On Friday, June 30th, Reverend George E. Harrison, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich, who this year observed 55 years in the priesthood; Reverend Raymond Cambra, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Seekonk, 46 years in priestly ministry; and Reverend Jon-Paul Gallant, pastor of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish, South Attleboro, 45 years, will begin to enjoy their retirements. I am deeply grateful for the various ways each has faithfully served our Diocese during their many years of priestly life, and I wish them good health and happiness in retirement. Learn more about Fr. Harrison, Fr. Cambra, and Fr. Gallant on the Diocese website here.
Annual Diaconate Convocation
Saturday, June 24, I joined many of our Diocese’s Deacons and their wives for Mass, lunch, and an open discussion on the direction I pray our Diocese will take over the coming years. How important it is for us to be continually renewed in faith and hope, or we will stagnate. Strengthened by God’s Word, the Eucharist, prayer, and our shared commitment to serving the Lord, we can be powerful witnesses of Christ’s love, leading more people, who we know are searching for more in their lives, back to the Church.
In this Parish phase of the National Eucharistic Revival, it is crucial to be aware of the staggering results of a recent survey showing that 69% of the Catholics who attend Mass view the Eucharist as merely a symbol of Jesus’ presence. How shocking and sad to learn that many practicing Catholics still do not understand the beauty and truth of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We must do a better job not only as clergy but also as lay faithful to witness to the truth of Jesus’ presence—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—in the Eucharist. Jesus revealed this with His words, “This is My Body; this is My Blood.” I encourage every parish to work together, supported by the Diocese, to use this year to make more people aware of this awe-inspiring gift God bestows on all of us in the Blessed Sacrament.
What can we do? We can lead by example, especially by how we personally respect, honor, revere, and embrace the sacredness of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist. Whether at the moment of Consecration or in Adoration, it is critical people see in us this passion and gratitude for the Eucharist. If this mystical truth does not touch our hearts, how can we lead others to discover and live it?
Much work is needed, but as I have said many times, if we embrace these challenges as an opportunity, this will be our Church’s finest hour.
June 30th will bring to a close this year’s Catholic Appeal, with its theme, “Do This in Memory of Me.” At the beginning of June, the annual campaign had raised $2.3 million of its $4.6 million goal. I am optimistic that the generous people of our Diocese will once again come forth to help us reach this goal.
The Anchor ran an informative article highlighting the many ways the Appeal supports so many vital agencies and programs across the Diocese; you can read that here. Included in this year’s charitable works supported by the Appeal was the collaborative effort between Catholic Social Services and Neighborhood Works to break ground on a new facility in Attleboro which will provide 18 emergency adult beds and 22 studio apartments with supportive services for formerly homeless individuals.
The Appeal allows us all to participate in Corporal Works of Mercy—feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless. Alone many of us may not be in a position to do all our hearts long to do for others; however, when we give what we are able, pooled with donations, others who likewise give what they can, we are now able to multiply the blessings. No donation is insignificant. We can look to the example of the widow’s mite in the Scriptures, which, though little, greatly pleased the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha