Month of Mary
As May has long been the month in which we honor mothers, it stands to reason we’d dedicate this month to celebrating the greatest mother of all, Mary, our Blessed Mother. There are a great many ways individuals, families, and parishes can honor Mary during this month of May. One long-standing tradition is the May Crowning, which is simply the placing of a crown of flowers on a statue of Mary. Some parishes invite children involved in the First Communion class to participate; others may sing Marian-themed songs and include reciting the Rosary.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, especially under the title of Our Lady of Fall River, instituted by Bishop Cassidy to accompany the special image painted by artist Feodor Zukharov in 1943, plays a significant role in the life of our diocese as our patroness. Our Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of the Assumption.
As many of you know, my hometown in Brazil is Nova Fatima, and our patron saint is obviously— Our Lady of Fatima. One of my many beautiful memories growing up is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th. It was a special day for my family and for the whole town. We would attend Mass and then take part in a procession with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima going all around town. People would come out to join the procession and sing the familiar hymns to the Blessed Mother, pray to her, and show their love and devotion to Mary, our Mother.
Teacher’s Appreciation Week
It is at this time of the year we celebrate teachers, school staff, and principals. As I have stated on many occasions, the Diocese of Fall River is blessed with the finest Catholic schools. Again and again, our schools prove their dedication to learning, the faith, and to building a better world. I want to once again thank you all for your hard work and ongoing support of our students, family, and the entire Catholic school community.
I would also like to take this opportunity to share that the Diocese of Fall River Catholic schools are currently hiring—with openings for teachers, nurses, and custodians. I concur with the Catholic School Alliances statement, “Working in a Catholic school brings about great joy and satisfaction as each child develops his or her God-given talents. We encourage you to open your heart to these wonderful children and offer your time and talent,” and invite you to review the full list of available jobs here.
2023 Catholic Appeal
The 2023 Catholic Appeal, under this year’s theme of “Do This in Memory of Me,” has officially begun and will continue through June 30. Now in its 82nd year, the Appeal supports numerous agencies, programs, and ministries of the Diocese of Fall River, providing food, shelter, emergency assistance, spiritual comfort, and educational opportunities.
This year, our theme is inspired by the National Eucharistic Revival and calls us to serve our brothers and sisters in their moments of greatest need: to be the hands and feet of Jesus, loving one another as He has loved us. Every year, support from parishioners and friends helps children, adults, and the elderly by bringing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to life.
In my message introducing this year’s Appel to the faithful, I shared,
“The theme of our 82nd Annual Catholic Appeal, “Do This in Memory of Me,” inspires us to keep the sacred mystery of our faith – the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist – at the center of how we live each moment of our lives. We are in the middle of a National Eucharistic Revival: an important opportunity for us to reconnect with our Savior, with the Church, and with our faith. What better time to rekindle a flame of hope across the Diocese of Fall River, by sharing the gifts our Lord has so lovingly bestowed upon us.
“Our modern world makes it very difficult to pass along the traditions and values we have shared as a Church for 2,000 years; this includes the practice of going to Mass. But it’s precisely because of these secular distractions that we must fight to uphold the teachings of our Catholic faith. Something as simple as gathering around a table and sharing a meal together binds us. This particular meal of the Eucharist, when we gather around the table of the Lord, promotes and brings about our unity in Jesus and with each other.”
In the past year, Catholic Charities also launched a new Mental Health Ministry, which is spearheading the development and implementation of Mental Health Ministry teams at parishes throughout the diocese to provide support and accompaniment for parishioners and their families. This is just one of the many important initiatives the Appeal helps bring to light.
Please support the Catholic Appeal as generously as you can. You can make a one-time gift, or a pledge with convenient payments throughout the year. You can give by mail, use a contribution card located in your church, or make your gift or pledge securely online at GiveFRDiocese.org.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha