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Announcements ~ December 2, 2018

UPCOMING ADVENT LITURGIES:

fleur cross logo December 8, Saturday: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. The Mass schedule is a little different this year as the Holy Day is a Saturday: Vigil Masses Dec. 7 at 6:30pm (English) and 8pm (Spanish), Dec. 8: 6:30 and 9am, Noon. (Saturday evening Vigil counts for Sunday.)

fleur cross logo December 12, Wednesday: Special bi-lingual Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the unborn, 7:30pm.

fleur cross logo December 14, Friday: Our parish Advent Lessons and Carols, 7:30pm.  Please see page 7.

fleur cross logo December 15, Saturday: Diocesan Simbang Gabi Mass and Reception at Saint Bernadette, 7pm.

fleur cross logo December 20, Thursday: Parish Advent Penance Service, with many visiting priests! Begins at 6:30pm.

fleur cross logo Next weekend is the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington’s annual Christmas Collection for the poor among us.  Please help this most important collection which will provide 10% of the budget for Catholic Charities in 2019.

fleur cross logo The Christmas GIVING TREE continues through Dec. 16 in the Church Vestibule! Take a tag for neighbors in need and bring the gift back before noon on Dec. 16.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ December 2, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

For some time we have been trying to discourage the beggars outside church who come with cardboard signs with desperate messages, photos of sick children, asking for money.  I know it tugs at your heart to consider that there are people with such need, and I’ve heard that many have given them considerable amounts of money.  Last weekend they became so bold as to enter the church vestibule to beg after we have repeatedly asked them not to come here.

They are appearing at churches and shopping malls all over the city, usually are families with children, and after they are asked to leave they simply circle back around for the next Mass.  They are very disrespectful to those who do not give or who ask them to leave.

Many say they are Gypsies, have eastern European accents and are the modern face of human trafficking.  I’m not sure the veracity of this explanation, but I have been told that it is a form of organized crime today, these people are brought here to this country and kept poor, so that they will continue to beg and their bosses take a cut of the money that they receive.  Whether or not this is true, I find the possibility of it very troubling, considering that this “industry” is all over the country and, if you look online, all over the world.

It is my opinion that you should not give to them.  I have spoken with the police who are here directing traffic – who have themselves run off the beggars numerous times – and they say it is a difficult problem because you must have a name and contact information to ban someone from private property.  We have every right to do so, because this is not public property, but it is difficult to enforce.  The only way they will leave is if you make it financially unattractive to them.  Refer them to Catholic Charities.

This is the perfect introduction to what I was going to  speak about this week, anyway.  When I encounter people who are begging on the street, I always invite them to contact Catholic Charities for assistance.  This is exactly why we have Catholic Charities.  When I’m in D.C. I always encourage them to contact Catholic Charities there.  Our parish is very, very generous supporting the work of Catholic Charities who can best sort out the proper use of our charity for the poor and those in need.  I’ve worked with the homeless enough to know that they all have cell phones.

Catholic Charities will not only help people in real need, but seek to help with the causes of peoples’ poverty and being at risk.  It is one thing to give someone money for a meal, it is another to help them find the way to prepare one for themselves. 

  • For financial assistance, or if you are in danger, contact our CATHOLIC CHARITIES of the Diocese of Arlington, 703-841-3830.

 Next week is the annual Catholic Charities Christmas Collection and I ask you to be generous, as you always are.  This annual collection represents over 10% of the annual budget for our Diocesan outreach and is a very important part of the mission of the Church today.  The need is growing daily.  Your assistance is directly applied to the great work that Catholic Charities is doing today in confronting the reality of food insecurity and the growing population of people who cannot meet the cost of living in northern Virginia.  It is a vital part of who we are.


I have included here a few clip-out messages you can give to beggars when you see them outside.  Ask them to leave the property and give them one of these.  It isn’t a rejection, it is a referral.  And be sure to give to the Christmas Collection next weekend so that your referral comes with the substance of your personal support for those who really need to beg to survive.

And let us be truly thankful that we don’t find ourselves in this position one day.  There is a beautiful prayer that we pray sometimes at weddings for the newly-married couple:  “May you be witnesses in the world to God’s charity, so that the afflicted and those in need who have known your kindness may one day receive you thankfully into the eternal dwelling of God.”


God bless you.

Announcements ~ November 25,

fleur cross logo You are invited to participate in our GIVING TREE. Please consider taking a tag this weekend from the tree displayed in the Church Vestibule! Our annual tradition benefits many local and regional charities and institutions!  Please see page 8 in today’s bulletin.

fleur cross logo Support Christians in the Holy Land and consider purchasing olive wood carvings and other handicrafts from Bethlehem this weekend before and after Masses in the vestibule.  Once 37% of the population of Palestine, Christians are now less than 1%.  Your purchase will help a family stay on their land and keep a Christian presence at all the holy places.

Mark your calendars!
December 8, Saturday: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. The Mass schedule is a little different as the Holy Day is a Saturday: Vigil Masses Dec. 7 at 6:30pm (English) and 8pm (Spanish), Dec. 8: 6:30 and 9am, Noon. (Saturday evening Vigil counts for Sunday.)
December 12, Wednesday: Special bi-lingual Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the unborn, 7:30pm.
December 14, Friday: Our parish Advent Lessons and Carols, 7:30pm.  Please see page 7.
December 15, Saturday: Diocesan Simbang Gabi Mass and Reception at Saint Bernadette, 7pm.
December 20, Thursday: Parish Advent Penance Service, with many visiting priests! Begins at 6:30pm.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ November 25, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

When you think about the end times, the end of the world as we know it, the second coming of Jesus Christ, what is your immediate response?  I think the most common reaction people have is dread, or just prefer not to think about it.  I propose to you that this is a vestige of a childhood reaction that we, perhaps, have not thought through as adults.  When I was a child I never would have imagined that our world might someday be indifferent to it.  I’ve asked a couple of people I know, and a couple of acquaintances.  I told them I was going to write a piece on the end of the world.  “What is your reaction to prophecies about the end of the world?”  One simply said we are not to know the day and the hour.  Another said that we are already in the end times.  Another said she didn’t want to think about it.

My parents were fixated on it.  On being ready.  They would subscribe to cassette recordings and publications that would predict the next date the world would end and we would have this cloud of dread over us as the date approached.  We gritted our teeth and imagined the worst God could do to punish our evil world.  The day would come, and then it would be yesterday, and I would wonder: what happened?  Why didn’t the end come?  Then the predictors would publish the next date it would happen.  It was not a happy part of childhood.  Finally after I had finished college I told my parents on the phone that if they continued to talk about it I would hang up the phone and stop talking to them.  Enough is enough and I’d had enough.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still think about it, though.  Jesus is pretty clear that this world isn’t supposed to last forever.  It is true, we won’t know the day or the hour, but we should care about the day and the hour.  We should think about it.

If, in fact, Jesus is our brother, the one who died in love to save us, then we might consider being glad to see him, especially in his terrible glory.  If we connect his coming a lot of suffering and disaster—things like earthquakes, tidal waves, raging fires, terrible storms, a broken earth, genocide, nations against nations, false idols, senseless violence or a generation that has rejected Jesus—as fearful as these things may be, all we need to do is watch the news.  These aren’t news stories we can blame on opinion or politics, they are happening now.  Perhaps they have always happened in previous generations or eras, we don’t know from personal experience because our life is so short.  But if we consider this article of faith as adults (“he will come again to judge the living and the dead...”), we will recognize that his coming will be a remedy for all these evils, moral and natural, that surround us.  “He shall be peace...”  His voice will be familiar, in the midst of whatever might be going on around us, we will be home.

It is true, we won’t know the day or the hour, but we can be working on recognizing his voice so that it will be familiar; we can become comfortable in the life of the Church as our home.  We must care about the state of our relationship with God on that day and hour.  We can’t control the fire, but we can work on inflammability, that core calm that is God’s presence.
You see, Jesus has already done all the work.  It isn’t our job to alter God’s plan of salvation—certainly, not to delay eternal life.  For this?  That white garment of baptism you received is fireproof.  But you have to keep it on, and not take it off every once in a while, and you have to keep it clean.  We underestimate the power of this flameproof white garment.  (If you know someone who has put off baptism, now is a great time to talk about it!)  It is important.

When I was growing up we didn’t talk much about having a relationship with God.  I guess we called him “Brother” and “Friend,” but it seemed to me that all that was up to him, too.  I was not taught that one of the powers of the common priesthood of the faithful from baptism was to be actively involved and participating in the work of salvation itself.  I am an agent of renewal and re-creation in God’s plan for the earth.  And now as an adult, I understand Jesus’ words, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you, and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain...(Jn 15:16)” as a tangible call to do something with the calling I have received.  Many are called, few are chosen (Mt 22:14).  It is not just enough to be satisfied with the call, it demands a response.

My mom always used to say that hell is paved with good intentions (unfulfilled).  Someone wrote me an email quoting St. John Chrysostom saying that the road to hell is paved with the skulls and bones of priests.  I looked it up; some say it might have been St. Athanasius but there seems to be no source document.  As I think of these end times, the only way that might be true is if I didn’t maintain my baptismal garment and sincerely encourage you to do the same.  Let us pray for one another that we not be put to the test.

God bless you.

Announcements ~ November 18, 2018

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Wishing everyone a wonderful and grace-filled holiday filled with warmth and love.

fleur cross logo Please note:  there will be only one Mass on Thanksgiving Day at 10am.  All are asked to bring non-perishable food in bags to the Mass and bring all of it up in front of the altar at the time of the Offertory during Mass.  We will then put the food in the Saint Lucy food truck after Mass.  Thanks for making this thankful offering a success!

fleur cross logo Christmas GIVING TREE begins this weekend in the Church Vestibule! Our annual tradition of taking tags and returning gifts will benefit many local and regional charities and institutions!  Please see page 8.

fleur cross logo This weekend - Olive Wood Religious Goods from Bethlehem will be for sale in the church vestibule after all Masses. Please support our brothers and sisters surviving in the Holy Land!  Please see page 7 for more details.

fleur cross logo 2018 Saint Bernadette Parish Calendars - Please pick up a beautiful parish calendar which can be found on display in the church vestibule (one per family).

Mark your calendars!

December 8, Saturday: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. The Mass schedule is a little different as the Holy Day is a Saturday: Vigil Masses Dec. 7 at 6:30pm (English) and 8pm (Spanish), Dec. 8: 6:30 and 9am, Noon.
December 12, Wednesday: Special bi-lingual Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the unborn, 7:30pm.
December 14, Friday: Our parish Advent Lessons and Carols, 7:30pm.  Please see page 7.
December 15, Saturday: Diocesan Simbang Gabi Mass and Reception at Saint Bernadette, 7pm.
December 20, Thursday: Parish Advent Penance Service, with many visiting priests! Begins at 6:30pm.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ November 18, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Every year we are strongly encouraged by the diocese to do an offertory enhancement program.  I’ve seen the letter that Fr. Larsen sent out every fall.  It had a strong message that our salvation depends on our generosity—probably a true message, but it seemed a little strong.  Instead, for the past two years, we have published a ministry catalog and annual report, asking you to commit to praying, serving, and giving.  We sent out follow up letters last week to all who responded, 216 families out of 4,100, and I realized that the program has nearly completely failed.  There seemed to be little interest in increasing giving, most people committed to about $10, some $20 a week in the offertory, if there was any financial commitment indicated at all.

I realized that we will probably go forward from here in following years with the program that is prescribed by the diocese.

For my family, supporting the Church was always important.  In my homilies last weekend I recalled how we were probably poor when I was a boy, though we didn’t dwell on it much.  My dad took college classes at night, my mom made our clothes, we rarely ate out.  If we did it was on very special occasions.  But my dad would always take a $20 bill on Sunday morning and put it in the envelope, saying this was for God.  In those days $20 was a lot of money.  And we would all take turns who got to put it in the basket at Mass.  It was this witness of my dad and his commitment that probably played some role in why my brother and I are priests today.

We are grateful for anything you can give to the parish and our mission in Springfield.  Without your gifts we would not be able to meet payroll for our staff that is already stretched to capacity working for you.  We have little outreach in the community, but do what we can with the hours available.  What the Church is able to accomplish depends completely on you.

It is not like this in most countries, and as our parishioners become more international in origin it is probably really important to say this:  We receive no subsidy from the diocese or the government for anything we do.  In most countries the properties are owned and maintained by the government and there is not a developed program of offertory giving because many things are covered by taxes and federal funding.  There is nothing like that here in this country.  Also, with the difficult situations in which many dioceses find themselves today with regard to abuse of minors and corruption (fortunately, to my knowledge, not here in the diocese of Arlington), it needs to be said that funds received by parishes are kept in individual accounts for those parishes.  Debt that may result from a lawsuit or something is not taken from parish accounts.  (One way you could be sure of this is if you make a restricted gift, a gift for a specified purpose, the building fund, for example.  This money may not be used for anything else.)

We are who we are because of your generosity, and we do what we can do because you make it possible. 
 
With regard to Faith Direct, many parishes have found that electronic giving becomes a more dependable and steady income source for the parish.  Here, more of the offertory is received electronically than in the basket on Sundays.  As I have thought about this these few days, recalling my dad and the Sunday envelope, I wonder if the next generation will even understand the need to give to the Church and the importance of giving if the visible giving of parents is no longer seen.  I haven’t really thought this through completely yet, but maybe electronic giving isn’t so helpful in the long term.

I can only give you my word that we are responsible and transparent with your generosity, supporting the work of the Church and reaching out to those in need through diocesan and parish programs as much as we are able, and ask you to continue to give.  Please consider this our annual offertory appeal, it’s done.

Sometimes I hear people say that all the Church ever does is ask for money (often at the time of the annual Bishop’s Lenten Appeal).  Every diocese in the United States has an annual appeal of some kind to support the salaries and programs of the Church—and they have to ask because, otherwise, people don’t give spontaneously.  Catholic Charities would not be successful without the annual Christmas Collection, the chancery would not be able to provide the many services to Catholics and the greater community.  It literally depends on those who give, that others might receive.  As we come into this Christmas season, let’s count our blessings and in gratitude for the many things we have, consider how much we might be able to support others. We give to need, but more importantly, we need to give.

God bless you.

Announcements ~ November 11, 2018

fleur cross logo Help care for elders. “Thanks to support from the Retirement Fund for Religious, we are now in a much better position to care for our elders,“ writes a religious sister. Your donation helps her religious community and hundreds of others provide for aging members and plan for long-term needs. Please give to this week’s Retirement Fund for Religious collection.

fleur cross logo Christmas GIVING TREE begins next week, November 17 in the Church Vestibule! Our annual tradition of taking tags and returning gifts will benefit Catholic Charities, Christ House, ECHO, Project Gabriel/Project Rachel, ServiceSource, Saint Ann’s Center for Children, Bethany House and Refugee Resettlement!

fleur cross logo November 17-18 Olive Wood Religious Goods from Bethlehem will be for sale in the church vestibule after all Masses.  Please support our brothers and sisters surviving in the Holy Land!  Please see page 7 for more details.

fleur cross logo Calling All New Parishioners — Welcome to St. Bernadette! You are an important part of our community and we’d love to get to know you. Please stop by the Welcome table after the 9 and 11am Masses. Join us for coffee and donuts and help us welcome you into our great community. This is a new ministry. Questions? Want to help? Contact Kelly at tomandkellysmith@verizon.net

fleur cross logo Mark your calendars!

December 8, Saturday: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. Mass schedule for December 7-8 will follow.
December 12, Wednesday: Special bi-lingual Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the unborn.
December 15, Saturday: Diocesan Simbang Gabi Mass and Reception at Saint Bernadette, 7pm.
December 20, Thursday: Parish Advent Penance Service, with many visiting priests! Begins at 6:30pm.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ November 11, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

I’ve heard rumblings from people who are frustrated that the light bulbs have burned out behind the stained glass of Our Lady of Lourdes.  (“Why should we pay for any renovations when he can’t even maintain what we have?”)  I apologize that we didn’t have time to fix it before leaving for the Holy Land, once we learned that there are no access points to change the flourescent tubes without removing it completely from the wall.  We will have to hire a lift for inside the church, and (I’m told) five or six people to lower it.  It is going to take time.  Please be patient.  We will also devise a way to replace the flourescent bulbs with better lighting, and probably rehang them lower on the wall, they are hung far too high.  I was actually hoping to see if there might have been any interest in working on the aesthetics of the interior of the church itself, but since there isn’t we will proceed with replacing sunlight.

It has reminded me of something that I had learned in the seminary from a very wise teacher.  He said that the sanctuary in the church is symbolic of the heart and soul of a community—is, literally, the identity of the community.  For that reason there should never be anything fake, whether it be flowers, or materials (stone, wood) or sunlight.  I think of this always when I’m in church.

As you know, for the second year this year Bishop Burbidge asked us to take an attendance count in all parishes of whom participated in Masses in October.  Our results this year are rather similar to last year.

As happened last year, we complicated the count by changing the Mass schedule to work with the Parish Picnic and Family Day on October 15.  The crowd at the picnic was estimated at about 2,500, and Mass attendance was 2,442!  We had, overall that weekend, about 400 fewer people at Masses than the week before.

Average Mass attendance for the Masses was as follows:

Saturday Vigil 5pm         460
Sunday 7:30am              176
Sunday 9am                   497
Sunday 11am                 606
Sunday 1pm                   442
Sunday 5pm                   456

The total average attendance of each Sunday was about 2,750, which is a drop of about 250 people (8%) per Sunday compared to last year.  This is an average attendance of 27 per cent of registered persons at Saint Bernadette.  The average attendance for parishes in our deanery is 32%.  48 parishes in the diocese have a weekly attendance of 25 to 49%; 13 parishes have less than 25%.  The diocese also calculates the percentage of capacity for the church space in each parish.  Saint Bernadette has plenty of room (tell your friends!), using about 28% of available seating in the church.

Finally, you will find our Development Director, Doug Mills’ summary of the feasability study for planning a capital campaign, coordinated by Steier Group Consultants on pp. 8-9 of today’s bulletin.  Please give it a read.

I have mixed feelings.  To not pursue improvements and not allow for growth is basically to say that our parish is now on the decline and there is no need for future planning.  At least not for now—that seems to be the general takeaway.  Certainly, Mass attendance is down, our Sunday collection has not shown much growth in the past five years, attempts at promoting community have been met with lukewarm response by the vast majority, at best.  How are we to meet to build community if there are no spaces for meetings?  Yes, there are certain buffet items that seem to be popular but, in my reading of this, they are mostly things that are rooted in individual convenience and comfort.  Not the health of the whole.

One of the questions that is dogging every church right now—and, indeed, every religion—is where do we want to see ourselves in ten years?  In twenty?  Or do we see ourselves at all in ten years?  There are some Christian churches that will probably not survive the next ten years, it is generally known.  Once we consider ourselves ten years from now, how would we like that to look?  Because we begin shaping that now.  Community isn’t automatic, obviously.  It takes a lot of work and time.  The time to work on ten years from now is now.  Ten years from now it will cost ten times what it costs now.  But we have to think.  And care.  Now.

I met with my group of Lutheran and Catholic pastors this afternoon.  Our discussion centered on the Catholic understanding that everything comes out of the lived experience of the communtiy with God: Scripture, Tradition and Authority.  That lived experience has to take place in bricks and mortar to touch the lives of those we hope to include in our family someday.

God bless you.

Announcements ~ November 4, 2018

fleur cross logo November 6 is Election Day. As it has done for other elected offices previously, the Virginia Catholic Conference has prepared a side-by-side comparison of the positions of the candidates in this year’s Virginia U.S. Senate race. Called Know the Positions of the Candidates for U.S. Senate, this resource can be found at vacatholic.org. The issues appear in alphabetical order for informational purposes only and do not represent a complete list of issues that may be of importance to Catholics. The Conference neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office. A Spanish translation of the candidate comparison is also available.


fleur cross logo Help care for elders. “Thanks to support from the Retirement Fund for Religious, we are now in a much better position to care for our elders,“ writes a religious sister. Your donation helps her religious community and hundreds of others provide for aging members and plan for long-term needs. Please give to next week’s Retirement Fund for Religious collection.


fleur cross logo November 17-18 Olive Wood Religious Goods will be for sale in the church vestibule after all Masses.  Please support our brothers and sisters surviving in the Holy Land!  Please see page 7 for more details.

