November has been an unusually busy travel time for me. Earlier this month, the 2019 ad limina visit with Pope Francis brought me to Rome. The following week, for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Fall General Assembly, I traveled to Baltimore. Finally, an invitation from Archbishop Jose Gomez had me on the West Coast as a special guest of the Brazilian community in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. This week’s Building Faith blog will share more about the latter two.
A bishop is responsible for teaching, governing, and sanctifying, primarily, of course, within his assigned diocese. However, there are great blessings and benefits to our diocese when I can connect, dialogue, and pray with fellow Catholics in the Church at large. In those encounters, I gain invaluable experiences to bring back to all of you here in the Fall River Diocese.
2019 USCCB General Assembly
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathered for the 2019 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 11-14. The bishops meet twice a year; the other meeting held in June is usually more spirituality focused. In addition, a retreat is offered every third year instead of the usual business meeting. During the conference, along with the general sessions, I attended meetings for the four different committees on which I serve—Administrative Committee; Committee on Priorities and Plans; Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers; and Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, a longtime friend, was elected president of the USCCB during the Fall General Assembly. It is the first time a Latino Bishop was elected president of the USCCB.
Archbishop Gomez had this to say about his election,
“I entrust these next three years to the maternal care of Our Lady of Guadalupe and I ask the prayers of my fellow Catholics — all our priests, deacons, and seminarians; all our consecrated men and women; and especially our lay people, who are so vital in carrying forward the Church’s mission” (Angelus News/L.A. Archdiocese).
A Special Eucharist Celebration
Archbishop Gomez invited me to Los Angeles in my role as Episcopal Liaison to the Brazilians in the United States. In L.A., I presided at a special Eucharistic celebration with Brazilian Catholics of the Archdiocese, as well as supported their efforts to organize a Brazilian Apostolate there.
I visited the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as a member of the Sub-Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugee and Travelers, of the USCCB. We believe it is very important that Immigrants find a way to express and practice their faith in their own native language and cultural expressions.
“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
“It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful” (David Steindl-Rast).
Today I choose to live with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, and the voice of hope that says all things are possible (Unknown).
A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha