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Central Board for Catholic Education


  • Most Rev. Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., Bishop of Fall River
  • James Barron, Senior Vice President, Bridge Bank
  • James Castro, Partner, Castro, Thresher, and Oliveira, CPA
  • Nicholas M. Christ, President, BayCoast Bank
  • Rev. David Costa, Pastor, Diocese of Fall River
  • Rev. John Denning, C.S.C., President, Stonehill College
  • Steve Hamel, Sales Manager, Catumet Boats
  • Kevin Kiley, Chancellor, Diocese of Fall River
  • Donna Lamontagne, Attorney, Lamontagne, Spaulding & Hayes
  • Rev. Jay Maddock, Retired Pastor, Diocese of Fall River
  • Jana McHenry, Former Assistant Superintendent, Dartmouth Public Schools
  • Erich Miller, Executive Director, My Brother’s Keeper
  • Betsy O’Brien, Patent and Trademark Attorney
  • Daniel Roy, Superintendent of Schools, Diocese of Fall River
  • Douglas Sasse, U.S. Navy – Rear Admiral

The Church’s Code of Canon Law requires that a College of Consultors be in place in every diocese to serve as an advisory body to the Bishop. Its membership is constituted by not less than six or more than twelve priests appointed by the Bishop from among membership of the Presbyteral Council for a period of five years. The functions of the College are dictated by a variety of canons of the Code and pertain primarily to matters of diocesan governance and administration.

College of Consultors


  • Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Avila, V.F.
  • Very Rev. David C. Frederici, V.G.
  • Very Rev. David A. Pignato, V.P.
  • Rev. Timothy P. Reis
  • Rev. John M. Schrader
  • Very Rev. Riley J. Williams, V.F.

Canon 511 of the Code of Canon Law states that, “In every diocese and to the extent that pastoral circumstances suggest it, a pastoral council is to be constituted.” According to the Canon, its function, under the authority of the bishop, is to study and weigh those matters which concern the pastoral works of the diocese and to propose practical conclusions concerning them.

Diocesan Pastoral Council

Diocesan Pastoral Council Members

Attleboro Deanery:
Jennifer Sheytanian
Carrie Smith
Ellen Sullivan

Cape Cod Deanery:
Joseph O’Keefe
Peter Marshall

Fall River Deanery:
Richard Grace
David Rose

New Bedford Deanery:
Joe Booth
Christopher Fortier
Michael Murray
Cheryl Paulo

Taunton Deanery:
Virginia Jacques
Joseph Sollecito
Nancy Sylvester

Rev. Ryan Healy (New Bedford)
Rev. Juan Carlos (Fall River)

Diaconate Community:
Deacon Peter Guresh (Cape Cod)

Ex Officio:
Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., Bishop of Fall River
Very Rev. David Frederici, Vicar General, Fall River Diocese

Laura Carrillo, Director of Strategic and Pastoral Planning
Deacon Joseph Harrington, Associate Director of Strategic and Pastoral Planning

Diocesan Finance Council

Membership of the Fall River Diocesan Finance Council is provided on the Diocesan Chancery Finance webpage along with the Finance Council Charter and a Council Fact Sheet. Please click here to be re-directed to that page.

Ministerial Review Board


The Diocesan Ministerial Review Board (MRB) is established in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons. The MRB shall serve as a confidential, consultative body to advise the Bishop regarding alleged misconduct by clergy, regardless of when that misconduct is alleged to have occurred, including misconduct relating to the sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult as well as other forms of misconduct. The MRB shall provide its expertise and assistance as requested, or as it deems appropriate with developing policies and appropriate mechanisms to further ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.

Per the Charter, a review board shall have a minimum of five members who are appointed by the Bishop. All members must be of outstanding integrity and good judgment. The members are appointed for a period of five years.  Membership shall include an experienced priest of the Diocese and a lay person with professional experience in the treatment or investigation of sexual abuse of minors. Membership may also include persons with experience or training in ministry, law, victimization, health care, mental health treatment, law enforcement, jurisprudence, human resources, business management, education or other relevant fields.


Hon. Phillip Rapoza (Ret.) Chair – Former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court and former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts District and Superior Courts

Sheila W. Horan, Vice-Chair – Retired Senior Executive, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Dr. David W. Fentress – Licensed Psychologist

Rev. Robert A. Oliveira – Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish and School in Fall River and Co-Director of the Permanent Diaconate Office, New Bedford, MA

Richard M. Palanza – Senior Executive, IBM

Joanne M. Roque – RN, BSN, MS, LNHA, CEO Diocesan Health Facilities, Fall River, MA

Roger K. Sullivan – Retired software technology executive, former member of the Central Board for Catholic Education and St. Pius X School Advistory Board, South Yarmouth

Hanorah E. Tyer-Witek – Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.), J.D., L.L.M., Clerk of Court, U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island

John T. Weldon – Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker


Lesly Leahy –

Presbyteral Council

The Presbyteral (or Priests’) Council is a principal consultative body mandated by the Code of Canon Law to advise the Bishop in matters of pastoral governance. The Council meets regularly to discuss issues and to offer its counsel to the Bishop. Membership consists of priests elected by their peers, appointed by the Bishop, and ex officio.

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

Ex Officio:

Very Rev. David C. Frederici, Vicar General
Rev. David A. Pignato, Vicar for Priests


Very Rev. David C. Frederici, Vicar General
Rev. David A. Pignato, Vicar for Priests


Very Rev. David A. Costa, V.F., Attleboro Deanery
Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Avila, V.F., Cape Cod Deanery
Very Rev. Riley J. Williams, V.F., Fall River Deanery
Very Rev. Christopher M. Peschel, V.F., New Bedford Deanery
Very Rev. Neil F. Wack, C.S.C., V.F., Taunton Deanery

Elected and Appointed:

Terms expiring June 30, 2024
Rev. George Bellenoit (Retired)
Rev. Peter R. Scheffer, Jr.
Rev. Robert Oliveira
Rev. Thomas Washburn

Terms expiring June 30, 2025
Rev. George Bellenoit (Retired)
Rev. James Fitzpatrick
Rev. Robert Oliveira
Very Rev. Thomas Washburn

Terms expiring June 30, 2025
Rev. Edward J. Healey
Rev. Matthew Gill
Rev. Jay Mello
Rev. Stephen Banjare, (Consecrated Life)