Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese

Feast of the Visitation

Coming at the end of this month dedicated to Mary is the Feast of the Visitation. The Blessed Virgin Mary, having received word during the Annunciation that her relative, Elizabeth, had miraculously conceived in her old age, goes in haste to help her. Mary’s visit with Elizabeth, who is carrying John the Baptist, reminds us of the joy of the Gospel and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This reminds us too of how quickly our Mother Mary will come to our assistance and how we are also called to make haste to help others.

Descendants and Passing on the Faith

Recently there was exciting news in my family that I would like to share with you, my spiritual family, here in the Diocese of Fall River. The birth of my latest grandnephew, Davi, marked the 101st descendant of my parents. What a remarkable blessing to look back at such a long lineage of my family. In my January blog, I shared a special photograph of bringing together six generations for a family gathering during my annual visit home to Brazil. Family is a gift and treasure from God; one, as Mary and Elizabeth illustrate, offers innumerable blessings.

Being Pastoral

Earlier this month, I celebrated the baptism for two young girls who are members of the Brazilian and Cabe Verdean community here in our Diocese. I had planned to celebrate it all in Portuguese; To my surprise, though, I learned just before beginning the baptism that neither of the girls receiving the sacrament spoke the language. As both were old enough to understand what was happening, I chose to speak directly to the girls in English all the parts of the Rite that related directly to them.

Although unplanned, this small gesture meant a great deal to the family and the community present there. Many of them mentioned to me afterwards how touched they were by my taking the time to assure the girls understood the promises we vow in baptism and that they felt included in the celebration.

It was for me to make a simple adjustment to the ceremony once I noticed the needs of these young girls. If we open our eyes and our hearts, the Holy Spirit can guide each of us to offer simple gestures of kindness to help those around us. As St. Teresa of Avila said,

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Let us be the hands, the feet, and the voice of Christ in our homes, our communities, and our world.

 

High School Graduations

Lastly, in today’s blog, I want to acknowledge and congratulate our seniors and soon-to-be graduates from our Catholic High Schools. I recognize that tonight’s Bishop Connolly High School graduation comes mixed with sadness at the impending closure at the end of this school year. This decision, as with any school closure, was not an easy one. It was done with the consultation and assistance of many others. We are grateful for all those who worked to educate the many students who have attended Bishop Connolly over the years and be assured that you are all in my prayers.

I was very pleased to learn that 97% of the Bishop Connolly students have found placements and will remain in the Diocese of Fall River Catholic school system. I am grateful for these families’ understanding at this difficult time and grateful for their continued trust in the quality education our schools provide. I will share photos from each of the graduations in next week’s blog.

 

Yours in Christ,

Bishop da Cunha