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Announcements ~ August 26, 2018

fleur cross logo RCIA begins September 10:  register now for The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. We welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers and might be thinking about joining the Catholic Church, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
fleur cross logo Religious Education Class Enrollment is NOW!  Registration forms are available in the Church Vestibule and Parish Office. For more information, please visit our website: stbernpar.org.  Calling all Catechists! Please respond to the call to share your faith the youth of the parish, Catechist Meetings have already begun, please sign up soon.
 
fleur cross logo All our St. Bernadette Choirs are welcoming new members. We have choirs for singers of all ages,  including three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade. For more information see stbernpar.org/praying/music-ministry or contact Director of Music Ministries David Mathers at 703-451-8576 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Knights of Columbus 5K Run/Walk at Burke Lake Park Join us on September 15 for a 5K and cookout. See details on page 8.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15. For more information see page 9 or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo The U.S. bishops urge our participation each Friday in a nationwide Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life, August 3-September 28. Participants will receive weekly email or text reminders to pray and fast, along with ther useful info. Sign up at usccb.org/pray!
 
fleur cross logo Our monthly Taize Ecumenical prayer service is this Monday, 8pm in the church.  All Christian friends are welcome to come, pray with us.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ August 26, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Our hearts are broken once again at even the possibility of the abuse of minors at the hands of Catholic clergy.  We are confused by thoughts of what is unthinkable.  How is it possible, first, that the abuse took place, but then that it was allowed to continue by our Church leaders?  As Bishop Burbidge said to teachers at the back-to-school Mass on Tuesday, tell your children that Jesus can never fail them.  But leaders can.
 
Many confessed anger last weekend about this newest and most painful development in the life of our Church.  I was quick to tell them that this is not a sin.  We know that Jesus never sinned, yet was furious when people abused his temple and turned it into a market.  That was about a building; spiritual temples are much more precious to God, and he is surely not okay with any of this.  What we need to do is figure out how to work through this anger in a healthy way.  Prayer, and care for each other is a good way to start
Bishop published on Tuesday the “Letter to the Faithful from Bishop Burbidge regarding the Pennsylvania grand jury report and allegations of sexual abuse in the Church.”  We had already finished the layout of the bulletin this week, so I will reprint his letter here
.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, recently reminded us of the words of the Apostle Paul: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). With you, I share the suffering of victims of sexual abuse on the part of clergy, and the suffering of all who have lost trust and confidence in leaders of our Church.
Upon hearing credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse on the part of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and the horrific accounts of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, including the failure of Church leaders to protect children, teenagers and young adults from abuse, I, like you, felt tremendous anger and shame that such crimes occurred within our Church.
 
I have had several opportunities to speak about these issues in recent days through statements, homilies, a letter to priests, and podcasts. (These are all available on the diocesan website.) In each instance, I knew full well that words cannot sufficiently express my regret for the sins of Church leaders and priests who betrayed Christ and his people. No matter how insufficient words may be, however, I again convey my sincere apologies to victims of abuse and reassure them, as well as the rest of the Catholic faithful in this Diocese, of my desire to support you in every way possible. Additionally, I assure you that no priest credibly accused of child sexual abuse is, or ever will be, in active ministry in this Diocese.
 
I was ordained a bishop in 2002, the same year the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was enacted to establish standards for reporting and investigating accusations, as well as to help victims heal from the trauma they experienced. As such, I have always implemented these procedures throughout my ministry as a bishop. Once again, I wish to assure you that in our Diocese, immediately upon receiving an accusation of abuse, we report it to law enforcement. In addition, all evidence about each allegation is assessed by our diocesan review board, composed of a majority of lay men and women who have expertise in areas that will assist with the process.
 
Policies are essential, and they must continue to be implemented and followed. This crisis, however, is not only about policies — it is about evil, the moral failings of priests, and at times a lack of courage and integrity on the part of bishops and other Church leaders. Priests and bishops should not need policies to keep from committing immoral acts or to report heinous crimes to the authorities. We should need only a well-formed conscience, a commitment to Jesus Christ, and fidelity to the promises of our vocation. With the Lord’s grace, we must strive to root out evil and work tirelessly to protect all young people as a matter of respect for their precious dignity as beloved children of God.
 
