Revitalizing the Diocese
In a post-pandemic world, among the challenges we face is to bring our Catholic faithful back to the Church. We need to reach the 80% of the population not engaged with the Church, while empowering the 20% who are, to be missionaries, inviting others to come and see what Christ and His Church have to offer. I am excited and encouraged by the full agenda of pastoral activities on the parish, diocesan, national, and global levels planned for the next four years. When activated by and through the Holy Spirit, we can witness the faithful bear wonderful fruit in their evangelization efforts.
Since the USCCB General Assembly just took place earlier this month, I will begin my series of blogs on the planning information coming from that meeting, followed in the next few weeks on initiatives coming forward from the local and global levels.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sets three-year cycle strategic plans. The 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan was created with the intent to “guide the Conference during the uniquely challenging times we face as a Church and Nation.” The carefully chosen theme is “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope.” The five strategic priorities identified by the bishops are defined as follows:
- Evangelization: Form a band of joyful missionary disciples.
- Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Serve the common good as a leaven in a free society.
- Protect and Heal God’s Children: Restore integrity, foster virtue.
- Vocations: Equip all Christ’s disciples for mission.
- Pandemic Recovery: Promote the healing of the personal, spiritual, and societal wounds of COVID-19 through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician.
The “Thematic Framework of the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan,” a document that provides additional depth and context on the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan, can be found here.
This Eucharistic initiative is part of the USCCB’s 2021-2024 strategic plan, “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope.” “The goal of this three-year plan is to rekindle a Eucharistic love and a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ by embracing the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.” The Eucharistic Revival will provide resources and support for diocesan and parish leaders, and a proposed national event in 2024 will serve as “a unifying moment for this Eucharistic movement.”
What the bishops pray will come from this movement: “Greater understanding and love of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist among the faithful; Experiencing the centrality of the Eucharist as the source and summit of our life; Greater unity in the Church in the United States; Evangelistic fervor flowing from the encounter with Christ in the Eucharist.”
The three-year plan consists of a Diocesan Revival (July 2022—June 2023), followed by Parish Revivals (July 2023—June 2024), and concluding with a National Revival (July 2024—December 2024). The hope is for a national unifying, coast-to-coast type of event. Perhaps you, like myself, remember the “Hands Across America” on May 25, 1986. I was a pastor then at St. Nicholas in Palisades Park, New Jersey. I vividly remember standing holding hands on a Sunday afternoon with parishioners, all of us with matching Hands Across America shirts, united as a country connected to everyone else joining in that special day. Excitement filled the air that day, and I pray for an even bigger celebration and a wave of joy to fill the hearts of whoever participates in whatever activity the committee plans for the Eucharist Revival.
The Bishops began this conversation on a Eucharist Revival a couple of years ago, and it is exciting to see it starting to take shape finally. Every individual, family, ministry, parish, and diocese will be mobilized around the Eucharist to bring an awakening through Adoration, processions, teachings, and events. How magnificent to emerge from this difficult and challenging time with strategies to lead everyone to appreciate and love our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist.
August 14 Youth Event
On August 14, 2021, the Diocese will host a Catholic Youth Day. I want to personally invite the Youth of the Diocese of Fall River to Martha’s Vineyard to this celebration of faith!
Upon our arrival at Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard, we’ll take a brief walk to a nearby park to begin the day. It will include lunch, activities, an opportunity to explore shops and, of course, the beach, along with live music, and talks.
I will celebrate Mass at The Tabernacle in Trinity Park, followed by “4th Watch”: a worship and adoration experience. I hope you will consider gathering youth and young adults from your family and parishes to join us for a day of faith and fellowship!
To learn more about this free event, including online registration and transportation, please visit the Diocese of Fall River Office of Faith Formation’s Catholic Youth Day 2021 website.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha