LIFELONG FAITH FORMATION

My God & My All!
A Short Course on Discipleship
Begins Saturday, October 1st

Three Ways to Participate!

Bernard of Quintavalle was a friend of Francesco Bernadone, the man we now know as Saint Francis of Assisi. Prompted by the Holy Spirit to better understand Francis and his gospel-centered life, Bernard invited his old friend for a hot meal and an overnight stay. During the night, Bernard awoke and found Francis praying. He was on his knees; his hands stretched toward heaven; and he repeated over and over one simple prayer: “My God and my all!” Bernard was so deeply moved that he asked Francis to help him discern how to live as a true friend and disciple of Jesus Christ; and he ultimately became the first follower of the Poor Man of Assisi.

More than 800 years later, Saint Francis teaches us that discipleship is not just about the gift of faith. It’s not just about coming to Mass and learning about the teachings of the Church. It’s really all about loving God and loving neighbor. It’s about both meeting Christ in prayer and in the people we meet along our life’s journey. It’s about joy and suffering; communion and fraternity; prayer and action. It is ultimately about living the Gospel, sharing God’s love, and rebuilding the Church. Pope Francis says: “It is about living close to Jesus…It is about embodying the Gospel in everyday life. It is a fire that starts another fire.” It is no accident that the Holy Spirit gave us a pope who chose the name “Francis” and calls us back to the basics of prayer, good works, and a more simple way of life.

In this spirit, all are invited to join Father Jim and Cliff Garvey for My God & May All!: A Short Course on Discipleship. Over the course of the next seven months, you and your family can complete the course online or in-person. First, you can attend four gatherings of the Assisi Project on Saturday, October 1st; Saturday, November 5th; Saturday, December 3rd; and Saturday, January 7th. We will begin with Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church; followed by a reflection, faith sharing, and the rosary. Each session will conclude by 10:00am.

  • My God & My All! – An Introduction
  • Crucified & Joyful
  • Communion & Fraternity
  • Prayer & Action

Second, you can join us on four consecutive evenings next spring: Tuesday, April 25th through Friday, April 28th beginning with Evening Prayer at 6:30pm; followed by a reflection, faith sharing, and the rosary. Each session will conclude by 8:00pm. Finally, if in-person gatherings are not possible for you, you can join us online by listening to these four episodes of the Assisi Project Podcast which will be available beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd at assisiproject.com. Please note that you can attend or listen to all or even just one of the course sessions. Although the topics are related, each stands alone. So, join us when you can and as often as you feel called!

A donation of $25 per person is requested for the in-person course from those who can afford it. All participants will receive a copy of The Simple Way: Meditations on the Words of Saint Francisby Father Murray Bodo, OFM. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Save the dates! Spread the word! Please join us! All are welcome!

Learn More: The Assisi Project

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The Way
Sacramental Preparation for Adults
Begins Saturday, October 15th

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

The Way was the among the earliest names for followers of the Risen Christ. The Way also appears as a biblical reference for the earliest 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 of Jesus Christ. But as we all know, a life of discipleship is not a hobby or pastime. 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. And as his disciples, we are called to reach out to those who need our help in growing closer to Christ and the 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, a new adult faith formation program that will begin this fall. The Way (typically called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. As part of this same program, we will prepare adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation (to be received at either the Easter Vigil or at a regional archdiocesan celebration). Other parishioners who have received the Sacraments and are interested in renewing their spiritual lives are also very welcome to join us!

Our group will gather for fellowship, formation, and faith sharing. 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 Christ Jesus and to the Church. 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 Saturday, October 15th at 8:00am. If you would like to learn more about this journey of faith and become part of a unique fellowship in preparation for the sacraments of God’s Church, then please contact Cliff Garvey at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Please join us! Spread the word! 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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Youth Faith Formation
First Holy Communion
Registration 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 2022: Sunday is Special
  • December 2022: Greatest Event on Earth
  • January 2023: Word of God
  • February 2023: The Eucharist
  • March 2023: Your First Holy Communion
  • April 2023: 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 7 at 6:00pm; October 12 at 4:30pm; or October 21 at 6:00pm
  • Session 2: November 4 at 6:00pm; November 9 at 4:30pm; or November 18 at 6:00pm
  • Session 3: December 2 at 6:00pm; December 7; or December 9 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 3 at 6:00pm; February 8 at 4:30pm; or February 10th at 6:00pm
  • Session 2: March 3 at 6:00pm; March 8 at 4:30pm; or March 10 at 6:00pm
  • Session 3: March 31 at 6:00pm; April 12 at 4:30pm; or April 14 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!

First Holy Communion Prep Registration 2022-2023

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The Assisi Project Podcast
Always Free! Always Available!

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 75 podcasts with more on the way! These podcasts are free and always available! Just click on the links below:

The Assisi Project Podcasts

The Saints of Summer 2022

The Legend of Saint Clare Podcasts

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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Virtual Retreat with Pope Francis
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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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