Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
The temperatures this week clearly announced that summer is here! With the close of the school year, our students are off in all directions, I’m sure, with family on new adventures and experiences, or enjoying some well-earned rest. There is a good article in this week’s bulletin by our principal, Mrs. Dalmut, about how we can sustain all the good work we accomplished this last school year and carry it forward to next fall.
Wonderful events took place in the last couple of weeks! Unfortunately, nobody took photos! If there is anyone—or maybe several people—who would like to serve the parish as a photographer at parish events, that would be a great service. Please contact me.
Our procession was small but beautiful last Sunday evening on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus. Of course, people were celebrating Fathers’ Day. We developed a special booklet of Eucharistic hymns and prayers, from which we worshiped and processed simply from the church to the school courtyard where we had erected a small altar for the Blessed Sacrament, then returned to the church. I hope this great world Tradition will become a tradition for us.
Likewise, our celebrations of Solemn Evening Prayer, or Vespers, on Pentecost Sunday (June 4) and our special Mass (and “wedding reception”) for the renewal of wedding vows (June 8) were opportunities to further explore the riches of community prayer and fellowship, and thank God for his good gifts of the Holy Spirit, the bond of love that we celebrate in the sacrament of Marriage and live in family. Again, I hope these can become regular parish events.
We gathered last week on Thursday for the diocesan healing Mass. One person described her experience of the Mass in a very touching way: “It was,” she said,”like an embrace. I have never experienced the Mass and community in such a real way. The love was overwhelming.” Then, on Friday night, we welcomed an ecumenical congregation, largely Catholic and Evangelical, to join together in meditating with Sacred Scripture and direct, intentional prayers of petition for those who have suffered persecution for being Christian. At one point in the prayer service we prayed silently as the 34 most dangerous countries for Christians were named, and a candle was lit in remembrance of those who have died, as well as those who live with the threat of martyrdom every day.
All of a sudden, it seems kind of quiet around here... if you look at the calendar, we are definitely in summer mode, it is here. My experience suddenly has shifted from “new” to familiar: it is one year now that I have been here with you.
It is time to get busy on our many projects for the summer—it will be August 21 and the teachers will be returning before we know it!
Much of our work this summer will continue to focus on our school. Mrs. Dalmut and the president of our PTO, Jackson Toof and I met this week to prioritize our efforts, to give first priority to whatever will support the efforts of our teachers and the successful instruction and formation of our students. There are a few items that seem to be perennially discussed but not accomplished due to budgets.
I thought I might mention these here, in case there might be people who are looking for concrete ways to support our parish mission of Catholic education financially. Of course, this is an auction year and I hope we can host an auction that will involve the parish as much as it involves school families, but these items would give us such a head start instructionally that they need to be given for your consideration.
The teachers would like their classrooms to have new “skins” that will convert their old-fashioned chalk boards into dry-erase marker boards. The cost is $500 per chalkboard, for each of the 16 classrooms.
The other item is quite a bit more to ask for, but here goes. Chromebooks, or tablets used by students in the classroom, facilitate basic skills like reading and arithmetic in ways that are transformed today by technology. We currently have three carts for the whole school and a goal to work toward a cart for almost every classroom.A cart of 30 Chromebooks costs $13,000.
Stay cool. We’ll keep the air conditioning on for you in church.
May God bless you.
Please note this most important announcement: Beginning Sunday, 30 July 2017, our Sunday Mass schedule will change. Saturday Vigil Mass will now be at 5pm (Confessions at 3:30pm); Sunday Masses will be offered at 7:30am, 9am, 11am, 1pm (Spanish) and 5pm.
Today begins our Fathers’ Day Novena of Masses offered for all your intentions placed in front of the altar throughout the Novena. Fathers’ Day Cards and extra novena envelopes are still available in the vestibule of the Church and in the Office.
This weekend: Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession and Solemn Benediction. Join us for a traditional procession following the 5pm Sunday Mass.
Our Parking Lot repaving begins this week. Please see page 6 for details.We hope to have the project completed by Friday, 23 June (pray for no rain!). Thank you for your patience.
Monday, June 26: Monthly Ecumenical Prayer Service in the Taizé Tradition. Join us for this tradition of prayer for unity and peace in our world. 8-8:45pm every fourth Monday of the month. All are welcome, invite your Christian friends.
Sunday, July 2: Cross Catholic Outreach. Delivering food, shelter and hope to the poorest of the poor. Father Hugh Duffy, Ph.D. of Cross Catholic Outreach will be visiting our parish July 2 to speak at all the Masses on behalf of the poor in developing countries.
Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
I hope you can feel the excitement. So many things happening right now at Saint Bernadette. Besides the summer maintenance we’ve scheduled (new parking lot, new coat of paint on the church roof, new floors in all school bathrooms, renovating the Our Lady of Wisdom Chapel and the new sign out at the street), we are well into the process of arranging for special permits to our expansion projects in the Preschool and parish and school offices to be built Summer of ‘18.
