Holy Week and Chrism Mass
At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12, I will celebrate, together with the priests of our Diocese, the annual Mass of Chrism. During this Mass, I will bless the oils that are used in the sacramental life of the Diocese throughout the year, and priests, diocesan and religious who minister here, will renew their commitment to service. Designated concelebrating the Mass with me will be those priests in the Diocese who this year are observing significant anniversaries of priestly ordination. Livestream is available on our Diocese of Fall River Facebook page.
More About the Chrism Mass
Oil is an ancient symbol of strengthening, healing, and preparation and, following the homily in the Chrism Mass, I will bless the three oils to be used in the sacramental life of the Diocese during the year. The Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens consist of an olive oil and are blessed in the same way holy water is blessed. The Oil of the Sick is used for the anointing of all who are ill and in need of God’s healing; the Oil of the Catechumens is used for the anointing of infants, children, and adults who are preparing for baptism.
The Mass takes its name from the third oil, the Sacred Chrism, the most eminent of the three. It is olive oil mixed with balsam, and it will be consecrated by the bishop during the Mass. The bishop will breathe on the oil, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Sacred Chrism is used in baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, and the dedication and blessing of churches and altars.
The Chrism Mass is also a time for priests in the presence of the bishop and the faithful to renew their commitment to the ministry to which they were ordained. Bishop da Cunha will then ask the lay faithful present at the Mass to pray for their priests as well as for him in his service as diocesan bishop. After the Mass, the oils are distributed to all parishes in the Diocese for their use throughout the year.
The Diocese of Fall River will host a special morning of prayer, reflection, and discussion to conclude the Diocesan Phase of the 2021-2023 Synod.
Parish Synod Ambassadors and any participants in Synod consultations are encouraged to take part in this event, set for Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to noon, at Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth.
I will begin the morning with the celebration of Mass, and it will be followed by a session of sharing, listening, and discussing the Synodal journey experience in the Diocese of Fall River.
I hope you will consider joining us. Interested persons in attending are asked to RSVP by Monday, April 18, through this link: http://bit.ly/Synod23.
Please visit the Synod 2021-2023 webpage to learn more about this worldwide process of consultation in which the entire Catholic Church has been called to participate by Pope Francis.
Please watch the invitational video to the Lumen Christi Cathedral Gala (included on that webpage) and consider joining us on June 8, at 6 pm at White’s of Westport or this special event. The musical entertainment will be provided by Vatican III which features Fall River diocesan priest Father Matt Gill, seminarians Deacons Matthew Laird, and Larry Valliere (who will be ordained, God willing, that previous Saturday, June 4, 2022), and Father Patrick Fiorillo from the Archdiocese of Boston. All proceeds from this event will support repairs and renovations that will help us shine the light of our beloved Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption for years to come. To learn more about tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Cathedral Gala webpage.
More about St. Mary’s Cathedral
First having welcomed faithful parishioners in 1856 as a parish church, the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption has served as the center of our Diocese since 1904 – the very beginning of the ‘new’ Diocese of Fall River.
The first stones were set in place for St. Mary’s more than a century and a half ago. Begun in 1852, the church was completed in 1856, bringing to fruition Reverend Edward Murphy’s vision for a noble building to be the spiritual home of the Catholic community in Fall River. It replaced the small, wood-framed structure named for St. John the Baptist, which had served the parish for fifteen years.
The design was prepared by the famed church architect, Patrick Keeley, in response to Fr. Murphy’s request for a building that would accommodate twelve hundred worshippers, as the number of Catholics in the thriving textile-mill town was starting to grow briskly, and as St. Mary’s would be for some time the only Catholic church in Fall River. The Catholic Foundation of Southern Massachusetts website provides more history on St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha