On Saturday, May 22, 2021, I was blessed to ordain four men to the Transitional Diaconate at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. Matthew F. Laird, William O’Donnell III, Gregory Quenneville, and Laurent M. Valliere, now as deacons, will be able to assist the priest at Mass and be an ordinary minister of the Eucharist, proclaim the Gospel and preach, baptize, and minister at other services. Saturday’s ordination began the final leg of their journey toward the priesthood, and in the fall, they will begin their final year of studies at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton.
As I said in my homily, it was a most joyful day because we had four good men ordained deacons. How wonderful we celebrated this Diaconate Ordination on the eve of the feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles on that first Pentecost so they could go into the whole world and preach the Gospel. The Holy Spirit, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, empowered these new transitional deacons to go out and share the Good News of Christ with others. Like the Apostles, each of these men was selected and chosen, and we thank them for accepting the Lord’s call to become servants of the Gospel.
The video of the Ordination Mass, as livestreamed on the Diocese Facebook page, is available for you to view here on YouTube.
Guidelines for Liturgical Practices
In light of the recently updated health advisories by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in the state, parishes in the Fall River Diocese may reinstate most liturgical practices that had to be suspended or modified because of the pandemic. Last Friday, the Diocese issued Guidelines for Liturgical Practices as Pandemic Restrictions are Lifted. They become effective on May 29, 2021, and are available on the diocesan website.
As I stated in the introduction to the new guidelines, these changes are a welcome sign that the long-awaited return to a normal way is at last upon us. We move forward with gratitude to God for His divine assistance in getting us to this point and in prayerful remembrance of the many who have died or who have experienced tremendous suffering because of COVID-19. Sincere thanks and appreciation must also be extended to the clergy and faithful of the Diocese for their cooperation and understanding. The need to maintain a reverent worship experience and accessibility to the sacraments while providing as safe an environment as possible required sacrifice and adjustment by all of us.
Clergy Retirements, Transfers, and Assignments
This past weekend, many priests across the Diocese announced either their retirement, transfer, or new assignment. With five priests retiring, and the pandemic postponing some personnel changes last year, the list is more extensive than usual. While I am sensitive to the adjustment each priest and parish involved will experience, I am encouraged by the blessings that will emerge from them. To see the entire listing, please visit the Diocese of Fall River website.
Catholic Appeal Ministry Moments
We are halfway through this year’s Catholic Appeal which ends on June 30th. The theme for 2021 is “Time to Gather, Time to Heal, Time to Love.” To showcase the work supported by the gift of the Catholic Appeal, the Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts has put together a wonderful collection of videos titled, “Ministry Moments.”. You can watch the Ministry Moment videos as well as make a donation on the Catholic Foundation’s website.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha