Chrism Mass Reflection

Greetings to you during this glorious Easter season. What a blessed Holy Week we had here in the Diocese; many parishes have reported increased attendance during the Triduum and Easter Liturgies. Praise be to God to hear such wonderful news — a sign that not only are we moving further away from the pandemic but also the fruit of the dedication and devotion of our priests. What a great joy to renew our priestly promises during the Chrism Mass last Tuesday, with one of the largest attendance of priests in recent history.

By Jesus’ wounds, we are healed. In His triumph conquering over sin and death, heaven is open to each of us; that is indeed Good News! In God’s infinite wisdom, He chose fragile vessels to continue His earthly mission. Wounded Healers, as Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Roman Catholic priest, referred to himself and his brother priests. Imperfect, yet through the grace of God, able to serve God’s people; men who empty themselves to be filled with Him. Agents of healing, hope, and reconciliation—who try every day to bring light into the darkness and hope where they find despair. Who bring Christ to the world through their words and actions, but most importantly, as unworthy yet grateful ministers of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

View Entire Chrism Mass Photo Gallery Here

It is tradition that we recognize priests celebrating significant anniversaries of their priestly ordinations in the context of our Chrism Mass. Recognized for 60 years this year were Bishop Emeritus George W. Coleman and Father Ernst J. Corriveau of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette; for 50 years, Father Stephen B. Salvador and Father Joseph F. Viveiros. How wonderful to acknowledge them and the others and to give thanks for their ministry over so many decades.

I ask you to please join me in my daily prayers for our priests. Pray for their ministry to be blessed, the struggles to be light, and their faith to remain steadfast. In this Easter Season, as we rejoice in the Resurrection and look forward to Pentecost, let us remember those who have answered God’s call to serve as priests among us.

Divine Mercy Sunday

On May 5, 2000, Pope St. John Paul II decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter is to be celebrated throughout the world as Divine Mercy Sunday. In 2002, the Vatican published an additional decree attaching a Plenary (or partial) Indulgence to Divine Mercy Sunday. The USCCB website explains, “Through an indulgence, God grants the prayer of the Church that the temporal penalty for sin due to someone be reduced (or possibly eliminated).”

To obtain the Plenary Indulgence (learn more about indulgences here), one must satisfy the following conditions:

St. Faustina’s Diary records fourteen occasions when Jesus requested that a Feast of Mercy be observed. Diary entry 699 contains these specific and thorough details:

My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy.

Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul, 699.

Annunciation of the Lord

As you may know, the Solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25, nine months before the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas). The Annunciation recalls the day when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and revealed God’s will that she become the Mother of the Son of God, and she accepted. At that moment, the “Word became Flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). This year, because it fell during Holy Week, the Annunciation will be observed on Monday, April 8.

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