Our Pastor’s Message
A New Normal for Now
Next Masses: Sunday, January 17th
By Father Jim
As you know, Cardinal Sean O’Malley asked every pastor in the Archdiocese of Boston to develop a plan for a prudent and limited re-opening of our churches. For many weeks, I worked with fellow parishioners and members of our pastoral team to develop a plan to resume the celebration of public Masses. Every member of our working remains united in our deep concern for the health, safety, and well-being of our friends, families, and fellow parishioners in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Our plan was approved by the Most Reverend Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston for the North Region. And we have now resumed the celebration of Sunday Masses on a limited basis.
Among our challenges is seating capacity. The Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts strictly limit seating to 40% of overall capacity in each church. At the same time, these regulations also require at least six feet of social distance at all times. In order to comply with these requirements, we can seat only 28 parishioners in Saint Joachim Church, 28 parishioners in Saint Anthony Chapel, 36 parishioners in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, and 56 parishioners in Saint Ann Church. Needless to say, this may make it difficult to accommodate everyone who may wish to join us for Mass.
In order to attend any public celebration of the Holy Eucharist, all parishioners must reserve an assigned seat via an easy-to-use online reservation system on a first-come, first-serve basis. For parishioners who do not have access to a computer or the internet, some seats will be reserved for registration by telephone. Every parishioner who successfully registers will receive a confirmation message via e-mail or telephone. It is important to remember that we cannot welcome anyone into our churches unless they participate in this registration process. Before attempting to register for Mass, please keep in mind the following important points:
- Register for only one Mass per month.
- Bring your e-mail confirmation to the church.
- Masks and temperature checks are required.
- Bring hand sanitizer.
- Maintain safe social distance.
- Cooperate with ushers.
Another challenge is cleaning and disinfection. Each of our churches must be thoroughly cleaned after every moment of public worship: funeral services, baptism and wedding ceremonies, and all celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. This includes professional cleaning of bathrooms, entrances, worship spaces, sacristies, sanctuaries, and every surface that someone might touch. Under these circumstances, we feel compelled to modify our weekend worship schedule so that all of our churches can be properly cleaned before each use. For the foreseeable future, our Sunday Mass Schedule will be reduced to the following celebrations:
- Vigil Mass (Online Only)
- Sunday at 7:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
- Sunday at 8:15am in Saint Ann Church
- Sunday at 10:00am in Saint Joachim Church
- Sunday at 11:45am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Please note that all parish programs, meetings, and ministries (including Daily Mass) remain suspended until further notice. Our parish office will also remain closed for the time being, but pastoral assistance is available by e-mail or telephone.
As we move forward together, please keep in mind that as your pastor, my focus will remain doing whatever is possible with limited resources to keep our people safe and well; and to provide some form of spiritual nourishment. This remains a time for patience, prayer, and prudence. The coming weeks and months will continue to test our bonds of prayer, fellowship, and service. These times will challenge us to consider new ways to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church in Gloucester and Rockport. But working together as humble servants in the Lord’s vineyard, we can do anything! Ever together! Peace, blessings, and sincere thanks to all for your ongoing prayers and support!
Support Your Home Parish!
Even though most of our ministries and programs are suspended during the pandemic, your home parish still needs your support! Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish depend solely on your financial support to pay our bills and make ends meet. Let’s follow the money! Your weekly gifts pay for Father Jim’s salary, health care benefits, along food and utilities for the rectory. Your gifts also pay for the salaries and benefits of our remaining pastoral team members who are working harder than ever to clean our churches, maintain our buildings and grounds, and provide for the spiritual needs of our fellow parishioners. Finally, your gifts pay for the necessary maintenance and repairs of our historic church buildings.
All friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport are encouraged to mail their offering or to give electronically. Our mailing address is 74 Prospect Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930. In addition, our WeShare program is a safe and easy way to make donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. Because of your generous and ongoing support during these tough times, we can pay our bills, balance our monthly budgets, and ensure the short and long-term financial stability of our beloved parishes. Every dollar counts! Every gift, large or small, makes a difference! For more information about how you can support the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
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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