Pope Francis Announces May Prayer Marathon
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization announced on April 21, 2021, Pope Francis’ initiative of prayer for an end of the pandemic. The month of May will be dedicated to a prayer marathon with the theme “Prayer to God went up incessantly from the whole Church.” The theme refers to the miraculous event recounted in the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-12) when all the church prayed for Peter, who was imprisoned until God sent an angel to free him, illustrating how the Christian community comes together to pray in the face of danger and how the Lord listens and performs an unexpected miracle.
The Catholic Church dedicates the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Francis will open the month of prayer on May 1, asking for Mary’s intercession, and close the marathon of prayer on May 31st with a special broadcast rosary. The Council shared that the world’s Catholic shrines would be involved in a special way as promoters of the rosary among Catholic individuals, families, and communities. The thirty Marian shrines will take turns leading a daily live-streamed rosary via the Vatican News YouTube channel at 12 p.m. EDT.
I encourage you, the faithful of the Fall River Diocese, to take part, joining your prayers to this critical cause. Whether you join the Vatican online platform at noon, pray on your own at a convenient time, gather as a family to pray at home, or come together as a parish community to pray in the church, find what works best for you, and pray the Rosary each day this May.
Diocesan Consecration to Saint Joseph
Our Diocese wraps up our 5-week preparation period for the Consecration of Saint Joseph Saturday, May 1st with a Mass to honor the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. As I mentioned last week, the special Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St Joseph’s Chapel in Woods Hole, MA, and will be livestreamed on the Diocese Facebook page. To reserve a seat at St. Joseph’s Chapel, please visit http://bit.ly/StJosephWorker.
Our final reflection in the Consecration to St. Joseph preparation series comes from Office of Faith Formation – Diocese of Fall River Senior Director David Carvalho and focuses on St. Joseph, Light of Patriarchs. This week’s daily prayers include the Prayer for the Year of St. Joseph by Pope Francis (Patris Corde) and the Litany of St. Joseph.
During the Year of Saint Joseph, the litany of St. Joseph has been included among other prayers to St. Joseph and enriched with a plenary indulgence, which may be earned once a day subject to the usual conditions: sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the intentions of the Pope, and a total detachment to all sin, including venial sin (per USCCB). I invite you to visit the Vatican News website to learn more about how you and your family may obtain this special St. Joseph indulgence.
The 80th Annual Catholic Appeal will begin on May 1 and continue through June 30, 2021. This year’s theme, “Time to Gather, Time to Heal, Time to Love,” inspires us to be living examples of the healing power of Christ’s love. You can watch the Catholic Appeal video, which includes a special message from me here. The whole world seems to be calling out to be renewed and the need for the ministries, programs, and apostolates funded through our gifts to the Catholic Appeal has never been greater.
Sacred Scripture reminds us that love is the most important way we share our Savior’s light with the world: “Let love make you serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). In Christianity, charity is the highest form of love between God and our brothers and sisters; the two words, charity and love, are synonymous. When we show charity to others, we bring this love to life in so many wonderful ways and we fulfill our obligation to live in the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for us.
This year’s Appeal theme is a message of hope that inspires us to begin anew. Your generosity in 2020 allowed the Diocese to help over 100,000 individuals and families. I once again ask for your support of the Catholic Appeal as your circumstances allow, a contribution of any size helps us carry out our mission in real, life-changing ways. Visit the Catholic Appeal website here.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha