Celebration for Couples Celebrating Anniversaries
We have to make many choices every day in our lives. Our choices lead to good or not-so-good consequences. If we choose a path of pride, self-righteousness, and selfishness, we prepare ourselves, our families, and even our communities for a future of trouble and pain. Suppose we choose to focus only on our desires and intentions and turn away from prayer, attending Mass, receiving the sacraments, listening and hearing the word of God, and ignoring the teachings of Christ. In that case, we must be ready to face the consequences—to pay the price.
Consequently, when we choose to follow and heed the word of God— when we choose humility, sensitivity, faithfulness, and honesty; when we pray every day, are hard-working, participate in the Sacraments, follow the commandments; and strive to live with a clear conscience, we will experience the peacefulness that awaits us. The central point of God’s Commandments shows us a path to life, peace, holiness, and goodness.
The Diocese celebrated World Marriage Day at St. Mary’s Cathedral, with many couples married between five and 65 years. World Marriage Day brings to a close National Marriage Week and is a day for couples to give thanks for their married lives, families, and commitment to each other. This year’s theme for World Marriage Day was very simple and profound: “Marriage…one flesh, given and received.” That’s what marriage is about, giving, receiving, and sharing life. World Marriage Day aims to highlight the importance of marriage and family in our world.
Coming together to celebrate these couples offers us a time to teach the importance of marriage and church and society; the basic foundation of our society can be found in marriage. I can’t imagine a world where the family does not exist. World Marriage Day urges all of us to carry out our commitments and support husbands and wives who have embraced this commitment. To encourage those who live a life of sacrifice, love, pain, tears, and sorrow, amongst all the joys in all those things that come from living together in great faithfulness and devotion. That is what we celebrate today.
All people have crosses to bear; however, it is vital to realize we are never alone. We always have God’s grace, which we can rely on and lean upon. God instituted the sacrament of marriage and sustains it by His grace. We are not made to be alone, and even though our lives are not always a honeymoon nor made up solely of roses – there are always thorns among the roses. We know that with the grace of God, we can face everything that life unfolds before us.
2023 Women and Men’s Conference
The registration deadline is fast approaching for this year’s March 11th Fall River Diocesan Women and Men’s Conference with this year’s theme of Receive Jesus. Worship Jesus. I am looking forward to gathering once again with members of our Diocese for a day filled with opportunities for spiritual growth—through talks, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the celebration of the Mass. How wonderful it will be to come together once again as a Diocesan community. I invite you to join me on March 11th; please watch this special video:
Learn more or register here: https://www.fallriverdiocese.org/2023-women-mens-conference
World Day of the Sick
On Monday, I celebrated Mass in the chapel at St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River in observance of World Day of the Sick. Established by Pope St. John Paul II in 1991, World Day of the Sick provides a special day to focus our prayers for the sick and suffering and for those who take care of them. It’s designated for February 11th each year to coincide with the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. Since February 11 fell on a Saturday this year, it was decided to move the annual Mass for World Day of the Sick at St. Anne’s to the following Monday.
Pope Francis chose as the theme of this year’s observance, “Take Care of Him” Compassion as a synodal exercise of healing. The theme recalls the words of the Samaritan to the innkeeper in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:35). When illness strikes, being alone is all the harder. When illness is experienced in isolation, it’s intensified; it becomes an inhumane situation. In response to those who are sick, we are all called to exercise compassion, to share in their suffering. We can do that through our prayers, our closeness and presence, and our support for those who are sick and suffering.
World Day of the Sick is also celebrated to raise awareness of the important work of those who take care of the sick. More than simply a job, it is a ministry. We are grateful for all our healthcare workers who serve the sick and infirm in so many ways. In the context of the Mass, I expressed appreciation for the good care provided by St. Anne’s Hospital, medically, yes, but also pastorally and spiritually.
I concluded my homily with this blessing for both those present in the chapel as well as those watching the Mass via closed-circuit television throughout the hospital, and now I want to share it here: May the Lord bless all those who are sick and suffering and give them his peace; and may He always give patience, understanding and wisdom to those who care for them.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha