Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese

A Time to Recharge

A retreat is a time to be renewed and to recharge one’s batteries. Unlike a vacation, a retreat benefits not only your physical well-being but your spiritual as well. It’s an opportunity for prayer, silence, spiritual reading, and reflection. The Bishops of Region I (encompassing New England) take an annual retreat together, which allows us to bring in a speaker to enrich our time with each other and, most importantly, with the Lord.
There are many types of retreats that individuals can take—private, silent, or directed but it is a true blessing to come together as brother bishops and hear Reflections. This year, we had as speaker Abbot Jeremy Driscoll of the Order of St. Benedict, who serves as the 12th abbot of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon. During his years in the community, Fr. Jeremy taught theology at Mount Angel Seminary and at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. As Abbot, he continues to teach a class each semester at Mount Angel. He also serves on various Vatican commissions, conducting conferences and retreats throughout the United States (and beyond).
Fr. Jeremy based his talks on the theme of the Resurrection. Throughout his presentations, he illustrated how all we do is solidly based on Jesus’ Resurrection—focusing his teaching on the time between the Crucifixion and Pentecost. The sacraments and liturgy are all directly connected to the Resurrection.

An essential component of any retreat is silence. The purpose of silence is to quiet our hearts and to remove ourselves from the noise of our everyday lives so we can better listen to God speak to us. It’s a beautiful gift to communicate with God, and our interior spiritual life significantly benefits from finding a specific time to give to this silence. You will find the benefits remain well beyond the time we spend in Adoration, in the silence, because we learn better how to hear God speaking to us. If we don’t make that time for silence, it becomes more challenging with the busyness of life for us to experience that constant communication with God that St. Paul reminds us we need. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Our relationship with the Lord should be the number one priority of our life, and silence is the way for us to hone, sharpen, and deepen that relationship so we can listen more effectively to him.

FACE Summer Gala

This 26th annual FACE Summer Gala at the Wianno Club in Osterville took place on Thursday, August 17, 2023. In the remarks I shared with those who attended (and extend to anyone who generously supports Catholic education in our Diocese), I expressed my hope that all truly understand what a difference their participation makes in the lives of those who benefit from it. Many families in our Diocese struggle to fulfill their desire to send their children to Catholic schools. The Foundation to Advancement of Catholic Education (FACE) has been providing scholarships for children in the Diocese of Fall River Catholic schools since 1991; last year alone, over one million dollars was awarded to almost 1,000 students!

Birthday with Bishop and students from St. Pius X School and St. John Paul II School

Your contributions are making such a difference in the lives of these young people, who are and will continue to be blessed by the incredible generosity of the people of our Diocese. Children in our Catholic schools not only receive excellent instruction in secular subjects but, more importantly, learn about God and develop a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith. This supports and encourages their growth into valuable members of society who also live according to their Christian faith. Donations to Catholic education are an investment in a better world, as we provide so many opportunities for our students to grow up to become good, productive people of faith. The investment we make now truly benefits us all in the long run— in our communities, our parishes, and in our world.

Award recipient Jim Remillard with Bishop and with Maureen Makkay

Each year at the Gala, we award the Al Makkay Sr. Friend of Catholic Education Award to a member of our Catholic school community on Cape Cod. This special award was established in 2017 by Maureen Makkay & Family in Honor of the late Al Makkay, Sr., who was a loyal supporter and advocate for Catholic education in our Diocese for many years.

This year’s very deserving recipient is Jim Remillard, Science Department Chairperson and Technology Coordinator at St. John Paul II School in Hyannis. As a teacher of multiple courses – Marine Science, Earth Science, Bioethics, Engineering, Biology-, there was always something going on in his classroom. He embodies all the qualities of a great teacher: respect for and high expectations of all students; a collegial relationship with other teachers and staff; and a deep commitment to the values of St. John Paul II school. 
He could be found at weekly Mass in the school chapel, leading seniors every year on a spiritual retreat and participating in faith formation at Christ the King Parish. Jim and his wife Maureen are proud parents of 8 children, both biological and adopted from all over the world.
After a 16-year career at St. John Paul II School, “Mr. Rem,” as he is known, is retiring! We are grateful for his dedication and service to the school community, and again congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition and award.

FACE Special Collection

While on the subject of FACE, I want to let you know that a second collection will be taken up at Masses at all parishes in our Diocese over the weekend of Sept. 9-10 to support financial scholarships for students attending a local Catholic school. These scholarships are distributed through FACE, the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education.
Over 30 years ago, the St. Mary’s Education Fund was established to give students with financial needs access to a Catholic education in the Diocese of Fall River. Today, the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (or FACE) carries on this history of making Catholic education a reality for all families who desire one for their children.
A donation to this special collection will help continue this proud mission of giving students opportunities to grow in educational environments dedicated to helping them develop their God-given potential. Visit www.FACE-DFR.ORG to learn more.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha

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