The 80th Catholic Appeal, “Time to Gather, Time to Heal, Time to Love,” has closed with tremendous results. After an extraordinarily challenging time, more than 18,000 individual donors – a 12.5% increase over last year – contributed $4.6 million in gifts and pledges to sustain the Appeal’s longstanding mission of serving those in greatest need.
I am grateful to everyone who supported the good works of our Diocese through the Catholic Appeal. Together, we have weathered the storm of a lifetime; and together, we are living our faith by ensuring all our brothers and sisters have a place to turn and receive the assistance they may need. While we are not fully recovered from the toll the virus took on us, this year’s Appeal is a sign of hope that we will ultimately emerge stronger. Our Savior has provided us with a sure foundation as we read in the Gospel of Matthew, “And the rains blew and beat on the house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”
For more details on this year’s successful appeal, please visit FallRiverDiocese.org.
In last week’s blog, I included an invitation to submit any questions you may have regarding the faith, my work as a bishop, or of me personally. I’ve answered a few of them below:
USCCB & Being a Bishop
What is your role with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and what is your favorite aspect of being a bishop?
In the past, I have been very active with the USCCB including as a member of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and Committee on Migration, and I have served as a member of the Administration Committee; Committee on Priorities and Plans, Sub-Committee on the Church in Latin America; the Sub-Committee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugee and Travelers; and the Sub-Committee on Hispanic Affairs; and as Episcopal Liaison to the Brazilian Apostolate in the U.S.
Most of the USCCB committees have terms, so currently, my involvement consists only of membership on the Sub-Committee on the Church in Latin America and the Sub-Committee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugee and Travelers.
Without hesitation, I enjoy my time in the parishes celebrating Confirmations and special events. Celebrating the Eucharist with people in parishes and schools throughout the Diocese is truly a gift and they are my favorite aspect of being a Bishop.
What does Pope Francis’ statement on the Latin Mass mean to the Fall River Diocese?
With regards to Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio on the Tridentine Mass, the Mass already approved and celebrated regularly at St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis will continue to be offered. I will issue further guidelines and clarifications in the near future.
Hobbies & Sports
Do you have any hobbies?
In addition to gardening, I also enjoy walking. This year I will participate remotely on Team FACE, as part of the Falmouth Road Race Number for Non-Profits program. As you may know, the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) provides scholarship support to children in need of financial assistance to attend Catholic schools of the Diocese of Fall River.
I am also a big sports fan and enjoy many different kinds of sports, with soccer being my favorite. For years I played soccer, including participating in matches during Quo Vadis Days and Pro-Life Boot Camps.
These days, most of my soccer enthusiasm comes as a spectator. I have enjoyed watching the Brazilian soccer team participate in the Summer Olympics—it is good to see both the men and women’s teams competing well. While a priest in New Jersey, I had the opportunity to not only watch a Brazil vs US soccer match in person, but also a 1974 World Cup game. My parish at the time gifted me a ticket to a match between Italy and Norway. It was an unforgettable and interesting experience.
Transitioning as Restrictions Lift
How do you feel the Diocese is transitioning in the more lenient Massachusetts restrictions?
The transition after the Covid-19 restrictions is going as well as can be expected. There is a variety of experiences across the Diocese, with some parishes seeing pre-covid attendance and others a little slower to see the faithful return.
As a whole, I see the Diocese return going very smoothly, and have been pleased with the effort parishes continue to put forth to help people feel safe, welcomed, and comfortable. Parishioners should consult their local parish with any questions or concerns so all the faithful may return to the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic faith, as soon as possible.
What is your favorite prayer?
Choosing only one prayer would be impossible since I am fond of so many. Psalms 51 and 139 come to mind immediately, followed by this short prayer I recite each day:
“Lord, I believe, please increase my faith.”
Each day I am required by my priestly ordination to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office, the daily prayer of the Church. This beautiful prayer, structured with the psalms, prayers, and canticles, is a wonderful way for clergy and laypeople alike to pray with the whole Church. I invite you to learn more not only about the history of the Liturgy of the Hours but also on how to pray it yourself on the USCCB website. There are also different Apps of the Liturgy of the Hours that can be downloaded to your phone or tablet.
Thank you to those who sent questions. If you’d like to have a question answered in a future blog, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing more of your questions.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha