Revitalization on a Global Level
In last week’s blog, I shared that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sets three-year cycle strategic plans. The 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan was created with the intent to “guide the Conference during the uniquely challenging times we face as a Church and Nation.” The carefully chosen theme for this plan is “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope.” You can read more about that here.
This week, I would like to share the exciting things beginning to happen on the global level. While there is still more information forthcoming, here is what we know thus far. In October, Pope Francis will open a three-year synodal journey with three phases (diocesan, continental, universal) of consultations and discernment, culminating with the assembly in October 2023 in Rome.
The Synod of Bishops with the Pope, which can be explained as simply walking the path of faith together, was part of the new developments from the Second Vatican Council to continue the collaborative experience of the Bishops. During the ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis expressed his desire for a common path for “laity, pastors, the Bishop of Rome.” This XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be the realization of Pope Francis’s desire for a “decentralized” Synod being celebrated.As part of the preparation for the Synod, there will be a Diocesan phase. I am still awaiting specifics as to what exactly this will look like for us here in the Fall River Diocese; however, I am excited for the opportunity of the voice of the laity to be heard. For now, we know it is the Pope’s expectation that this phase will begin on October 17, 2021. As we move closer to that date, specifics will be communicated via this blog, the Diocesan website, social media, bulletin announcements, and our Anchor newspaper, to assure all those wishing to participate have ample opportunity to do so.
St. Thomas Rededication
In June, I approved a proposal from the Pastoral Council of the Catholic Community of Falmouth to combine St. Anthony, St. Patrick, and St. Elizabeth Seton Parishes, into the new St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family Parish. I was happy to approve this new name suggested by the council not only because this is the Year of St. Joseph, but also because the first Catholic parish in Falmouth, from which all the other churches and chapels in that town were established, was St. Joseph in Woods Hole. This unification of parishes helps address the priest shortage, offers better utilization of resources, and can improve community outreach. The new parish was formally established on July 1.
On July 3rd, I celebrated Mass to rededicate the newly renovated chapel to St. Thomas on its patronal feast day. The chapel, located in Falmouth Heights, is a worship site of the new parish. It was also 103 years ago this weekend (July 4th) that the first Mass was celebrated in St. Thomas Chapel. Both St. Thomas and the new parish’s other chapel, St. Joseph in Woods Hole, where I celebrated a special Mass for the May 1 Feast of St. Joseph the Worker as part of the Fall River Diocesan observance of the Year of St. Joseph, are instrumental in helping the diocese provide Masses for the influx of people on Cape Cod every summer.
40 Hour Adoration and Monthly Prayer Intentions
Worshipping Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament provides the faithful a tremendous opportunity to find rest, offer prayer, and strengthen their faith. A small group of faithful in the Diocese with a strong devotion themselves to Eucharistic Adoration, came together to organize a monthly 40-hour Adoration throughout the Diocese. Every second Thursday of the month, beginning on July 8, the devotion will begin with a Mass at 8 a.m. followed by 39 hours of Adoration, ending on Friday at midnight.
Each month’s devotion will carry with it a special intention for which the faithful are encouraged to pray. To that end, I have developed the following 2021 schedule:
- July: For an Increase of Vocations to the Priesthood, Consecrated Life and Ministries in the Church.
- August: For Unity Among all Catholics, while celebrating our diversity.
- September: For recognition of the dignity of every human person in every stage of life.
- October: For the increase in awareness among all the Baptized of their vocation to be Missionary Disciples, imitating the fidelity of the Virgin Mary.
- November: For a renewed sense of Recognition and Gratitude for the blessing we receive every day.
- December: For an openness to welcome Jesus into our lives and allow Him to be born in our hearts each day.
I pray your family had a wonderful 4th of July and for a summer filled with many blessings.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha