FALL RIVER — On the very windy and brisk morning of Tuesday, May 10, more than 325 eighth-graders from all Diocese of Fall River Catholic elementary schools gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River to celebrate Mass with Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. The bishop’s Mass with all diocesan eighth-grade classes has been a long held diocesan tradition that was interrupted because of the pandemic. 

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha accepts the gifts from Trinity Welter from St. Mary-Sacred Heart School in North Attleboro and Christopher Parillo from St. Michael School in Fall River.

Lifetouch Portraits donated its time and expertise to afford each eighth-grade class a group photo in front of the altar. The music was provided by Phil and Sue Fortin from Seekonk who invited any student interested in singing to join, and a beautiful impromptu choir was created.

Mass started promptly at 10 a.m. with a beautiful procession of deacons, school pastors, two student altar servers, and Bishop da Cunha. Ava Todd from St. Pius X School in South Yarmouth, delivered the first reading, while students from St. Francis Xavier (Acushnet), St. John the Evangelist (Attleboro), St. Joseph School (Fairhaven), All Saints Catholic School (New Bedford), St. Mary Catholic School (Mansfield), and Espirito Santo Parochial School (Fall River) read the Prayer of the Faithful. The gifts were presented by Trinity Welter from St. Mary-Sacred Heart School in North Attleboro and Christopher Parillo from St. Michael School in Fall River. 

Bishop da Cunha addressed the students during his homily to continue to be beacons of hope wherever their educational paths take them. Their respective Catholic elementary schools have provided them with the foundation of how much God loves them and desires each of them to become saints. 

In his remarks at the end of Mass, Superintendent of Diocesan Schools, Daniel Roy conveyed a similar message when he said, “We are proud of all of you, your accomplishments, and most of all, how you have shown the tenacity and resilience needed for today’s ever changing world.”

Many of the adults present said it was an amazing experience to see hundreds of Catholic school students from Attleboro to Yarmouth come together and celebrate Mass. Many students from different schools are friendly with each other and eagerly waved to friends and possible future high school classmates. The Catholic Schools Office told The Anchor that it prays that each student brings with them joy, faith, and a deeper sense of community imparted to them by teachers, principals, volunteers, staff and pastors to everyone they encounter in this next chapter of their education. 

The Catholic Schools Alliance comprises administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and clergy joined in partnership to educate the children of the Diocese of Fall River in Catholic faith and values. Our schools have a demanding educational culture that helps students reach their God-given potential across the academic spectrum. With an emphasis on love of others through their service and respect, it prepare students to meet the challenges of today’s diverse world and become meaningful contributors to society by helping to rebuild a culture of life and love. 

For more information about the work of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Fall River, visit www.RediscoverCatholicSchools.org.