My Dear Friends in Christ,
Just a few days ago, we celebrated Easter: a day that is typically our most joyful celebration of the liturgical year. This year’s Lent, Holy Week, and Easter were like no other we have ever experienced due to COVID-19 and the safety measures we all must take because of this terrible pandemic.
The novel coronavirus continues to transform our lives and the ways we connect with each other. It is difficult to express my sadness at not being able to see our churches, normally filled with families, rejoicing in the risen Lord together as we always have. As your Bishop and on behalf of all our priests in the diocese, I am deeply sorry that we could not share such a joyous time side-by-side.
While these spiritual and social sacrifices are very painful, even in challenging situations like these there are opportunities to remain united as a people of God. I want to share with you some of the many ways you can still take part in our Catholic community. While these are not ideal replacements for our normal activities, I encourage you to continue participating as actively and prayerfully as your circumstances permit during this time of physical separation.
- Please send me your prayer intentions. I have received hundreds of your intentions since this crisis began and I am reading and praying for each one personally.
- You can still experience the Holy Mass each day, and receive solace from an act of spiritual Communion. Many of our parishes are offering live streaming masses on their Facebook pages and websites.
- Tune into the weekly Television Mass sponsored by the Diocese each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. on WLNE-TV, Channel 6. It airs again at 12:30 p.m. on Comcast cable channel 95 in Fall River.
- Please continue supporting your parish as generously as you can in these difficult times. They are experiencing serious financial need because we cannot celebrate mass in-person right now. There are numerous options available to make your regular weekly donation. Please visit your parish’s website to find out how you can continue to help support our churches.
- In this time of social distancing, it is extremely important to check in with loved ones and neighbors through phone calls, letters, and other safe forms of communication. Now more than ever, the sick, elderly, shut-ins, and those with less stable employment need our care and support.
- Please visit the website for the Diocese for information on the many ways to connect online with our parishes.
I know our current situation is not easy, but these measures are designed to protect the health and well-being of us all. I also want to reassure you these measures are temporary. To use an oft-repeated but true phrase, “this too shall pass.” Christ is our triumphant Savior who brings the light of hope and a path through our darkest hours. Let us all raise our voices in a single and life-affirming Easter refrain:
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
During this unprecedented time for our Church and our world, I am thinking of you and your families and praying for your health and safety. I look forward to the day we can all be together again, lifting up our hearts to the Lord and embracing each other with a renewed sense of gratitude and strength thanks to God’s healing grace.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
Bishop of Fall River