Our Pastor’s Message: Pause, Breathe, and Reflect

by Holy Family Cape Ann on October 10, 2014


Advent is a time for preparation and prayer. It is a time to open hearts, minds, and spirits in welcome to our newborn savior. All too often, however, our worldly preparations overwhelm our spiritual preparations. We decorate our homes in preparation for Christmas. We listen to holiday music in preparation for Christmas. We brave the malls and the traffic to buy presents in preparation for Christmas. We bake cookies and cook lavish meals in preparation for Christmas.

But what about spiritual preparation? What about prayer? All of these other activities can be good. They can be tangible expressions of love for our families and friends. They can convey our generosity, love, and service to others. But again, what about our prayer? What about our love for God? What about preparing ourselves spiritually for the birth of Christ? These are very challenging questions! And believe me, I don’t have all the answers. I routinely struggle (and often fail) to balance my ministry and work with my personal need for prayer and spiritual preparation.

Given the ever-increasing hustle and bustle of the holiday season, how can we prayerfully prepare for the coming of our savior? A friend of mine, who is a good spiritual director, suggests that we must “pause” in the midst of our busy lives and “take a deep spiritual breath.” He counsels that we cannot begin to reconcile our practical preparation for Christmas with our spiritual preparation for Christmas without recognizing the need to pause, slow down, and reflect deeply on what is about to happen to us and our world.

A poor young maiden named Mary will soon embrace the gift of motherhood through God’s astonishing grace! A poor laborer named Joseph will answer God’s summons to care for this girl and for her unborn baby. And finally, after a frantic search for lodging, their poor child – the Son of God and Savior of the world – will be born in a stable!

The miracle of Advent is not found in our ability to somehow find the time to cook all the meals, bake all the pies, and wrap all the presents. The true miracle of Advent is found in our ability to pause, breathe, and reflect upon the abundant blessings that are showered upon us in the story of a young woman’s openness to God’s grace, a young man’s openness to God’s summons to love, a child’s birth at the darkest time of year, and a world changed forever by the nativity of its savior.

As we begin our Advent journey, let us pray that each of us may find the courage and humility to set aside what we might think is most important and answer the Lord’s call to prayer. Let us pray that we may find the time and space to pause, breathe, and reflect upon the joyful mysteries of our faith. And let us pray that we may better appreciate the true meaning of Advent and ultimately the true meaning of Christmas.

Peace and blessings to all,
Father Jim

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Religious Education 2014 – 2015

by Holy Family Cape Ann on August 17, 2014


The registration form and the calendar for the 2014-2015 Youth Faith Formation at Holy Family Parish are posted here on the website.   Weekend classes have been scheduled to coincide with our Mass schedule or after school following the Rockport elementary school schedule.  By registering your child for Youth Faith Formation you offer another way to bring about our Christian faith in a community of peers.

The traditional gatherings for our faith formation program in Rockport will meet in the faith sharing loft of St. Joachim Church. At Saint Ann Church in Gloucester, we will continue to use the school building. With the use of the school, we ask that all of our catechists, volunteers and students respect the classroom space including the desks, closets and storage spaces. We are grateful for the use of the school building by the West Parish Public School of Gloucester.  The youth faith formation program will supply all our children with a folder, pencils, crayons and paper that will be necessary for their lessons.

As Catholics, especially as parents, we are called, invited and encouraged to bring our children to Mass every Sunday. It is the experience where as a family we gather to rejoice in the Good News of Christ.  Youth Faith Formation classes do not replace the grace and nourishment from the celebration of Eucharist. The classes assist you in the task of sharing the faith.

Attendance at our weekly classes is important. We only meet once per week. We ask that our children be present every week. We ask that your child not miss more than 3 excused absences so as to meet the milestones of formation each catechetical year.

We will offer opportunities for continued formation for families at our Whole Parish Faith Formation (WPFF) Sundays.  During WPFF throughout the year, our children will participate in “Keeping Children Safe” program mandated by the Archdiocese of Boston. Beginning in October, on the first Sunday of each month, the Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) will be offered at the 10:45am Mass for our youngest members of the parish.

