Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 10th

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 January 31- February 7

Fall River Diocese celebrates the distinctive spiritual, academic, and social mission of Catholic education.  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
373 Elsbree Street
Fall River, MA
(508) 676-1071

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

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

Holy Name School
850 Pearce St
Tel. 508-674-9131, FAX 508-679-0571

Holy Trinity School
64 Lamphor St
Tel. 508-673-6772, FAX 508-730-1864

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

SS. Peter & Paul School
240 Dover St
Tel. 508-672-7258, FAX 508-674-6042

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
Tel. 508-679-8511, FAX 508-672-2558

photo of St. Anne's

Bishop’s message for Lent 2016

We all remember Lent as a time of prayer, penance, fasting, abstinence, a time to give up sweets, smoking, etc. Although all these things are good and noble, Lent is much more than that; it is a time when we are called to “Repent, and believe in the gospel”. A time for change, but change can only come about when we are open to hear the Word of God and live by it. In the first part of Lent, the Gospel texts for weekdays are taken from the Synoptics. The message running throughout is a call to a life of Gospel conversion. We can call this the “ETHICAL” section. The Gospel readings for the second half of Lent are taken from the Gospel of John, taking a presentation of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, of whom John says that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. Christ is presented as the healer and life-giver, as the one who gives life through his confrontation with death and gathers into one the scattered children of God. can call this the CHRISTOLOGICAL” section.

How do these two sections of the lectionary fit together and what can they tell us about the spirit of Lent? The purpose of the first part of Lent is to bring us to compunction, contrition, and remorse. “Compunction” is etymologically related to the verb “to puncture” and suggests the deflation of our inflated egos, a challenge to any self-deceit about the equal? of our lives as disciples of Jesus. “..,return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your heafts, not your garments, and retum to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” (Joel 2:12-13) By hitting us again and again with demands which we not only fail to obey, but which we come to recognize as being quite beyond us, the Gospel passages are meant to trouble us, to confront our illusions about ourselves. “Remember, you are dust…” From this perspective, the purpose of Lenten penance is not to confirm us in our sense of virtue but to bring home to us our radical need for conversion and for salvation. “Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day.” (Sirach 5:8) As we celebrate this Lenten Season during the Holy Year of Mercy, let us keep in mind the merciful love of God, our Father, and let us turn to Him with faith and trust. Let us rejoice in the gift of Salvation which we fully experience at the end of the Lenten Season, when celebrate the Paschal Mystery of the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Sincerely yours in Christ,

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

Bishop of Fall River

First Confessions

Sunday, December 27 

First Reconciliation

We look forward to working with you and your child in this ongoing life-long learning in their development as full, active Catholics. The Sacrament of Reconciliation grows out of the Penitential Act we practice each Sunday at Mass. Our emphasis on the family’s role in reconciliation grows out of the reality that it is within the home that most of us learn to love, to forgive, and to be forgiven. In this sacrament we come to God with the knowledge that we sin, that our sin hurts our community and ourselves, and that God is anxious to forgive and heal any broken bonds.

The parish priest will hear the first confessions of our 2nd-grade Religious Education students this coming Sunday in the Shrine beginning at 11:00 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.


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!


Thursday, December 24th  ✶  Christmas Eve

11:00 am – Confessions (shrine)

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

Friday, December 25th  ✹  Christmas Day

10:00 am Solemn Mass with incense

4:00 pm Mass

Dear Friends in Christ,

Welcoming the Prince of Peace

One of the questions faced by humanity which theologians, spiritual writers and thinkers throughout the centuries have tried to answer is: Why did God chose to save the world the way he did, by sending his only Son Jesus, to come and become one of us, to be subjected to the human condition, to suffering and death? Could God have done it differently, by the simple act of His word? There is a passage in the third chapter of the Gospel of John which may shed some light on this question. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

God knew that with only His word we would not be convinced of his love and mercy; He knew we would need much more to change our lives and be converted in order to be saved. He knew we would need the presence of Jesus, we would need to see Jesus’ acceptance of God’s plan, Jesus’ willingness to empty himself of His godliness and become one of us. God knew we would need Jesus’ witnessing to the Father’s love and mercy for all of humanity to the point of giving His son to die for us. As pope Francis said when he announced the Jubilee Year of Mercy, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy”. Therefore, Jesus’ presence made all the difference.

The importance and meaning of Christmas is the gift of Jesus’ presence. First, we need to recognize His presence within ourselves, in our lives, our families, and our world. Then, once we accept His presence in our lives, we too become signs of His presence in the lives of others. In a time when individualism is emphasized, defended in every aspect of life and in every corner of the world, we need to recognize that none of us was made to be in isolation or to live for oneself.

During this year that is coming to an end, our world has seen so much suffering, violence and pain. We have witnessed terrorist attacks, endless wars, the shed of innocent blood, loss of innocent lives, so many hopelessly leaving behind their homes, their land, their history and seeking a future as refugees. We have seen children, too young to understand what is happening to them and their families, losing their lives too early.

When Jesus was born, the angel appeared to the shepherds and told them: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk. 2:14)  When we welcome Jesus, embrace Him, hear His word, accept his teaching, and see his presence in our brothers and sisters, the peace that only God can give, will be truly ours.

My profound desire this Christmas and my wish to all my brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Fall River, is for the gift of the peace of Christ to reign in their homes, their hearts and their lives. My prayer is also for peace to prevail in our troubled and suffering world. My hope is that in 2016, all humanity may experience harmony and understanding regardless of race, color or religion. My wish is that there may be an end to racial discrimination and to religious persecution; that   refugees find homes, orphans find families, the unemployed find jobs, and that we all find enduring peace.

