TAUNTON, Mass. — Catholic faithful in the greater Taunton area, much like folks across the Diocese of Fall River, have experienced changes and challenges that go along with Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha’s vision of “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope.”

At the onset of the endeavor, Bishop da Cunha shared with diocesan faithful, “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope begins by celebrating all the gifts we have been given in a spirit of gratitude that acknowledges the strengths we want to build upon.  We thank God for the opportunities and challenges we face as co-workers who have received the grace to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  There is no need for us to be anxious or fearful about the future no matter how difficult things may seem.  If we are true to our mission as disciples called to proclaim and live the Good News, renewal will happen, by the grace of God, in an atmosphere of confidence and hope in the Lord.

“There is a lot of work to be done.  To be successful, we must embrace these opportunities and challenges together.”

Since the beginning of “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope” several changes have taken place in all deaneries, with the Taunton Deanery witnessing the emergence of parish alliances in the north and south ends of the city.

It is only with unity and collaboration that progress can be made. It is with this in mind that the Taunton Deanery is hosting a Lenten Retreat Day on March 21 at Annunciation of the Lord Church, 31 First Street in Taunton from 10 a.m. to closing Benediction beginning at 1:45 p.m.

Unity is the theme of the retreat day.

Along with Mass, Confession will be available and talks will be given by Father Freddie Babiczuk, co-pastor of Taunton Catholic Church North; Holy Cross Father Brad Metz, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Easton; and Sister Marie Therese, a member of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.

“We are trying a day of recollection instead of a mission because people seem to have more familiarity with a day of recollection than with a mission,” Father Babiczuk told The Anchor. “It might also be easier for people, with their schedules, to commit to a single day for an extended period of time rather than for four nights in a row.”

Father Babiczuk also told The Anchor that unity will be the theme of his homily, saying, “Jesus prayed for unity at the Last Supper.”

“The bishop is inviting parishes in a given area to work together as a unit to better fulfill the mission of the Church,” he continued. “It is not just parishes in a collaborative that have to work together, but in some cases parishes in a given area are challenged to work together to better fulfill the mission of the Church. A good illustration of this is the Pro-Life Committee at Holy Family Parish in East Taunton who enable parishioners from the greater Taunton area to go on the March for Life in Washington.”

“A Spiritual retreat is an opportunity to leave behind the usual distractions and to carve out time to come away to be with the Lord, to look within and allow Him to refresh us with His loving and merciful gaze,” Sister Marie Therese told The Anchor. “The purpose of a retreat is metanoia, an inner change, a turning away from sin and coming back to the Lord Who loves us infinitely. A Spiritual retreat helps us along our journey of conversion and gives us tools to grow in our relationship with God. Whereas a parish mission is a special pastoral effort in the Catholic Church which focuses on preaching and giving instruction to Catholics.” 

Sister Marie Therese also said the day is an opportunity for people in the area to “Encounter the Lord and His healing love and especially for those who are carrying any wounds or burdens” from the changes and challenges facing parishes.

“I am planning to speak about our call to imitate the early Christian communities as found in Acts (‘See how they loved one another’)”, Sister Marie Therese added. “We are one mind, one heart, and have the same purpose if we are rooted in Christ in the Eucharist — in Jesus we are united in Holy Communion.

“Lent is a Sacred time to be renewed and transformed in Christ and to be reminded of our mission — to go deeper in our communion with Christ through prayer, fasting and almsgiving to go within and make space for God in our busy lives, to deepen our communion with the Holy Trinity, the source of all love and life. Our availability to God and making time for prayer, penance, and almsgiving throughout the day will give us the grace to be more open and available to others.”

All are invited to attend and sharpen their focus on their personal Lenten journey. A light lunch will be provided.