Bishop da Cunha’s 2015 Lenten Message

Dear Friends,

The ashes we received this past Wednesday remind us of the 40-day journey upon which we have embarked toward the Paschal Mystery. All other ritual symbols we receive become invisible. When we leave church, no one knows we were marked with the symbol. On Ash Wednesday, we keep the mark visible on our foreheads for hours. Everyone knows where we have been, what we did, and who we are. Only Ash Wednesday does this to us. However, after some hours, the ashes are worn away. What remains is not the external mark of the ashes on our foreheads, but the mark of our commitment imprinted on our minds and hearts, to live the spirit of Lent, a spirit of penance, prayer, charity, and conversion. We don’t need the sign on our foreheads for the rest of Lent because we ourselves embody the sign.

Ashes were not given to us as some magic formula to protect us or to force us into something, nor are they received because it is what one does on Ash Wednesday. This would be a great disservice to something so cherished and important to our faith and to our values. However, we cannot live in the Church without the ashes of change. Ashes are for those who are willing to embrace deep down the call to conversion and discipleship.

During Lent, we tend to give emphasis to giving up the things we like – food, sweets, drinks, etc., but that is the easy part of doing penance. Perhaps a more challenging and more fruitful way of doing penance this Lent would be to give up things that will truly change us and benefit our spiritual life and the lives of those around us. We can make this Lent a time to give up things such as criticizing others, selfishness, laziness, indifference, and time spent watching TV, and devote more time spent with family.

As Pope Francis said in his Lenten message: “As a way of overcoming indifference and our pretensions to self-sufficiency, I would invite everyone to live this Lent as an opportunity for engaging in what Benedict XVI called a formation of the heart (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 31). A merciful heart does not mean a weak heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter but open to God. A heart which lets itself be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters.” Pope Francis went on to say, “…today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.”

In practical terms, Catholics often choose to isolate an enjoyable food or activity to forego during this 40-day period. However, during this Lenten Season, I challenge you to look for ways not only to make a sacrifice or “give something up”, but to also find something extra to do. As individuals or as families, we should commit to one practice that we can take part in to help our neighbors. This way, we will not only be motivated by an inward piety, but our charity will be directed outward towards the betterment of all our brothers and sisters.

As the holy Season of Lent unfolds, we turn to God and pay attention more intensely than usual to the presence of Christ in our lives. During this time, the Church invites us to examine our actions, our attitudes, and the quality of our faith with renewed scrutiny. Through our practices of generosity, sacrifice, service and charity, we rediscover the true meaning of this penitential season. We prepare ourselves to participate fully in the glorious hope of the Resurrection. May our journey through Lent prepare us for the greatest feast of the Church year—Easter—and to receive the blessings of the new life it promises.

                                                                      Sincerely yours in Christ,

                                                Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.

                                                                     Bishop of Fall River

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 18th

ash-wednesdayAsh Wednesday begins the liturgical season of Lent, which formerly began with the First Sunday and comprised only thirty-six days. The addition of Wednesday and the three following days brought the number to forty, which is that of our Lord’s fast in the desert. In the Old Law ashes were generally a symbolic expression of grief, mourning, or repentance. In the early Church the use of ashes formed part of the public penances. The blessing and imposition of ashes was originally instituted for public penitents, but is now intended for all Christians, as Lent should be a time of penance for all.

The imposition of ashes will take place in the lower church (shrine) at the  scheduled  Masses  11:30 am and at 6:00 pm. All are welcome to receive ashes (whether Catholic or not), but only practicing Catholics in the state of grace are permitted to receive Holy Communion at Mass.

Blessing of throats on St. Blaise day

St. Blaise day in February

2_3_blaseToday is the memorial of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr. He was bishop of Sebaste in Armenia in the fourth century and was beheaded during the persecution of Licinius. While in prison, he miraculously cured a small boy who was choking to death on a fishbone lodged in his throat. Saint Blaise is invoked for his protection against any physical ailment of the throat.

The blessing of throats will take place at the end of Mass today.

Candlemas Day

Monday, February 2

purificationForty days after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The feast recalls the scene in the Gospel of Luke when Mary and Joseph bring the baby Jesus to the Temple as Mary receives ritual purification after childbirth as the Law required. There Jesus is recognized by Simeon as the one who is to be “a light of revelation to the Gentiles.” This day is also known as Candlemas Day because of the special blessing of candles that are included in the liturgy.

