Interfaith Solidarity Walk for Ukraine
On Sunday, May 1, I joined the Interfaith Solidarity Walk for Ukraine through the streets of Fall River and was honored to say a few words to participants upon its conclusion at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Fall River. The walk was a wonderful collaboration of faith communities represented in United Interfaith Action of Southeastern Massachusetts, the InterChurch Council of Greater New Bedford, and the Greater Fall River Council of Churches.
I am so grateful for the solidarity of the United States Catholic Church, which has already sent over 100 million dollars for Ukraine relief. Here in the Diocese of Fall River, our generous people have donated over $250,000 (more on that later).
The situation in Ukraine, as you can imagine, is very dire. Churches have been converted into shelters. Parishes converted into centers for Social Services. Bishops, priests, monks, and nuns are all being persecuted, in isolation, and suffering, but bravely and faithfully staying with their people. When Major Archbishop Sviatoslov Shevchuk of Ukraine was asked if the situation got to a point when the bishops needed to leave, he replied, “How could we leave and abandon our people? We will not leave. We will stay with our people to the end.”
Additionally, many people are dying of hunger. Starvation in Ukraine is a harsh and stark reality. There is not enough food, and in some places, there is not even a way to get the food to those in need. Currently, it is not easy to send money to Ukraine. Right now, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is one of the most secure and effective ways to get help to the Ukrainian people. If anyone wishes to contribute to the ongoing efforts to help the people of Ukraine, please visit the Catholic Relief Service website — HERE.
Diocese Raises Over $250,000 in Collection for Ukraine
Shortly after the Russian invasion began, as a way for Catholics of our Diocese to respond, I authorized the Ash Wednesday collection on March 2nd be designated “to help the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.” Our diocese takes the annual national collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe to help support the overall rebuilding of the Church in that region since the collapse of communism on Good Friday. This year, because of the urgency in Ukraine and the collection’s focus on providing assistance there, I moved it up to Ash Wednesday.
To date, that collection has raised a total of $256,021 from parishes across the Diocese of Fall River with additional returns still being received. What a beautiful response! Once again, the faithful women and men of the Diocese of Fall River demonstrated their characteristic generosity in responding to the suffering of others. The Diocese is forwarding proceeds from the collection to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, which, through its long-standing relationship with bishops in Central and Eastern Europe, is able to assist the Church in that region in its response and outreach to those affected and displaced by the violence.
World Day of Prayer for Vocations
On Sunday, May 8, 2022, we celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocations, also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” as a way to fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), consecrated life in all its forms (male and female religious life, societies of apostolic life, consecrated virginity), secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life. Prayers for vocations can be found on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations website. Please join me in offering this prayer for Workers in the Harvest:
God our Father,
You made each of us to use our gifts in the Body of Christ.
We ask that You inspire young people whom
you call to priesthood and consecrated life
to courageously follow Your will.
Send workers into Your great harvest
so that the Gospel is preached,
the poor are served with love,
the suffering are comforted,
and Your people are strengthened by the sacraments.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Pope Pius Awards
Our annual conferral of the Pope St. Pius X Youth Awards to young persons from throughout the Diocese in recognition of their service to their parish will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 9th. I will present the awards at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River, in the context of a prayer service. Additionally, the ceremony will be livestreamed via the Diocese of Fall River Facebook page.
Happy Mother’s Day
Prayer is a remarkable gift from God and from it many blessings and peace flow. Please join me in continued prayers for the people of Ukraine, for peace to be restored there and around the world, and for the needs of all, especially the most vulnerable, to be met in abundance. Please know of my ongoing prayers for each of you and your families and in a particular way this week, for all mothers.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha