latest announcements

 Please subscribe to receive email notifications of announcements and other parish events.

Subscribe
Subscribe to this content and receive updates directly in your inbox.
Name
Email

Announcements ~ February 3, 2019

fleur cross logo Join us THIS weekend for a Pancake Breakfast in the school cafeteria Sunday, February 3, 8–11:30am, sponsored by Knights of Columbus.

fleur cross logo It’s time for each and every registered family to consider how they plan to support the work of the Catholic Church in the annual Bishop’s Lenten Appeal: “Together in the Light of Christ.” Please prayerfully consider making a pledge to this important appeal that funds many programs and ministries that serve the people in our diocese. Commitment Sunday will be March 23-24 at all Masses. Your generosity is what makes our Church’s response possible.

fleur cross logo Year-end Giving Statements have been mailed. Please contact the parish office if you have any questions.

fleur cross logo Inclement weather policy:  St. Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. An announcement will be made even on Saturdays and Sundays because the school buildings are used for extracurricular and community activities on the weekends. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ February 3, 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

This past week was our first meeting of the faith leaders’ group of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington.  We meet every couple of months and talk about current issues and possible positions we might take or responses we might make interreligiously, united by God-given values and common purpose, and the benefit and goodwill of all people in our community.

The first meeting of the year was a time for us to catch up and share what is going on in our respective religious communities.  There was some very deep sharing about the struggle of the United Methodist Church and how they may split the last week of February over issues of human sexuality.  The Imam of Masjid Muhammad in DC, the first mosque established entirely by American-born African Americans, spoke emotionally about the observance of this year’s 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the United States.  The conference of Catholic bishops has released a very well-received pastoral letter against racism, “Open Wide our Hearts, the Enduring Call to Love,” which we should be studying in the parish.  (Search for open-wide-our-hearts.pdf at usccb.org)  Rabbis in the group spoke about the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes over the past year throughout the world.  Fr. Charlie Cortinovis, interreligious officer for the Archdiocese of Washington and I, for Arlington, spoke about the bishops’ gathering in Chicago last month, and the meeting with Pope Francis in a couple of weeks to seek a way forward through the anger and great sadness brought upon so many in and out of the Church because of the abuse scandals and subsequent inaction in dealing with perpetrators and neglect of victims/survivors.  Those representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints agreed everyone needs to be called to a new innocence, mutual respect and civility.

Our country is very divided today.  I think about it—is it the worst ever?  I would guess the Civil War was a rough time.  But there seems to be no limit to the way we judge one another and dismiss each other.  If you don’t agree with me, I have no time for you.  If your world view or life experience has caused you to see things differently, I do not need to give you the consideration due to a human being.  How did we get here?  Is it possible that we have gotten so accustomed to typing instead of conversing, dismissing each other as we would clutter or spam, disconnecting ourselves from each other in the name of being more connected—having everything we want and need literally at the tip of our fingers—that our self-centeredness has literally sucked the oxygen out of the room for anyone else to share?

You could say, when confronted with the reality of 38,000 Christianities (and counting) that it is just the way of the world.  Why wouldn’t a faith be just as shattered and scattered as our nation, our communities, our family?  Why, indeed.  This is a logical question only if you believe that the Church is a human invention and, like the self-licking ice cream cone, exists only for the purpose of self-preservation.  Looking at the world, and if that is your standard, you might come to this conclusion.

But last I checked the ground of human relationship among persons wasn’t based on “every man for himself.”  This isn’t a competition, who wins the most candy at the end of the day.  I remember a question asked by a professor in my early days in the seminary.  If you work hard, are holy and get to heaven and find out that you are the only one there, were you a success?  I know the world today doesn’t even think much in terms of heaven and hell anymore.  Young people do, however, still recognize corporate sin, so sin still exists.  What about the sin of not being your brother’s keeper?  Are we responsible for one another?  Even someone we have never met?

Are we called to be a community of faith?  Is this faith more powerful than our individual selfishnesses which divide?  It must be, or else last one out cut off the lights.  Jesus says you are salt.  You are light.  A lamp isn’t placed under a basket, but rather set on a stand that will illuminate the entire house.  You are light, not a mirror.  We are not here to simply mirror all the hate, division, and error that surrounds us, but to bring light and healing so that all things might be fulfilled.  You have much to give, more than you know. 

We must witness to the fact that there is more.  God has given us more, and expects more.  In a real way, our own fulfillment depends on it.  Our words and deeds are powerful and need to be carefully chosen in order to counteract the constantly deepening divide which can isolate and destroy us.

Let all the churches say, “Amen.”

God bless you.

Announcements ~ January 27, 2019

fleur cross logo TODAY we invite everyone to kick-off Catholic Schools Week by visiting our Open House, Sunday, Jan. 27, 10:30am-1pm. If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar, Mrs. Cynthia Johns at cjohns@stbernschool.org. Come see why our school is a great place to grow and learn!
 
fleur cross logo Please join us for our monthly Taizé Prayer Service, Monday, 28 January 2019 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 This weekend is the Collection for the Church in Latin America which strengthens the faith of our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean. To learn more, please visit usccb.org/latin-america.
   
fleur cross logo Join us next weekend for a Pancake Breakfast in the school cafeteria Sunday, February 3, 8–11:30am, sponsored by Knights of Columbus.
 
fleur cross logo It’s time for each and every registered family to consider how they plan to support the work of the Catholic Church in the annual Bishop’s Lenten Appeal: “Together in the Light of Christ.” Please prayerfully consider making a pledge to this important appeal that funds many programs and ministries that serve the people in our diocese. Commitment Sunday will be March 23-24 at all Masses. Your generosity is what makes our Church’s response possible.
 
fleur cross logo Year-end Giving Statements will be mailed this upcoming week. Please contact the parish office if there are any questions.
 
fleur cross logo Inclement weather policy:  St. Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. An announcement will be made even on Saturdays and Sundays because the school buildings are used for extracurricular and community activities on the weekends. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ January 27, 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
This week I was asked to preside and give the homily at the annual regional celebration of the Oblate Priests and Sisters of Saint Francis de Sales at Saint John Neumann church in Reston on his feast day, last Thursday.  It is a great honor to be considered a friend of the Oblate family for me, a diocesan priest, and I consider Oblates among my dearest friends.  Over the years we have traveled to France twice, once for the 100th anniversary of the death of their founder, Fr. Louis Brisson, and again for his beatification in Troyes, France a few years later.  He and Saint (Sister) Leonie Aviat were called by Christ to form a new expression of consecrated life out of the Visitation Sisters founded by Bishop Francis de Sales and Saint Jane de Chantal, to work with the population of young women who were flooding into the cities looking for newly-available jobs at the time of the industrial revolution.  They literally dedicated their lives to this apostolate as offerings (“oblations”), and are known simply as “Oblates.”  Then, a few years back, we traveled together on a tour to their missions in South Africa and Namibia to celebrate the dedication of a convent for the Oblate Sisters in Pella, South Africa, which Saint Mary Parish in Fredericksburg helped to make a reality.
 
The Oblate Priests have played a strong role in the formation of our diocese.  Still today they provide pastoral leadership at Saint John Neumann  and Our Lady of Good Counsel parishes, but were responsible for years for leadership and staffing at two of our three diocesan high schools, Paul VI and Bishop Ireton.  As such, their spirituality has become a real part of the fabric of our diocese, as we experienced in Fredericksburg with the Oblate Sisters who are responsible for Holy Cross Academy.
 
The spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales is real and refreshing, very accessible.  He was one of those great saints in the time following the Reformation who responded to the need for a spirituality for the laity in the Catholic Church and promoted holiness for everyone.   One of the influences at the time of the Reformation which brought about division in the Church was an over-emphasis on the clergy and their power and a de-emphasis on the common priesthood of the faithful by virtue of baptism.  By that common priesthood we recognize our union with Christ and one another.
 
His voice is as real today as it was 400 years ago.  The motto of the Oblates, from the teaching of Saint Francis de Sales, is “Live Jesus!”  It is a call to be authentic and relevant in the way you live your life in the world today.  Certainly, God has given us many gifts and things that indicate his will for us in our life but the question that lies at the heart is how have we received them?
 
He writes about this in his treatise on The Love of God, a theme that Saint Pope John Paul II takes up again 400 years later when he teaches that just because we have gone through the ritual of a sacrament doesn’t mean that we have really received its grace:  it must be received and lived.  Here he is not speaking about those who, by their free will, choose to do evil and rupture the flow of God’s life in them.  That is one thing.  Rather, he is speaking about those who simply do nothing.
 
“The Holy Spirit, source of living water, embraces the heart of man to pour out his graces into it.  However, he means us freely to consent to accept them, so he infuses them only as he pleases, and to the extent that we are disposed to cooperate with them."
 
“If medicine were placed in a sick man’s hand, but he did not put it into his mouth, he would have accepted the medicine, but not taken it—in other words, he would have received it uselessly; it would do him no good.  We too offer God’s grace an ineffectual welcome if, when it is poured out into our hearts, we do not drink it in, do not consent to it.  We receive, you see, but we do not take... there is no point in being aware of an inspiration unless we act on it.”  He uses the example of the empty oil jars of the widow and her son visited by Elijah:  because her jars were empty the oil continued to flow.  “Let our hearts be open: or rather, let us allow our hearts to open wide; let them remain empty by assenting to God’s mercy...”
 
Jesus went to a lot of trouble to institute the sacraments that we might have everlasting life, but it is possible to say that many—if not most—Catholics today see sacraments as goals to be achieved and not a graces to be lived.  They are only the beginning, calling us to sacramental life:  literally, to live Jesus.  This is the realism that so many young people look for today but don’t learn in the Church.
 
I have preached all year on this idea in one way or another.  We are not called to be Christians, we are called to be Christ.  Otherwise, we are still divided by individualism.  We underestimate the sheer value of the priceless gift that God offers and too often settle for second best.  Most people are hoping that they will merit even to get an invitation to be a guest at that eternal wedding feast in heaven, not even realizing that God has something completely different in his plan:  not to be guests of the bridegroom, but to be the bride...  If we can fix this, we will have more people coming to Mass than we can handle, and too many vocations.
 
God bless you.

Announcements ~ January 20, 2019

fleur cross logo Parish Office and Saint Bernadette School will be closed Monday, 21 January in observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday.Parish Office and Saint Bernadette School will be closed Monday, 21 January in observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday.

fleur cross logo St. Lucy Project Food Drive continues this weekend Volunteers will be accepting donations after all Masses this weekend for those who did not have an opportunity to return your donation bag last weekend due to the snow.

fleur cross logo Next weekend is the Collection for the Church in Latin America. Please prayerfully consider supporting this collection, which strengthens the faith of our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Share your faith and support the second collection. To learn more, please visit www.usccb.org/latin-america.

fleur cross logo We invite prospective families to kick-off Catholic Schools week by visiting our Open House, Sunday, January 27, 10:30am-1pm. If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar, Mrs. Cynthia Johns at cjohns@stbernschool.org. Come see for yourself why our school is a great place to grow and learn!

fleur cross logo Please join us for our monthly Taizé Prayer Service, Monday, 28 January 2019 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 Inclement weather policy:  St. Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. An announcement will be made even on Saturdays and Sundays because the school buildings are used for extracurricular and community activities on the weekends. You may also call the Parish Office for a recorded message. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ January 20, 2019

 

Staff Picture 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette, 


On January 8 our parish staff finally had a chance to celebrate the Christmas season with lunch at the rectory. The holidays have given me some time to consider how blessed we are with a wonderful staff who work really hard to accomplish the mission of Jesus in our parish church and school community.

