A wonderful glimpse of our new shepherd

It seems like forever ago when on July 3, Pope Francis accepted Bishop George W. Coleman’s retirement and named the Newark, N.J., Auxiliary Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S. D. V., as the eighth Bishop of Fall River.

On that day, Bishop da Cunha whisked into Fall River for a press conference and a whirlwind tour of a few local diocesan offices and St. Mary’s Cathedral before boarding a train back to Jersey the same day.

What we saw and heard that crazy day was a holy man completely dedicated to the Lord, the Church, the poor, and all the people of God; and a man who was eager to accept the challenges that lay ahead with his new assignment.

Then he was gone. Off to complete his duties in Newark.

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But a recent video of an interview with our new bishop has surfaced on Youtube that is an absolute delight and inspiration.

The video is part of a series of interviews with clergy in the Newark Archdiocese called “Going to the Chapel,” presented by Michael & Michelangelo Media, Inc.

The host, a delightful Catholic individual named Eddie Craviolo, meets and greets his guests, converses with them in a car, with the destination always a chapel, where the interview is completed.

Craviolo recently met our new bishop playing football (the real football, soccer, not the Americanized misnomer), where the 10-minute interview begins.

The interview begins in earnest with Craviolo asking Bishop da Cunha what the role of a bishop is. “He is the primary teacher of the faith in his diocese,” the bishop responded. 

Bishop da Cunha acknowledged there are problems in the Church today; with people not attending as much and crises in families, but, he added, “When we are challenged and humbled and are facing difficulties, that’s when our work is going to be more fruitful.”

The interview flows smoothly. Craviolo, with his thick Jersey accent, and the bishop with his Brazilian one, gift the viewers with a positive message of hope for the Church and its people.

Throughout, Bishop da Cunha displays a gentle, peaceful, joyous nature; a man who loves people and loves serving them according to God’s will.

When Pope Francis becomes the topic of conversation, Bishop da Cunha quickly points out, “Pope Francis, what he is doing is putting the Church in a good light. People want to connect — it’s part of the human nature, the human condition — people want to connect with God, with something beyond this daily life.”

Our new bishop went on to say that is our mission as well, to “really witness ... to live and practice our faith in a way that is attractive to others.” He said people should look at us and say, “I want to be like that.”

The bishop also expressed the importance of making the Church more attractive to youth. “We have to make the Church and our celebration more relevant to young people. We can’t be doing things the same way we were 100, 200 years ago.” He added we must help the young “connect and encounter Jesus, and practice their faith.”

The interview moves quickly. Too quickly. It is nice to again see and hear the man who will shepherd the Diocese of Fall River in the near future.

I came away with a good feeling through that whirlwind introduction last month. And that feeling continued as I enjoyed the interaction with Craviolo and Bishop da Cunha. 

I highly suggest taking 10 minutes to view the interview for yourselves. It will give you a preview of what will soon be a common sight and sound in the days to come.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts