Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese

FACE Summer Gala

Last week it was my pleasure to gather with some 200 persons for the annual Summer Gala in Falmouth to support the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) in our Diocese. After last year’s virtual event—which planners called the Summer Un-Gala- it was wonderful to gather and socialize in person. The evening featured delicious food stations, raffles, and an auction. Our Master of Ceremonies, Boston TV and radio personality Billy Costa, provided many laughs as he led the auction and helped to raise funds that will benefit FACE and the need-based scholarships it makes possible for students at our Catholic schools.
During the Gala, I presented the Al Makkay, Sr. Friend of Catholic Education Award to Margaret Keras of Yarmouth Port. The award is given annually to recognize meritorious service to Catholic education on Cape Cod. Margaret’s work with Catholic education began in 2004 when she joined the staff of the newly established St. Pius X School in South Yarmouth after a successful career in high tech and business consulting. In 2013, she joined St. John Paul II School in Hyannis where she serves as Business Manager.

This year FACE celebrates its 30th anniversary. It was first established as the St. Mary’s Education Fund in 1991 from the proceeds of the sale of the former St. Mary’s Home in New Bedford. It took on its current name in 2015. In all, under both titles, the fund has made a contribution worth noting: since 1991, FACE has provided over $17 million in need-based scholarships to students in the Fall River Diocese. For the upcoming 2021-22 school year, FACE is anticipating awarding $1,425, 000 in scholarships to over 900 students.
You can learn more at


Retiring Priests

Five priests will retire from parish ministry in the Fall River Diocese this month after offering decades of service in the Fall River Diocese. 
To retire are Fr. Paul A. Caron, who is pastor of St. Pius X Parish, South Yarmouth; Fr. Jay T. Maddock, V.F., pastor of Holy Name Parish, Fall River; Fr. Hugh J. McCullough, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Wellfleet, and St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Provincetown; Fr. Michael R. Nagle, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, Martha’s Vineyard; and Fr. John J. Oliveira, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, New Bedford.
I invite you to read more about the wonderful service of these priests on the Fall River Diocese website

The Virgin Adoring the Host by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Real Presence

The Church is currently working through the Gospel of John, Chapter 6, also known as the “Bread of Life Discourse.”  We’ll take a break this Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, returning to this crucial teaching of the Catholic faith, next week. 
Jesus tells those following Him,

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

It is clear Jesus does not mean this to be a symbol but truly His Body and Blood.

“As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him” (John  6:66).

St. Peter’s profound statement of faith should serve as not only a lesson but also as a model on trusting and believing in the teaching of the Real and True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Putting ourselves in the place of the disciples who still remained after so many found the teaching too difficult to bear and walked away, how would we answer Jesus’ question, “Do you also want to leave?” 
Can we say, like Simon Peter,

“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

Indeed, where shall we go? Only our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is offering us the words and promise of eternal life. Maybe this teaching is new to you, or one you have wrestled with for a long time. First, we must pray as I do each day, Lord, I believe, increase my faith. Second, through the gifts offered through the Holy Spirit such as wisdom, spend time learning more about this important aspect of our Catholic faith.  The USCCB offers a thorough resource on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, here, on their website.

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