Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese

Installation of Lectors

Seminarian Lucas da Costa, currently in the second theology class at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, was installed as Lector, along with his classmates, on Sunday, March 26. What an honor to be invited to celebrate the Mass at the Seminary and install Lucas along with five other men on their continued journey toward priesthood.
This ceremony marks an important step toward ordination. Though they may have been lectors in their own parishes or ministries, now they encounter God’s Word in a deeper sense. They proclaim the Scriptures and embrace the role of teachers of God’s Word.

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Installation as Lector is an important role in the Church and in their priestly formation. As I recite in the Rite, before the installation, “As readers and bearers of God’s word, you will assist in this mission, and so take on a special office within the Christian community; you will be given a responsibility in the service of the faith, which is rooted in the word of God…In proclaiming God’s word to others, accept it yourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Meditate on it constantly, so that each day you will have a deeper love of the Scriptures, and in all you say and do show forth to the world our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Please continue to pray for Lucas as he continues his priestly studies and formation.

2023 Chrism Mass

On Tuesday of Holy Week, I, together with priests of the Diocese, will celebrate the annual Chrism Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. This traditional Holy Week liturgy includes the blessing of oils and the renewal of priestly promises. It will take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4. The Chrism Mass will be livestreamed on the diocesan Facebook page.
During this Mass, I will bless the three oils to be used in the sacramental life of the Diocese during the year. The Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens consist of an olive oil and are presented by the faithful to be blessed during the Mass. The Oil of the Sick is used for the anointing of all who are ill and in need of God’s healing; the Oil of the Catechumens is used for the anointing of infants, children, and adults who are preparing for baptism. The third oil, from which the Mass takes its name, is the Sacred Chrism, a mixture of olive oil and balsam. I will consecrate it during the Mass, asking God, our Father, to “fill it with the power of your Holy Spirit through Christ your Son.” Chrism is used in baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, and the dedication and blessing of churches and altars.

At this Mass, the priests present—both diocesan and religious priests who reside and/or minister in the Diocese—renew their commitment to the ministry to which they were ordained. Additionally, it is an opportunity for me to invite the lay faithful to pray for their priests as well as for myself—in my service as diocesan bishop. Prayer for vocations, whether for an increase in response to God’s call or to fortify those already having answered the call and currently serving the Diocese, is crucial to the life of the Church.
All are welcome; learn more on the Diocese of Fall River website

Pro-Life Mass

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of celebrating the annual Pro-Life Mass for our Diocese in St. Julie Billiart Church in Dartmouth. We celebrate that Mass each year on a date that either falls on or near the Church’s celebration of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25th. We concluded that Mass with recognition of the winners of the Student Pro-Life Essay Contest, there were a number of students from our Catholic schools in attendance, and I was most grateful.
 In my homily, I called attention to the first reading in which the Lord laments to Moses that the people of Israel decided to go their own way. “They have turned aside from the way I pointed out to them” (Ex. 32:8). I offered that we’re not that far away in our own society. We see injustice, violence, discrimination, racism, and abortion, citing only a few prevalent examples of our lack of respect for human life.

2023 Annual Pro-Life Essay Contest Winners: (l to r): High School Division, Olivia Souza, first place; Caroline Sullivan, second place; both from Bishop Stang High School, Dartmouth; Bishop da Cunha; Junior High Division, Liam Iveson, first place; Benjamin Greene, second place; both from St. Michael School, Fall River.

With so much to be done to rebuild our society, I spoke of the need to convert people to recognize the value of human life, each and every one created in the likeness of God. Yes, the Supreme Court decision of last June overturning the Roe v. Wade decision 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.

Selected to receive the John Cardinal O’Connor Pro-Life Award for 2023, as Pro-Life Person of the Year, was a married couple, Jane and George Wilcox

I thanked the students present for their commitment to the Pro-Life cause and reminded them of their critical role in becoming messengers of the truth of the dignity of life. Our celebration concluded with the reading of the winning Pro-Life essays and the presentation of awards.

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