Our Pastor’s Message
Who Are You Called To Be?
Pray, Discern & Respond
Two years ago, Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy, a time for the Catholic Church throughout the world to reflect on God’s great gifts of love and forgiveness. This year, more locally, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport begins a “Year for Vocations”, a time for us to think deeply about who God calls us to be and what God calls us to do with the one life that we are blessed to live on this earth.
As Christians, we believe that God calls us to live as faithful disciples. But in what form of life are we called to live our discipleship? As a woman, are you called to marriage, motherhood, religious life, or the single life? As a man, are you called to marriage, fatherhood, priesthood, or the diaconate? As a child of God are you called to a life of contemplation and solitude? Or are you called to a life of active ministry and service? What is your calling? What is your vocation? Who are you called to be? What are you called to do? These are both timeless and troubling questions that sometimes can take a lifetime to answer. But with hearts open to prayer and discernment, God can help us find our way in the world. Each and every one of us (regardless of age or gender) can discover, rediscover, and respond to God’s plan for our lives. But it takes work and sometimes requires help. Hence, we embark on a Year for Vocations!
Throughout the coming year, all of our adult faith for- mation programs will focus on helping us to understand the spirituality of vocation; praying about our vocation both as individuals and as members of a community; discerning what God asks of us during our lives; and responding to God’s call at every stage of life. We will offer seasonal book study programs, two days of prayer and reflection, and other special events. And Sister Elizabeth Wagner will return to guide us on the path of discernment during Lent and Advent!
Finally, on the First Friday of every month from 12:00pm until 5:00pm for “Vocation Fridays.” These monthly prayer vigils will include Eucharistic Adoration, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, and a Rosary for an increase of vocations to the diocesan priesthood. All are invited to join us for all or just part of these monthly prayer vigils. Let us pray that each of us, in our own way, will learn to pray, discern, and respond to God’s plan for our lives in a true spirit of faith, hope, and love.
Peace and blessings to all,
Reverend James M. Achadinha, Pastor
Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
A Monthly Vigil of Prayer
Friday, April 6th
On Friday, April 6th from 8:00am until 12:00pm, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport will gather for “Vocation Fridays” in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. This monthly vigil of prayer will begin with Mass at 8:00am followed by Morning Prayer and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. At 11:00am, we will pray a Rosary for an increase in vocations to the diocesan priesthood. And we will conclude at 12:00pm with Daytime Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Our “Vocation Fridays” will be held on the First Friday of the month: May 4th, June 1st, July 6th, August 3rd, September 7th, October 6th, November 2nd, and December 7th. Our hope is that all parishioners and their families will be able to join us for at least one of these special afternoons of prayer, discernment, and devotion. And throughout this “Year for Vocations”, our prayer is that each of us, in our own way, will learn to pray, discern, and respond to God’s call with faith, hope, and love. For more information, please contact Father Jim at email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Spring Mission & Retreat
Called to Fullness of Life
April 18th-April 20th
All are invited to join us for the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s Mission & Retreat: “Called to Fullness of Life” from Wednesday, April 18th through Friday, 20th in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. Each evening will begin with Mass at 7:00pm. We will be blessed to welcome back Sister Elizabeth Wagner as our special guest and spiritual director, who will lead us in prayer and reflection each evening after Mass.
As part of our “Year for Vocations,” Sister Elizabeth will talk with us about finding meaning in daily life through God’s abiding presence; discovering our true selves through God’s grace; and growing into wholeness and purity of heart through God’s love. In this way, our Lent Mission & Retreat is based on the promise that God calls each of us (heart, body, and soul) to live the Christian life. But because of our fallen natures, we spend our lives working our way back to God through an often painful process of discipleship and reintegration. According to Sister Elizabeth, the ancient monastics would counsel us that our ultimate goal is purity of heart or what we might call wholeness or the true self. Ultimately, our Spring Mission & Retreat is about our individual faith journey and the “great walk back” from unlikeness to the fullness of life with God.
Sister Elizabeth Wagner lives a contemplative life at Transfiguration Hermitage in Windsor, Maine, which she founded as a semi-eremitical community devoted to prayer and solitude according to the Rule of Saint Benedict. She is a hermit, award-winning writer, spiritual director, and retreat leader. Sister Elizabeth is also formation director, gardener, and groundskeeper of the hermitage. Our Spring Mission & Retreat is free to all parishioners, friends, and guests of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport. Donations will be gratefully accepted during Mass to support our adult faith formation programs. For more information, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!
Year for Vocations
Called to Discipleship?
Consider Joining “The Way”
I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
“The Way” was among the earliest names for the followers of the Risen Christ. Indeed, the Way appears as a scriptural reference to the earliest Christian communities in the Acts of the Apostles. In addition, both before and after his conversion, tradition holds that 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 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 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 a seven month program that prepares adults to be received into the Roman 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 our local Easter Vigil Mass or at a regional archdiocesan celebration).
