FALL RIVER — On May 20, 29 adults from 19 parishes gathered at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption for the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., received and accepted the candidates’ expressed desire to complete their initiation in the Catholic Church with reception of the Sacrament.
In his homily, Bishop da Cunha thanked the candidates for their perseverance in seeking to become fully initiated through Confirmation, despite all the challenges they faced in the previous months due to the pandemic. Yet, he asked the candidates, despite what they think might have brought them to the cathedral that night: how would their lives be different because they were Confirmed?
The bishop reminded candidates that at Pentecost, while the Apostles were afraid, once they received the Holy Spirit, they were never the same again. “That moment the Holy Spirit came”, he said, “everything changed, and their lives were never the same again, and the world was never the same again. And that is why we are here. That is why we have this Church. That is why we have the Sacraments. That is why we have everything about our faith. Because the Holy Spirit came.”
Bishop da Cunha challenged the candidates to own the baptismal promises that they renewed, to turn to the examples of the Apostles, and to be open to how the Holy Spirit may be asking them to change. In this way, he explained, we, too, can be witnesses to the ends of the earth, in the same way that it was promised by Jesus to the disciples.
He concluded, stating: “Tonight, you are given that Spirit and that power so that you can go and make a difference in the world. Because we receive these gifts of the Holy Spirit, but we do not just keep them just for ourselves. [They] are given to us, but not exclusively for us — what are you going to do with those gifts? What difference are they going to make in your life? And what difference are you going to make in this world now that you have been given these gifts, this power, this renewed faith, and this strength and courage from the Holy Spirit?”
The Diocesan Office of Faith Formation, which is responsible for the Adult Confirmation program and preparation of many of the candidates, coordinated with the cathedral and the Bishop’s Office to make this important day a reality amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Any Catholic who has not been Confirmed, or individual would like to receive the Sacraments of Baptism or Eucharist, is invited to contact their local parish church and inquire about celebrating the Sacraments.