LIFELONG FAITH FORMATION

Lent with Our Lady
Six Weeks of Spiritual Exercises

PRAYING FOR GOD’S MERCY, HEALING & PROTECTION

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s twin goals have been to do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of our parishioners and to provide free and high quality spiritual nourishment online. We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement and support for our efforts during the past year.

As we journey together through a second Lent under difficult circumstances, all are invited to join us for a series of daily and weekly spiritual exercises called Lent with Our Lady. All parishioners are encouraged to pray each day with two special prayers for the special intention of God’s mercy, healing, and protection from the coronavirus. Just click on the links below:

Daily Prayers for Lent

The Angelus Prayer is offered traditionally offered three times every day as a way to sanctify our work, our meals, and our rest. About this powerful prayer, Pope Francis writes: “The Angelus Prayer is a beautiful and popular expression of faith. It is a simple prayer, recited at three specific times a day. It thus punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities: in the morning, at midday, and at sunset. It is an important prayer that I encourage each one of you to recite.”

In addition to our daily prayers, Father Jim and Cliff Garvey will offer six weekly reflections on spiritual communion, the spirituality of the Angelus Prayer, and the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother within the context of the Holy Season of Lent. Last week, Cliff shared a special podcast about how the recent death of his beloved dog, Linus, and the response from our fellow parishioners have much to teach us about what keeps us together even when we can’t gather together in person. Cliff also produced a bonus podcast featuring the Litany of the Sacred Wounds, an ancient devotion composed and prayed daily by Saint Clare of Assisi. This week, Father Jim shares a video reflection about his personal experience with the Angelus Prayer which began during his years of priestly formation at Saint John Seminary where the Angelus is still recited each day before lunch. Just click on the links below:

Weekly Reflections for Lent

During Lent, when so many people are sick, suffering, or struggling to make ends meet, it is more important than ever that we pray together even when we can’t be together. It is more important than ever that we join together in prayer for God’s mercy, healing, and protection — for our sake and for the sake of the whole world. Pope Francis says: “Have courage. Pray in every moment and every situation so that the Lord may come near to us. When we pray according to the heart of Jesus, we make miracles.” As our Lenten journey continues, let’s begin again: to love each other, pray for each other, and pray for the God’s grace to make this a better world. In short, let’s make some miracles — together!

Pray More: CCGR Resources
Pray More: Assisi Project Resources

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Youth Faith Formation
Confirmation Preparation Program
Calling Young Disciples!

Along with Baptism and 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, worship, apostolic ministry, and countless good works of the Roman Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, for 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 in the Church. We hope to end this sad situation by continuing to transform our two-year sacramental preparation program into an engaging experience for the whole family. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first year of our program (which begins this spring) is a simple, user-friendly, and video-based remote program. All students who wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation next winter are expected to complete all of the following requirements:

If your son or daughter is currently in high school (under age 18) and sincerely wants to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation, please print and complete a registration form and return it to us as soon as possible. In-person registration is available on Saturday, March 6th from 11:30am until 1:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall; or Saturday, March 13th from 2:30pm until 4:00pm in Our Lady’s Hall. Tuition of $75 per student is requested at the time of registration. Scholarships are available for families in need. Registration forms and schedules are available via the links below. For more information about youth faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com. As we begin our preparations for the Sacrament of Confirmation, please pray for all of our students and their parents, sponsors, and families. Peace and blessings to all!

Confirmation Registration Form 2021-2022 
Confirmation Preparation Schedule (Year 1)

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Youth Faith Formation
First Holy Communion
Grade 2 Preparation Program

All all fellow parishioners already know, our program of preparation for First Holy Communion was interrupted last spring by the coronavirus pandemic. But since the celebration of public Masses resumed in July, forty-seven young disciples have received their First Holy Communion. We congratulate these young disciples and sincerely thank their parents and families for their cooperation and support.

All new second grade students are now invited to participate in a hybrid model of youth faith formation that will prepare them to receive their First Holy Communion on schedule sometime during the coming spring season. This year’s program will combine online videos and family home study as the primary methods of teaching our young disciples about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. And if health and safety guidelines allow it, we will meet in small groups for Faith & Family Workshops (with Mass) in February, March, and April 2021.

Preparation
Upon receiving the registration form and tuition, parents will be given a copy of Dynamic Catholic’s Blessed First Communion. For six months, parents and their children will be asked to watch and online video and review a chapter together according to the following schedule:

In addition,  all parents and young disciples are asked to watch (at their own pace) Father Jim’s Monthly Faith & Family Videos on our YouTube Channel which will be posted on these dates:

Last but not least, if health and safety conditions allow, each student and one parent (only) will be asked to attend one Faith & Family Workshop (with Mass) in February, March, and April. Each family will be asked to choose one option per month: February 5, 12, or 19 at 6:00pm; March 5, 12, or 19 at 6:00pm; and April 9, 16, and 23 at 6:00pm.

Dates for our celebrations of First Penance and First Holy Communion will be announced later this fall. Until then, if you have questions or if you have not yet registered your child for our program, please contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com. We hope and pray that you and your child will join us as we forge ahead, make the best of unusual circumstances, and do our best to both protect your family and prepare your young disciples for First Holy Communion. Please join us! All are welcome!

