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Announcements ~ June 24, 2018

fleur cross logo The second collection next weekend is for the Peter’s Pence Collection which supports the Pope’s charitable works. Thank you for your generosity.
 
fleur cross logo Please join as we bid farewell to Fr. Vu at receptions following the 9am and 11am Masses this Sunday, June 24th in the Saint Bernadette School Gymnasium. Stop by and wish him well, and thank him for all the goodness he has brought to our parish family.
 
fleur cross logo Next weekend, we will welcome Fr. Jean Nicolas to our Saint Bernadette family. Please join us for welcome receptions in the Saint Bernadette School Gymnasium after the 9am and 11am Masses.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. For more information please visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our excellent Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, or give us a call at our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo EXTRA! EXTRA!...SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM announces the DC Metro Area amateur premiere of Disney’s “NEWSIES,” a musical based on the Disney film.  Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Saturday, July 28 at 1pm at Bishop Ireton High School Auditorium.  Tickets will be available for purchase on-line beginning on July 3.  Discount tickets will be available for purchase after all Masses on July 14-15 and July 21-22.  Spread the word—Newsies is taking summer theater by storm!  For more news and information, please visit www.summertheatreprogram.org.

Fr. Don Weekly Letter ~ June 24, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
“If you build it...”  What a difference a few days make! You can see below the progress of only a few days as the new preschool classroom begins to take shape on the wooded side of the Office and School buildings.  We are glad to announce that there are only two desks left open for this fall in both preschool classes.  Thanks, parents, for your confidence in us and for helping to build a strong school family.  Our registration for the whole school is strong as well, 407 students to date.  We still have plenty of room.  Come and see our school—you will be very pleasantly surprised and proud, as we are, of what is happening at Saint Bernadette.
 
Rapid changes are happening now on the front of the school, too.  This past week our faculty and staff kindly and efficiently vacated the administrative spaces getting ready for renovation and addition.  We literally have two months to get all this done... it is an aggressive schedule.  Kindly remember our projects in your prayers—ask Saint Joseph for his intercession to stay on target and keep all our workers safe.  It is an active construction zone, so I also ask all our parents to keep an eye open to make sure that we don’t have young explorers going into these areas.  Anyone with business in the school is asked first to come to the parish office (please see the bulletin page 5).
 
Already this past weekend we noticed a change in Masses—many people are already traveling and the mood is lighter, more relaxed.  Please remember the need to dress appropriately for Mass, and also the importance of making the effort to arrive in time for the start of Mass.  At some Masses last weekend only 1/4 of the congregation had arrived and assembled by the beginning of the Opening Song.  Please be mindful of the importance of where we are, who we are, and what we are doing.  It is a profound Mystery we are invited to participate in, Jesus’ offering of himself, our offering of ourselves in him, to the Father.  There is no greater dignity than our presence.
 
For those who are traveling, I want to remind you how you can stay in touch with our parish virtually—no real substitute, but something.  Bulletins and homilies are uploaded each week: www.stbernpar.org.
 
God bless you.
 

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Announcements ~ June 17, 2018

fleur cross logo The Second Collection this weekend is for our Parish Building Fund.
 
fleur cross logo Mass cards for the Father’s Day Novena of Masses are available in the vestibule or parish office. Remember your dads and grandfathers in this beautiful remembrance. Please return your envelopes by Friday, June 17.
 
fleur cross logo Please join us at the 5pm Mass on Saturday, June 16th as we celebrate our graduating 8th Grade, High School and College Seniors. We will have an Ice Cream Truck outside to mark the occassion following the Mass.
 
fleur cross logo “Sunday School for Adults” continues this week in the Bradican Room. Please join Fr. Don for our last class for the summer: Sunday 10-11am.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. For more information please visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our excellent Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, or give us a call at our St. Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo EXTRA! EXTRA!...SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM announces the DC Metro Area amateur premiere of Disney’s “NEWSIES,” a musical based on the Disney film.  Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Saturday, July 28 at 1pm at Bishop Ireton High School Auditorium.  Tickets will be available for purchase on-line beginning on July 3.  Discount tickets will be available for purchase after all Masses on July 14-15 and July 21-22.  Spread the word—Newsies is taking summer theater by storm!  For more news and information, please visit www.summertheatreprogram.org.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ June 17, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Everything we do in the spiritual life orients us both toward God and toward one another as Church; it would never be a turning inward, or a self-centered act.  All God’s many gifts are given to us as individuals to form us together as Christ (“conform” us into the one person of Christ, members of his Body), which would have as the goal always to turn toward others in service (“...not to be served, but to serve”).  Made in God’s image, his self-emptying love is seen in our actions of self-emptying love.
 
At first glance I think everyone would agree with this statement.  But sometimes it isn’t, actually, the reality of our actions.  And now is a good time for us to look back over the beautiful seasons of Lent, Easter, Resurrection and Pentecost, and consider the way that God is calling us together.
 
Take, for example, the way so many people say they don’t really need to confess sins to a priest:  “I can just go directly to God.”  Many people can convince themselves that sin is only a personal issue and avoid sacramental reconciliation for years.  But the Church has always taught that our sins have two dimensions, the vertical one where we sin against God, and the corresponding horizontal dimension where every sin we commit also impacts every other person to whom we are united, not only by our humanity, but especially in the Body of Christ.  When one member of the body is sick, all members suffer.  What we do helps or damages each other, even if our actions are in secret.  The process of full reconciliation requires absolution that originates from both dimensions.  Both dimensions must be healed.
 
For that reason, throughout the early centuries of the Church, confession of sins was always made publicly.  Imagine!  You would, literally, stand before the entire assembly and confess.  I wonder how that would go over today.  Would we desire reconciliation that much if we had to admit our faults openly?  It is a practice that can still be found in some religious orders.
 
Thankfully, today the Church allows reconciliation to take place in absolute confidentiality, but the confession still must be made out loud, publicly, as it were, and the absolution comes from God and the Church, through the instrumentality of the sacrament of Holy Orders, or priesthood.  Most people today just think of the life of faith as a private enterprise, without taking into account that the life of faith takes place in the context of the community.  I read recently in one of the writings of the Pope that  we don’t just get a download of faith facts in Baptism and suddenly know everything there is to know:  Baptism gives us the capacity to be people of faith; formation in faith must come from the community of the Church, whether that be our family, our parish, or our circle of friends.
 
So we can’t forget that the act of confession is not just a private act of forgiveness between you and Jesus, even though it is now done privately.  Every time you enter the sacrament of reconciliation, you can be certain of reconciliation to God and to the Church.
 
Communion, like reconciliation, takes place on both dimensions.  It can be a blind spot for me that I may focus only on the Communion that takes place between me and God, and I can ignore all those other people who surround me at that moment in church.  I could actually find myself wishing that they were not there at all!  How noisy and unpleasant they can be, right?  How many times people have said to me that they would prefer not to sing a song at Communion because it interrupts their private time with Jesus.
 
How contrary this is to the reality of Communion!  God has not called all of us into an infinite number of exclusive relationships with him so that we can ignore one another.  Our Communion is with God in that vertical sense, certainly, but the entire action of Communion is that we are called together into a new reality:  diverse members of one Body who is Christ for the world.  That is one of the reasons we sing:  like it or not, we are called to act together in the prayer of Jesus (one voice) and the mission of Jesus in the Church (one heart).  It isn’t the time for self-focus.
 
One of the ideas called forth from the Second Vatican Council was to restore a theology of the active participation of the lay faithful in the mystery of salvation and how the Mass constitutes that work.  It is about receiving, of course, and bringing ourselves to God, present to him as he is present to us.  But receiving is not the end in itself, rather it is the means to the end that is the consecration of the world:  we receive in order to become:  to be Christ made present to the world, Christ who will become all in all, not through me, but through us.  Literally incorporated in baptism, we live the new life of the triune God.  We are not called to be Christians; we are called to be Christ.
 
God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ June 10, 2018

fleur cross logo The Second Collection this weekend is for ur School Tuition Assistance Fund (Tuition Angels).
 
fleur cross logo Mass cards for the Father’s Day Novena of Masses are available in the vestibule or parish office. Remember your dads and grandfathers in this beautiful remembrance. Please return your envelopes by Friday, June 15.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish s conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive today for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program.
 
fleur cross logo Please join us at the 5pm Mass next Saturday, June 16th as we celebrate our graduating 8th Grade, High School and College Seniors. We will have an Ice Cream Truck outside to mark the occassion following the Mass.
 
fleur cross logo “Sunday School for Adults” continues this week in the Bradican Room. Please join Fr. Don for two more classes before we break for the summer: Sundays 10-11am.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. For more information please visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our excellent Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, or give us a call at our St. Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ June 10, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Last week the bulletin had already gone to the printer before the public announcement was made about changes in parish clergy assignments this year, many already know that we have some changes that have pastorbeen made here at Saint Bernadette.  On June 28, our Father Vu will be moving to Saint James parish in Falls Church.
 
This is almost always a difficult transition for a parish, especially when we have known a priest for so long.  It is rare that a parochial vicar be assigned to a parish for seven years.  Some dioceses have only six-year assignments for pastors!  In my opinion, longer assignments are a blessing both for the parish and priest, it allows stability and an opportunity for people to grow together as a family to a degree that would otherwise not be possible.  It also helps a priest feel like he belongs more, and life isn’t a series of temporary experiences.  I’m probably talking to the choir here, as so many of you are military families and know exactly what I’m talking about.  Still, it is true, the longer you stay the harder it is to be sent somewhere else.
 
We wish Fr. Vu all the best in his new assignment and are grateful to him for his kindness and diligent service here.  Fr. Vu is one of the finest parochial vicars I have ever worked with.  He is kind and gentle, and willing to do whatever is necessary to help anyone who is in need, in trouble, or sick.  He has brought to us a maturity and a sense of responsibility in pastoral care that is relatively rare.  He is a true priest.
 
Everyone is invited to bid Fr. Vu farewell at receptions on Sunday morning, June 24 following the 9 and 11am Masses in the gym.  When you see him be sure to stop him and thank him for seven years of his life.  We will miss him.
 
Fortunately for us, though Fr. Vu is leaving, Fr. Jean Nicolas is coming.  Father came for a visit this past week and it was good to meet him.  Fr. Nicolas is from Haiti and previously has been a parochial vicar at St. Anthony Parish in Falls Church, as well as priest in residence at St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax Station.  He will arrive officially on the 28th of this month and we will welcome him at receptions following the 9 and 11am Masses on Sunday, July 1.
 
Farewells are hard for many people.  It is certainly not my intention to be morbid, but I once heard a homily at a funeral that has stayed with me for many years, which I particularly like.  It can apply to any kind of loss, certainly to death, but also to loss we may experience due to moving and changing circumstances in life.
 
It is about the families of immigrants who left Ireland at the time of the famine and persecutions.  My own Rooney ancestors started coming to the United States in the late 1830s, then coming in greater numbers around 1845 during the Great Famine when more than a million died, and more than a million fled to other countries.  Only 20% of the population remained in Ireland.
 
In those days people spent all they had on the cost of passage, and never had any hope of being reunited with loved ones again once immigration divided them.  Today we have communications, video conversations and affordable airplane tickets.  In those days, when someone left, they were gone.
 
As the boat would pull away from the docks, people would wave and continue to watch each other grow farther and farther away.  Finally, even visible land would drop beneath the distant horizon, as if vanishing. 
 
In these cases, we are reminded, we must turn and look forward, not keep looking backward.  Because as we look forward, there will eventually be visible land that appears on the distant horizon.  If we keep watching, there will be people eventually visible on new docks, who will welcome and embrace us in our new place.
 
Of course, Fr. Vu knows all of this, too well, with his own story of leaving Vietnam.  In this case he is only going to be about seven miles from here.
 
It is easy to forget, however, all the transitions that take place this time of year, especially with our military and government parishioners.  So many people coming and going. 
 
Let us remember, then, that we play a key role in this process.  We must consciously strive to be the people who are at the new port, watching and waiting to welcome the immigrants, the newcomers, new friends who need a friendly place to land and a new family to belong to.
 
God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ June 3, 2018

fleur cross logo The Second Collection next weekend is for the Tuition Assistance Fund (Tuition Angels).

fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish will be conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program on June 9/10.
 
fleur cross logo “Sunday School for Adults” continues this week in the Bradican Room. Please join Fr. Don for adult faith formation on Sunday mornings,  10-11am.
 
fleur cross logo Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Monday, June 4 from 3-7pm at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, 6304 Lee Chapel Road, Burke, VA. For an appointment call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and enter ABIDINGVA.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. For more information please visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our excellent Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, or give us a call at our St. Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour.
Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo SAVE THE DATE! Our Summer Theater Program has contracted our summer musical but it is so new we can’t announce it yet! Still, save the date:  July 25-27, 2018 Performances at Bishop Ireton High School. The show title and other details will be revealed in coming weeks.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ June 3, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
In an ancient homily for the Easter Vigil Mass, those newly received into the Church, the Body of Christ, are encouraged to “come forward, and receive what you are.”
 
This greatest gift that God has given to his Church, his abiding Presence, finds its full meaning in our Communion with that Presence.  Communion requires that we be present, too, so the Presence of God to us can make real that “marvelous exchange”—that we might be one with God in his divinity as the Son of God humbled himself to be one with us in our humanity.  It is an intimacy that only God could make real, yes, but it is a reality that only we can open our hearts to receive.
 
The gift comes with obligation.
 
We read in the Gospels (the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke) as well as St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, an overwhelmingly identical account of the event of Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper:  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25).
 
That the Eucharist was explicitly instituted by Jesus himself is clear, and has been celebrated unceasingly ever since.  Do this in memory of me.
 
But the Gospel of Saint John gives a further nuance to the “do this” of Jesus.  John doesn’t give the account of the institution at all in his Gospel.  His was the last written Gospel and probably, it is thought, he presumed the the story was so well known and found in the other Gospels that he could provide an account of how Jesus intended for us “do this.”
 
So Jesus paused during the supper, removed his outer garment, tied a towel around his waist, and proceeded to wash the feet of his Apostles.  Upon finishing, he said,  “As I have done, so you must also do.”   The Lord of heaven and earth took the posture of the lowest slave of the house whose job was to wash the filth off of the bare feet of house guests. It is an interesting insight into the sort of priesthood that Jesus had in mind for his Apostles, as we also realize that it was also at this moment that he instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders.
 
In other words, in this Communion of being present to one another, we become his presence, and we must also become the outward sign of Christ to the world.  By serving we literally carry his Presence to the world in our bodies, transformed by his Presence in us.  When one serves another, the one served recognizes Christ in the one who serves him, and the one who serves recognizes Christ in the one whom he is serving.  It echoes the love of God:  The Father begets the Son and sees his perfect likeness in him, and the Son is filled with holy delight and gratitude for his Being Begotten.  The Love that results which, by its nature cannot be contained, is the Holy Spirit that pours forth over all of God’s creation, calling everyone to the unity, purity and clarity with which we were created in God’s image and likeness.  To be less is not to live fully the humanity that Christ has transformed in us.  It is by the same power of the Holy Spirit that the man-made gifts of bread and wine (the fruit of our work, transforming God’s natural gifts of wheat and grapes) are transformed into real Presence of God, and Communion is possible, and all this is possible.
 
It is a gift not intended to stop with us, something that we might claim for ourselves, because it is love, and a lover always must have a beloved to be truly fulfilled.  Christ is ever present, and he takes to the world, through our “yes” to his will, through our loving service of God and others.
 
It was Mary’s “yes” that allowed all this to begin in the quiet of Nazareth, a simple “yes” to God’s will.
 
This is the complete exchange where Eucharist truly becomes perfect Communion:  it is the whole Christ who offers, it is the whole Christ who receives and takes that love to those who do not yet know him, to begin the cycle of Eucharistic love and light again throughout all time and in all places.
 
You and I are formed anew in the light of this truth.  Today let us thank God for the gift of Holy Communion, and for the opportunity to make that love present to others. 
 
God bless you.
 
 

Announcements ~ May 27, 2018

fleur cross logo The Second Collection this weekend is for The Catholic Communications Campaign.  Bishop Burbidge has sent a letter to all pastors to promote this collection, much of which stays here in the diocese, especially this year as the diocese is investigating and implementing more digital and online platforms to keep in touch with people.  Please be generous.
 
fleur cross logo Please join us for our monthly Taizé Prayer Service, Monday, May 28, 2018 at 8pm. Come pray for Christian unity in our community and in the world. All Christians are warmly invited; invite your friends!
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish will be conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program on June 9/10. Collection bags with a list of requested items will be distributed next weekend.
 
fleur cross logo Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Monday, June 4 from 3-7pm at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, 6304 Lee Chapel Road, Burke, VA. For an appointment call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and enter ABIDINGVA.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. For more information please visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our excellent Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, or give us a call at our St. Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour.
Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo SAVE THE DATE! Our Summer Theater Program has contracted our summer musical but it is so new we can’t announce it yet! Still, save the date:  July 25-27, 2018 Performances at Bishop Ireton High School. The show title and other details will be revealed in coming weeks.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ May 27, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
In the middle of recent construction meetings it has finally dawned on me:  this is actually happening!  It is now time that I can give a sketch of the timeline and what we can expect in the coming weeks.
 
You may have noticed a gravel road that goes up along parish office building on the side of the creek, and some have asked if we are building a second road for school access.  If only we could!  It would make carpool so much easier.  But the land on that side of the property would not be stable to support a roadway.  In this case it is a temporary construction access road to the site of the new, second preschool classroom.  Work on the preschool continues, we have hit a few snags with unexpected situations and permits, but we will be back to full speed shortly and still plan to hit the opening of school deadline.
 
A similar construction road/area will be established in front of the school on the courtyard even as soon as this week.  Final permits are being processed and the first thing to go will be the canopy connecting the gym to the current front door!  We can get started even earlier than the last day of school which is important because - spoiler alert - the school year begins again two short months from closing.  Again, hard to believe. 
 
We will close off Wisdom Hall between the gym and the school offices and begin to tie the steel for the new offices into the existing ceiling and roof of the existing front of the building.  Access to the school will be either through the front gym doors or the doors on the back of the school near the cafeteria and Mrs. Dalmut’s office.  We had a meeting today and will have a great plan for carpool which Mrs. Dalmut will roll out when it is time.
 
Below you can see a floorplan of what we hope to accomplish.  We will add offices for our assistant principal, registrar, counselor and curriculum coordinator, as well as a nice conference room for meetings.  We will upgrade facilities for the clinic and a larger space for the faculty break room, a private restroom for faculty and a public restroom outside the cafeteria doors.  We will also enhance security by adding a separation for after hours between the school proper and the cafeteria and gym, so only those areas are open that are needed.  And the secure foyer will be bright and welcoming, and double the size of the current entrance.
 
It is good to see plans for growth coming to fulfillment.  Once this administrative wing is complete we will begin to make the parish offices more usable.  We will have drawings about that in coming weeks, along with plans for a Capital Campaign to finance these improvements.
 
The phase for the parish offices will follow the school, at which time we hope to have pledges from the Capital Campaign to begin planning some enhancements to the church and a new parish hall.  Watch for details!
 
God bless you.

 

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