Even more exciting developments are underway with regard to parish staff and school faculty and staff. With a number of teachers in transition this year, we were blessed to know early enough in the process with Mrs. Barbara Dalmut starting as Principal at Easter, and we have already nearly rebuilt our faculty and staff with excellent educators and administrators. I look forward to the advances we will make in our school this year. Also, this week our new Youth Ministry program will be underway, and we welcome Fr. Jack Peterson, Director of Mission and Advancement of Youth Apostles, Director of Youth Ministry Cara Lilly, and Assistant Director Stephen Paquette.
The Cub Scouts are back! I was on hand to witness Bears become Webelos this week (below). That’s as far as I made it in Scouting...
But the most important news this week has to do with schedules. We have added an additional Sunday afternoon session to our Religious Education program. With the development of our 5pm Mass as the Mass that is served as much as possible by our youth, it would be wonderful to provide an opportunity for all youth, but especially our 7th and 8th graders to come to RE before the 5pm Mass, and follow after the 5pm Mass for our parish Youth Ministry program. Youth will be invited to serve the 5pm Mass as choir and cantors, servers, lectors, greeters and ushers and anything else we can think of.
Also, please make a note of our new weekend schedule for Masses. This has potential to throw off a lot of people, and so I rely on all of you to get the word out, too. Beginning Saturday and Sunday, July 29-30, this will be the weekend schedule, changes are in red:
We have been challenged with only 45 minutes between the higher-attended Sunday Masses (especially if they run a little long) with simply letting one Mass congregation leave and another arrive, park and get inside. I think this 15 minutes is going to make a lot of difference. I know I had originally mentioned that we might move the current 11:15 to 10:45, but the time before 10:45 is just too short. So, please spread the word.
Finally, a word about Taizé. A community of priests in Taizé, France, welcomed refugees when the Nazis occupied nearby Paris during World War II. In seeking an ecumenical form of worship in which all their refugees could participate, they developed a kind of very peaceful, melodic chanting of scriptural and spiritual texts which touch the hearts of all who participate with an abiding peace and holiness. We hosted this monthly prayer service at Saint Mary for twelve years, and would like to bring it here—every fourth Monday, 8-8:45pm. Please join us.
May God bless you,
Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
This weekend we find ourselves between 8th Grade graduation and those final days of school before we gather for Mass on the last day, June 14. It has been quite a year!
We thank Beth Monroe, our interim principal for the past year, for stepping in and being the glue that kept a lot of strands from unraveling. Although I’ve been involved in Catholic education for many years, I have never experienced so closely the daily challenges that Beth faced. We have expressed many thanks already, and there are surely more to come this week.
We have experienced a smooth transition with the arrival of our new principal, seasoned educator, Barbara Dalmut. In the two months that she has been here, I have been impressed with her sharp focus on keeping quality education as a priority and her deep concern for our students, as well as our teachers and their professional and spiritual needs. Our school has turned the corner, thank God, and I believe, with Barbara’s vision, that our students will flourish and grow, once again, both in excellence and number.
It is my hope that many of the families who left our school in the past couple of years for various valid reasons will consider us again: please, come home to Saint Bernadette School. Know you are welcome.
The end of the school year seems like a fitting time to give thanks to all of you who gave so generously of your time and talents. You are a composite of so many rich and varied gifts. We will bid farewell to a number of our teachers and staff, as well. To all our faculty and staff, administration and support, our thanks and wishes for some much-deserved rest this summer.
For those of us on a 12-month salary schedule, we’ll get right to work with summer projects. First, we will begin the milling and paving for a new parking lot. We will announce a proposed schedule and when different areas of the parking lots will be affected. We ask your patience and thank you for working around these areas when they are closed.
In mid-June we will also see a transition of leadership in our Youth Ministry for the parish. We thank Jim and Jonna Schuster for their years of service to our youth at St. Bernadette. Jim accepted a job at another parish back around Easter, and Jonna will finish out the year with us next weekend. We wish them well.
And the Holy Spirit still doesn’t disappoint! Almost immediately, it seemed, we were being guided to a new partnership for our youth program with our own Youth Apostles here in the diocese. Our old friend, Fr. Jack Petersen, and Youth Apostles leadership have proposed a very exciting program with a full-time director and assistant director under his guidance, with two part-time assistants in mission and administration. We will formally introduce our new staff members once they are here and you will be able to meet them.
I will get my chance to weave our new Confirmation formation program into the newly-formed team adding this to the role of the administrative assistant, making a full-time position. Actually, I’m looking to fill this position soon. It will be a unique position in that it will be a visible link building strong lines of communication and ministry sharing between the School, Religious Education and the Youth Program. Obviously, this is an important role and will require just the right person, a person of creativity and energy, and a deep desire for unity, someone who thrives serving with a team of dedicated people. If you think you might be right for the job, you are welcome to call me and we can talk about it.
