Foundation News

Inaugural Lumen Christi Gala to support Cathedral a big success

The Lumen Christi Gala to support renovations to St. Mary’s Cathedral was held June 8 at White’s of Westport. From left: co-chair, Nick Christ; Meg Christ; Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.; co-chair, Maryellen Sullivan Hughes; and James S. Hughes.

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WESTPORT — With a showing of faith and energy at White’s of Westport on June 8, more than 260 people gathered to raise funds to repair and renovate the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. The Lumen Christi Gala celebrated the Cathedral’s history and helped begin the fund-raising effort to chart a renewed future for the Mother Church and Seat of the Bishop in service to all diocesan faithful and the wider community.

While the focus was the collective effort of the Diocese of Fall River to help restore the Cathedral, special moments included the presentation of the first Bishop’s Luminary Award and the much-anticipated performance by Vatican III Jazz.

Bishop Edgar da Cunha presented Bob and Christine Long of Long Built Homes and parishioners at St. Mary’s Church in South Dartmouth with an award recognizing their significant contributions to the diocese, stating, “Bob and Chris exemplify the volunteer spirit, offering their time, talent and treasure to make a difference for so many.”

Vatican III, which includes Father Matt Gill and newly-ordained Fathers Matthew Laird and Larry Valliere who were just ordained to the priesthood on June 4, and Father Patrick Fiorillo from the Archdiocese of Boston, played twice during the evening much to the delight of the crowd. The emcee for the evening was Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III. Event co-chairs and Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts board member Nicholas Christ, president and CEO of BayCoast Bank, and Maryellen Sullivan Hughes, thanked all of the guests and donors from across the diocese who supported the event.

Bishop da Cunha presented Christine and Bob Long the Bishop’s Luminary Award recognizing their significant contributions to the Diocese of Fall River.

Miriam Finn Sherman, CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, who coordinated the evening together with the Gala’s Committee shared, “We could not be happier or more grateful for the incredible showing of support to begin restoring the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption to her former glory. So much has been celebrated and memorialized within the Cathedral’s walls for more than 100 years. Thank you to all the generous donors, and special thanks to our lead sponsors.”

More than 165 years ago, the Cathedral’s first stones were laid. Since then, it has served as a parish and, starting in 1904, as the diocese’s Cathedral. Mother Church, the Seat of the Bishop, and the spiritual home where diocesan liturgies take place, so much has been celebrated within the Cathedral’s walls.  Given the Cathedral’s age, many repair and renovation projects are becoming critical – including work needed on the roof, the bell tower, and the stained-glass windows.

Lumen Christi Gala emcee, Tom Quinn, Bristol County District Attorney, with Bishop da Cunha.

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