FALL RIVER — The Fall River Diocese and the St. Anne’s Preservation Society have entered into an agreement through which the Preservation Society will re-open under its care and oversight St. Anne’s Shrine in Fall River to serve as a sacred place for prayer and devotion.  The Shrine is located in the building’s lower church.

Fall River Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., and representatives of the St. Anne’s Preservation Society signed the agreement late last week with an effective date of July 1, 2019.

The St. Anne Preservation Society will re-open the Shrine at 10 a.m. this Thursday, July 4th, which is the anniversary of the 1906 dedication of the building’s upper church. It will then be open daily Monday through Friday with specific hours to be determined within the coming days.

Per the 10-year agreement, which may be extended, the Preservation Society will lease from the Fall River Diocese the St. Anne’s Church building and the former St. Anne Parish office for $1 per year.

Going forward, the St. Anne’s Preservation Society will launch a fundraising campaign to enable the group to begin to make major repairs to the building with the intention of an eventual full restoration of both the lower and upper churches.

“I am so very pleased that we have been able to work out this agreement between the Diocese of Fall River and the St. Anne’s Preservation Society,” said Bishop da Cunha.

“I was impressed with the leadership of the Preservation Society from my first meeting with them several months ago.  Their proposal for taking on responsibility of St. Anne’s Shrine and its needed repair was detailed, well thought out, and based on a genuine dedication to their faith. I am hopeful that St. Anne’s Shrine will once again serve as prayerful respite for persons, offering them solace and drawing them closer to God. I offer my prayers to the St. Anne’s Preservation Society for all of their efforts ahead.”

Richard Affonso, who is president of the St. Anne’s Preservation Society, expressed his gratitude to Bishop da Cunha and to the many others who have moved and supported the project in key ways.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Bishop da Cunha for his support of our mission and for his belief in our ability to get it done, he said. “Also, my thanks to others in the Diocese who have assisted us, to our attorney Brody Hale, and to the members of our board of directors. We have a great team working together on this.”

Affonso underscored that the goal of the Preservation Society is “a complete restoration of St. Anne’s over a 10-year period.”

Once the Shrine is open, the Preservation Society will begin to schedule recitations of the rosary, Bible Studies, and other special programs.  A minimum of two Masses will be celebrated there each year, according to the agreement. One will be on July 26, the Feast of Saint Anne in the Church’s calendar, and the other, beginning in 2020, on July 4, the anniversary of the dedication of the St. Anne’s Church.

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