Next weekend try to join us for our traditional procession and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after the 5pm Mass on Sunday, 18 June. I know it’s Fathers’ Day... the procession and benediction will last 30 minutes. I was present at the cathedral in Puebla, Mexico as a seminarian on Corpus Christi 25 years ago. It was the first time in 80 years that the government of Mexico permitted a Church rite to take place outside (of course, they had to stay on cathedral property). We will process to a temporary altar in front of the school, sing Eucharistic hymns, pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, and return to the church for solemn benediction. Please plan to say with us a bit longer next weekend.
May God bless you.
Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
In the next few weeks I have lined up a few subjects to write about—about summer renovations and improvements; about our new youth program at St. Bernadette; about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and Martin Luther; about the necessity of ecumenical prayer as the Body of Christ. But this week, since we have speakers coming to all Masses to give a brief invitation to you this next weekend, I would like to provide an encouragement to you to consider signing up for the Called and Gifted Workshop which will be held here in August. You will find details and a registration form on page 9.
It is important to register now, because the Workshop is being offered nationally and we are hearing from people all over who are registering. The Workshop is for you, first and foremost, and I see it as a great opportunity for us to make personal and communal goals for the coming year based on how God is calling you. In October, we will hold our first (at least, in a while) Ministry Fair and we will be asked to make commitments to how much of ourselves we are willing to share. St. Bernadette is like a great, sleeping giant, filled with possibilities of how to grow deeply in spirituality, knowledge and service to a local community in great need.
How are we to address these needs? How would we begin to know the best way to get involved? The days of “Father asked me...” are over, because if you aren’t doing a work of ministry that brings you to life, you will surely burn out. There is a certain freedom to being able to say, “This is how God calls me, because these are the gifts he has given me to use.”
This weekend we celebrate the event of the birthday of the Church, Pentecost. It was the day that the Apostles, who were hiding and praying, not knowing what to do next, received the Holy Spirit and his gifts and suddenly opened the doors and went out into the streets proclaiming the Gospel. It was like the Holy Spirit flipped a switch within them, and they came alive.
The same gifts which you received in Confirmation: knowledge, understanding, wisdom, counsel, fortitude, piety and holy fear, are gifts intended to form you as a member of the Body of Christ. According to the teaching of the Called and Gifted Workshop, these gifts are the foundation upon which you go about the process of discovering who God made you to be. There is a maturity, a power, to these gifts.
Once fully a member of the Church, you can begin to look at your life and see clearly what works and what doesn’t work. What are the activities that bring you to life? What are the ways you seem only to face frustration and burnout? Surely God calls us to spiritual life: we grow in trusting that God has made us in a particular way, unlike any other person (well, we knew that) in the combination of gifts he has given you. But these gifts have been with you all your life, though you may not be aware of them—they were received at Baptism.
When I first heard about this program, I was skeptical. I think most people who are honest would admit this. We wonder—do I have any special gifts? If you are baptized, you do.
Please consider signing up before summer starts. Mark your calendar, it is a Friday evening and a Saturday, August 18-19. Following the initial weekend, we have individual consultations with people who have attended previously and have received training to help new people interpret their experiences in the Workshop and everyday life. Then there is a small group process where we will meet in affinity groups (people with similar gifts) for six weeks following as we learn to grow into the knowledge of our gifts. People who have attended the Workshop have said that their lives were changed forever. Mine was.
And at this time in the life of our parish, we are planning to start a Parish Council with ministry leaders and programs which, in the fall, will provide hundreds of opportunities for you to get involved in the life of the parish... if that is what you seek. On a most basic level, all of us know that we are never more fulfilled personally than when we get involved in a caring, loving way with others in need, when we are able to make a difference.
We probably won’t host this Workshop again for at least a year, and it is open to our whole diocese and beyond. Please secure your spot and help us know how many people to expect.
May God bless you.
By previous generations, Memorial Day was known also as “Decoration Day, the day we would always go to the cemetery, place flowers and pray for family and friends who have gone before us. Remember our beloved dead this weekend, especially those who gave their lives or our freedom.
We continue to pray together the Holy Spirit Novena in preparation for Pentecost! The prayers for the last five days are printed in this bulletin, pp. 8-9. We will pray the Novena each weekday morning at 8:40am (prior to the start of the 9am Mass) and 7:40am (prior to the start of the Saturday and Sunday 8am Masses).
St. 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 3-4. See page 12 for a list of requested items.
Marriage Renewal Mass and Reception: A Mass of thanksgiving for the gift of Marriage and the renewal of vows will be held on Thursday, 8 June at 7pm. Please RSVP to the parish office by Friday, June 2.
St. Bernadette welcomes back CUB SCOUT PACK 856. Please join the pack leaders on Sunday, 11 June for a meeting and an opportunity to signup. A Fun Water Activity is planned - 6:30-8pm at the St. Bernadette school playground. See page 6 for contact information.
Estimados feligreses: Nuestro calendario de misas en español ha cambiado. Efectivo Inmediato - Las misas de los Miércoles y Viernes a las 6:30am y la Misa de los Jueves a las 6pm, se descontinuará. La Misa en español de la 1pm del Domingo permanecerá en el horario como de costumbre.