Saint Patrick (March 17th)

Next week, the Church will celebrate the Feast of Saint Patrick. While many people know of the cultural celebrations connected to St. Patrick, may I suggest learning more about the Bishop from Ireland and his saintly life of heroic virtue? Did you know Saint Patrick was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland as a teenager? He escaped, but he dreamed Ireland’s children were calling to him, and returned to Ireland as a missionary. 

Saint Patrick was a gifted evangelizer, often teaching through imagery. He used the three-leafed shamrock to illustrate the mystery of the Trinity, as three Persons but One God. Although the shamrock is one clove, it is comprised of three separate leaves; just as there is only one God but He mystically exists as three divine persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Known as “the apostle to Ireland,” he once wrote: “Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.” 

Saint Joseph (March 19th)

When Pope Pius IX declared Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church 150 years ago— he entrusted the needs of the Catholic Church to the patronage, care, and protection of Saint Joseph. The Prayer to Saint Joseph, composed by Pope Leo XIII to be recited at the end of the Rosary, includes God’s commission of Joseph with the protection of the Universal Church. This idea of Saint Joseph bestowed with that protection of the Church reflects the role he played as the head of the Holy Family and how he was charged with the protection of the Holy Family, especially of the infant Messiah, Jesus the Christ. 

I like the connection that we can easily make with the Church as the body of Christ entrusted to Saint Joseph’s care and how he cared for Jesus as an infant, child, and adolescent. There probably were many times while Jesus was a child when he stumbled and fell, maybe even skinned a knee as all children do, and Saint Joseph would pick him up, console him, hug him, and take care of whatever he was in need of at that time. 

One clear example of St. Joseph as the Protector of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, is when the Infant Jesus was threatened by King Herod. Joseph followed the direction of the angel Gabriel and took Mary and Jesus to Egypt to be safe from Herod’s threat—risking his own safety to ensure the Messiah could fulfill His mission. Every act of safeguarding Jesus has an eternal ripple effect on each of us who calls upon Jesus as Savior.

Another example is illustrated when Jesus was separated from His parents during their visit to Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary went back anxiously, looking for him. They found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And Mary said to him: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Luke 2:46-48).

It is consoling for all of us as members of the body of Christ, the Church, to know we have the protection of such a great and powerful intercessor who watches over us like a loving father.

Father Martin Buote was a regular Anchor columnist;
you can read his final column here.

Last week, Rev. Martin L. Buote, 90, a retired priest of the Diocese of Fall River, passed away at the Cardinal Medeiros Residence for Retired Priests.

For those not familiar with Fr. Buote, his obituary offered a look into this priest’s fascinating life, “A brilliant man, he was an expert in physics, philosophy, poetry, theology, mathematics, horticulture, literature, and cooking. His passion for growing orchids included grafting new species, including registering his “Sean O’Malley” orchid. A connoisseur of authentic Chinese cuisine, he often prepared multi-course Chinese meals for friends and volunteers of his parishes. Having participated in an Alzheimer’s longitudinal study since 2004 with Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Fr. Buote’s mental acuity is now the standard used for elderly mental clarity.”  The remainder of Fr. Buote’s memorial can be read here.

Please join me in offering a prayer for the repose of the soul of Fr. Martin Buote.

Novena for Priests

The Diocese of Fall River Office of Clergy Support is hosting a Diocesan-wide Nine-Day Novena for Priests on the nine days leading up to the Chrism Mass.

The Chrism Mass is the annual Holy Week liturgy that priests from throughout the Diocese concelebrate with me at our Cathedral. During this Mass, the holy oils are blessed for use in the celebration of the sacraments throughout the year. Additionally, our priests renew the promises they made at their priestly ordination. The Chrism Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at 4:00 PM, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. All are welcome to join us. 

To register to participate in the Chrism Mass Novena for Priests, please register/subscribe for Clergy Support updates at or contact Matt Robinson, Director of Clergy Support, at or 508-492-0995.

Your prayerful support of our Priests is always greatly appreciated.

Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha

O Reverendíssimo Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
O Reverendíssimo Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Bishop of Fall River