Programs & Events

The Assisi Project
Saturday with Saint Francis
Saturday, October 27th

Founded in 2007 by Father Jim Achadinha and Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit that seeks to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the inspiration of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Our mission is to serve the Church and to give witness to the Good News of Christ through formation and prayer, pilgrimage and retreat, and educating others about our way of life. On the last Saturday of each month, the Assisi Project meets at 8:00am for “Saturday Morning with Saint Francis” in Saint Ann Church (74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts). Each gathering is a two-hour mini-retreat that includes Mass, formation, faith sharing, and fellowship. Coffee and refreshments are served.

FRANCISCAN SAINTS
Our Formation: The Franciscan Saints

During the coming months, our formation is based on studying the book, The Franciscan Saints, by Robert Ellsberg. This wonderful new book profiles 101 saints whose lived in the spirit of Saint Francis and offer us the courage and inspiration to follow in their footsteps. In preparation for our next “Saturday with Saint Francis,” scheduled for Saturday, October 27th, we will be reading and reflecting on the following chapters in the book:

  • Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (page 210)
  • October 8th: Saint Birgitta of Sweden (page 75)
  • October 11th: Saint John XXIII (page 205)
  • October 17th: Blessed Contardo Ferrini (page 168)
  • October 22nd: Blessed John Baptist Bullaker (page 116)
  • October 31st: Louis Massignon (page 203)

If you are interested in growing closer to Christ Jesus and learning more about Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi, please prayerfully consider joining us! You do not need to travel with us to Assisi to be part of the Assisi Project! Our members, friends, and followers range in age from 16 to 93! Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome! Always!

Upcoming Saturday Mornings with Saint Francis

  • Saturday, October 27, 2018 | Begins with Mass at 8:00am
  • Saturday, November 24, 2018 | Begins with Mass at 8:00am
  • Saturday, December 29, 2018 | Begins with Mass at 8:00am
  • Saturday, January 26, 2019 | Begins with Mass at 8:00am
  • Saturday, February 23, 2019 | Begins with Mass at 8:00am
  • Saturday, March 30, 2019 | Begins with Mass at 8:00am

In case of inclement weather, please check our website for possible cancellations and schedule changes. All adults are welcome to join our fellowship. For more information about the Assisi Project, please contact Cliff Garvey at c.garvey@ymail.com. May the Lord give you peace! Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us!

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The Assisi Project
Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection
Joy & Suffering with Saint Pio
Saturday, October 6th

Earlier this year, Pope Francis visited the House for the Relief of Suffering, a hospital founded by Saint Padre Pio. Afterwards, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Shrine of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. In his homily, the Holy Father preached about the call to suffer and the three words that summarize the life of the saint: humility, prayer, and wisdom. The pope said: “All of theology is contained here! If you have a problem, if you are sad, if you are sick, abandon yourself into the arms of Jesus!”

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Pio on September 23rd and the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi on October 4th. In commemoration of these two great Franciscan feasts and as part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s “Year for Vocations,” all are invited to join members of the Assisi Project and their spiritual directors, Father Jim Achadinha, and Cliff Garvey, for “Joy & Suffering with Saint Pio” on Saturday, October 6th at Saint Anthony Chapel (located at 21 Farrington Avenue in Gloucester, Massachusetts).

During this four-hour morning retreat, we will explore the life, ministry, and patronage of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina and his special meaning for those who are called to suffer. This special morning of prayer and reflection will proceed according to the following schedule: Celebration of Holy Mass at 8:00am; First Reflection & Faith Sharing at 9:00am; Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 10:00am; Second Reflection & Faith Sharing at 11:00am; Angelus & Closing Prayer at 12:00pm.

Throughout the morning, there will be scheduled breaks and time for faith sharing, fellowship, and refreshments. Coffee, tea, and bottled water will be available throughout the morning. After our closing prayers, all are invited to remain for a picnic lunch. During Mass, a collection will be taken in support of our adult faith formation ministry. If you would like to join us for this special morning of prayer and reflection in honor of our Blessed Mother, please contact Cliff Garvey c.garvey@ymail.com (so that we can adequately plan for food and drink). Please join us! All are invited! All are welcome!

Learn More: Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

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The Assisi Project
‘On Vocation’ with Saint Francis
Our 11th Annual Fall Pilgrimage
November 8th through November 16th

For the eleventh consecutive year, the Assisi Project will sponsor a week-long, small-group pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy. Each year, our pilgrims literally walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. This year will be no different! From November 8th through November 16th, we will journey again to Assisi and to the Franciscan Sanctuary at La Verna. In addition, as part of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport’s “Year for Vocations”, we will explore how God called Francis and Clare to live the Gospel of Christ in profoundly different ways.

Each morning on pilgrimage, we will begin with Morning Prayer and Holy Mass. Father Jim Achadinha, our priest chaplain, will celebrate Masses at the Basilica of Saint Francis, the Basilica of Saint Clare, the Basilica of Our Lady of Angels (Porziuncola Chapel), the Carcerci Hermitage, and the Sanctuary at La Verna. Each afternoon, our pilgrims will have free time and guidance to explore Assisi at their own pace and to visit its many churches, museums, cafes, and shops. Each evening, we will gather as a community for Evening Prayer, supper, a spiritual reflection, and faith sharing.

As a fellowship of pilgrims, we will explore the historic Basilicas of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Each of these holy shrines contains the tombs of the saints, holy relics, historic frescoes, and other priceless works of art, along with quiet chapels for personal prayer and worship. We will also visit the Cathedral of Saint Rufinus, where Francis and Clare were baptized; the Church of Saint Damian, where Christ spoke to Francis and hastened his conversion; the Carceri Hermitage, where Francis and his first followers retreated for solitude and silent prayer; and the little chapel known as the Porziuncola, which is considered the home church of the worldwide Franciscan community.

In addition, we will spend leisurely afternoons in and around the Piazza del Commune, Assisi’s city center, with its ancient Roman temple (now a Catholic Church consecrated to the Blessed Mother), sidewalk cafes, and countless shops. Our more adventurous pilgrims will also have an opportunity to visit the Rocca Maggiore, the great medieval fortress with its stunning views of Assisi, Mount Subasio, and the Spoleto Valley. And finally, we will travel to La Verna, the mountain sanctuary in Tuscany where Saint Francis received the stigmata. At La Verna, we will celebrate Mass, enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch, and participate in the daily procession that commemorates how Francis received the five wounds of the Crucified Christ.

The cost of this extraordinary pilgrimage is $3,499 per person and includes roundtrip airfare and fees (from Boston Logan Airport); all ground transportation (except for personal taxi services in Assisi); seven night accommodations (single room and bathroom) at Casa Santa Brigida in Assisi; and all meals in the guest house (breakfast, lunch, and supper). Prospective pilgrims should note that this pilgrimage involves some strenuous physical activity, including walking up and down steep hills and stairways. Please also note that access to many pilgrimage sites in Italy is limited to those with physical disabilities.

Finally, our pilgrims will benefit from the expertise of our two experienced pilgrimage leaders, Father Jim Achadinha and Cliff Garvey, who have visited Assisi more than two dozen times. For more information about the Assisi Project’s 11th Annual Fall Pilgrimage, a unique opportunity to explore the lives and vocations of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, please contact Cliff Garvey at c.garvey@ymail.com. A portion of each pilgrimage purchase will be donated to the Saint Ann Church Restoration Fund in memory of our dear friend Deacon Raymond Wellbank (1951-2017). Please note that this pilgrimage is now sold out. Watch this space for news about next year’s pilgrimage! Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us!

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The Assisi Project
A Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit
Spiritual Direction Ministry

Thomas Merton once wrote: “Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real director, the Holy Spirit, hidden in the depths of our soul.” In this spirit and in an effort to help adult disciples (in the Roman Catholic Church) grow closer to their Risen Lord in a confidential and supportive environment. Cliff Garvey, the Assisi Project’s co-founder and spiritual director, is available for both individual and small-group spiritual direction on a regular or one-time only basis. For more information, please contact Cliff at cgarvey@ccgronline.com. Saint Francis, pray for us! Saint Clare, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! May the Lord give you peace!

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About Us

Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit that seeks to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the inspiration of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Our mission is to serve the Church and to give witness to the Good News of Christ through formation and prayer, pilgrimage and retreat, and educating others about our way of life. In 2017, in celebration of our 10th anniversary, we will lead our annual fall pilgrimage to Assisi; meet monthly for Mass, faith formation, and faith sharing; and offer adults several opportunities to experience a Franciscan-style “hermitage retreat.” For more information about the Assisi Project and upcoming opportunities for faith formation, prayer, and pilgrimage in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please contact Cliff Garvey at c.garvey@ymail.com. May the Lord give you peace!

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