Grade 2 Registration (2020-2021)

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The Living Rosary
A Virtual Retreat

Jesus says: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have love you, you also should love one another (John 13:34).” During this pandemic, when so many of us are sick and suffering and when so many of us are self-isolating to protect ourselves and the people we love, it seems difficult to put Christ’s New Commandment into action.

For more than six months, our parish ministries that build community, serve the poor, share the faith, and raise much needed funds have seen their activities curtailed or suspended. In accordance with archdiocesan and state government guidelines, we were unable to throw open our doors and cry out: “All are welcome!” And concern for the deepening divisions in our country seem to seep into every conversation. These are difficult times, indeed, to live the Gospel and share God’s love!

And yet, our parishes have rose above the shadows of these dark times. More than 100 friends and fellow parishioners recently participated in our first-ever virtual retreat. This retreat featured praying the Holy Rosary, from dawn until dusk, in half-hour blocks, for five consecutive days, for the special intention of God’s mercy, healing, and protection from the coronavirus. When we pray the Rosary, alone or in community, we are part of a powerful spiritual communion that spans the globe and transcends time. Even if you and your family were unable to join us when we prayed the Living Rosary as a community, you can still make the retreat by praying the Rosary for five consecutive days and by listening to each day’s audio reflection:

Our pastor, pastoral team, and fellow parishioners are grateful to each and every person who takes the time to participate in this virtual retreat and prays for God’s mercy, healing, and protection during these difficult times. Our special thanks goes to the Assisi Project, the Legion of Mary of Gloucester & Rockport, the Rosary Group from Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Woburn, the Sisters of Saint Bridget of Sweden in Assisi, Italy, along with hundreds of other people from Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, and New York who have already made this special retreat!

Please read our weekly newsletter or visit this page for information about upcoming opportunities for adult faith formation. For more information about adult faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Now more than ever, let’s pray together!

Learn More: Pray the Rosary

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The Assisi Project
Free Podcast Series

Founded by Father Jim and Cliff, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit that is dedicated to helping believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare. In response to the pandemic, Father Jim asked Cliff to look back on nearly two decades of ministry as a catechist, spiritual director, and leader of retreats and pilgrimages; and to create a regular series of podcasts (audio recordings) as a way of continuing his adult faith formation ministry. As of this weekend, Cliff has already created eleven podcasts with more on the way! These podcasts are free and always available! Just click on the links below:

Members of the Assisi Project range in age from 12 to 95 and live in Holy Family Parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, all across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Angola. Part of our work together is our prayer together. So we pray each day for all who ask for our prayers all around the world. If you would like the Assisi Project to pray for you, your family, your special intention, or the soul of a deceased friend or loved one, please contact Cliff at cgarvey@ccgronline.com.

During this time of pandemic, when we are encouraged to remain at home, all are invited to pray and reflect on the Gospel Life by making use of the many resources on our website (click link below). These resources include our Daily Prayers, Franciscan Rosary, Way of the Cross, our new podcasts, and more than fifty reflections and stories about Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Come and pray with us online! May the Lord give you peace — now and always!

Learn More: Assisi Project Resources

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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!

For more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please see Father Jim or contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. 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!

Learn More: The Assisi Project

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The Way
Sacramental Preparation for Adults

I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Among the earliest names for the earliest Christian communities was The Way. It appears in the Acts of the Apostles; and tradition holds that both before and after his conversion, Saint Paul referred to the disciples of Christ as part of The Way. More than two thousand years later, Catholic Christians are still part of the Way of Jesus Christ. But the life of discipleship is not a hobby or pastime. It is a vocation. It is a way of life that lays claim to our whole heart, mind, and strength. As disciples, our lives should be focused on and inspired by our faith in Jesus Christ, who is our merciful redeemer, friend, and brother. And as disciples, we are called to reach out to those who need our help in growing closer to Christ and the Catholic Church.

If you are an adult (age 18 and over) and have not received all of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation), then please consider joining The Way. Typically called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, The Way is an a faith formation program that prepares adults to be received into the Roman Catholic Church during the Easter Season. As part of this same program, we also prepare adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, participants in this program will meet one-on-one in person and-or online.

Working together, we will learn about the basic beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic Church. We will explore the methods of prayer that have brought generations of believers closer to Christ and his Church. And we will talk openly and honestly about the challenges of living an authentic life of faith, hope, and love in the modern world. If you would like to learn more about The Way and begin your preparations for the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, then please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!

Watch: Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church

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Adult Faith Formation

In addition to our adult faith formation programs that focus on preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport also offers the following programs for adults seeking to deepen their relationship with Christ and His Church:

  • Assisi Project
  • Advent Mission & Retreat
  • Lent Mission & Retreat
  • Summer Evening Retreat
  • Spring & Fall Days of Prayer & Reflection
  • Seasonal Book Study Groups
  • Individual Spiritual Direction
  • Other Special Events

Please read our weekly newsletter or visit this page for the dates and times for these and other upcoming opportunities for adult faith formation. For more information about adult faith formation in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Cliff Garvey, Associate Minister, at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Please join us! All are welcome! Always!

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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!

Follow us on Twitter: @CCGRonline