Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese

I recently made an interesting discovery while contemplating some important milestones happening in my life this year. This year, I celebrate 41 years as a priest, 20 years as a bishop, and 9 years as the Bishop of Fall River, which together equal 70, the number of years I’ve been on earth, after celebrating my birthday on August 21. The sum of these events equaling my age never happened before and will never happen again. So, this is a special year.

Here is a brief summary of these important events in my life. On March 27, 1982, I was ordained to the priesthood for the Society of Divine Vocations in the Church of St. Michael, Newark, by Bishop Joseph A. Francis, S. V.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Newark. Pope Saint John Paul II appointed me an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, as well as titular bishop of Ucres, on June 27, 2003, and I was consecrated a bishop in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on September 3, 2003, by Archbishop John J Myers. I am honored to be the first Brazilian-born Catholic bishop in the United States. Pope Francis named me to lead the Diocese of Fall River on July 3, 2014. I became its eighth bishop in a Mass of Installation in St. Mary’s Cathedral on September 24, 2014.

Source: Mass of Installation of Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D. 9/24/2014 (YouTube)

As I look back on these milestones, I am grateful to God for the opportunities I have had to serve. My ministry as priest and bishop through these years has brought me many blessings, and I look forward to continuing to shepherd this Diocese with the support and prayers of our clergy, religious, and laity.

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms: Bishop da Cunha. Presented in a beautiful rendition by Lauren Pray, who works in our Facilities and Real Estate Department

Every bishop chooses significant and meaningful symbols to include in his official coat of arms; this crest can evolve as a bishop’s appointments change, as mine did. Here is a brief explanation of my current coat of arms. A full description is available on the Fall River Diocese website here:
There are many elements to a bishop’s crest; on the personal side of my shield represents where I come from and the influences that have shaped my life and ministry. The bottom part of the shield represents my life in Brazil; the symbols recall the flag of Brazil. The colors of the flag are green and yellow (heraldic gold), and in the center, there is a globe with a banner bearing the words “Ordem e Progresso” (Order and Progress). The words are not repeated in the arms, but the representation alludes to them. The green of the flag is referenced by the indented green line, which also refers to the motto of my home state of Bahia.
The top part of the shield represents the Society of Divine Vocations, the religious order to which I belong. The circle represents the world, and the triangle represents the trinity; they are interlaced, which indicates the Vocationist mission to bring the world to God and God to the world. The colors chosen are silver and gold to represent the precious nature of the Christian vocation. The symbol is placed on a blue field, which is the color of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a reminder that my vocation began with my baptism in Immaculate Conception Church in Gavião, Bahia; that I studied for the priesthood in Immaculate Conception Seminary; and that I spent years of ministry as priest and bishop in the Archdiocese of Newark which is under the patronage of Immaculate Conception before being named to Fall River.
Finally, the shield is complemented by the episcopal hat and cross and the scroll bearing my episcopal motto, “Suffict tibi gratia mea” [My grace is enough for you], which is taken from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians (12:9), where Paul tells his readers that the Lord told him this when he was encountering difficulties. These words remind me, every day, that God’s grace will see me through the challenges of being a bishop and as a Christian in the modern world.

Coat of Arms: Bishop Emeritus George W. Coleman

Arms of the Bishops of Fall River

In the Diocese of Fall River archives, we are blessed to have the coat of arms of many of the previous bishops depicted in various mediums. Here is a small sampling:

Coat of Arms for: Bishop Daniel A. Cronin; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley; Auxiliary Bishop James J. Gerrard, and Bishop James L. Connelly

Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) Second Collection on September 9 & 10, 2023

 This weekend, a special second collection will go to support local students in need of financial assistance to attend our Catholic schools. Since the opening of the first school, it has been the desire of the Diocese to make our Catholic schools accessible to all families who wish to provide a Catholic education for their children. In 1991, the Diocese of Fall River established the St. Mary’s Education Fund, which was changed to Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE).

FACE wants to meet the challenges of serving our diverse populations while addressing the increase in the demand for financial assistance for families striving to send their children to the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River—currently, 18 schools grades K – 12 enrolling more than 5,400 children. FACE supports children who need help across the Diocese.
This weekend’s second collection will raise important scholarship funds for the Diocese of Fall River Catholic school students!  Please watch this video to learn more:

A donation to the FACE Special Collection taking place the weekend of September 9th and 10th will help continue the proud mission of giving students opportunities to grow in educational environments dedicated to helping them develop their God-given potential. You can also make a donation online:
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha

The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Bishop of Fall River