Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese


Sunday of the Word of God

The Sunday of the Word of God, instituted in 2019 by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit illis,” is celebrated in the Church every year on the third Sunday of Ordinary Time. The theme for the fifth Sunday of the Word of God, to be observed on Sunday, January 21, 2024, is “Remain in my Word” (John 8,31). This celebration stands to remind the faithful of the importance and value of Sacred Scripture for the Christian life, as well as the relationship between the Word of God and the liturgy. Additionally, it reminds each of us of the importance of incorporating time every day with the Scriptures. Find helpful USCCB resources here.



In addition to experiencing the Word of God in the Liturgy and our personal prayer, making time to read, discuss, and pray with Scripture as a family is also very important to fostering a deeper relationship with God. 

“Set aside some family time for a short reading of a Scripture passage, for example, the Sunday Gospel. Choose a comfortable and quiet place in the home, away from the distractions of television and cell phones. Begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open your hearts to God’s Word. Read the passage aloud and then allow some time for the family to reflect and share their impressions. Finish with a prayer together that this Word will bear fruit in your lives, helping you in the walk toward holiness.” ~ Liturgical and Pastoral Handbook for the 5th Sunday of the Word of God.

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization has a free downloadable handbook (also available in Spanish and Portuguese) to help you, your parish, and your family embrace more fully the abundant graces that come with spending time listening to God’s Word. The Sacred Scriptures, authored by God himself, communicate to us the truth and beauty of a life of faith in a language we can understand. In the coming weeks, I will discuss how the Scriptures can be experienced most profoundly during the Mass through the Liturgy of the Word.


Annual March For Life

Many wonder why people continue to organize and/or participate in the March for Life.  Even though Roe v. Wade was overturned on the Federal level, allowing more freedom at the state level to enact pro-life laws, there still sadly exists a profound disregard for life. Staggeringly, the number of abortions annually is still well over 900,000 each year, and that number is expected to decrease only by roughly 200,000 each year in a post-Roe America.

As the March for Life website reminds us, “Many national legislative battles loom, including even keeping longstanding Hyde protections, which limit government funding for abortion on annual appropriation bills… The goal of the national March for Life is to not only change laws at the state and federal level, but to change the culture to ultimately make abortion unthinkable. With the role of the states being more important, we are also growing a strong state march for life initiative quickly, however, we will continue to march every January at the national level until a culture of life is restored in the United States of America.”

As I noted in my homily at the annual Pro-Life Mass here in the Diocese last year, yes, the Supreme Court decision of June 2022 that overturned Roe v. Wade was an important step forward in the legal realm, but changing hearts is more important, and still remains a challenge before us. We need to continue to pray that God will change hearts for a better world, a world of peace, love, and understanding—one that is respectful of every human life.

My prayers go with all the pilgrims from the Diocese of Fall River, as well as those traveling from across the nation, to participate in this week’s March for Life activities.


The National Prayer Vigil for Life

For those not traveling to Washington, DC, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has organized a prayer vigil so we can all be united together in praying for the dignity of every human life. In conjunction with the March in Washington, DC, the USCCB organizes The National Prayer Vigil for Life to be held on January 18 and 19. Thousands of pilgrims from across the nation pray for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. 

Some dioceses across the country will be live-streaming holy hours throughout the night from 8:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m. See the full listing on the


Human Trafficking Prevention Month

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ theme for Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2024 is Activate Connections to Prevent Human Trafficking. The theme will focus on activating connections to build individual, family, and community resilience to human trafficking.

Earlier this year, I became more keenly aware of the horrors of human trafficking after watching the true story of one man’s courageous battle to save children from ruthless child traffickers—recounted in the movie Sound of Freedom. Human trafficking has doubled in the U.S. in the last five years and generates a staggering $150 billion dollars a year. This is an issue that demands our attention and our help. I encourage you to review the materials available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website

The USCCB also has information on its website here. We can make a difference by helping raise awareness. Let us all prayerfully work toward ending this unthinkable crime against the most vulnerable. 

Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha

Diocese of Fall River
Diocese of Fall River
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