When witnessing such failures, many will naturally question their confidence and trust in the Church. Please always remember that Christ is Head of the Church and that he never fails us. While the Lord in his divinity works through his bishops and priests, at times they in their humanity fail to protect the flock, even in the most disturbing ways. Please join me in praying for our priests, as in this troubling time they greatly appreciate the support you have shown.
 
I pray that, together, we will renew our faith in Christ, who promises to be with us through periods of darkness and uncertainty. We call upon his Divine Mercy and saving help as we seek healing, purification and transformation. May Our Lord guide and protect his Church and his people, now and always.
Sincerely in Christ,
 
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington
 

 

Announcements ~ August 19, 2018

fleur cross logo It’s time to start thinking about RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults begins September 11 and we welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers and might be thinking about joining the Catholic Church, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
fleur cross logo The U.S. bishops urge our participation each Friday in a nationwide Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life, August 3-September 28. Participants will receive weekly email or text reminders to pray and fast, along with ther useful info. Sign up at usccb.org/pray!
 
fleur cross logo Religious Education Class Enrollment is NOW!  Registration forms are available in the Church Vestibule and Parish Office. For more information, please visit our website: stbernpar.org. Calling all Catechists! Please respond to the call to share your faith with our children and the youth of the parish, Catechist Meetings begin mid-August, so please sign up soon.
 
fleur cross logo All our St. Bernadette choirs are welcoming new members. We have choirs for singers of all ages,  including three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade. For more information see stbernpar.org/praying/music-ministry or contact Director of Music Ministries David Mathers at 703-451-8575 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15. For more information see page 9 or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ August 19, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Guess what the most popular question has been, especially these past few weeks!  “How’s that construction project?  Is everything going to be ready?”
 
With the start of the school year we are like sprinters at a starting block, knowing that it isn’t a sprint at all, but a marathon... but the beginning of the year will require a particular burst of prayers from you.  Please continue to remember our contractors, our teachers and staff and our project in your prayers in the next few weeks.
 
We had some delay with the county in receiving permits.  And we decided to do this project during what we know now was the rainiest summer practically in all history.  And human error and several surprises in an existing building for which there were no blueprints didn’t help either.  It has been a daily struggle, trying to prevent error and keep the project on track.  There is still much to be done, but the good news is, that we will soon be past it and the reward of a little sacrifice will be great.
 
We’re ready for the children.  The classrooms were largely untouched, and have had their regular summertime deep cleaning.  The instructional wings are all carefully separated from construction, you might not even know what is happening on the other side of the temporary walls.  But you will start to wonder:  where are Mrs. Dalmut and all the staff working?  A few of the new spaces will be finished, and staff will be roommates for a while until all the offices are finished. 
 
If you are still looking for a good school, we have openings in many classes.  You are welcome.
 
If you build it they will come.  I’m hoping this is true, particularly in the case of religious education for children this year.  We recently did a mailing to all families with seventh graders in the parish to raise awareness, in case they didn’t know, that sacrament preparation for Confirmation is a two-year program and they need to start now if they hope for Confirmation in eighth grade.  We sent out just over 500 letters:  there are 500 7th graders in the parish. 
 
Each year we are struck by the reality that for grades 1 through 8 we could need to accommodate as many as several thousand students if everyone came.  So far, about 175 have registered.  People say, well, folks here are just late in committing to everything.  This is not a thing, this is a symptom, I believe, of a tepid lack of priority.  Isn’t it true, families all wait to see what their sports schedule is first?
 
I believe that if sports is the thing that is keeping our children from growing in their faith, then the sports program must be diabolical, because it caused this and future generations to grow apart from the Body of Christ.  But this sounds a little crazy, even for me, to say.  There can be only one other explanation, then.  Our parents have not given faith formation priority in their own lives, and their children see by their example that it isn’t important.  You can’t demand of your children that which you will not give as good example yourself.  Even though the family, the domestic church, is the first place where evangelization is supposed to take place in children’s earliest years, parents simply can’t give what they don’t have.  Other stuff simply becomes more important.  Life is busy.
 
