Prayer Request for Lent 2021
As we continue through the Lenten season, my hope and prayer for each of you, and your families, is that you will experience this Lent as a genuinely holy time, despite all that we continue to face in this pandemic. During this Lent, as a way to stay more closely connected with you, I invite you to submit any special prayer intention you may have. I will bring your intentions before the Lord each and every day as I celebrate Mass and as I pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Please submit your intentions here.
Launching the Diocesan Year of St. Joseph Observance
Like many of you, I have a special devotion to St. Joseph. First developed through my family and Brazilian traditions, it grew stronger when I joined the Society of Divine Vocations, also known as the Vocationist Fathers. My religious order, the Vocationists, is under the patronage of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Personally, I connect to St. Joseph’s simplicity and unassuming, quiet role in the life of Jesus and Mary. We do not have a single word spoken by him in the Scriptures, yet no one can deny the important role he played in salvation history and the life of the Church.
Pope Francis announced last December 8 that a Year of St. Joseph would take place in the Catholic Church from that date until December 8, 2021. The Pope’s declaration of the special year marked the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1870.
Father Donald Calloway, who is a priest of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, has written a new book titled Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of our Spiritual Father. Father Calloway will offer a virtual presentation on Living the Year of St. Joseph for our Diocese at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2.
David Carvalho, Senior Director for Faith Formation, Youth, Young Adult and Family Life Ministries in the Fall River Diocese, explained that Father Calloway “has undertaken exhaustive research into St. Joseph, bringing to light an important figure in salvation history who is otherwise not well known.”
Father Calloway will speak on how we can live this year as a prequel to the Diocesan Consecration to St. Joseph, with preparation for the consecration beginning on March 30. The Diocese is pleased to host this event at no cost to participants. To register, visit fallriverfaithformation.org/stjoseph.
In addition to the Year of St. Joseph, on March 19, 2021, Pope Francis will inaugurate the Year “Amoris Laetitia Family,” which will conclude on June 26, 2022, on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families in Rome. Pope Francis released the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia (“The Joy of Love”) on April 8, 2016, but signed earlier on March 19 of that year. The documents consist of an introduction and nine chapters, each reflecting on challenges to marriage and family life.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, has put forth this statement helping the faithful understand the purpose for the Pope’s special proclamation:
The Year “Amoris Laetitia Family” is intended to spread the message of Amoris laetitia, and it is in that exhortation that the objectives of the Year can be found. The first is to share the content of the exhortation more widely, in order to help people “experience the Gospel of the family as a joy that fills hearts and lives (Amoris laetitia, 200).” The brochure says, “A family that discovers and experiences both the joy of having a gift, and of being a gift for the Church and society, ‘can become a light in the darkness of the world’ (AL,66).”
A second objective is to announce the precious value of the sacrament of marriage, which has “in itself a transforming power of human love.”
Further objectives include enabling “families to become active agents of the family apostolate,” and making “young people aware of the importance of formation in the truth of love and in the gift of self.”
Lastly, there is an invitation to broaden the vision and action of pastoral care for the family during the Year, so that it can become more transversal and include all family members, including married couples, children and young people, the elderly, and those in difficult family situations.
Throughout this time dedicated to families and St. Joseph, the Diocese will be providing many opportunities for you to embrace these celebrations as it relates to your faith and life. I see the coming years as a time of renewal in both the Church and in the family and look forward to all the upcoming special events and Liturgies connected with this renewal.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha