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St. Bernadette Parish will be conducting a food collection drive for the St. Lucy Project on Feb 10 - 11. Please pick up your Blue Shopping Bag after Mass today. It contains a list of preferred items for purchase. Please fill the bag with the food items and return them at any Mass on Feb. 10 or 11. Monetary donations and Gift Cards to Dollar Tree, Aldi’s, Walmart, and Giant are always welcome.
Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
First I would like to mention a couple of housekeeping items. While I was away we sent out all the annual giving statements to parishioners for tax purposes, including those for whom we had no record of giving to the Sunday offering or second collections last year. We ran into trouble when many of these “zero giving” letters went to people who give through Faith Direct, electronically. The letter should have acknowledged your generosity in giving electronically, if that is the case, and explained that Faith Direct sends a statement separately. If you didn’t receive this also from them, please notify us immediately. I’m not sure why these Faith Direct contributions aren’t posted in the totals of the parish, and will look into doing this differently in the future to avoid confusion and give us a more accurate snapshot of parish giving in the offertory and other collections. I apologize for the heartburn this may have caused.
Also, we’ve been running promotions for the Virginia Catholic Conference Advocacy Day in Richmond, a chance for us to speak our Catholic witness to elected officials and discuss options for legislation that are consistent with our faith. Not much response, which is okay. But I would still like to provide a word of encouragement to attend Virginia Vespers on the evening of Thursday, February 15. Please see page 8 for details. This will be the first Vespers hosted by our new Bishop Burbidge and the new bishop of Richmond, Bishop Knestout. If you have never seen the Cathedral in Richmond, that in itself is a treat: until the split of Virginia into two dioceses with the new diocese of Arlington in 1973, it was our cathedral, too.
You will find my calendar for Sunday School for Adults here on this page. We will stick to the program as closely as possible. We will start each class at 10:05 to accommodate windy 9am homilies and end at 10:50 so you can get to Mass and prepare adequately for the liturgy.
Finally, I would like to announce our plans for this year’s Lenten Parish Retreat/Mission and Forty Hours Eucharistic Devotions, February 25-27. This year we begin on Sunday, 25 February, after the 5pm Mass with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the first nightly conference by our speaker, Fr. Christian Beretta, OSFS, principal of Salesianum High School in Wilmington. A native of California, Father Beretta graduated from Paul VI High School in Fairfax, VA, where he first met the Oblates. After high school, he joined the formation program and earned a Bachelor’s degree in theology from Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (now DeSales University) in 1991. As a young Oblate, Father Beretta taught social justice and was an assistant coach in the basketball and baseball programs at Salesianum from 1991-1993.
Father Beretta returned to graduate school in the fall of 1993 and went on to earn three Masters degrees. He holds a Master of Divinity from the DeSales School of Theology in Washington, DC (1997), an M.A. in Kinesiology-Sport Psychology from the University of Maryland (1997) and an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame (2009). After being ordained a priest on May 31, 1997 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Father Beretta returned to Salesianum as a teacher and coach from 1997-1999. In 1999, he was transferred to Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, FL, where he spent the next 11 years, first as the school’s campus minister from 1999-2003, and then as principal from 2003-2010.
As you can see, there is a broad and rich base of experience which Oblate Father Beretta will bring to our parish this Lent. Please watch for more details about his conferences and the schedule for 40 Hours.
God bless you.