Three Words—Confirmation Thoughts
One of the responsibilities as Bishop, I truly enjoy, is conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation. In 2020, one of the encouraging signs our country, our state, and our Church had begun to move in a more positive direction during the pandemic was once again participating in Confirmations. Now again, as I attend so many Confirmations, I feel that same encouragement and hope. In my blog last year, I shared a little about the three words I often share during my Confirmation homilies—faith, change, and witness. Today, I’d like to revisit and expand upon those words.
First, there is FAITH, which for most confirmation candidates was passed down from their parents, grandparents, and teachers. When parents brought their children for Baptism, together with the godparents, they promised to help the child live according to the Catholic faith’s teachings. The seeds of faith planted in their lives by the choice of their parents have been watered, tended, and grown ready to blossom and bear fruit. At Confirmation, the Confirmandi (candidates for Confirmation) now make these promises their own and accept the responsibilities of the Catholic faith themselves.
I ask the Confirmandi, will anything about you change when the Liturgy celebration is over, and you walk out those church doors and return to your life? Will anyone know you are Christian, Catholic, or that you believe? Since we do not carry a sign to announce these beliefs, we need to be the sign. What we profess in faith, we must show in our deeds. Our decisions, actions, and words need to reflect what we believe and help others to recognize God within us.
The next word is CHANGE. When the Holy Spirit comes, things change! Think of the disciples after the Resurrection, how everything in their lives and their worlds was never the same again. Then I ask the candidates—Is anything going to change from the day of your Confirmation going forward? In Confirmation, the Holy Spirit is received in a powerful way; what will change for you? It is time to pray and discern how you will make an impact and a difference in your life in the Church. What roles will you assume to better serve and participate in the faith you profess at Confirmation?
The third and final word is WITNESS. God chose the Apostles to bear witness to the Gospel, to what they had seen and heard. As St. Peter stated in the Acts of the Apostles, after Jesus’ Resurrection, “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 2:20). Like the Apostles, who did not keep the Good News to themselves, we must share what we have seen and heard. Like them, we must accept the responsibility to proclaim the Gospel, bring people to faith, and share the truth.
Catholic Guild for the Blind
Catholic Social Services is in the midst of efforts to reactivate the Catholic Guild for the Blind in the Fall River Diocese. As Catholic Social Services CEO Susan Mazzarella explains, “A Guild could support, inform, refer, educate and improve the quality of life for visually-impaired individuals. To do so we must ask for guidance from our fellow Catholics on this journey, whether at a beginning step or nearing the end.”
To learn more about the needs of the blind and visually impaired and what services would be of support, Catholic Social Services has posted an online survey on its website. Members of the faithful throughout the Diocese are invited to offer input through it. The initial deadline has been extended so there is still time. The survey can also be printed out, completed, and returned by mail. In addition, Martha Reed at Catholic Social Services is available to help anyone to complete it with her over the telephone. Martha can be reached at Catholic Social Services at 508-674-4681.
Here is the link to the survey.
Diocesan Consecration to Saint Joseph
Our Diocese began a 5-week preparation period for the Consecration of Saint Joseph, which will take place during a Mass on May 1st, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The Mass location has been moved to St Joseph’s Chapel in Woods Hole, MA. This church is one of the first dedicated to St Joseph, holding special meaning for the Diocese. It will still be livestreamed on the Diocese Facebook page. To reserve a seat, please visit http://bit.ly/StJosephWorker
The Consecration to St. Joseph preparation consists of a weekly reflection and prayers posted daily on the Diocese of Fall River website. This week’s reflection focuses on St. Joseph, Patron of the Dying, and comes from Deacon Paul Levesque, a Permanent Deacon of the Fall River Diocese since 2013, and currently assigned to St. Michael’s and St. Joseph’s parishes in Fall River. The daily prayers include the Litany of St. Joseph, recited throughout the preparation for Consecration to St. Joseph, and a new prayer related to the highlighted title of St. Joseph for the week. An ancient prayer to St. Joseph for a happy death has been selected for the week three prayer.
As I mentioned last week, although the preparation period is 5-weeks; if you miss a day, either continue by reciting the prayers you missed or picking up from the current day. If you are just learning about the Consecration, I invite you to read the reflections missed and then pick up with us today. You can find all the posts to date, including my reflection on St. Joseph, Protector of the Church, here.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha