The Ascension of Our Lord

Beginning with the Ascension Thursday May 14th, 2015 we have been celebrating  Masses in the Shrine due to the necessary UpperChurch inspections. We will post you when the inspection occurs. The complete engineering report we may expect in a few months. We are sorry for any inconveniences.


The Ascention of Our Lord, which occurred 40 days after Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Easter, is the final act of our redemption that Christ began on Good Friday. On this day, the risen Christ, in the sight of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven according to Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19 and Acts 1:9-11. Our holy day of obligation Mass is celebrated at 11:30 AM and 6:30 PM in the Shrine.

Saint Joseph’s Day

Thursday, March 19

Our Lord Jesus Christ employed thirty years assiduously obeying Joseph and Mary. This humble obedience of the Son of God teaches us that the dignity of St Joseph is above that of all the other Saints, except that of the Queen of Saints. As Our Lord was pleased to be subject to St Joseph upon the earth, so He is now pleased to grant whatever this Saint asks for in heaven. We should be particularly devout to St Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death.

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Patron Saint of the Universal Church

[ All events in the lower church ]


11:30 am Mass followed by the Litany of St Joseph

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

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.

Fr Chris on the Franciscan Thanksgiving

Approching thanksgiving may be occasion to focus our attention on franciscan understanding of this family event.  Reading a story of St. Francis we need to realized how much we need to be grateful for our lives. How much more we can do by looking at our life as a gift. St. Francis drawn to God by real people particularly poor, minors of society gave them new hearts, new lips. we can understand a little bit better how great renewal had been taken in the Middle Ages. How much contribution Francis has for the whole humanity.  In the simplicity of imitating Jesus St. Francis was able to transform lives of many.

Life can often send us unwanted sufferings and pain. But if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus as St. Francis understood the Gospel, denying himself and taking up his cross, we experience God’s power in our lives.  In St. Francis life “ Whenever Christ’s crucifixion came to his mind, he could scarcely contain his tears and sight.” BON 1.4(189). It is at those times what we may find it hard to pray and to be in God’s presence. And yet even then – especially then – Christ is right beside us, sharing our suffering and pain. Often he asks us the same question. “What is it you want me to do for you? “And how do we answer? – “Take away my pain? Make me whole again?”

And then we can experience God in the person of Jesus. It was in faith, and love for the Crucified Lord,  that St. Francis experienced God. In such right relationship there is a new way of seeing, new personal way of being with God and God’s creations. Everyone of us, as a person has the dignity of being children of God. God’s love realized in every form of creation. It is especially realized in self-actualization of the human person. This is what comes to our mind while reflecting on “The Life of St. Francis.” One person complies with another person and shares that power of God with his very person. In that context of being responsible for another human being, call him brother. Even talking to the fire as a friend while undergoing the brother doctor’s cauterization: “My brother fire, whose beauty is the envy of all other creatures, the Most High has created you strong, beautiful and useful. Be kind to me in this hour, be courteous! I beseech the great Lord who created you to temper your heat for me so that you will burn gently and I can endure it.” BON 5.9(224-225)

St. Francis for a Christian is a person whose deeds and actions speak the same. He perfects himself and his brothers according to God’s thoughts. Leaving himself without conditions and by being in  relationship with God and to others, drawn into the sacred and the mystery of creation. Francis lived with all forms of creation as  gifts. It a is unique way of being in the world. His lifestyle calls our attention how we treat people around us especially the poor, who are worthy of respect every moment of their being. St. Francis was able to acknowledge God in the silence of God’s transcendence. For him humility is truth, and truth is humility. It is true that God is our God and that everything we have comes from God. But how hard it is to understand for someone who is not spiritually a child. So we need to ask ourselves: does my soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord? His life is the call in the direction of humanization of our relationships. St. Francis treated his brothers with the dignity of children of God. This needs to be realized  in us and through us . And this performing of our free will directed toward God, especially by our actions is the heart of Francis’ teaching.  We are called to live up to our potential. In all of this we have the help of God.  That’s why our process of self-actualization is the process of realizing God’s thoughtfulness in the act of thanksgiving.

Cousins, Ewert, ed. Bonaventure: The Soul’s Journey into God -The Tree of Life – The Life of St. Francis. New York: Paulist, 1978.

Saint Anne’s Mass for peace on Columbus day.

Mary_Rosary-3More than 2000 faithful Christians with parish priests participate in the annual candlelight procession and Saint Anne’s Mass for peace on Columbus day. Previous years, marchers met 5:45 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral, corner of Spring and Second Streets, Fall River, to march approximately one-half mile to St. Anne’s Church. 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. Anne’s Church. Those who are disabled or handicapped should proceed directly to St. Anne’s Church, where a special area near the baptismal font will be designated for them. The Procession and Mass for Peace has been held annually in the diocese since 1975.

Benefit concert with Father “Pat” at Saint Anne’s

Sunday, October 12th


Fundraising concert with La Salette Father André Patenaude, affectionately known as “Father Pat” and “the singing priest,” beginning at 2:30 pm and ending around 4:00 pm in the Shrine. Proceeds will benefit the St Anne Shrine Historical Restoration Fund. Tickets are $10 for adults and are free for children under age 12. Tickets will be available at all St Anne’s Credit Union branch locations and at the door on the day of the concert.

Most Reverend Edgar Moreira da Cunha, S.D.V., Bishop of the Fall River



Today is a ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????memorable day for all of us as we welcome our new shepherd.   Today, the Most Reverend Edgar Moreira da Cunha, S.D.V. will become the Eighth Bishop of the Fall River Diocese during a special Mass to be celebrated at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 2 p.m.  Congratulations Bishop daCunha and God bless you on behalf of Saint Anne’s Parish!