Photography is a challenge when taking a picture of a large group in a smallish room with a remote button on a camera, but I think this one works. Starting at the back on the left, I would like to name our staff in case you haven’t had a chance to connect faces with names.

Of course, Fr. Rich; peeking through next is Jeannete Egerstorm assistant to Martha Drennan, our Director of Faith Formation; then Bill Rust, assistant to Jeff Clapp (not pictured) in facilities maintenance; way in the back, then David Mathers our Director of Music; Fr. Nicolas; Doug Mills, Development Director; Myrna Masakayan, assistant to Margaret Krupp, and extended office hours receptionist; Martha Drennan our Director of Faith Formation; Kristen Zengierski, program coordinator for Youth and Confirmation; me (way in the back), and Stephen Paquette, assistant Youth Director.

From the front left to the center is Guillermina Salinas, rectory housekeeper and cook; Barbara Dalmut, our school Principal; Kendra Pomilla, parish Secretary and Margaret Krupp, Bookkeeper.

Bottom row, center to right, first is Ivonne Blanco, parish Executive Assistant; Linda Al-Jaradat, school and parish Business Manager; Aurora Quasebarth, assistant to Linda; Kara Lilly, Director of Youth Ministry and Rick Caporal, Pastoral Associate.
 
Reflecting on the past year, I can report that we are much more focused, invested and enthusiastic and that we enjoy a team relationship that is rare in parish life.  We are truly blessed here at Saint Bernadette.
 
Often when people stop me after Mass or call on the phone the first thing they say is “Father, sorry to bother you, I know you are busy, but...”  There is a good reason parish staff is busy, it is because we are working for you.  There should never be an apology:  if we need to say that something needs to wait a couple of days or a week, we will.  We are here for you, and to help you accomplish the mission of Christ in your lives as well as the community.
 
We recently held our parish volunteer appreciation “Night of Stars” to say thanks to all our volunteers:  we could never accomplish parish goals without you.  Thanks to all our volunteers.  We are grateful for you.  
 
We look forward to a full and hopeful year ahead, and invite you to get involved.  I received a letter from someone this week that said they weren’t involved and because of that we didn’t value them.  That can’t be true - each is involved according to ability.  Just know you are invited!
 
God bless you.




Announcement ~ January 13, 2019

fleur cross logo Religious Education Classes resume this weekend
 
fleur cross logo March for Life: This year’s March will be held on Friday, January 18, to commemorate the 46th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Please plan to join your parish family in this peaceful protest against abortion. Please see page 6 for details
 
fleur cross logo The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is the week of Friday, January 18-25.  Our northern Virginia ecumenical prayer service with Bishop Burbidge has been canceled, but you are invited to attend the prayer service at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C. Thursday of that week, Jan. 17, at 7:30pm.
 
fleur cross logo Parish Office and Saint Bernadette School will be closed Monday, 21 January in observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday.
 
fleur cross logo Please join us for our monthly Taizé Prayer Service, Monday, 28 January 2019 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 Inclement weather policy:  St. Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. An announcement will be made even on Saturdays and Sundays because the school buildings are used for extracurricular and community activities on the weekends. You may also call the Parish Office for a recorded message. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ January 13, 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know last week nearly 280 bishops of the United States assembled at Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago at the request of Pope Francis to spend a week in prayer and reparation for the scandals of the Church which have too often been ignored and hidden.

