Bishop da Cunha to lead Pro-Life prayer service at Angell Park 

By Becky Aubut
Anchor Staff


FALL RIVER, Mass. — The Respect Life Program begins anew each year on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday in October. The program is highlighted in Liturgies and marked by special events. The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities publishes new materials each year to call attention to numerous human life issues. The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, under the guidance and direction of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, works to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death, and organize for its protection.

To serve this goal, the USCCB ( helps develop educational material on Pro-Life issues; conduct educational campaigns in the Church such as the Respect Life Program that begins on the first Sunday of each October; the People of Life Action Campaign; conduct educational campaigns on radio, print and through exhibits; circulate fact sheets and other information on critical issues; publish “Life Issues Forum,” a biweekly column for Catholic newspapers; publish Life Insight newsletter; encourage and enable programs to meet the needs of pregnant women, children, persons with disabilities, those who are sick or dying, and all who have been involved in abortion; provide dioceses with Pro-Life Liturgical suggestions each month; coordinate and advise on public policy efforts concerning these issues; and assist dioceses to implement major Pro-Life programs.

Marian Desrosiers, director of the Pro-Life Apostolate of the Fall River Diocese, has been keeping up-to-date on the latest from the USCCB and each year her office provides every parish and school in the diocese the USCCB Respect Life Kit.

“This year’s kit is titled ‘Moved by Mercy,’” said Desrosiers. “The kit is a wonderful resource that can be used throughout the year. Our annual diocesan essay’s theme is chosen from this kit.”

This year, the six brochures are:

Every Suicide Is Tragic” — Consequences of embracing a false distinction between requests for death by the mentally ill and those terminally ill.

Serene Attentiveness to God’s Creation” — A relationship with God, each other and creation are important to a culture that values all human life and care for God’s creation.

Caring for Loved Ones at Life’s End” — Ten suggestions allow us to provide authentic compassionate care with unconditional respect for all human life.

Bridges of Mercy for Post Abortion Healing” — Real-life stories illustrate how abortion can affect someone’s life and how can we be the bridges of God’s mercy?

Accompanying Expectant Mothers Considering Adoption” — One mother shares her personal experience of placing a child for adoption and includes nine pointers of ongoing support for expectant mothers who might consider adoption.

Seven Considerations While Navigating Infertility” — Compassionate guidance for couples struggling with infertility and also help for the reader to have a better understanding of this issue. 

At 8 a.m. on October 1, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will be leading a 40-minute prayer service at Angell Park in Attleboro. The park is located across from the Four Women Health Services Clinic, the only abortion-providing clinic in the diocese. A Mass at 9 a.m. will follow at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 71 Linden St. in Attleboro. 

Desrosiers will be attending the prayer service and the Mass and feels the event is a “great opportunity to join our bishop to pray and witness in the ‘public square’ to the Sacredness and dignity of all human life and to God’s great gift of mercy. We are all called to create a culture that does not accept sin, while humbly realizing that we all sin. What the Holy Father calls a ‘culture of waste’ or a ‘throwaway culture’ sees and treats human life as disposable. The elderly are marginalized, and the lives of persons with disabilities are deemed less worth living. The fundamental truth that ‘the inalienable worth of a human being transcends his or her degree of development’ is forgotten — leading to the destruction of unwanted babies in the womb and experimentation on embryonic children in the lab.

“We place our hope in God in order to endure the troubles of this world and face them with the compassionate Spirit of Christ. We are called to live out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Therefore, we will be a visible sign to the woman and her child, offering support, love and tangible solutions to help her find the strength to choose life. We need to bring her hope, that her dreams for the future can still be fulfilled. We pray for the father, that his eyes will be opened to the gift of his child, that with God’s help, he will protect, support and love mother and child. 

“We pray that God’s mercy will touch the hearts of all those who work at the clinic, leading them to a deep inner conversion, so that they too will become the greatest defenders of the unborn and everyone’s right to life. Jesus teaches us to forgive, as He did, so that we might show others the loving mercy of God and transform this world.

“We pray that this site will close its doors forever and that the community of Attleboro and our diocese will be blessed abundantly as we strive to rebuild a culture of life and love.”

An invitation has been extended to all clergy and members of the diocese to attend the prayer service and the Mass. The visit by Bishop da Cunha falls within the 40 Days for Life fall prayer campaign, and Bishop da Cunha expressed the desire to pray at Angell Park, said Desrosiers. 

“During the Year of Mercy seemed a most appropriate time,” she said. “October 1 begins Respect Life Month [and] is the month of Our Lady and the Rosary. It is the first Saturday of the month and the first Saturday of the 40 Days for Life fall campaign.”

October is full of Pro-Life programs and initiatives, including the TV Respect Life Sunday Mass scheduled for October 2 and the MCFL March for Life in Boston on October 9, with registration at 1 p.m. and the walk commencing at 2:30 p.m. Those participating will gather at the Boston Common Parkman bandstand and sponsor sheets and information are available online at Preparations and meetings are also underway for the 2017 March for Life in Washington D.C.

Though October may seem like her busiest month, Desrosiers doesn’t wait until the fall to help support the Pro-Life message. She is also director of Project Rachel, an outreach by the Catholic Church to all men, women and anyone who has been involved with the tragedy of abortion: “We receive calls, throughout the year, on our designated confidential Rachel Line. It is devastating to hear the pain and suffering in the voices of those who contact our office. But, through this incredible ministry, we can offer Christ’s mercy, hope and healing.”

Desrosiers asks that for those who cannot attend any Pro-Life event, to “please join with us by offering your prayers and fasting.”

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