September 24th Pastoral Letter
This Friday, September 24, I will issue my fourth pastoral letter to the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese, entitled, Journeying Together: With Jesus on the Path of Faith and Hope.
Now, more than ever, God is calling us to move forward and not standstill. My hope is this pastoral letter will offer a vision for how we can do this, particularly together as a church community.
In the letter, I ask everyone to pray and consider how you will make an impact and a difference through your life in the Church. What roles will you assume to better serve and participate in the faith first given to you at baptism and which you professed at Confirmation? If we are to leave a legacy of authentic and lived faith, we must embrace our baptism and courageously bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ through the way we live our lives.
In addition, I wanted to offer a vision for how we can transition into the future with a section titled “The Way Forward,” which focuses on three priorities: Invitational Witness, Sacramental Living, and Vocational Pathways. Within each area, I’ve included “mission steps” or actions for individuals, parish communities, and the Diocese, essential to make the vision a reality over the next four years.
We are a Eucharistic people on mission, not just a few, but all who believe. I am encouraged by what I am witnessing in the global, national, and local Church, and I pray you will spend time prayerfully with this letter. Much work needs to be done in our Church, yet none of it can begin until we experience personal conversion and become authentic witnesses to the Good News. My prayer is that it starts with this new pastoral letter.
The letter will be available on the Fall River Diocesan website— fallriverdiocese.org, in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and will be published in the next issue of the diocesan newspaper, The Anchor.
Revitalization Committee Update
Pope Francis has announced he will open the three-year synodal journey on October 9th and 10th in Rome. We have finally received additional information from the Vatican on how this process will be carried out, especially for our Diocese. The Ad Hoc Diocesan Revitalization Committee has begun its work with me to assure the Fall River Diocese is prepared to fully embrace all the blessings the synodal journey will bring in these coming years.
As I mentioned previously, when we speak about Synodality, it is not a new idea, even though it might be a new word. We are called to be a Synodal Church where every baptized person has an important role to play; it is not about an event but an ongoing mission of which we are called to be a part. Through baptism, we are called to use our gifts and talents to further the Kingdom of God and the mission of the Church. I address this topic in more detail in my pastoral letter and have tasked the Revitalization Committee to keep this idea at the core of their recommendations and planning.
Upcoming October Diocesan Masses
The Red Mass will be held on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 4 p.m., and the Pro-Life Month Mass on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 10:30 a.m. I am honored to be the celebrant of both at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River.
The Red Mass is named for the color of the vestments worn during the Liturgy—the Mass of the Holy Spirit—who will be invoked upon all those in attendance. A long-standing tradition in the Church, the Mass is offered in the diocese to ask for God’s guidance and strength on those who work to promote justice in the legal system. Judges, attorneys, and others working in the justice system throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands are invited to attend.
At the conclusion of The Red Mass, I will present St. Thomas More Awards to members of the area legal community in recognition of their dedicated service. The awards are a tradition unique to the Red Mass in the Fall River Diocese. For more information, please visit: https://www.fallriverdiocese.org/diocesan-red-mass-makes-return-in-october/
The Oct. 3, Annual Pro-Life Month Mass is part of the Fall River Diocesan observance of Respect Life Month. All are welcome to attend. The Mass is being hosted by the Diocesan Family and Respect Life Office in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus.
27th Annual FACE Gala
The annual FACE Fall Scholarship Dinner will be held at White’s of Westport, on Wednesday, November 3rd. The Fall Dinner Committee did a magnificent job last year given the circumstances and offered the Un-Gala virtually. This year, we are happy to once again come together to celebrate Catholic Education and raise funds to help children of our Diocese receive a Catholic education. Christian recording artist Matt Maher is able to join us in person this year as well, and we are looking forward to his special live performance. For more information, visit the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE)’s website.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha