Bishop da Cunha Building Faith Blog Fall River Diocese


Saturday, December 9, I traveled to St. Nicholas Parish in Palisades Park, NJ, where I was assigned in 1983, one year after my ordination to the priesthood. I remained there for 11 years. The website for St. Nicholas summarizes the vibrant life of this parish so well with these words, “We are a Catholic community of Americans, Italians, Brazilians, Croatians, Spanish and Koreans who celebrate together the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world.” St. Nicholas is bringing to a close a year-long celebration of the parish’s 100th Anniversary, and I was honored to be the principal celebrant of this special Mass.




As I looked around the church building, I could not help but ponder all that had occurred within these walls over the last 100 years. Celebrations of great joy — which included at least 36,500 daily Masses, as well as countless baptisms, first communions, confirmations, and weddings. Those walls have also seen their fair share of pains, sorrows, and brokenness. Yet, through all of it, the church was there, an unfailing place of hope and comfort, a home for God’s people.


Photo Source: St. Nicholas RC Church website

As I reflect on my time at St. Nicholas, I have so many fond memories, as did many of those I spoke with on Saturday who have been or were part of that parish community. During my visit, I was able to reconnect with a great number of people whom I married, to meet their children, and to see the children I baptized. What joy not only to recall the years there but also to hear all the stories of those who were and still are part of St. Nicholas’ rich 100-year history.

This experience also reminded me of the importance of keeping the memories we create with our parish communities alive. To honor, with gratitude, those who have come before us, but also to encourage and inspire generations to come.



It was fitting that St. Nicholas Church would close its year-long Centennial celebration with the celebration of the Eucharist—an act of thanksgiving, of gratitude, for giving thanks to God for all He has given us. As Jesus took the Bread at the Eucharistic table with His disciples, the Gospel says, “He took the bread and gave thanks.” How can we not foster an attitude of gratitude as a Eucharistic people? The spirit of gratitude makes sense if your past brings peace for today and a vision for tomorrow.


Advent Season Continues

Since Advent lasts a short twenty-two days this year, with the fourth week of Advent just hours long, it is all the more important to be mindful of how we are keeping Christ at the center of our holiday celebrations. The Mass Readings during this season provide beautiful reminders to anchor our Advent activities in our faith—bringing us ever closer to God. I invite you to spend some time this week reflecting on these verses from the Prophet Isaiah, the First Reading from this past Sunday’s Liturgy.

“Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings;

cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news!

Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah:

Here is your God! Here comes with power

the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm;

here is his reward with him, his recompense before him.

Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs,

carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care” (Is 40:9-11).


May you continue to make faith-filled, joyous memories with your family (and your parish community) this Advent.

Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha

Diocese of Fall River
Diocese of Fall River
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