2021 Catholic High School Graduations
How happy I was this year to attend all of our Catholic High School graduations in person, along with the graduates’ families, friends, and loved ones in attendance, as well. The 2021 graduating seniors experienced something no other graduating class has had to endure—a pandemic, extended time away from school, and living with the uncertainty of when it would all end. Yet, these graduates have turned every stumbling block on their way to graduation into a steppingstone. How blessed they are, having persevered, to now carry this experience with them for the rest of their lives.
As I mentioned during my remarks at the various graduations, I hope they will embrace this opportunity born from difficulty and challenge to be better and stronger people. They have shown through their fortitude, hard work, and dedication that, indeed, all things are possible with God. I am so proud of them, their parents and families, and our Catholic schools.
From the past year and a half, I have taken away three important lessons. First, how critical our faith is in difficult times. Our faith is an anchor to continue in hope when things become seemingly insurmountable and challenging. We must believe and trust God, as the Gospels teach us, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Second, I learned how important it is to remain connected to God through daily prayer. Prayer nourishes, supports, and strengthens our faith. We need to turn to God every day so that we may clothe ourselves “as God’s chosen ones,” as St. Paul said, “holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
Thirdly, this is a great time to recognize the need in our life for the wonderful virtue of humility. If 2020 has taught us anything—we cannot predict all that will happen to us in this lifetime. We do well to acknowledge our need for God and each other through our humility, which finds the root of its meaning in “from the earth” or maybe better stated to be grounded or have our feet on the ground. For the faithful, we are to be grounded in Christ and our Catholic faith. We know what the Lord requires of us, as we read in Micah (6:8), “Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Congratulations again to the Class of 2021. May the Lord continue to bless your educational and career endeavors. Congratulations to your parents and families who brought you to this day. And again, a sincere thank you to the Diocese of Fall River Catholic schools for their success in reopening and remaining open for the 2020-21 academic school year.
We Celebrate the 2020-21 Historic Year!
The Fall River Diocese Catholic Schools Alliance (CSA) posted recently on its website that this academic year will always be remembered in history as “the year that education was disrupted.” What a remarkable academic year indeed.
I share in CSA’s sentiments, “As we close out 2020-21, we also thank God for the grace of perseverance, patience, and prayer,” and I invite you to take a few minutes to watch the wonderful video recapping this historic, and incredibly successful, Catholic school year. Watch the video here.
U.S. Bishops to Meet Virtually June 16-18
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather virtually for the 2021 Spring General Assembly on June 16-18. Earlier this year, still uncertain of the challenges to be faced with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided the bishops would meet in a virtual format. As I mentioned when the November assembly moved virtually, I appreciate not having to travel, but will miss the meaningful interactions with my brother bishops, often enjoyed during this annual meeting.
The livestream of the public sessions of the general assembly will be available at www.usccb.org/meetings. Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media are invited to use the hashtag #USCCB21 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).
The livestream of the bishops’ meeting will be broadcast on the USCCB website:
- Wednesday, June 16 (2:30-4:00 PM EDT)
- Thursday, June 17 (1:00-4:00 PM EDT)
- Friday, June 18 (1:00-2:30 PM EDT).
Lifting of Mass Dispensation—June 19/20
In this year of Saint Joseph, who was always a faithful observer of the sabbath, many of us Bishops of the Boston Province (Boston, Fall River, Springfield, Manchester, and Portland) chose Father’s Day as an appropriate day to encourage all of our people, and especially our families, to return to the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist.
In my June 9th letter announcing the reinstating of the Mass Obligation, I mentioned the significance of receiving the Eucharist as the center of every Catholic life. The Lord commands us to take and eat, and to do it in memory of him. The Eucharist is food for our difficult journey through life, filling us with joy, and strengthening us to embrace our suffering. It transforms us from the inside out and creates a unity among us that is a strong witness to the whole world.
Additionally, I shared my thoughts on the decision to lift the dispensation and to reinstate the Sunday Mass obligation, effective this weekend, in a video message. You can view this message here or by clicking the image below.
Blessings and best wishes to all fathers this weekend. May they in the spirit of St. Joseph, continue to protect, cherish, support and lead our families closer to Christ.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha