FALL RIVER ─ For over 40 years, Catholics from throughout the Fall River Diocese have gathered in Fall River each year on Columbus Day to take part in a procession and Mass for peace. While it is not possible to have a procession this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will celebrate a Mass for Peace on the Columbus Day holiday this year, at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 12, in St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Mass will be preceded by a recitation of the Rosary beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The Mass for Peace will be live streamed on the diocesan Facebook page at www.facebook/fallriverdiocese.
All guidelines in place for the safe celebration of Mass during the pandemic will be followed including occupancy limits within the Cathedral to provide for social distancing. Anyone who wishes to attend the Mass must pre-register online at here. Seats will be allotted to those who register on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Our Diocese has maintained a beautiful tradition of coming together to pray for peace every year on Columbus Day, which falls near and sometimes even on the date of the October 13th anniversary of the final apparition of our Blessed Mother in Fatima in 1917,” said Bishop da Cunha.
“Her request to the three shepherd children to whom she appeared there over six times that year was to pray for peace, and our traditional Columbus Day procession and Mass is a response to her urgent appeal. I did not want this opportunity to pass entirely this year even in the midst of this pandemic as our country confronts issues of racism and injustice and as our own sense of personal peace is undermined by the pandemic.”
Noting that the Peace Mass usually fills the Cathedral to its capacity, Bishop da Cunha acknowledged that attendance restrictions will necessarily limit those who are able to participate in the Mass in person. In this unusual year, he hopes everyone will take part in the Mass virtually.
“I invite and encourage all to participate in the Mass for Peace through the live stream to join their prayers with those from across the Diocese to pray for peace through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima,” the Bishop said. “The cause of peace deserves nothing less.”