By John E. Kearns Jr., Diocesan Director of Communications
FALL RIVER — The Fall River Diocesan Secretariat for the New Evangelization has announced the recent hirings of two persons to lead efforts in two key areas, joining existing staff who transitioned into the Secretariat earlier this summer.
Deacon Christopher Paul is now serving as the Director of Adult and Child Discipleship and Oscar A. Rivera Jr. is Director of Youth Ministry.
The Secretariat for the New Evangelization was established July 1 by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., with the restructuring of the Office of Faith Formation, Campus Ministry, and the Pro-Life Apostolate into one consolidated ministerial and administrative department. The Secretariat will continue the ministry and service offered in these areas while also exploring opportunities to expand evangelization efforts and will oversee the work needed on the diocesan level for the upcoming Vatican Synod and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Eucharistic Revival Project. David Carvalho, formerly the diocesan Senior Director for Youth, Young Adult and Family Life Ministries, is now the Secretary for the New Evangelization.
As the new Director of Adult and Child Discipleship, Deacon Paul will continue the work of Deacon Bruce Bonneau, who retired earlier this year, and lead and support adult formation, adult Confirmation, and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA. The expanded position will now also involve identifying and implementing models to engage parents and families in faith formation.
Deacon Paul brings experience in ministry and education from both parish and classroom settings in New Hampshire and New York. Ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., in 2014, he has served at St. Peter Parish in Auburn, N.H., and Ste. Marie Parish in Manchester, working in areas of adult formation, Baptism and Marriage preparation, men’s ministries, Bible studies, and the Catholics Come Home program. He also launched the first Theology on Tap program in the state of New Hampshire.
He has worked 16 years in education at Catholic high schools in New Hampshire and New York, most recently teaching theology at Bishop Brady High School in Concord, N.H. for the past 10 years.
Deacon Paul received a master’s degree in teaching from Rivier University in Nashua, N.H., after earning his bachelor’s in history and secondary education from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He is on track to finish a second master’s degree, this one in theology, next year from the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colo.
In his work as the new Director of Youth Ministry, Rivera will oversee all evangelization and outreach programs at the diocesan level for youth in grades six through 12 and will provide support, consultation, and resources to parish youth ministry programs.
A native New Englander, Rivera is re-locating back to this area for the new post after serving for the past nine years at St. Matthew Church in Virginia Beach, Va., first as a youth minister then becoming its director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry. There he led all middle and high school programs, trained catechists and youth ministers, directed preparation for Sacramental formation, developed and facilitated plans for digital formation programs for kindergarten through 12th grade, and created social media strategies to support continual formation on social media platforms.
Rivera has led numerous retreats and presented at national and regional youth ministry conferences.
Prior to his work in Virginia, he was a youth minister at St. Joseph Church in Charlton, Mass., and was also a content creator and musician for digital and virtual evangelization projects.
He holds a master’s degree in theology from St. Leo University in Florida and a bachelor’s in history from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Deacon Paul and Rivera are joined by Irina DeLucca and Deborah LeDoux, previously the director and coordinator of the diocesan Pro-Life Apostolate, respectively. Now serving as the director and coordinator of Family and Respect Life as part of the Secretariat, DeLucca and LeDoux will continue the important Pro-Life work in the diocese, including Project Rachel, the annual Pro-Life Mass, March for Life, Essay Contest, and Pro-Life Boot Camp. Additionally, they will help coordinate diocesan efforts in Marriage preparation, Marriage enrichment, natural family planning, and family life.
DeLucca began in the diocesan Pro-Life Apostolate several years ago and is now working toward completing her certification in Theology of the Body from the Theology of the Body Institute. LeDoux started with the apostolate in 2020 after serving as marketing development director for the Visitation House, a home for women in crisis pregnancies in Worcester.
The formation of the Secretariat for the New Evangelization was first envisioned in the final report of the 2019 Diocesan Commission on Youth. “The creation of the Secretariat by Bishop da Cunha shows both his dedication to evangelization and the diocese’s commitment to enact the recommendations made by the commissions,” Secretary Carvalho shared.
He explained that the new possibilities for collaboration between pastoral areas at the diocesan level, made possible by the Secretariat’s formation, come at a pivotal time as the Church looks to how it can better mobilize and reach those who have drifted away, both before and during the pandemic.
“Evangelization is a key part of the Church’s mission, encompassing all aspects of Church life,” said Carvalho. “Pope Francis reminds us, in Evangelii Gaudium, that evangelizing others is a responsibility of every Catholic. Throughout history, the Church has courageously gone out on mission. Now, more than ever, we must have the same courage as Catholics to do the same. To that end, our work as a Secretariat will be to serve parishes, equip Catholics, and promote the Gospel.”
The Secretariat for the New Evangelization will launch its new website by the end of September. Until then, those interested in learning more about the Secretariat and how it can support parish work can email firstname.lastname@example.org.