Catholic Schools Week in Fall River January 25- 31, 2015

Fall River Diocese celebrates the distinctive spiritual, academic, and social mission of Catholic education. In Fall River, a Catholic Schools Week Mass celebrated by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha for students and staff from schools will take place at St. Anne Church on February 4, 10 am. His Excellency, together with priests, deacons, staff and students will focus on the “Faith, Knowledge and Service” theme. Through different events, we emphasize the important value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our multidimensional and personal integration.

Catholic Education Center
423 Highland Avenue
Fall River, MA
(508) 678-2828

Bishop Connolly High School
www.bishopconnolly.com
373 Elsbree Street
Fall River, MA
(508) 676-1071

Espirito Santo Parochial School
www.espiritosantoschool.org
143 Everett Street
Fall River, MA
(508) 672-2229

Saint Stanislaus School
www.saintstansfestival.com
37 Rockland Street
Fall River, MA
(508) 674-6771

Holy Name School
850 Pearce St
FALL RIVER, MA 02720
Tel. 508-674-9131, FAX 508-679-0571
www.holynamefr-school.com

Holy Trinity School
64 Lamphor St
FALL RIVER, MA 02721
Tel. 508-673-6772, FAX 508-730-1864
www.holytrinityfallriver.com

St. Michael School
209 Essex St
FALL RIVER, MA 02720-2996
Tel. 508-678-0266, FAX 508-324-4433
www.smsfr.org

SS. Peter & Paul School
240 Dover St
FALL RIVER, MA 02721
Tel. 508-672-7258, FAX 508-674-6042
www.saintspeterandpaulschool.net

Seton Academy for Girls
1262 North High Street
Fall River, MA
(508) 672-4274

St. Vincent’s Residential/Special Education Treatment Center
2425 Highland Ave
FALL RIVER, MA 02720
Tel. 508-679-8511, FAX 508-672-2558
www.stvincentshome.org

photo of St. Anne's

 

First Confessions

Sunday, January 4th

The parish priest will hear the first confessions of our 2nd-grade Religious Education students this coming Sunday in the Shrine beginning at 11:30 am. Many blessings to you ! Just let him know it’s your first Confession; he will put you at ease and help you through it and be so glad you’ve come to receive the graces of our Lord.

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Thursday, January 1st

Mother of God

On New Year’s Day, the octave day of Christmas, Holy Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Mary is rightly called “Mother of God” because the Son she bore is the Father’s eternal Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Son, Who while remaining God became man: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Holy Day of Obligation

Masses in the Shrine at 11:30 am and in the upper church at 4:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31st, and on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1st, at 10:00 am.

Christmas

By Martha Noebel. It’s that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? IsCrèche with Baby Jesus it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, special dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?

Christmas is the gift of Jesus offering us salvation. For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time of God showing His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.

Through the sins of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited that sin nature. We need to have that removed. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the tree of the cross for ALL of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us. Then, we are clean and made whole. We can know that by Jesus’s salvation we inherit eternal life. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” I John 1:9 We can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what may be happening, we can know that we are His children. We become sons and daughters of God.

Then, look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a “Merry Christmas.” The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met.

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!

nativity

Wendesday, December 24th  ✶  Christmas Eve

11:00 am – Confessions (shrine)

3:00 – 3:30 pm – Confessions (shrine)

4:00 pm Vigil Mass (preceded by choir concert)

Thursday, December 25th  ✹  Christmas Day

10:00 am Solemn Mass with incense

 cmass

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Monday, December 8th

Mary’s being conceived without original sin distinguished her from the holiest of the saints, since they, one and all, were sinners. Her perfect sinlessness—a singular privilege and grace of almighty God—was the source of all her glory; it was this which opened the door to the unlimited graces that she received from God; it was this that qualified her to be the mother of our divine Savior and hers, and raised her to her throne as Queen of heaven.
rubens_immaculate-conception-210x300

Patronal Feast-day of the U.S.A.

[ All Masses in the lower church ]

7:15 am Mass

10:45 am Confessions

11:30 am  Mass

6:30 pm  Mass