New Auxiliary Bishop from Brazil

On December 9, 2023, Pope Francis named Rev. Cristiano G. Borro Barbosa, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and current secretary for evangelization and discipleship and episcopal vicar for the central region of the archdiocese, as a new auxiliary bishop of Boston. I was blessed to attend Bishop Cristiano’s Mass of Episcopal Ordination last Saturday, February 3, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

A bishop, the Ordinary of a diocese, is entrusted by the Holy Father with the care of the faithful of a particular place or territory, namely a diocese. An auxiliary bishop can be appointed to a larger diocese or, as in this case, an archdiocese, to assist the Ordinary with assigned pastoral and administrative needs. Interestingly, since an auxiliary bishop doesn’t have his own diocese, he is named a titular bishop of a diocese that no longer exists as a functioning diocese. When I was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, I was named Titular Bishop of Ucres. Bishop Cristiano is the Titular Bishop of Membressa, an ancient diocese kept alive in the Church’s memory by the Holy See assigning it to the prayerful remembrance of an auxiliary bishop.

Mass of Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Cristiano G. Borro Barbosa

Bishop Cristiano’s appointment by Pope Francis makes him the second youngest bishop in the United States and the second native of Brazil to become a bishop in the U.S., after me. I have known Bishop Barbosa for several years, and I am glad he was chosen for the Episcopal ministry in the Church. He has been a great priest and will be a great Bishop.

2024 to be the Year of Prayer

Pope Francis has announced that 2024 will be a “Year of Prayer” in preparation for the Jubilee of Hope in 2025. His declaration included resources outlining the Vatican’s vision for how the faithful can use this year to better incorporate prayer into their daily lives. During his address regarding this special year, the Pope said, 

“I ask you to intensify your prayer to prepare yourselves to live well in this event of grace and to experience the strength of hope in God. [This Year of Prayer is to be a time of] “rediscovering the great value and absolute need of prayer in personal life, in the life of the Church, and of the world.”

Pope Francis
Official Logo of the 2025 Jubilee of Hope

Among the various pastoral materials the Vatican will publish is a series of short volumes on different aspects of prayer. The first volume, authored by Italian Cardinal Angelo Comastri, former archpriest of Saint Peter’s Basilica, and titled “Praying today: A challenge to overcome,” was published Tuesday and includes a preface from Pope Francis. The complete series will be published by April before the papal bull officially decreeing the 2025 Jubilee of Hope is issued on May 9. The prayer series will serve as the main resource for reflection leading up to the inauguration of the jubilee.
You can learn more about the Vatican’s plans here.

Vocations Office Baseball Cards

I am excited to share with you a new creative initiative from the Fall River Office of Vocations to promote priestly vocations in our parishes and schools. A custom-designed poster of our newly ordained priests and men in the seminary has been distributed along with individual prayer baseball cards with personal “stats” to introduce you to each man shown on the poster. These cards correspond with the poster and were distributed to every Catholic School student in the Diocese. 

Source: Fall River Vocations Office Facebook

I applaud this unique approach to supporting vocation discernment and, please God, the increase of priestly vocations across our Diocese. Pictures of each card can be found on the Fall River Office of Vocations Facebook page (please note: you do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the images on the link).

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