Blessing of the Ashes — Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River

Lenten Encouragement

There is something very simple many of us forget to do in our prayer — listen. Lent is the perfect time to quiet our minds, hearts, and our cell phones so we can “hear” the Holy Spirit speaking to us. God asks that you listen with your heart open to truly receive what He has to tell you, how He guides you, and, when necessary, even comforts you. This may bring you consolation. Sometimes, however, what you hear can be difficult, and what he asks may be challenging — when you listen to God, you do not get to pick just the “good stuff,” the words that appeal to you. 

Last Sunday, we heard about Abraham, known as the father of faith, who shows us how to not only listen but to hear and follow. Abraham believed what God told him and trusted in His Will. He did not hold back anything from God, even his only son. What do I hold on to, what am I attached to, what is binding me?

The Gospel recounts the Lord’s Transfiguration. As Jesus was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his garment became dazzling white. Saint Peter lost himself in this incredible moment, proclaiming how good it was for them to be there. When we experience the presence of Jesus as Peter did, we move beyond ourselves. Peter had to learn that Jesus’ glory would be revealed only after the suffering of the cross. As the Apostles, John and James, were there with Peter as well, they were able to behold the glorious sight of the glorified Lord, and they heard from God, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” A message meant not only for them but for us as well.

We are halfway through our Lenten journey for 2024; as we continue through these forty days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, let us pay extra attention to Jesus’ words and teachings. I pray you have been offering up your Lenten sacrifices for those special intentions you set at the beginning of Lent and that you are experiencing how fruitful this type of purposeful prayer can be. Remember, there is also nothing we can do that will stop God from loving us. He did not even withhold His own Son from us. God always turns tragedy into praise. God is not only for us; He is also with us. May these next weeks of Lent be a great blessing to you and your family.

Diocese Celebrates 120 Anniversary

On March 12, 1904, Pope Pius X created his first diocese as pope — the Diocese of Fall River. This area had been part of the Diocese of Providence; and Boston before that. For the remainder of this year, we will be sharing the fascinating history assembled by Msgr. Barry W. Wall in his book, Bearing Fruit By Streams of Water: A History of the Diocese of Fall River, on our social media platforms. You can also read a thorough account of our Diocese’s wonderful history on our website; I invite you to read that here.

Anniversary Celebrations

As announced in last week’s Building Faith blog, a Fall River Diocesan Day of Eucharistic Encounter will take place on Saturday, September 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River. The day is not only a key event in the diocesan observance of the National Eucharistic Revival now underway across the country but also part of the Diocese’s 120th anniversary. A perfect opportunity for us to all come together in prayer for grace and renewal, turning to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus for another 120+ years.

This Day of Eucharistic Encounter will include presentations from international author and speaker Chris Stefanick, who heads up Real Life Catholic, and Boston Archdiocesan Auxiliary Bishop Cristiano G. Borro Barbosa, as well as sessions in multiple languages, Mass, Adoration, Eucharistic exhibits, vendors, and more. Families are welcome, with activities available for children. Learn more here.

Additionally, this year’s Lumen Christi Gala, on June 18, 2024, at White’s in Westport, will give special attention to this special 120th year of our Diocese. Please save the date and look for more information in the near future.

Diocesan Website’s New Look

Last month, after months of preparation and planning, the Diocese launched a new website featuring new branding that better depicts the mission, location, and heart of our Fall River Diocese. The website is a digital hub offering easy-to-locate links to evangelization resources, parish and school directories, daily readings, and upcoming events. Visitors can quickly access information on our diocesan offices, ministries, and agencies through various organized menu options. In addition, the web redesign delivers a consistent look across its subsites and pages. The overall intent of the site is to connect people to their faith. After reading today’s Building Faith blog, I hope you will explore the new website.

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