On Saturday, August 14th, I joined over 250 teens and youth ministers in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard for the celebration of Catholic Youth Day 2021. I was very pleased to see participants in attendance representing 24 parishes from across the Diocese and Bishop Stang High School. Those youth, entering eighth graders through high school-age, were invited to join with their peers in this celebration of faith on the island. I pray they used this wonderful opportunity to connect and work on building a strong faith community, especially important after a challenging year with many pandemic restrictions.
Diocesan Youth, Chaperones, and Youth Ministers arrive on Martha’s Vineyard
Catholic Youth Day took place in the historic Tabernacle in Trinity Park, a large covered outdoor venue, and on adjacent park grounds. A beautiful setting to celebrate Mass together. During my homily, I spoke to the young people present on the importance of always remaining connected with God in what is a very busy world and to know they can turn to their faith to help them face the challenges they will inevitably encounter in life. Truly their presence at the Youth Day event and their commitment to their faith, gives us all hope for our Diocese and for our world.
Images from inside Tabernacle in Trinity Park
The day would not have been possible without the hard work of the diocesan Secretariat for the New Evangelization, led by David Carvalho and an amazing team of volunteers. It was also made possible by the generous support of Holy Cross Family Ministries/Family Rosary and the Healey Foundation. For more images and information about the day, please visit https://www.fallriverdiocese.org/catholic-youth-day-2021.
New Director of Youth Ministry
The Catholic Youth Day offered an opportunity for youth and youth ministers across the Diocese to meet Oscar Rivera, Jr, the new Director of Youth Ministry working within the Secretariat of the New Evangelization. Oscar, his wife, and three young children relocated here from Chesapeake, Virginia. However, he is familiar with New England, as both he and his wife were born and raised in New England before leaving the region for college.
Prior to accepting the position here with the Fall River Diocese, Oscar was a youth minister for ten years and a Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry for five of those ten years. He received a bachelor’s degree in History from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and a master’s in Theology from Saint Leo’s University in St. Leo, Florida.
In his role, he will help provide consultation, support, and resources for grades 6-12 youth of our diocese within our parishes. As Oscar wrote in his introductory letter to priests and parishes, “The youth today speak differently, think differently and experience life differently. My goal is to help you to bring them closer to holiness and allow them to take ownership of the beauty, which is our Catholic faith.”
We are blessed to have Oscar as part of our Diocese, his enthusiasm, energy, and passion for sharing the faith with the youth were evident during his presentation on Saturday, and I look forward to working with him.
FACE and the Falmouth Road Race
Congratulations to our TEAM FACE runners, which for the first time included me, for completing the Falmouth Road Race and for participating for the first time in the Numbers for Non-Profits! It was a success for all runners as we were able to raise a total of over $12,600 for FACE (Foundation to Advance Catholic Education) scholarships.
What a joy to combine two of my passions – enjoying the outdoors and advocating for Catholic education. As Bishop in the Diocese of Fall River, I have seen first-hand the financial need many of our students and families experience. We want all families who desire a Catholic education to have the opportunity to be part of our Catholic school community!
There is still time to donate and support TEAM FACE through September 30th! Please visit https://www.face-dfr.org/asics-2021-falmouth-road-race to learn how.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha