Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese

Confirmation Should Change Us

Receiving the Sacraments should, even in the smallest way, change us. Every reception of the Eucharist, every visit to the confessional, and even the day-to-day grace we call upon in our Baptism should all draw us closer to Christ in some way. Last Thursday, I celebrated the last Confirmation in the Diocese for 2023; you are probably well aware it was one of many for me! It was the Conferral of Confirmation for our Adult Confirmation program. I reminded the Confirmandi, as I do at the celebration of every Confirmation, that this special day, this anointing and reception of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, should make a profound difference in their lives.

Typically, in Baptism, someone else has made the decision for us to enter the Church, to accept Christ as our Savior, to renounce Satan, and to embrace a life growing in holiness. At Confirmation, we stand before the Church and God and choose for ourselves. It is interesting how many different reasons bring adults to seek to receive their Confirmation — the desire to become a godparent, to enter into a sacramental marriage, or even to fulfill a promise to a parent or grandparent. However, what I pray is that each person realizes God called them there for so much more. As Jesus said in St. John’s Gospel, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

The prayer I have for each of those confirmed last week and all who read this week’s blog is to take the gift that is God’s grace in our lives and use it for His glory. Be guided by your faith and the gifts of the Spirit to serve the Church and others. To take a close look at your life and see where you can make a difference, be of assistance, and most importantly, be Christ in the world.

Marian Medal and Serving the Church

The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military honor given for heroic service. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to civilians who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the security of our nation, for peace in the world, and for other significant contributions. The Marian Medal, which we bestow every year, and this year did last Sunday, December 3, is presented to individuals who have dedicated their service to the Church in the Diocese of Fall River.

I am sure many of the recipients have been acknowledged for outstanding work in their professional and personal lives, but on Sunday, we were there to applaud their discovery of the beauty, value, and joy of serving others. These men and women of faith heard and accepted the Lord’s invitation, His call to share their gifts and talents for the Church, and in particular, their parish community.

In these difficult times in which we are living, I am encouraged by the goodness, the faith, and the generosity of people like you. In his letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul repeats the word “encourage” several times. This word means “to put in courage,” the idea to uplift, inspire, motivate, fire up, stimulate, invigorate, revitalize, embolden— all flow from the encouragement Paul urges for us.


It is okay at times to feel in the dark, and when it happens, we may feel we are buried, but in reality, we are planted. It is in those moments God will send His spirit so we can sprout, grow, and bear fruit. God promises to bring good from our experiences of darkness, brokenness, and suffering. The role of God, of faith, and of religion is becoming less relevant in the lives of many people, especially the younger generation. Sadly, this world is becoming increasingly self-centered; when God, faith, and religion are removed from our minds, we tend to become more self-absorbed. It becomes all about us. Where there is love, there is no room for selfishness. Love opens our hearts for acts of generosity; it moves us to desire to do good for others, to improve the quality of life for everyone, and to be instruments of peace and hope.

Someone once said, “The moment I think only of myself and not care for what happens to others, I have no right to be here.” I am truly filled with joy for those who received these special medals. They are extraordinary examples of faith and service. I exhorted the recipients to keep up the good work and continue to be examples of generous service—encouraging, leading, and mentoring, when possible, others to understand and embrace the joy of doing good for others. The abundant happiness and satisfaction that comes from dedicating one’s gifts and talents to make a difference in our world and the lives of those around us.



Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!

Today, the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Nicholas, the man who inspired our secular Santa Claus. Nicholas was a Greek bishop from Myra who was known for good works and miraculous intercessions. However, there is much more to this holy man; I want to share this interesting article from CNA, which outlines five things you may not know about this saint. You can read that here.

When I think of Saint Nicholas, I cannot help but also recall my time as Pastor of Saint Nicholas Parish in Palisades Park, New Jersey. In fact, I will be returning to Saint Nicholas this week to reconnect with friends and former parishioners to celebrate the parish’s 100th anniversary. I look forward to sharing those details with you in next week’s blog.

Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha

Diocese of Fall River
Diocese of Fall River
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