FALL RIVER — Once per academic year, the faculty and staff of every Catholic school in the Diocese of Fall River come together for a day of spiritual uplifting and renewal. In addition to regular faith formation programs at the individual school level, the Catholic Schools Office offers a day for approximately 550 Catholic school teachers, administrators, and staff to celebrate Mass with Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., followed by a spiritual program. This year’s program featured award-winning musician, composer and inspirational speaker, Eric Genuis, and his team of three musicians, who treated the audience with a performance that one could expect at Carnegie Hall.

Violinist John Fawcett, a member of Eric Genuis’ ministry speaks with a teacher who also provided the violin music for the Mass, at the recent Professional Day for faculty and staff of diocesan Catholic schools.

According to Genuis’ website, www.EricGenuis.com, “Music is a language beyond words with the ability to stir the heart, inspire the mind, and enliven the soul. It is my sincere desire that my music will awaken hope, uplift the emotions, renew the spirit, and resonate within the heart of our shared human experience.” 

In addition to the original music created for piano, cello and violin, Genuis delivered inspirational messages of faith, hope and joy. A major part of Genuis’ story is his prison ministry where he brings his orchestral music to inmates who may never have previously heard this type of music before. Recently, he played his 1,000th prison concert in places as difficult as “death-row” where his message of the dignity of human life carries an even more poignant meaning.

At the end of the two-hour concert, there was a standing ovation by all in attendance. Exclamations of praise and excitement filled the auditorium as the program ended. In feedback forms, teachers expressed gratitude for the day. 

“I thought it was the best spiritual day since I have been a part of the diocese. The day was inspirational, thought provoking and relaxing at the same time. Thank you for a wonderful day.”

“How important it is for us to be aware of and do our best to reach out to the oft-forgotten, whether in our society or schools. We are all God’s precious children with inherent dignity no matter what.”

“I am always inspired when people who have superb talent, share their talent with those who are considered ‘least’ in our society. Also, Eric’s personal story is an important reminder that with every Good Friday, there is an Easter Sunday.”

“[It was a]reminder of the expression ‘walking in the shoes of another person’s shoes’ and ‘don’t take any gifts in life for granted.’”

Marian Desrosiers, Director of Catholic Mission and Identity for the Diocese of Fall River Catholic Schools Office, commented, “A co-worker brought Eric’s work to my attention and I immediately knew that this would be a perfect fit for our educators. Every year we strive to bring a different message to our educators and this is the first time the program included a group performing orchestral music. Moreover, the young age and extreme talent of the musicians have truly inspired our team so much that we are already considering bringing this program to our students.”

“A major goal of the day is spiritually to rejuvenate teachers and administrators across the diocese,” said Dan Roy, diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools. “We are inspired by how our educators give so much to their students and families, and we know that such grace-filled days together are needed. Eric Genuis took us on a spiritual and musical journey right for Lenten season. It is good to remember and experience how music elevates the soul, bringing us together in a community of Catholic educators. The four musicians played with such sincerity, generously sharing their God-given talents.” 

Genuis performed a second show later that evening at Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich, where just more than 100 people attended.