LIFELONG FAITH FORMATION

The Assisi Project
Advent Day of Prayer: Our Lady Undoer of Knots
Saturday, December 4th

Begins with First Saturday Mass at 8:00am!

Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in North America, Europe, and Africa. Our mission is to help believers of all ages and backgrounds better live the Gospel of Christ through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.

In 1986, Father Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) began a period of doctoral studies in Germany. While there, he made a pilgrimage to Augsburg and the Jesuit Church of Saint Peter. In that church, he discovered a painting of the Blessed Mother who unties the knots of sin, despair, and disagreement that trouble our lives. For Father Bergoglio, it was a conversion moment that helped him better appreciate his ministry as a priest, his vows as a member of the Society of Jesus, and the importance of keeping our hearts and minds open to the will of God in all of our lives. By the time he was consecrated as Archbishop of Buenos Aries in 1992, the future pope was giving prayer cards of the famous image to anyone who came to him with a difficult personal problem!

In this spirit, all are invited to join the Assisi Project for an Advent Day of Prayer on Saturday, December 4th beginning with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, Father Jim and Cliff will lead a reflection and discussion on Our Lady of Undoer of Knots and the Holy Father’s enduring devotion to her. After a short break at 9:30am, we will then offer the Franciscan Rosary for the intentions of Pope Francis and for the Church around the world.

If you haven’t joined us before, please prayerfully consider joining us now! All parishioners and friends are invited to join us for the Assisi Project’s Advent Day of Prayer & Reflection! If you plan to join us or want more information about the Assisi Project and its good work in our parishes, please contact Cliff at cgarvey@ccgronline.com; or visit our website (see link below). Please join us! All are welcome! Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!

Learn More: The Assisi Project

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Fall Virtual Retreat
Let Us Dream

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 via ccgronline.com, assisiproject.com, and our YouTube channel. We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement and support for our efforts!

Over the years, our annual summer retreat has been our most popular adult faith formation program. For six consecutive summers, under the direction of Cliff Garvey, we gathered and prayed together over a wide variety of topics: Desert Spirituality, Benedictine Spirituality, Franciscan Spirituality, Eastern Monastic Spirituality, Discipleship & Mission, and the Universal Call to Holiness.

This year, the ongoing pandemic and Cliff’s unexpected surgery and long recovery prompted us to postpone, then cancel our plans for an in-person summer retreat. In our disappointment, Cliff and I read and talked together about a compelling new book: Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Futureby Pope Francis. Written during the worst of the pandemic, the Holy Father reflects on this and other worldwide crises, the dark voices that divide us, and a way forward that can bring us together around a common mission to care for each other and for our common home.

In Let Us Dream, produced in collaboration with his friend, Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis writes: “This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities — what we value, what we want, what we seek — and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of. What I hear at this moment is similar to what Isaiah hears God saying through him: Come, let us talk this over. Let us dare to dream. God asks us to dare to create something new…We need to slow down, take stock, and design better ways of living together on this earth.” In this spirit, we are happy to announce that all four episodes our Virtual Fall Retreat: Let Us Dream are now available! Just click on the links below:

All are invited to join us on retreat! Our podcasts are always free! You do not need to read the book in order to fully appreciate the depth and richness of the Holy Father’s insightful and though provoking work. But a limited number of copies are still available for $26.00 each. If you would like to purchase a copy, please contact Cliff at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Let’s pray together! Spread the word! All are welcome!

Learn More: Let Us Dream (Video)

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Youth Faith Formation
First Holy Communion
Registration Now Underway!

The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport offers a creative and innovative way for children to prepare for the Sacraments of Penance & Reconciliation (Confession) and First Holy Communion. Our program is designed to prepare both children and their parents for these sacraments; encourage lifelong relationships with Jesus and the Catholic Church; and help every family grow together in prayer, fellowship, and service.

In an effort to do what we can to ensure the health and safety of our parishioners during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all second grade students and their families are invited to participate in a hybrid model of youth faith formation that combines engaging online videos, family homework, and six Faith & Family Workshops (which include a teaching Mass with Father Jim). Our primary goal is to share the Good News of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. 

