During the Tuesday of Holy Week, our diocese celebrated the annual Chrism Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. This celebration brings together priests, deacons, and laypeople from across the diocese with a focus on blessing the holy oils to be used for the administering of sacraments throughout the year, as well as a renewal of priestly promises. Additionally, it is an opportunity to express our appreciation of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
The overarching theme of my homily for that day was that of unity—putting aside our differences and being united around the teachings of our faith—particularly the Eucharist. United, we are stronger; we better exemplify the words Jesus spoke as He prayed for his disciples leading up to His Passion. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one” (John 17:20-22a).
A grandfather once related to his grandson the battle raging within him between two wolves. One full of virtue and charity and the other self-centeredness and weakened values. The grandson curiously inquired; which of the wolves wins? The grandfather responded—the one I feed. Which wolf will we feed? Will we be instruments of peace, joy, hope, fidelity, and unity within ourselves, our homes, our world, and most importantly, within the Church? Will we come together as people of faith united in the Eucharist— the ultimate symbol of unity brought to us through the Holy Spirit? The unity of the Church must be visible for others to want to join us in following Christ; to want, like us, to be disciples.
As I shared in my Easter message, let us recommit ourselves to a new life grounded in faith and hope and renewed in the Risen Lord. This witness to hope is particularly relevant in today’s world, where so much uncertainty, fear, and division are still all around us. The support we can provide for each other, especially as we continue to celebrate the season of Easter, gives us the strength to face our challenges and find hope, united, in difficult times.
Prayer Service for Healing
In April, we honor both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Carolyn Shipp, Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, has written an excellent and informative article for this month’s Anchor newspaper; I invite you to read that here.
On April 25th, at 10 a.m. I invite you to attend a Prayer Service for Healing. While no single statement or event can make up for the painful abuse of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, as believers, we know that in Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection, we find hope beyond measure as we move towards a brighter future.
The Prayer Service for Healing will also be available via livestream on the Diocese of Fall River Facebook page. If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn Shipp, Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance: email@example.com.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha