disagree and seek to work with them to ensure the common good.” And Father James Martin said: “Let this be a lesson for us: to work for peace and reconciliation, to watch our language, and always treat one another, even those on the other side of the aisle, with dignity and fairness.”
In the end, here’s my advice for these troubled times: Turn away from screens. Look into your heart. Find the goodness that God planted there. Embrace it. Look into the eyes of your neighbor. Find the goodness that God planted there. Embrace it. Find your faith. Live it. Share it. Be decent. Be honest. Be humble. Be kind. Work hard. Accept what comes. Love the Lord. Love others. No matter what. My mom and dad taught me these things: faith, family, honesty, hard work, and mutual respect. If we give them a chance, these things, along with God’s love, are all we really need. May God bless and heal our divided country. Amen.
A Call to Prayer
The Winter in All of Our Lives
There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have come and gone,
for hope in days that are yet to be.
you created the seasons for a purpose.
Spring is full of expectation:
buds breaking, frosts abating,
and an awakening of creation
before the first days of summer.
Then the sun gives warmth
and comfort to all of our lives,
reviving aching joints,
bringing color, new life,
and crops to market.
Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax, and enjoy
the fruits of our labor:
mellow colors in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.
Then winter, cold and bare,
as nature takes stock, rests, unwinds,
and sleeps until the time is right.
An endless cycle and a perfect model.
We need winter in our lives:
a time to rest, a time to stand still,
a time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the One in whom we are rooted;
take time to grow and rise through darkness
into the warm glow of spring;
to blossom and flourish,
bring color and vitality
into this world, your garden.
Thank you God
for the seasons of our lives.
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.
Source: Xavier University
The Assisi Project
A Franciscan Night Prayer
Let’s Pray Together!
Saint Paul writes: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of the God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16).” For centuries, Christians have puzzled over what it means to pray without ceasing. But one ancient practice provides an answer: the Liturgy of the Hours. Since the Middle Ages, the Church has used a daily practice of prayer called the Divine Office or the Liturgy of the Hours to mark and sanctify the various hours of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night. It is based on a four week cycle of psalms, canticles, and scripture readings that calls us into a deeper relationship with Christ and the Church bringing us together through prayers of praise, petition, intercession, and thanksgiving.
At ordination, deacons and priests make a solemn promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day, using a book called the Breviary. But the Divine Office is not just for the clergy and those consecrated to religious life. Countless lay people around the world make the Liturgy of the Hours part of their daily prayer and worship. Indeed, when we pray these prayers, whether alone or in community, we are united in a powerful spiritual communion that helps to heal, redeem, and consecrate our sick and suffering world.
Unlike the other hours of the Divine Office, Compline (or Night Prayer) works on a seven day cycle. Every Sunday, the prayers are the same. Every Monday, the prayers are the same. And so on. According to the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours: “Night Prayer is the last prayer of the day, said before retiring, even if that is after midnight.” And about this form of prayer, Pope Francis says: “I am very attached to the Breviary…It is the first thing I open in the morning and the last thing I close before going to sleep.”
In this spirit, in solidarity with Pope Francis, and in communion with Christian disciples around the world, the Assisi Project invites you to join us in offering A Franciscan Night Prayer. This newly created version of Night Prayer includes the traditional psalms, readings, and canticle of the day. It also includes antiphons, readings, and a Marian devotion from the spiritual tradition founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. A Franciscan Night Prayer can be prayed by listening to one of our free podcasts or by praying with the printable version. See links below! Let’s pray together! It’s a great way to end the day! Each podcast is less than ten minutes!
- A Franciscan Night Prayer for Sunday
- A Franciscan Night Prayer for Monday
- A Franciscan Night Prayer for Tuesday
- A Franciscan Night Prayer for Wednesday
- A Franciscan Night Prayer for Thursday
- A Franciscan Night Prayer for Friday
- A Franciscan Night Prayer for Saturday
For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Electronic giving is available at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is safe and simple to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card or debit card. Donations can be made on an ongoing or one-time-only basis. And it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. For assistance or more information about this important fundraising resource for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Thank you for your generous support for our parishes during these difficult times! Peace, blessings, and many thanks to all!
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 Michael & Sandra Ciaramitaro