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weekly announcements

Mark your calendars!

December 8 (Thursday): Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a holy day of obligation.   Vigil Mass, Wednesday, Dec 7 at 7:30pm;  Masses on Thursday Dec 8 at 6:30am, 9am (with School), Noon, 6:30pm and 8pm in Spanish.  You can also see Mass schedule in calendar.

December 12 (Monday): In honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we welcome the miraculous digital reproduction of the original tilma commissioned by St. John Paul II, for veneration in the church from Noon until evening Mass.

December 12 (Monday): Special bi-lingual Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the unborn. Procession at 6:30, Mass at 7:30pm followed by reception in the cafeteria.

December 16 (Friday): School Christmas Pageant in church, 7pm

December 17 (Saturday): Simbang Gabi Mass and Reception, 7:30pm

December 19 (Monday): Parish Advent Penance Service, 7pm.  Please join us for this special opportunity with eight priests to prepare for the coming of Christ.

December 23 (Friday): Diocesan Simbang Gabi Mass with Bishop Burbidge and Reception, 7pm.

December 24 (Saturday): Christmas Eve Masses at 4:30pm, 7pm (Spanish), 9:30pm and Midnight. Concerts will precede both the 9:30 and Midnight Masses 45 minutes before Masses begin.

December 25 (Sunday): Christmas Day Masses at 8am, 9:30, 11:15 and 1pm (Spanish). Please note, there is no 5pm Mass on Christmas Day.

January 19 (Thursday): The Deanery Mass Welcoming our new Bishop Michael Burbidge will be hosted at St. Bernadette, reception following.

Father Don's weekly letter

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Did you know that in the earliest centuries of the Church the sacrament of reconciliation was, like the other sacraments, only allowed to be celebrated once in your lifetime? Yes, that’s right. Once.

It could be traumatic. The one who confessed their sins would have to do so publicly, before the entire assembly, confess and receive a penance from the confessor. Penances often lasted several years. You might have to sit in the dust for several years at the door of the church as people came and went to Mass, with ashes on your head.

You had only one shot at it. I imagine you would take it pretty seriously. Of course, guess until when everyone chose to wait to confess their sins? If you gambled it right, you could confess your sins with your dying breath, with all your wits about you, provided you had control over such variables. A risky game.

The heresies of the fourth and fifth centuries actually did sinners a favor. Church Councils, after much debate, decided to allow a second confession for those who had already confessed once, in the circumstance of a well-meaning person who had been misled to join a heretical sect, only realizing their mistake later. Mercy was extended finally for this, the only sin regarded as unforgiveable: apostacy.

The other thing that came to the aid of sinners was plague, strangely enough. Terrible waves of disease would sweep through continental Europe and not only the lay people would die. Over time the priests from Ireland populated the churches of Europe, because Ireland was not affected by plague. But in Ireland, the Church had developed differently from the Canonical Penance of the continent. Rather, they grew up in communities surrounding the monks and priests of the local church who often were responsible for not only the spiritual but social and economic life of society as well. What today we would call spiritual direction was common. And in the course of spiritual conversations, discerning the presence of God, the awareness of contrition and conversion developed into a practice of frequent confession that was confidential in nature.

Perhaps you have heard people say, “I don’t have to confess to a priest, I confess directly to God.” Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. But in the Tradition, the integrity of the Sacrament withstood the evolution of time. The vertical nature of confession to God is fulfilled by the alter Christus, Christ present in the priest through the sacrament of Holy Orders, but also the horizontal dimension of confession to the Church is also satisfied. You see, when we sin, it isn’t just between us and God at all; our sin damages each and every member of the Body of Christ whether we stop to realize it or not. Satisfaction, or forgiveness, must come from both dimensions in order for sin to be remitted: forgiven by God, forgiven by our brothers and sisters. Confession remains public, that is, out loud to a human representative of the Church, but done in such a safe way that absolute confidence demands it never need be known by anyone else.

I’m troubled that we seem to have few confessions at St. Bernadette, but people keep telling me that everyone is going to other churches for the sacrament. If that is true, we need to address the topic and figure out how we can better serve our parish in this way. This Advent we will have a parish Penance Service on Monday the 19th in the evening with guest priests, but I’m told that recently not too many people attend. At this point we won’t be able to add too much to the calendar, so please join us on the 19th.

There was something we tried last year at Saint Mary that was a little experimental, but hugely successful. Apparently people give up after they have been standing in line for too long for too many trips in a row, as people in front are seeking advice or counseling, or otherwise taking a long time. We tried a kind of “speed dating” approach: if you’re interested in coming, simply confessing sins, receiving penance and absolution quickly and with no discussion or direction this was for you. That night literally hundreds of people came, probably half of them not having been to confession for 20 or 30 years. Maybe we could try this, too.

Advent is often mistaken for a penitential season, like Lent. It is not. It is a time of preparing our hearts and homes for the coming of the Lord. If confessing sins is a necessary part of that process, then confession is a real part, but the focus isn’t on doing penance for penance’s sake, such as the fasting and almsgiving of Lent.