                                                    Sincerely yours in the Lord,

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

Bishop of Fall River

Thursday, December 31  ✹  St. Sylvester, New Year’s Eve

cmass11:00 am – Confessions (shrine)

11:30 Mass

4:00 PM Mass

New Year, Friday, January 1, 2016  ✹  

Our Church observes the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on this day. It is a holy day of obligation. Please attend our Mass at

11:30 AM

Happy New Year 2016!

Another year starts and with it, new hopes and aspirations – a faint desire that sprouts in every human heart that speaks of happiness, prosperity and goodness to come. Happy New Year with warmest wishes. Thank you for your support throughout the entire year.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Tuesday, 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.

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

[ All Masses in the lower church ]


11:00 am Confessions

11:30 am  Mass

All Souls’ Day

 November 2nd

mass-req On All Souls’ Day we pray and offer Mass for all the souls in the purifying state of Purgatory, but especially those of our relatives, friends, benefactors, and enemies. It is a pious belief that God manifests to them our prayers for them, that they also may pray for us. 11:30 am.


 Community Preservation Committee Meeting, Fall River

Please find enclosed notes from the Community Preservation Committee Meeting prepared by the generosity of Deacon Alan Thadeu
Meeting with the Community Preservation Committee (CPC)
Fall River City Hall – Council Meeting Room
Monday, November 2, 2015 6:00 PM

Attending on behalf of Saint Anne and the Diocese
Philippe Gregoire – President, Saint Anne Parish Council
Deacon Alan Thadeu – Asst. Finance Officer
Deacon Tom Palanza – Facilities  Consultant
Reverend Christopher Stanibula, Administrator of Saint Anne

The purpose of the meeting was for the Committee to determine and vote on the eligibility of the proposed projects.  Most applicants did not have representative present so I believe we made a positive impression with our level of commitment. The project was approved due to the iconic nature of the church building.  Now we move on to the detailed financial application due February 1,  2016.  However, it was strongly suggested that our application for funding include a descriptive section stressing the impact of the closure of the church to the community at large and not simply focus of the worship needs of the Saint Anne’s parishioners. CPC funding is derived from the City’s taxpayers through a surcharge on their real estate bills and this would ease any concerns of using taxpayer money on a religious house of worship. What was very clear at the conclusion of the meeting was the need for the Diocese to make a decision if we are going to move forward as this next phase of the application process will be costly in both time and money and there are a number of restrictions that will be placed upon the Diocese if we accept any CPC funds. There would, however, be no restriction on how we use the building i.e. the CPC cannot  determine who may enter the building or at what time; how the church is used, etc.
Restrictions include:
 A preservation restriction will be placed on the deed, in perpetuity, which can be applied on the outside, inside or both building envelopes. It will be binding on any future owner, no doubt affecting the value of the property were we to sell it.
 If we close the church, we would be required to maintain it in its historical
condition. Any work to the building, unless minor or emergency in nature would have to be approved by the CPC/Historical Commission.
 It prohibits any changes to the building that would alter the historical/architectural features of the building. It will prevent any future demolition of the building.
 The planned repair work could not begin until the release of funding – projected to be July 2016. Any work completed would need to meet the Secretary of the Interior Standards. The Committee understands that not everything can be done at once.  But since there is no set  amount of funds available each year, and as more groups take advantage of whatever funds are available, no future commitment of funding can be made.  And it is unlikely the CPC will fund the entire amount of any project – instead relying on some level of matching funds provided by the applicant.

The CPC seems adamant in their belief that completing any interior plaster repairs would not be logical until we examine and repair any roof leaks and repoint the exterior areas adjacent to the internal damaged areas.  Although this has some validity, this would add significant cost and time to this project.
The CPC is recommending (and will provide names) we hire an Architectural Historian (AH) and a Structural Engineer (SE) to assist us in preparing our final proposal.  The AH would be able to advise us as to the level of work necessary to bring the interior damaged sections up to the standards required for historical preservation.  The SE would be able to confirm that the building interior is structurally sound and should go far to meet the requirements to reopen the main worship space.  Mr. Antone Dias, a member of the CPC again pointed out his disagreement with the actions in closing the main church because of falling plaster. […]

If we are going to move forward with the CPC funding application, we need to decide if we are going to hire the Architectural Historian and a Structural Engineer so we can begin preparing a detailed scope of work and cost projections.  The February 1, 2016 deadline is not that far away.

The annual candlelight procession and Saint Mary’s Cathedral Mass

Saint Mary’s Cathedral Mass for peace on Columbus day.

Mary_Rosary-3More than 2000 faithful Christians with parish priests participate in the annual candlelight procession and Saint Mary’s Cathedral Mass for peace on Columbus day. This years, marchers met 5:45 p.m. at St. Anne’s Church on Middle Street, Fall River, to march approximately one-half mile to St. Mary’s Cathedral on the Second Street. The procession begins at 6:00 p.m. Marchers with Diocesan Bishop da Cunha will carry candles, recite the rosary and sing Marian hymns in various languages. At approximately 7 p.m. Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will celebrate a Mass for Peace at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Those who are disabled or handicapped should proceed directly to St. Mary’s Cathedral, where a special area will be designated for them. The Procession and Mass for Peace has been held annually in the diocese since 1975.