If this seems like a bit of a rant, I’m sorry.  But who else is saying these things?  And as your pastor I have an obligation to remind you of the promises you made at the baptism of your children, that you will raise them in the practice of the faith and keep them free from sin and death.  So many of you parents are faithful.  But, apparently, the vast majority may not be.
 
The only other explanation could be that we have many families who are double-registered here and in another parish (or other parishes).  Sometimes families from other parishes will register here to get (dishonestly) our in-parish tuition rates.  This has been going on forever, and I can’t really fix that, other than appealing to justice.  But if you are one of these many families that are double-registered or multiple-registered, please pick one.  Each parish pays subsidies to the diocese for education and the diocesan newspaper, for envelopes and mailings for all their registered families.  And it skews all the population counts for our annual reports.
 
I finished our annual report to the diocese this week, and it asks about the social outreach of our parish to the local community.  It was hard for me finish the report with so many ministries which we don’t have at all—ministries for life, to care for the addicted, parents’ and single parents’ services, pastoral care for migrants and refugees, child care and head start programs, many education opportunities, social support, housing services, health-related services, even the biblical care of widows and orphans.  I could only say that I hoped for these things in the future, but that for now we were looking, as a parish, for our heart as a servant.  We have to learn how to take care of our own children before we can begin to reach out to care for others.’  Lord, may it soon be so.
 
God bless you,
 

Announcements ~ August 12, 2018

fleur cross logo Celebrate this Holy Day of Obligation, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Vigil Mass, Tuesday, August 14 at 7:30pm. Holy Day Masses Wednesday, August 15 at 6:30am, 9am, Noon, 6:30pm and 8pm (Spanish).
 
fleur cross logo Please read the statement by Bishop Burbridge on the first  anniversary of the violence that took place in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017.  Read more
 
fleur cross logo It’s time to start thinking about RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults begins September 11 and we welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers and might be thinking about joining the Catholic Church, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
fleur cross logo The U.S. bishops urge our participation each Friday in a nationwide Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life, August 3-September 28. Participants will receive weekly email or text reminders to pray and fast, along with little-known facts about Roe v. Wade to share with others. Sign Up!
 
fleur cross logo Religious Education Class Enrollment is NOW!  Registration forms are available in the Church Vestibule and Parish Office. For more information, please visit our website: stbernpar.org. Calling all Catechists! Please respond to the call to share your faith with our children and the youth of the parish, Catechist Meetings begin mid-August, so please sign up soon.
 
fleur cross logo All our St. Bernadette choirs are welcoming new members.  We have choirs for singers of all ages,  including three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade.  For more information see stbernpar.org/praying/music-ministry or contact Director of Music Ministries David Mathers at 703-451-8575 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15. For more information see page 9 or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ August 12, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

There have been some questions regarding the reception of Holy Communion lately, and I thought this week I would simply share the teaching of the Conference of Catholic Bishops to share up any question we might have:

“The Church understands the Communion Procession, in fact every procession in liturgy, as a sign of the pilgrim Church, the body of those who believe in Christ, on their way to the Heavenly Jerusalem. All our lives we who believe in Christ are moving in time toward that moment when we will be taken by death from this world and enter into the joy of the Lord in the eternal Kingdom he has prepared for us. The liturgical assembly of the baptized that comes together for the celebration of the Eucharist is a witness to, a manifestation of, the pilgrim Church. When we move in procession, particularly the procession to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion, we are a sign, a symbol of that pilgrim Church “on the way.”

“For some, however, the experience of the Communion Procession is far more prosaic, analogous perhaps to standing in line in the supermarket or at the motor vehicle bureau. A perception such as this is a dreadfully inaccurate and impoverished understanding of what is a significant religious action. The Communion Procession is an action of the Body of Christ. At Christ’s invitation, extended by the priest acting in Christ’s person: “Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb,” the members of the community move forward to share in the sacred meal, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ which is the sign and the source of their unity. In fact, each time we move forward together to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord, we join the countless ranks of all the baptized who have gone before us, our loved ones, the canonized and uncanonized saints down through the ages, who at their time in history formed a part of this mighty stream of believers.

“This action by Christ’s body, the Church assembled for the Eucharist, is manifested and supported by the Communion Chant, a hymn in praise of Christ sung by the united voices of those who believe in him and share his life. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal takes this hymn very seriously, mandating that it should begin at the Communion of the priest and extend until the last person has received Communion.

