As was announced over the weekend, Bishop George W. Coleman, Bishop Emeritus of our Diocese, passed away on May 24 following complications from a recent surgery. While we mourn his passing and will miss him dearly, we are also consoled by the promise of the resurrection and the certainty that he — a good and faithful servant of the Church — will be rewarded for all the good he has done in this life, and will be our new intercessor in heaven. I invite you all to join me in prayer for the eternal repose of Bishop Coleman’s beautiful soul and for the consolation of his family, friends, clergy, and faithful here in the Diocese of Fall River.

Faithful Service to Our Diocese

A native of the diocese, Bishop Coleman was born in Fall River on February 1, 1939, the son of the late George W. and Beatrice K. (Shea) Coleman, and raised in Somerset, along with his one sister, Eileen. He graduated from the former Msgr. James Coyle High School in Taunton in 1957 and then attended Holy Cross College in Worcester. He prepared for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton and at the North American College in Rome, where he also earned a graduate degree in sacred theology from the Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on December 16, 1964.

Bishop Coleman faithfully served as the Seventh Bishop of Fall River from July 2003 to September 2014. In December of this year, he would have observed his 60th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. He was recognized for this significant milestone at the diocesan Chrism Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River this year during Holy Week. I am so grateful he was able to take part in that Mass.

It was in that same cathedral where he was ordained a bishop and installed as the leader of the Diocese of Fall River on July 22, 2003. That began an 11-year tenure of dedicated, faithful, humble, and competent ministry as he worked to fulfill the many responsibilities of being bishop. He submitted his letter of resignation at the age of 75, as required, and formally ended his ministry as bishop upon my installation on September 24, 2014. In retirement, while able, Bishop Coleman continued to serve the Diocese, often assisting with parish Masses.

His appointment to the episcopacy came as he was serving as administrator of the Diocese after Bishop Sean P. O’Malley, OFM Cap., was transferred to the Diocese of Palm Beach in Florida in the fall of 2002.

At a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated in August 2014, a few weeks before his retirement, Bishop Coleman recalled in his homily that shortly after becoming bishop, he received a letter from a third grader who expressed his hope that the new job would be “fun.” Bishop Coleman continued, “it has been fun, only surpassed by the ever-deepening joy of being Christ’s instrument” in the diocese.

Paying Our Respects

Arrangements for Bishop Coleman are as follows: a Wake will take place on Thursday, May 30, from 3 to 8 p.m., with a Vigil Service at 7 p.m., at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 327 Second St., Fall River. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Friday, May 31, at 11 a.m., also at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Diocese to Welcome a New Priest and Deacon

With joy and gratitude to God, we will welcome a new priest and a new deacon for our Diocese as they receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders this Saturday, June 1, at 11 a.m. in St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Courtesy: Fall River Vocations

Through the sacred rites of the Church, I will ordain Deacon Bryan R. Bangs of Barnstable to the priesthood and seminarian Lucas D. daCosta of Acushnet to the transitional diaconate. To learn more about these two men to be ordained, please visit our Diocesan website.

The ordination will be livestreamed on the St. Mary’s Cathedral/Our Lady of Fall River website at

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