In these slower months of summer, I thought I would take some time to revisit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ three-year cycle strategic plan, which I first shared in June 2021. 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,” with the theme Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. The “Thematic Framework of the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan,” a document that provides additional depth and context on this plan, can be found here.

The five strategic priorities identified by the bishops are defined as follows:

  • Evangelization: Form a band of joyful missionary disciples.
  • Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Serve the common good as a leaven in a free society.
  • Protect and Heal God’s Children: Restore integrity and foster virtue.
  • Vocations: Equip all Christ’s disciples for mission.
  • Pandemic Recovery: Promote the healing of the personal, spiritual, and societal wounds of COVID-19 through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician.

Participating in a Eucharistic Revival

An integral part of the “Created Anew” agenda has been the National Eucharistic Revival, “The goal of this three-year plan is to rekindle a Eucharistic love and a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ by embracing the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.” For the past three years, the USCCB and our Diocese have worked tirelessly to provide resources and opportunities to participate in this important initiative. 

The bishops’ hope has always been that this movement will lead to a “greater understanding and love of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist among the faithful; experiencing the centrality of the Eucharist as the source and summit of our life; greater unity in the Church in the United States; evangelistic fervor flowing from the encounter with Christ in the Eucharist.” It has been a blessing to watch the nation and our diocese move through this three-year plan, which has consisted of a Diocesan Revival (July 2022—June 2023), Parish Revivals (July 2023—June 2024), and concluding with this year’s National Revival (July 2024—December 2024). 

This is an updated map showing the four routes of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage to the National Eucharistic Congress in 2024. The pilgrimage launched from four points in the U.S. May 18-19 and converges eight weeks later in Indianapolis for the July 17-21 congress.
(OSV News illustration/courtesy National Eucharistic Congress)

I’ve enjoyed following the Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which began on May 17, as these four routes (initiating from north, south, east, and west), continue towards Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress. This movement reminds me of the “Hands Across America” event on May 25, 1986. At that time, I was a pastor at St. Nicholas Parish in Palisades Park, New Jersey. I vividly remember standing holding hands on a Sunday afternoon with parishioners, all of us with matching Hands Across America T-shirts, united as a country connected to everyone else joining in that special day. Excitement filled the air that day, and I pray for an even bigger celebration and a wave of joy to fill the hearts of all who have been blessed to participate in this Eucharistic pilgrimage in person and for those of us following virtually. You can learn more about this historic pilgrimage, including daily reports from the pilgrims, here.

Diocesan Eucharistic Encounter

As we wind down in this final phase, I have been so pleased to see so many parishes throughout our Diocese participating in various forms of Eucharistic formations. It is my hope that each parish will offer some form of catechesis on the Eucharist by the close of the revival in December. Many parishes have already begun to offer the Jesus and the Eucharist series prepared by the USCCB’s National Eucharistic Revival movement. The program is just one of many wonderful options available to bring us all closer to our Eucharistic Lord. This one has been very well received; learn more on the website.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to once again personally invite you, your family, and your parish groups to join me on September 7 at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River for our Diocesan Eucharistic Encounter. With inspiring sessions in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, along with the celebration of Mass, an Adoration Chapel, vendors, and more, this day is sure to be the perfect culmination of three incredible years of working toward an ongoing revival!

FACE Summer Gala

This is always a special event; I hope you will consider joining us at the upcoming August 16th Summer Gala. Learn more about the good work of the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education and how you can help on their 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