Our program is simple and family-friendly! No special training or preparation is necessary! Just print and complete a registration form and return it to us as soon as possible. Tuition of $100 is requested at the time of registration. Scholarships are available for families in need. When we receive your registration form and tuition, parents (or guardians) will be given copies of Dynamic Catholic’s Blessed First Communion. Over the course of six months, all parents and children are asked to watch an online video and review a chapter in the book according to the following schedule:

  • November 2021: Sunday is Special
  • December 2021: The Greatest Event on Earth
  • January 2022: The Word of God
  • February 2022: The Eucharist
  • March 2022: Your First Holy Communion
  • April 2022: God’s Family

In addition, all parents and young disciples are asked to join Father Jim for three monthly Fall Faith & Family Workshops (with Mass) on the following days and times. Choose one from each session:

  • Session 1: October 22nd at 6:00pm or October 29th at 6:00pm
  • Session 2: November 12th at 6:00pm or November 19th at 6:00pm
  • Session 3: December 3rd at 6:00pm or December 10th at 6:00pm

Finally, all parents and young disciples are asked to join Father Jim for three monthly Winter-Spring Faith & Family Workshops (with Mass) on the following days and times. Choose one from each session:

  • Session 1: February 4th or February 11th at 6:00pm
  • Session 2: March 4th or March 11th at 6:00pm
  • Session 3: April 1st or April 8th at 6:00pm

Dates for the celebration for the Sacraments of First Penance and First Holy Communion will be announced later this fall. Until then, if you have questions or need more information, please contact Father Jim at frjim@ccgronline.com. As we forge ahead under unusual circumstances, please pray for all of our young disciples and their parents. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Peace and blessings to all!

Second Grade Registration Form 2021-2022

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Youth Faith Formation
Sacrament of Confirmation
Registration Now Underway!

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 each candidate and Christ Jesus; and they prepare each candidate to actively participate in the prayer, worship, apostolic ministry, and countless goods works of the Church in their home parish and throughout the world.

Unfortunately, for many teenagers, the Sacrament of Confirmation is regarded as a kind of graduation from the Catholic Church, rather than the joyful beginning of life as an adult disciple within 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 ongoing pandemic, our program will emphasize an in-person encounter with Jesus at Sunday Mass; along with a simple, user-friendly video-based remote program that includes journal questions for prayer and reflection. All students who wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation early next year are expected to complete the following requirements:

  • Attend: Sunday Mass (See schedule below)
  • Watch: Wild Goose Video Series (See schedule below)
  • Reflect: Wild Goose Journal Question (See schedule below)

If your son or daughter has completed the first year of our program and sincerely wants to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation in either Holy Family Parish or Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish, please print and complete a registration form and return it to us as soon as possible. Tuition of $100 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 our fall program gets underway, please pray for all of our students and their parents, sponsors, and families. Peace and blessings to all!

Confirmation Registration Form 2021-2022
Confirmation Year 2 Schedule 2021-2022

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The Way
Sacramental Preparation for Adults
Now Underway!

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

‘The Way’ was among the earliest names for followers of the Risen Christ. ‘The Way’ also appears as a reference for the early Christian communities in the Acts of the Apostles. In addition, tradition teaches 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!’ But a life of discipleship is not just a hobby. It is a vocation, 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 Christ, who is our merciful redeemer, friend, and brother. As disciples, we are called to reach out to those who need help in growing closer to Christ and the Church.

In this spirit, all adults (age 18 and over) who have not received all of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation) are invited to join ‘The Way.’ Typically called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), the Way is a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter. In addition, as part of this same program, we will prepare adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Other fellow parishioners who have received the Sacraments are also welcome to join us!

Our group will gather for fellowship, formation, and faith sharing twice each month. As a community of disciples, we will learn together about the basic beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Church; and we will explore the methods of prayer and spirituality that have brought centuries of believers closer to Jesus, closer to the Church, and closer to each other. In addition, we will talk openly and honestly about the challenges of living an authentic life of faith, hope, and love in the modern world.

Our first gathering will be in-person on Saturday, October 9th at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. If you would like to become part of this unique fellowship in preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation, please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Please join us! Spread the word! Bring a friend! All are invited! All are welcome!

Learn More: Baptism (One Minute Video)
Learn More: Eucharist (One Minute Video)
Learn More: Confirmation (One Minute Video)

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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 more than 50 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 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
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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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