The full text of his 8-page letter to the bishops is found at the USCCB website, usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/francis/upload/francis-lettera-washington-traduzione-inglese-20190103.pdf

He calls upon the bishops of our country to set aside the judgment and divisions which have resulted in factionalism, conflicts and disputes, and a “crisis of credibility” in the wider Church.  No one, he says, can consider himself exempt from this: we are asked as a community to take care that in difficult and critical moments our decisions, choices, actions and intentions are not tainted by these inner conflicts and tensions, but are instead a response to the Lord who is life for the world.  I would like to include part of this text here in this column, today:

2. “Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all

God’s faithful people and the Church’s mission continue to suffer greatly as a result of abuses of power and conscience and sexual abuse, and the poor way that they were handled, as well as the pain of seeing an episcopate lacking in unity and concentrated more on pointing fingers than on seeking paths of reconciliation. This situation forces us to look to what is essential and to rid ourselves of all that stands in the way of a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is being asked of us today is a new presence in the world, conformed to the cross of Christ, one that takes concrete shape in service to the men and women of our time. I think of the words of Saint Paul VI at the beginning of his pontificate: “If we want to be pastors, fathers and teachers, we must also act as brothers. Dialogue thrives on friendship, and most especially on service. All this we must remember and strive to put into practice on the example and precept of Christ (Jn 13: 14-17).

This attitude is not concerned with respect or success and garnering applause for our actions; instead, it requires that we as pastors really decide to be a seed that will grow whenever and however the Lord best determines. That decision will save us from falling into the trap of measuring the value of our efforts by the standards of functionalism and efficiency that govern the business world. The path to be taken is rather one of openness to the efficacy and transformative power of God’s Kingdom, which, like a mustard seed, the smallest and most insignificant of seeds, becomes a tree in which the birds of the air make their nests (cf. Mt 13:32-33). Amid the tempest, we must never lose faith in the quiet, daily and effective power of the Holy Spirit at work in human hearts and in all of history.

Credibility is born of trust, and trust is born of sincere, daily, humble and generous service to all, but especially to those dearest to the Lord’s heart (cf. Mt 25:31-46). It will be a service offered not out of concern with marketing or strategizing to reclaim lost prestige or to seek accolades, but rather—as I insisted in the recent Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate—because it belongs to “the beating heart of the Gospel.”

The call to holiness keeps us from falling into false dichotomies and reductive ways of thinking, and from remaining silent in the face of a climate prone to hatred and rejection, disunity and violence between brothers and sisters. The Church, as the “sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1), bears in her heart and soul the sacred mission of being a place of encounter and welcome not only for her members but for all humanity. It is part of her identity and mission to work tirelessly for all that can contribute to unity between individuals and peoples as a symbol and sacrament of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for all men and women, without distinction. For “there does not exist among you Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). This is the greatest service she offers, all the more so today, when we are witnessing a resurgence of inflammatory rhetoric and prejudices old and new. Our communities today must testify in a concrete and creative way that God is the Father of all, and that in his eyes we are all his sons and daughters. Our credibility also depends on the extent to which, side by side with others, we help to strengthen a social and cultural fabric that is not only in danger of unravelling, but also of harboring and facilitating new forms of hatred. As a Church, we cannot be held hostage by this side or that, but must be attentive always to start from those who are most vulnerable. With the words of the Eucharistic Prayer, let us ask the Lord that, “in a world torn by strife, your people may shine forth as a prophetic sign of unity and concord” (Masses for Various Needs, I)

God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ January 6, 2019

fleur cross logo Religious Education Classes will resume on Sunday, January 13, 2019

fleur cross logo March for Life: This year’s March will be held on Friday, January 18, to commemorate the 46th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Please plan to join your parish family in this peaceful protest against abortion. Please see page 6 for details

fleur cross logo Inclement weather policy:  St. Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. An announcement will be made even on Saturdays and Sundays because the school buildings are used for extracurricular and community activities on the weekends. You may also call the Parish Office for a recorded message. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ January 6, 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Merry Christmas and happy new year!  The printer deadline for this bulletin is December 28, so we aren’t thinking much yet about 2019—but looking ahead, I’m hoping for a beautiful new year for all of you, filled with blessings and success, fulfillment and growth in the Holy Spirit, and deep contentment, whatever the year may bring.  It is important to hold on to the joy and goodness that Christmas brings all year.  I always suggest to people—when you are putting away all your Christmas decorations—to keep one Christmas ornament or statue and put it in a visible place throughout the year, to be a constant reminder of this special season. 