For some, however, the singing of this hymn is perceived as an intrusion on their own prayer, their private thanksgiving after Communion. In fact, however, this hymn is prayer, the corporate thanksgiving prayer of the members of Christ’s Body, united with one another. Over and over again the prayers of the liturgy and the norms of the General Instruction emphasize this fundamental concept of the unity of the baptized, stressing that when we come together to participate in the Eucharistic celebration we come, not as individuals, but as united members of Christ’s Body. In each of the Eucharistic Prayers, though the petition is worded in slightly different ways, God is asked to send his Holy Spirit to make us one body, one spirit in Christ; the General Instruction admonishes the faithful that “they are to form one body, whether in hearing the Word of God, or in taking part in the prayers and in the singing...” (no. 96). It describes one of the purposes of the opening song of the Mass as to “foster the unity of those who have been gathered” (no. 47), and says of the Communion Chant that “its purpose [is] to express the spiritual union of the communicants by means of the unity of their voices, to show gladness of heart, and to bring out more clearly the ‘communitarian’ character of the procession to receive the Eucharist” (no. 86).

“It is difficult for some of us to embrace this emphasis on Mass as the action of a community rather than an individual act of my own faith and piety, but it is important that we make every effort to do so. Christ himself at the Last Supper pleaded with his Father: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are... as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us...” (John 17:11, 21).Baptism has joined us to Christ and to one another as the vine and its branches. The life of Christ, the Holy Spirit, animates each of us individually, and all of us corporately and guides us together in our efforts to become one in Christ.

“Finally, the fact that the Communion Procession is a profoundly religious action tells us something about the way in which we should participate in this procession. We are the Body of Christ, moving forward to receive the Christ who makes us one with himself and with one another. Our procession should move with dignity; our bearing should be that of those who know they have been redeemed by Christ and are coming to receive their God!

“The General Instruction asks each country’s Conference of Bishops to determine the posture to be used for the reception of Communion and the act of reverence to be made by each person as he or she receives Communion. In the United States, the body of Bishops determined that Communion should be received standing, and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving. These norms may require some adjustment on the part of those who have been used to other practices, however the significance of unity in posture and gesture as a symbol of our unity as members of the one body of Christ should be the governing factor in our own actions.
 
“Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing.
 
“The person distributing Communion says audibly to each person approaching, “The Body of Christ.”  This formula should not be altered, as it is a proclamation which calls for a response of faith on the part of the one who receives. The communicant should audibly respond, “Amen,” indicating by that response his or her belief that this small wafer of bread, the wine in this chalice are in reality the body and blood of Christ the Lord.
When one receives from the chalice, the same proclamation is made by the person distributing Communion and the Communicant again responds, “Amen.” It should be noted that it is never permissible for a person to dip the host he or she has received into the chalice. If, for some reason, the communicant is not able or willing to drink from the cup then that person should receive only under the form of bread.
 
“It seems appropriate to conclude this reflection on the Communion Procession and the reception of Communion with a quotation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1396:
 
In Baptism we have been called to form but one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:16-17):
 
If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond “Amen” (“yes, it is true!”) and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, “the Body of Christ” and respond “Amen.” Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true (St. Augustine, Sermon 272: PL 38, 1247).”
 
Sometimes it is best to go straight to the competent authority than to rewrite a version that can always be questioned!  The moment of Communion is The Moment when we are most fully who we are not as individuals but in communion with God and each other as a community, the Body of Christ!  It is a moment we should all be together, not divided by practice or anything which might draw attention to ourselves.
 
God bless you,
 
 

Announcements ~ August 5, 2018

fleur cross logo Celebrate this Holy Day of Obligation, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Vigil Mass, Tuesday, August 14 at 7:30pm. Holy Day Masses throughout the day, Wednesday, August 15 at 6:30am, 9am, Noon, 6:30pm and 8pm (Spanish).
 
fleur cross logo It’s not too soon to start thinking about RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults begins this September and we welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
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 Religious Education Class Enrollment is NOW!  Registration forms are available in the Church Vestibule and Parish Office. For more information, please visit our website: stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Calling all Catechists! Please respond to the call to share your faith with our children and the youth of the parish, Catechist Meetings begin mid-August, so please sign up soon.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15. For more information please visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo Please support St. Bernadette School! AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support our school every time you shop, at no cost to you. Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to St. Bernadette School.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ August 5, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
We received an important email from Bishop Burbidge this week after the bulletin was already laid out, so I’m going to include it here, first:
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
    
I invite you to join me in a weekly moment of prayer from early August through late September 2018, for the legal protection of human life. The Novena is being promoted on various means of social media beginning today and will be discussed in my upcoming podcast this week.
    
The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and the nomination of his successor have once again engendered debate in our society regarding the need for the legal protection of the right to life of unborn children. Each Friday, fromAugust 3 to September 28, 2018, we have the opportunity to join in a nine-week effort of prayer, fasting and education that a change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life. As part of a USCCB Call to Prayer initiative, participants will receive weekly prayer reminders by text message or email. In addition to the current invitation to fast on Fridays, participants will be encouraged to pray one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for this protection of human life and will receive important facts about how Roe v. Wade is not health care, is bad law, and fails women.  Please sign up at www.usccb.org/pray for this and the continuing Call to Prayer initiatives. Resources and facts about Roe in your parish bulletin, on your website, and in other parish communications throughout this nine-week period are posted at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/take-action-now/call-to-prayer/legal-protection-of-human-life.cfm.
    
Fraternally in Christ
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington
 
Also, we received an announcement about the upcoming  Marriage Jubilee Mass on October 14 at 2:30pm at the Cathedral.  Registrations must be in by September 14, we will have more information about the registration process in the bulletin next week.
Also, Catholic Charities has announced an important presentation titled “Seeking Hope and Healing in the Midst of the Opioid Crisis” which will be held at Good Shepherd Parish in Mount Vernon, September 29, 10am-3pm.  Come and learn more about the problem and consider how we might contribute to finding solutions.

For those who would like to participate, there will be Mass at 9am, followed by refreshments, and then at 10am the Conference will begin.  It will include a keynote address on how opioids became a crisis and how we may respond as a community of faith.  There will also be breakout sessions on family resiliency; what parishes and communities can do; and suffering addiction and the healing power of Jesus.  The day will close with a prayer service led by Bishop Burbidge.
 
Somebody asked me last week who ever won the car raffle?  The raffle went a little different this year than previously, and I think many people were confused and wondered if we were even going to see any benefit from it.  I realized that we never heard who won, all I know is it wasn’t me!  If you weren’t contacted, I’m betting it wasn’t you, either!  But we did receive our portion of all your ticket purchases, and I wanted to thank you especially.  This year we received $22,220 from this raffle, which will go directly toward our parish commitment for tuition assistance.  Many may not realize that we offer significant tuition assistance to many children in the parish each year.  I believe deeply that Catholic education must not become a luxury for the wealthy, but an opportunity for all kids to grow in wisdom and knowledge of our world and our God.  Thank you for your participation in the raffle this year.
 
Finally, you will find an informative page on the Called and Gifted Workshop for 2018, Saturday, September 15, and I want to encourage you to come and invest a day in your spiritual and missional life.  God has a plan for each of us and mostly people just coast through life without considering their role.  I’m not talking about lining up people to serve ministries in the Church—though that would be an added benefit—I’m asking you to consider confronting the fundamental question about life:  why am I here?
 
You see, God has left clues along the path of life to reveal his plan as we mature through life experiences, which we reflect on, identifying the feedback which guides us.  It is a process of discerning the gifts with which you were recreated in baptism—everyone has these gifts who are baptized.  These gifts aren’t meant for ourselves, to benefit ourselves, but to be used in service to others, to bring God’s creation to full stature in Christ.  It is through our gifts that we are called to new life.
 
I encourage you to set aside September 15, now, and hold that day for gathering with us at Saint Bernadette.
 