Beginning in October 2018, this adult faith formation program will meet twice each month for fellowship, formation, and faith sharing. As a community of disciples, we will learn together 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 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 email@example.com. Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Please note that registration for “The Way 2018-2019” will begin in June 2018.
Year for Vocations
Called to Priesthood?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1536), “Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: espiscopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests), and diaconate (deacons).” The priesthood is a calling for life, not simply one occupation among many that one might choose. This means that the priest is chosen to accomplish God’s saving work through prayer, sacramental ministry, and pastoral ministry.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley has asked all parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston to create a culture of vocation discernment with an emphasis on vocations to the diocesan priesthood; and that all parishes should pray for vocations, identify potential candidates for seminary formation, and encourage those candidates to embrace their vocations. In this spirit, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport encourages all young men and their families to prayerfully consider the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood.
A Prayer for Discernment
O Lord, I do not know what to ask you.
You alone know my real needs,
and you love me more
than I even know how to love.
Enable me to discern my true needs
which are hidden from me.
I ask for neither Cross nor consolation.
I wait in patience for you.
My heart is open to you.
For your great mercy’s sake,
come to me and help me.
Put your mark on me and heal me,
cast me down and raise me up.
Silently, I adore your holy will and inscrutable ways.
I offer myself in sacrifice to you
and put all my trust in you.
I desire only to do your will.
Teach me how to pray and pray in me yourself.
According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), more than eighty percent of the men who were ordained to the priesthood in 2017 were encouraged to discern their vocations by their families, friends, fellow parishioners, and pastors. The research also shows that newly ordained priests (on average) were high school students when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood. If you feel called to discern a vocation to the priesthood or if you know of someone whose vocation should be encouraged, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org; or review the vocation resources below.
Year for Vocations
Who Are You Called To Be?
Consider Spiritual Direction
All men and women, regardless of age and experience, are called to serve God’s people in some way. Some men are called to the diaconate, priesthood, or religious life. Some women are called to consecrated or religious life. Some men and women are called to the single life. Some men and women are called to an eremitic life of prayer and solitude. And some men and women are called to marriage and parenthood. Each person is called by God and each person’s vocation is unique and worthy of blessing, encouragement, and praise. But discerning one’s true calling depends on personal prayer, an inquiring mind, and an open heart.
A person can discern their vocation independently or through a process of spiritual direction. According to the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization: “Spiritual direction is meeting with a trained and experienced director to reflect on how God is present and active in your life right now, and how God might be calling you into deeper relationship…The content of the direction session is simply your life: whatever aspect, story, or experience you feel moved to bring to prayer and reflection.” For more information about individual or group spiritual direction in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com.
Year for Vocations
Prayers for Discernment
God calls each of us to follow him, love him, and love one another. But each of us is called to fulfill God’s plan in different ways: marriage, diaconate, priesthood, religious life, or the single life. We refer to these individual callings as our vocation. The word vocation has linguistic origins in the Latin word “vocare” which means “to call.” As Catholic Christians, we must discern which of these vocations will enable us to grow closest to the Lord and ensure our salvation.
Discernment is the spiritual process by which we can learn who God calls us to be and what God calls us to do with our lives. It is the process by which we can recognize and respond to God’s vocation for us: whether that vocation leads us into the cloister, the wedding chapel, or the world of commerce. Each and every person (regardless of age or gender) can discover, rediscover, and respond to God’s plan for our lives. But discernment requires prayer! Here are some prayers by which to begin your process of discernment:
A Prayer for Guidance
By Saint Francis of Assisi
Most High and Glorious God,
bring light to the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith,
certain hope, and perfect charity.
O Lord, give me insight and wisdom,
so that I might always discern
your holy and true will. Amen.
A Prayer for Vocations
By Cardinal Joseph Bernadin
Lord of the harvest,
your Word finds a home in our hearts,
calls us into community
and invites us to generous service
of the human family.
Bless with courage and spirit
your priestly people,
called to full participation
in the one Body of Christ.
May many choose to respond
in public service to your call
offered in Jesus’ name. Amen.
A Prayer for Discernment
Almighty God and Father,
you call each one of us by name
and you ask us to follow you.
Bless your Holy Church
by raising up dedicated and generous leaders
from among our families and friends
who will serve your people
as priests and deacons,
as religious brothers and sisters,
and as lay ministers.
Inspire us as we grow to know you,
and open our hearts to hear your call.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Year for Vocations
Adult Faith Formation
During our “Year for Vocations”, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport at both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish will offer the following programs for adults seeking to pray, discern, and respond to God’s plan for their lives and to deepen their relationships with Christ and His Church:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! All are welcome! Always!
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