I don’t know if you noticed, but we placed a beautiful ceramic Madonna and Child over the main aisle door of the church.  The Divine Mercy picture that was there is faded and needs to be replaced, and this seemed like the perfect image for Christmas.  The first month I came to Saint Bernadette I had already scheduled a parish trip to Spain, and I bought this Della Robbia-style ceramic for the parish while in Seville.  This can be our reminder of God’s love and mercy at Christmas time throughout the year.  I will find another Divine Mercy image and hang it with the grouping of vocations portraits to the left of the doors.

Now that Christmas Day is past (and, I suppose the Holy Family and Mary, Mother of God feasts) it is time to get busy with thank yous.  (I still have to send Christmas cards—good thing that the Christmas Season doesn’t end until the solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, January 13!)  There is so much to be thankful for at the end of 2018, and so many people to thank.

Of course, thanks to parish staff and priests:  our day-to-day course relies completely on them to keep things running smoothly.  A special thank you to Rick Caporali (pastoral associate) and David Mathers (music director) who each put in a hundred extra hours to stay on track with all the events of the Advent and Christmas Seasons, and our facilities guys Jeff and Bill who worked hard to help make it happen. 
To all our volunteers—immediately I think of all the musicians and singers of our choirs who worked so many hours rehearsing so that our celebrations might be so beautiful—thank you.  To our well-seasoned ushers and lectors, Eucharistic ministers and altar servers who were here, thank you.  To our teachers and staff, and students in the school who provided us with beautiful Christmas programs and cheer, thank you.

Our church decorations are beautiful this year, thanks to Pat Creswick and the many tree lighters and poinsettia movers who came on several days to make ready the church.  It is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful contributions because it stays with us everyday throughout the Christmas Season.  We’ll be back to Ordinary Time on January 14, and will take down decorations that Monday.

For the many, many gifts that all of you have dropped by the office for the staff and priests—in case we didn’t record them all and send you a thank you note—we thank you.  It has been a very touching Christmas with expressions of kindness and generosity on the part of so many.  We have received letters of gratitude on your behalf for the many charities included in our giving tree during Advent, especially your powerful response to the Catholic Charities Christmas collection.  Your nearly $5,700 will make a nice handicapped-accessible sidewalk possible for the rear of the church, and the facilities and maintenance Christmas second collection is a wonderful response to put toward repairs.  We will address the brick-repointing plan first thing in the new year.

It is a good thing to start the new year with gratitude.  Many spiritual writers say that the spiritual life begins with thankfulness; without gratitude we do not properly understand our place in this world, and to whom we owe our thankfulness.  First, of course, is God.  That is why we have the Mass.  Saint Thomas Aquinas says that the practice of religion is a practical part of the virtue of justice.  Mass is obligatory for us (really, for all those baptized who have been given the second chance of salvation) because our first act, our first word, our every gesture should begin with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Imagine how different our world would look if everyone were to pause and consider for what and for whom they are grateful before interacting with others and getting the day underway.  People would be very different, and the way we look at each other would change.

Epiphany is the original celebration of Christmas, the day that the birth of the Lord was made known to the Gentiles.  In the eastern churches, today (January 8, actually) is the celebration—in the west Christmas didn’t become universally celebrated until the 4th century.  The whole reason this feast is so important is because the fact of the incarnation and birth of Jesus is one thing—we can be thankful for that, in concept—but our real thanksgiving is due to the fact that God has included us to participate in making known the Mystery.  Merry Christmas.

God bless you.