God bless you,
 

Announcements ~ July 29, 2018

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 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 The Greater Springfield Communities of Faith are providing school supplies for children in our community. Supplies should be turned in before or after Masses Sunday, 29 July.  A box will be available in the Church Vestibule to place your donations.
 
fleur cross logo Please support St. Bernadette School! AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support our school every time you shop, at no cost to you. Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to St. Bernadette School.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ July 29, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
We find ourselves this week at the last weekend of July...  The simple statement comes filled with the realization that we have less than a month to welcome back our teachers, barely more than a month before the children return to school and the parish program annual cycle begins again!  So much to get done in a little time.
 
It also means that we need to be thinking about serious planning for the coming year with regard to religious formation.  Before the year takes you hostage, I request that you take sufficient time to make sure your children can take full advantage of our religious education program.  Young people: take advantage of one of the finest youth programs a parish has ever attempted.  I was meeting with Martha Drennan, our director of faith formation, and Fr. Jack at different times over the last weeks and we have come to the same conclusion:  parents, you must get behind the work that we all know must be done.  It isn’t easy every week to make these commitments to sports and music, and karate and dance, but we do.  RE needs to be a priority and that priority isn’t going to be named by the children.  I talk to so many parents every year who look back and wish that they had done more to instill a love of the faith and a sense of belonging in the Church in their children’s lives.  Across all religions and congregations, young adults are gone.
 
Please, please, don’t wait until the last minute to register, if only because we won’t know how many teachers we need to find unless we know how many students we will have.  So far, we have only about 100 children registered— 1/5 of the number of students last year. 

It is also time to begin talking about RCIA.  You will find a nice section on pages 8-9 of this bulletin about the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).  The program begins Monday night, September 10 at 7pm—we will be meeting on Monday nights this year.  Once we determine the need for RCIA in Spanish (called “RICA”) we will set a date and time.

Parishes our size typically have 70-80 people enrolled in the RCIA program—those who have never been baptized, but also those who may have been baptized in another Christian Church and wish to become Catholic by making a profession of faith in the Catholic Church.  Past years we have seen maybe only one fourth of that number, and I wonder if we are doing something wrong in making the invitation.
 
I call upon everyone in the community to start extending an invitation, a welcome to people who may be seeking to, as Jesus said, “Come and see.”  Maybe you, yourself, have wondered for a while if this is a step you might take.  Maybe someone you know... Talk to your relatives and friends and welcome them:  Just come and see, no need to decide right away or even know in the beginning if this is right for you.  Maybe you find yourself just wishing that there was more.  Come and see if it is here.
 
Our Church needs you.  We are incomplete if all of our brothers and sisters are not with us in Communion.  We are always in need of new people with ideas and gifts to refresh the Body of Christ—ultimately, it is God’s plan that ALL his children come together in unity.  Perhaps a lot of people today really believe the secular or pluralist views that “it is all the same anyway.”  I do not.  I believe there are honorable and valuable things to be learned from Christians in all ecclesial communions, yet I believe that the ancient path of prayer and sacraments is the surest way to God.  It’s fulness has always been found in the Church, despite our sinfulness and shortcomings.  Why have doubts?  I realized long ago that, if I’m a believer in Jesus Christ and in his Father who sent him out of love for me, then I have no business doubting his Word and Sacrament as it has been guided by the Holy Spirit for these 2,000 years (and that doesn’t even include all the preparation God did in the Old Testament era to prepare the world for the gift of his Son!).  If you are discerning a call to the Sacraments, please include in your prayers a prayer of guidance to the Holy Spirit, so you will be where God has planned for you.  It may not seem obvious at first, it may seem just like a small word of encouragement or kindness, but if you give it your attention and prayer, it might grow more beautiful than you might have ever imagined.
 
Now is the time to let us know you might be interested.  I will be teaching about half of the instructions, and our program will be based on strengthening community.  Martha, our new director, brings many gifts to the process.  Please know you are welcome.
 
God bless you,
 
Inclement  Weather Announcement for Saturday / Sunday 12 and 13 January 2019
 
 Parish Office is closed today,
Sunday January 13
 
St. Lucy Project 
 Our support of the St. Lucy Project will go on as planned this weekend, 
however for those who may not want to brave the weather,
the collection will continue in the same way next weekend.
 
All other Parish Ministry and School activities are cancelled.
 
  
 
 
I Brievary

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Our Saint Bernadette 2018-'19 Ministry Catalog 

 


2018 2019 Catalog