fleur cross logo Calling All New Parishioners — Welcome to St. Bernadette! You are an important part of our community and we’d love to get to know you. Please stop by the Welcome table after the 9 and 11am Masses. Join us for coffee and donuts and help us welcome you into our great community. This is a new ministry. Questions? Want to help? Contact Kelly at tomandkellysmith@verizon.net


fleur cross logo If you didn’t have a chance to return your Commitment Card you are welcome drop it collection basket, mail it in, or bring it into the parish office. We have received cards from 136 of our families, just under 4% of the parish community. Everyone is encouraged to make a commitment to living your faith by getting involved in the parish!

Parish offices will be closed Monday, 12 November in observance of the Veteran’s Day Holiday.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ November 4, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
We’re back safe and sound, and glad to be back.  Thanks for your prayers, it was a powerful and fruitful journey for most.  There is no place like the Holy Land, I guess that is why God chose it for the story of salvation to unfold!  Mark your calendars, our next pilgrimage to the Holy Land will be February 10-24, 2020.

We’re out of space in the bulletin and this is an important statement which we need to publish, so I will put it here this week.  I hope all of you are well.  We will publish the results of our survey about the Capital Campaign next week in the bulletin after some of the dust settles from landing back in the U. S.

God bless you.


Joint Statement from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge (Diocese of Arlington) and Bishop Barry C. Knestout (Diocese of Richmond) in
Response to the Attorney General’s Investigation
For Immediate Release

October 24, 2018

Today, Attorney General Mark Herring publicly announced his office’s investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy in Virginia.  The Diocese of Arlington and the Dio-cese of Richmond assure the faithful and the public that we are cooperating with the Attorney General’s office. Any instance of child sexual abuse is intolerable and gravely immoral. We hope that this process will bring healing for all victims and confirm our commitment to accountability and justice.

Having met with victims, we know that such abuse is unfor-gettable, and many carry that burden with them throughout their lives. We continue to welcome the opportunity to meet personally with victims, to hear their stories, and to support them in their journey toward healing.

Prior to being contacted by the Attorney General, both dio-ceses began internal investigative processes using independent investigators tasked with reviewing all diocesan clergy files. We promised to publish a list of all priests and deacons against whom credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made, and we renew that promise. We will continue these efforts and ensure it does not impede the Attorney General’s investigation.

In keeping with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, established in 2002, we report every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to legal authorities. Each accusation is also brought before a diocesan Review Board, composed mostly of lay people. We thoroughly vet clergy and staff and train them to identify suspicious behavior and report any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Volunteers who interact with children also go through this process.

We encourage anyone aware of misconduct or abuse on the part of clergy or staff of either diocese to notify legal authori-ties and utilize the hotline established by the Attorney General: 
virginiaclergyhotline.com. In addition, victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Arlington or the Diocese of Richmond are invited to contact the respective diocesan Victim Assis-tance Coordinator who is available to help victims/survivors make a formal complaint of abuse to the diocese, arrange a personal meeting with the bishop or his representative, and to obtain support for the needs of the individual and families.

The diocesan child protection policies are online at:  arlingtondiocese.org/childprotection


And this letter from Bishop Burbidge arrived just as I was finishing this week’s bulletin:


October 30, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The U.S. bishops are joining together in a commitment of prayer and reparation leading up to the bishops’ General Assembly (November 12 - 15), where we will be making critical decisions in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. With my brother bishops across the nation, I will be dedicating myself to seven days of intensified prayer and fasting, from Monday, November 5, through Sunday, November 11. The intentions for this period of prayer and sacrifice are three-fold:

• For the healing and support of all victims of clergy sexual abuse.
• For the conversion and just punishment of the perpe-trators and concealers of sexual abuse.
• For the strength of the bishops to be holy shepherds in protecting and leading their sheep from all harm.

If you feel called to do so, you are welcome to join me in praying for these intentions. I would also be grateful for any prayers for me and my brother bishops during our General Assembly, that we may follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in responding to the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse in the Church. Please be assured of my prayers for you as well.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington



 
 
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Our Saint Bernadette 2018-'19 Ministry Catalog 

 

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