Simply because the sacrament became possible frequently, however, I don’t think it should become a form of maintenance. It must never become routine. Please, let’s realize the absolute gift that is the sacrament of reconciliation. If we don’t know God’s mercy in our lives we have no reason to be merciful people.

God bless you.

Father Don Rooney
Pastor, Saint Bernadette Catholic Church
Director, Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Diocese of Arlington

7600 Old Keene Mill Road
Springfield, VA 22152
703-451-8576; mobile 703-309-8719

 

Sunday bulletins

This week's bulletin:

 

0421330 300April 21, 2019
0414330 200April 14, 2019
0407330 200April 7, 2019
0331330 200March 31, 2019
0324330 200March 24, 2019
0317330 200March 17, 2019
0310330 200March 10, 2019
0303330 200March 3, 2019
0217330 200February 24, 2019
0217330 200February 17, 2019
0210330 200February 10, 2019
0203330 200February 3, 2019
0127330 200January 27, 2019
0120330 200January 20, 2019
0113330 200January 13, 2019
0106330 200January 6, 2019
1230330 200December 30, 2018
1223330 200December 23, 2018
1216330 200December 16, 2018
1209330 200December 9, 2018
1202330 200December 2, 2018
1125330 200November 25, 2018
1118330 200November 18, 2018
1111330 200November 11, 2018
1104330 200November 4, 2018
1028330 200October 28, 2018
1021330 200October 21, 2018
1014330 200October 14, 2018
1007330 200October 07, 2018
0923330 200September 23, 2018
0916330 200September 16, 2018
0909330 200September 9, 2018
0902330 200September 2, 2018
0826330 200August 26, 2018
0812330 200August 12, 2018
0805330 200August 5, 2018
0729330 200July 29, 2018
0722330 200July 22, 2018
0715330 200July 15, 2018
0708330 200July 8, 2018
0701330 200July 1, 2018
0624330 200June 24, 2018
0603330 200June 10, 2018
0603330 200June 3, 2018
0527330 200May 27, 2018
0520330 200May 20, 2018
0513330 200May 13, 2018
0506330 200May 06, 2018
0422330 200April 22, 2018
0415330 200April 15, 2018
0408330 200April 8, 2018
0401330 200April 1, 2018
0325330 200March 25, 2018
0318330 200March 18, 2018
0311330 200March 11, 2018
0304330 200March 04, 2018
0225330 200February 25, 2018
0218330 200February 18, 2018
0211330 200February 11, 2018
0204330 200February 4, 2018
0128330 200January 28, 2018
0121330 200January 21, 2018
0114330 200January 14 2018
0107330 200January 7, 2018
1231330 200December 31, 2017
1224330 200December 24, 2017
1217330 200December 17, 2017
1210330 200December 10, 2017
1203330 200December 3, 2017
1126330 200November 26, 2017
1119330 200November 19, 2017
1112330 200November 12, 2017
1105330 200November 05, 2017
1029330 200October 29, 2017
1022330 200October 22, 2017
1015330 200October 15, 2017
1008330 200October 8, 2017
1001330 200October 1, 2017
0924330 200September 24, 2017
0917330 200September 17, 2017
0910330 200September 10, 2017
0903330 200September 03, 2017
0827330 200August 27, 2017
0820330 200August 20, 2017
0813330 200August 13, 2017
0806330 200August 6, 2017
0730330 200July 30, 2017
0723330 200July 23, 2017
0716330 200July 16, 2017
0709330 200July 09, 2017
0702330 200July 02, 2017
0625330 200June 25, 2017
0611330 200June 18, 2017
0611330 200June 11, 2017
0604330 200June 4, 2017
0528330 200May 28, 2017
0521330 200May 21, 2017
0514330 200May 14, 2017
0507330 200May 7, 2017
0430330 200April 30, 2017
0423330 200April 23, 2017
0416330 200April 16, 2017
0409330 300April 9, 2017
0402330 200April 2, 2017
0326330 200March 26, 2017
0319330 200March 19, 2017
0312330 200March 12, 2017
0226330 200March 05, 2017
0226330 200February 26, 2017
0219330 200February 19, 2017
0212330 200February 12, 2017
0205330 200February 5, 2017
0129330 200January 29, 2017
0122330 200January 22, 2017
0115330 200January 15, 2017
January 8, 2017January 8, 2017
0101330 200January 1, 2017
1218330 01 200December 25, 2016
1218330p1 200December 18, 2016
1211330 Pg01 200December 11, 2016
December 4, 2016December 4, 2016
November 27, 2016
November 27, 2016
November 20, 2016
November 20, 2016
November 13, 2016
November 13, 2016
November 6
November 6, 2016
October 30, 2016
October 30, 2016
October 23, 2016
October 23, 2016
October 16, 2016
October 16, 2016
October 9, 2016
October 9, 2016
October 2, 2016
October 2, 2016
September 25, 2016
September 25, 2016
 

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