Catechists for all grades are needed for the upcoming youth faith formation year.  If you feel called to participate in the formation of our youth, please consider being a catechist.  We will provide you with all the training and support needed.   Our youth faith formation program offers classes for students from Kindergarten through Confirmation (grades 9 & 10). Fr. Jim Achadinha, our pastor, and I along with the staff, catechists, and volunteers of our program are here to support you and your family in this work of faith and in the faith formation of your child.

If you have any other questions regarding our youth faith formation program for the upcoming year, please contact me at (978) 281-4820 or e-mail dalves@holyfamilycapeann.org.

Summer blessings and peaceful days,

Dawn Alves  -  Director of Youth Faith Formation

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Bulletins 2014

July 3, 2014

Click here for Bulletins June 22, 2014 June 15, 2014 June  8, 2014 June 1, 2014 May 25, 2014 May 18, 2014 May 11, 2014 May 4, 2014 April 27, 2014 April 20, 2014 Easter Sunday April 13, 2014 April 6, 2014 March 30, 2014 March 23, 2014 March 16, 2014 March 9, 2014 March […]

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Parish Pay Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

July 1, 2014

Parish Pay provides Holy Family Parish parishioners with an electronic method of collecton weekly offerings.  Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) gives our parishioners an option of donating electronically through their checking, savings, or credit card accounts.  The funds are then directly transferred to Holy Family Parish each and every month. To find out more about Parish […]

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Homilies 2014

April 7, 2014

FrJohn 7th Sunday of Easter June 1, 2014 FrJohn 6th Sunday of Easter May 25, 2014 Fr John 5th Sunday of Easter May18, 2014 FrJohn 3rd Sunday of Easter May 4, 2014 FrJohn 2nd Sunday of Easter April 26, 2014 Fr John Easter Sunday April 19, 2014 FrJohn Good Friday April 18, 2014 FrJohn Holy […]

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Lenten Evening of Renewal

April 6, 2014

You’re invited to our annual evenings of renewal. Each evening will begin at 7:00pm in St. Ann Church. Sunday, April 6, Fr. Paul Ritt will be the speaker. Fr. Paul is a former seminary professor and an excellent presenter. Click here to hear Fr Paul’s presentation” He’s presently pastor of the Lynnfield Collaborative parishes. He’ll […]

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World Day for the Sick – February 11, 2014

February 15, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Fr. John offered two presentations, one was at 10:30am and the second was at 7:00pm in the Parish Hall.  His presentation explained the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick, end of life issues and the importance of a Funeral Mass.  To hear a recording of the presentation click on the link below. […]

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December 31, 2013

How do I get the spirit of power, love and self-control??  What’s it all about??  Alpha has all the answers.  Join us for a “Taste and See” event at St John the Baptist in Essex on Monday, evenings at 6:30pm.  For more information call Louse DePino or Dawn Alves at 978-281-4820(Holy Family Office).

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Religious Education 2013 – 2014

December 30, 2013

Religious Education Information 2013 – 2014 Religious Education Registration Form and Fee Information Scheduling and Locations Children’s Lectionary of the Word Parking Logistics during Faith Formation Classes Whole Parish Faith Formation Confirmation Information Choosing a Confirmation Name Confirmation Application 2013 – 2014 Confirmation Service Work Packet Confirmation Year 1 (grade 9) Saint’s Essay or Choosing […]

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Knights of Columbus Events

December 27, 2013

Knights of Columbus – Council 215 PO Box 399, Gloucester, MA 01931-0399 To visit the Knights of Columbus Website click here. June 29, 2014   Please attend the St Peter’s Fiesta Mass at St Peter’s Square.  Celebrate the pageantry of this time honored tradition with Holy Family Parish.  The 4th Degree will be in attendance. July 8, 2014 at […]

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