On Sunday, August 29, I was honored to ordain five Congregation of Holy Cross seminarians to the Transitional Diaconate. The Congregation of Holy Cross has two important entities located in our Diocese—Stonehill College and the World Headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries (Family Rosary), both in North Easton. One of their more well-known priests is Venerable Patrick Peyton, whose grave is located near the entrance to Stonehill. I invite you to learn more about his life and ministry at the adjacent Museum of Family Prayer, which we are blessed to also have in our Diocese. It’s my sense that I was invited to celebrate their diaconal ordinations because of the Congregation’s presence here, and I was delighted to be asked.
I traveled to Indiana on Saturday, to the campus of Notre Dame University where the Ordination was to take place. The five candidates to the Diaconate had just professed their final vows when I arrived at Notre Dame on Saturday. A wonderful celebratory dinner followed that liturgy. It was fascinating to meet the seminarians, and some of their family members, who hail from across the country and the world.
Two of the men who were there to receive their formation and to study at Notre Dame are from Bangladesh. They will return to their country to be ordained to the Priesthood in six months. Unlike seminarians in the Fall River Diocese, who return to finish their priestly formation after being ordained transitional deacons, these men have already completed their formation.
It was fascinating to learn there are 65 Holy Cross priests who work as teachers, administrators, or in campus ministry at Notre Dame. These priests celebrate an impressive 100-plus Masses every week on the campus. Each dormitory has not only a chapel but also a resident priest who offers daily Mass for students. What an excellent demonstration of Catholic identity for the University.
The transitional diaconate ordination was held at the Moreau Seminary Chapel on the Notre Dame campus, which as you can see from the picture above, is not only quite large but beautiful as well. By tradition, the diaconal ordination takes place in the seminary chapel and the priestly ordination in the University’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Please join me in keeping the newly ordained deacons, Rev. Mr. Cameron Cortens, C.S.C., Rev. Mr. Drew Clary, C.S.C., Rev. Mr. Gabe Griggs, C.S.C., Rev. Mr. Tias Gomes, C.S.C., and Rev. Mr. Shohag Gabil, C.S.C., in your prayers.
Welcoming Back Policies
With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases specifically in children, I have worked with the Diocese of Fall River Catholic Schools Office to issue guidelines to school leaders of our 19 schools requiring masks to be worn while indoors for all vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and students ages 5 and above. Masks will not be necessary outdoors and may be removed while eating indoors. In accordance with state and federal mandates, all students and staff will be required to wear masks on school buses and in school health offices. As the school year gets underway in a few days, this policy will be in place through October 1, 2021, at which time it will be reevaluated. Read more about masks in our Catholic schools HERE.
In addition, I felt it necessary to offer, in conjunction with the Secretariat of the New Evangelization, guidance and recommendations for parish catechetical programs in light of recent developments. Please continue to monitor our State and your local board of health’s guidance, as they are subject to change. To this end, it is important to have ready and established means of communicating changes with families and participants. These guidelines address distancing, sanitation, as well as exposure or exhibiting symptoms. Additionally, we’ve included some best practices guidelines for determining whether to hold in-person or virtual sessions. During these days, the Diocese’s concern is always foremost for the well-being of all our parishioners; however, we also understand the importance of bringing people together again and fostering a sense of community. You can read those recommendations HERE.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha