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Announcements ~ July 8, 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 EXTRA! EXTRA!...SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM announces the DC Metro Area amateur premiere of Disney’s “NEWSIES,” a musical based on the Disney film. Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Saturday, July 28 at 1pm at Bishop Ireton High School Auditorium. Tickets will be available for purchase on-line beginning on July 3. Discount tickets will be available for purchase after all Masses on July 14-15 and July 21-22. Spread the word—Newsies is taking summer theater by storm!  For more news and information, please visit www.summertheatreprogram.org.
 
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 Every little bit counts
When millions of supporters shop at smile.amazon.com, charitable donations quickly add up. St. Bernadette Church & School has received $427.46 as of May 2018.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ July 8, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

The last week of July I’m co-teaching CADEIO’s Institute for Ecumenical Leadership at Theological College in D.C. with Dr. John Borelli, assistant to the President at Georgetown University. John served as the director for interreligious affairs for probably over 25 years with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and was personally responsible for keeping alive the relationships between the Church not only with Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, but other Christian Communities as well. He is considered today one of the few treasures of Church knowledge in everything that happened at Vatican II and how we, as a Church, are reaching out to heal the divisions among Christians as well as the misunderstandings between Catholics and non-baptized people.

003 peter and andrewI was looking this evening at an icon of Saints Peter and Andrew. Actually, it is a plaque that was given to me when I completed my second term as president of CADEIO, the national Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. As I have been studying this image, I have reflected on the incredible richness of Vatican II of which most people are unaware, perfectly summed up by Pope Francis in our modern day when he says that we must consider ourselves as brothers and sisters first, and then partners in dialogue second. The unity is already a deep bond, though we may find ourselves in disagreement, as often members of families do.

You see, Peter and Andrew were biological brothers. Actually, it was Andrew who ran to his brother Peter and brought him to Jesus. At the dawn of the Apostolic age, Peter went west to Rome, Andrew east to what would eventually become Constantinople. Christianity inculturated two drastically different cultures, and from the beginning it would seem, had very distinct contrasts in polity and worship. in the fourth century when the Roman emperor Constantine legalized Christianity and himself was baptized, he relocated the center of Christianity to Constantinople, present day Istanbul, because the destruction of the Roman empire and the decline of moral society had so ravaged Rome that it was eventually left to ruin, not to be reborn until the Renaissance.

Well, the emperor went East but the Pope stayed West, and so the power struggle began. They boiled up in the form of theological disputes at the Council of Chalcedon (451), beginning 1500 years of separation that was ratified in 1054 by mutual excommunications, ultimately broken utterly the bloody sack of Constantinople by western Crusaders in 1204.

Difference was politically manipulated as opposition rather than diversity among brothers and sisters. Sound familiar? Divide and conquer is alive and well today.

During the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI continued the intention of Pope John XXIII to bring back into one the family of God in Jesus Christ. He met with Patriarch Athenagoras I in Jerusalem, then again in Rome at the close of the council in December 1965. They mutually declared that the differences of the churches was not theological at base, and that the mutual anathemas and excommunications that were thrown at each other 1000 years ago were no longer. That is the method of the devil, after all.

We have as our greatest instruction the prayer of Jesus himself to the Father: that we be one.

God bless you.

 

Announcements ~ July 1, 2018

fleur cross logo Peter’s Pence (Holy Father) Collection
Our second collection today is for Peter’s Pence, a worldwide collection that supports the charitable works of Pope Francis. Join with Pope Francis and be a witness of charity to our suffering brothers and sisters. Please be generous today. For more information, visit usccb.org/peters-pence.
 
fleur cross logo This weekend, we welcome Fr. Jean Nicholas to our Saint Bernadette family. Please join us for welcome receptions in the Saint Bernadette School Gymnasium after the 9am and 11am Masses.
 
fleur cross logo Happy Fourth of July!  May God bless our country and help us appreciate the value of freedom and those who have given so much to make it a reality. In observance of the holiday, our offices will be closed Wednesday, 4 July, 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 EXTRA! EXTRA!...SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM announces the DC Metro Area amateur premiere of Disney’s “NEWSIES,” a musical based on the Disney film.  Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Saturday, July 28 at 1pm at Bishop Ireton High School Auditorium.  Tickets will be available for purchase on-line beginning on July 3.  Discount tickets will be available for purchase after all Masses on July 14-15 and July 21-22.  Spread the word—Newsies is taking summer theater by storm!  For more news and information, please visit www.summertheatreprogram.org.
 
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.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ July 1, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
The week of Jan. 13–17, 1777, Virginians Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe, George Mason, Edmund Pendleton and Thomas Ludwell Lee gathered at Weedon’s Tavern, then located at Caroline and William streets in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia.
 
During that meeting, Jefferson agreed to take on the responsibility of drafting the bill for religious freedom, which would become law nine years later and lay the groundwork for how the U. S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights deals with religion.  In fact, religion is listed as first among rights in the first amendment, followed by freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the rights to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.
 
It was one of three achievements the nation’s third president instructed be included in his epitaph.
 
This past week we observed, as a Church in the United States, Religious Freedom Week.  It is an adaptation of what was formerly called the “Fortnight for Freedom,” when we would gather as a diocese in prayer and service to renew our commitment and call to elected officials to protect the right of freedom of conscience in practicing religion today.
 
When I was pastor in Fredericksburg, we would gather every January for an annual observance of this anniversary at the Religous Freedom Monument erected on Washington Avenue, two blocks from the historic houses of George Washington’s mother and sister.  Different people would lead prayers and speak of God and country in an interreligious program that included people of all faiths.  We were reminded that Americans don’t have the same passion to protect freedom of conscience today and how vital it is to the fabric of our society to renew these principles.
 
In too many ways our culture today reads this statute as a declaration of freedom from religion, rather than a freedom of religion.  This modern spin on the original intention of the Founding Fathers’ turns their purpose upside down:  those who practice religion become the odd exception and, as history has shown, the object of discrimination.  It was a complicated time, complicated by the kind of religious intolerance and hate that had boiled over between Christian congregations in continental Europe and England.  It probably should be acknowledged that these Fathers themselves were not particularly “religious,” either.  But they were defining something of our human condition:  the Virginia statute didn’t give people a right to religion, it simply recognized what is already  given to us by God.
 
I apologize to all that I lost track of my diocesan email account this week and missed the email encouraging pastors to promote a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge on the 22nd.  There are many resources, daily prayers and resources, that were intended for last week.  The good news is, we are still in the days leading up to Independence Day, when we remember the gift of our freedom and celebrate our nation as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  These are important words to constantly remember when we as a nation are tempted by Godlessness, division and discrimination.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
 
We welcome Fr. Jean Nicolas to our parish family this weekend.  Be sure to stop and meet him after Masses, especially at welcome receptions for him this weekend following the 9am and 11am Sunday Masses.  I am certain that Fr. Nicolas will bring new gifts and ideas that will continue to shape our community after the heart of Jesus for the benefit of all.
 
Fr. Nicolas’ coming will make a few adjustments to the regular calendar of the parish.  His day off will be Sunday night/Monday (mine is Tuesday night/Wednesday) so we will move parish meetings (parish council, finance committee, development) to Thursday nights for this coming year.  Also, school Masses will move from Mondays to Thursdays. 
 
RCIA will move to Monday nights, and will be directed by our Director of Faith Formation, Martha Drennan, with the assistance of myself and Deacon John every week.  We are going to restructure RCIA a bit emphasizing sharing and witness with an emphasis on small group dynamics and building community.  If anyone is interested in joining me on an RCIA team (especially if you have recently become a member of the Church through the RCIA, or completed the Called and Gifted program and are looking for a spot to put your good gifts to good use), we will hold RCIA team building meetings on three Thursday evenings in August.
 
Happy Fourth of July holiday! 
 
God bless you.
 
 

Announcements ~ June 24, 2018

fleur cross logo The second collection next weekend is for the Peter’s Pence Collection which supports the Pope’s charitable works. Thank you for your generosity.
 
fleur cross logo Please join as we bid farewell to Fr. Vu at receptions following the 9am and 11am Masses this Sunday, June 24th in the Saint Bernadette School Gymnasium. Stop by and wish him well, and thank him for all the goodness he has brought to our parish family.
 
fleur cross logo Next weekend, we will welcome Fr. Jean Nicolas to our Saint Bernadette family. Please join us for welcome receptions in the Saint Bernadette School Gymnasium after the 9am and 11am Masses.
 
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 Please consider our excellent Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, or give us a call at our Saint 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 EXTRA! EXTRA!...SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM announces the DC Metro Area amateur premiere of Disney’s “NEWSIES,” a musical based on the Disney film.  Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Saturday, July 28 at 1pm at Bishop Ireton High School Auditorium.  Tickets will be available for purchase on-line beginning on July 3.  Discount tickets will be available for purchase after all Masses on July 14-15 and July 21-22.  Spread the word—Newsies is taking summer theater by storm!  For more news and information, please visit www.summertheatreprogram.org.

Fr. Don Weekly Letter ~ June 24, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
“If you build it...”  What a difference a few days make! You can see below the progress of only a few days as the new preschool classroom begins to take shape on the wooded side of the Office and School buildings.  We are glad to announce that there are only two desks left open for this fall in both preschool classes.  Thanks, parents, for your confidence in us and for helping to build a strong school family.  Our registration for the whole school is strong as well, 407 students to date.  We still have plenty of room.  Come and see our school—you will be very pleasantly surprised and proud, as we are, of what is happening at Saint Bernadette.
 
Rapid changes are happening now on the front of the school, too.  This past week our faculty and staff kindly and efficiently vacated the administrative spaces getting ready for renovation and addition.  We literally have two months to get all this done... it is an aggressive schedule.  Kindly remember our projects in your prayers—ask Saint Joseph for his intercession to stay on target and keep all our workers safe.  It is an active construction zone, so I also ask all our parents to keep an eye open to make sure that we don’t have young explorers going into these areas.  Anyone with business in the school is asked first to come to the parish office (please see the bulletin page 5).
 
Already this past weekend we noticed a change in Masses—many people are already traveling and the mood is lighter, more relaxed.  Please remember the need to dress appropriately for Mass, and also the importance of making the effort to arrive in time for the start of Mass.  At some Masses last weekend only 1/4 of the congregation had arrived and assembled by the beginning of the Opening Song.  Please be mindful of the importance of where we are, who we are, and what we are doing.  It is a profound Mystery we are invited to participate in, Jesus’ offering of himself, our offering of ourselves in him, to the Father.  There is no greater dignity than our presence.
 
For those who are traveling, I want to remind you how you can stay in touch with our parish virtually—no real substitute, but something.  Bulletins and homilies are uploaded each week: www.stbernpar.org.
 
God bless you.
 

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Announcements ~ June 17, 2018

fleur cross logo The Second Collection this weekend is for our Parish Building Fund.
 
fleur cross logo Mass cards for the Father’s Day Novena of Masses are available in the vestibule or parish office. Remember your dads and grandfathers in this beautiful remembrance. Please return your envelopes by Friday, June 17.
 
fleur cross logo Please join us at the 5pm Mass on Saturday, June 16th as we celebrate our graduating 8th Grade, High School and College Seniors. We will have an Ice Cream Truck outside to mark the occassion following the Mass.
 
fleur cross logo “Sunday School for Adults” continues this week in the Bradican Room. Please join Fr. Don for our last class for the summer: Sunday 10-11am.
 
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 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 EXTRA! EXTRA!...SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM announces the DC Metro Area amateur premiere of Disney’s “NEWSIES,” a musical based on the Disney film.  Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Saturday, July 28 at 1pm at Bishop Ireton High School Auditorium.  Tickets will be available for purchase on-line beginning on July 3.  Discount tickets will be available for purchase after all Masses on July 14-15 and July 21-22.  Spread the word—Newsies is taking summer theater by storm!  For more news and information, please visit www.summertheatreprogram.org.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ June 17, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Everything we do in the spiritual life orients us both toward God and toward one another as Church; it would never be a turning inward, or a self-centered act.  All God’s many gifts are given to us as individuals to form us together as Christ (“conform” us into the one person of Christ, members of his Body), which would have as the goal always to turn toward others in service (“...not to be served, but to serve”).  Made in God’s image, his self-emptying love is seen in our actions of self-emptying love.
 
At first glance I think everyone would agree with this statement.  But sometimes it isn’t, actually, the reality of our actions.  And now is a good time for us to look back over the beautiful seasons of Lent, Easter, Resurrection and Pentecost, and consider the way that God is calling us together.
 
Take, for example, the way so many people say they don’t really need to confess sins to a priest:  “I can just go directly to God.”  Many people can convince themselves that sin is only a personal issue and avoid sacramental reconciliation for years.  But the Church has always taught that our sins have two dimensions, the vertical one where we sin against God, and the corresponding horizontal dimension where every sin we commit also impacts every other person to whom we are united, not only by our humanity, but especially in the Body of Christ.  When one member of the body is sick, all members suffer.  What we do helps or damages each other, even if our actions are in secret.  The process of full reconciliation requires absolution that originates from both dimensions.  Both dimensions must be healed.
 
For that reason, throughout the early centuries of the Church, confession of sins was always made publicly.  Imagine!  You would, literally, stand before the entire assembly and confess.  I wonder how that would go over today.  Would we desire reconciliation that much if we had to admit our faults openly?  It is a practice that can still be found in some religious orders.
 
Thankfully, today the Church allows reconciliation to take place in absolute confidentiality, but the confession still must be made out loud, publicly, as it were, and the absolution comes from God and the Church, through the instrumentality of the sacrament of Holy Orders, or priesthood.  Most people today just think of the life of faith as a private enterprise, without taking into account that the life of faith takes place in the context of the community.  I read recently in one of the writings of the Pope that  we don’t just get a download of faith facts in Baptism and suddenly know everything there is to know:  Baptism gives us the capacity to be people of faith; formation in faith must come from the community of the Church, whether that be our family, our parish, or our circle of friends.
 
So we can’t forget that the act of confession is not just a private act of forgiveness between you and Jesus, even though it is now done privately.  Every time you enter the sacrament of reconciliation, you can be certain of reconciliation to God and to the Church.
 
Communion, like reconciliation, takes place on both dimensions.  It can be a blind spot for me that I may focus only on the Communion that takes place between me and God, and I can ignore all those other people who surround me at that moment in church.  I could actually find myself wishing that they were not there at all!  How noisy and unpleasant they can be, right?  How many times people have said to me that they would prefer not to sing a song at Communion because it interrupts their private time with Jesus.
 
How contrary this is to the reality of Communion!  God has not called all of us into an infinite number of exclusive relationships with him so that we can ignore one another.  Our Communion is with God in that vertical sense, certainly, but the entire action of Communion is that we are called together into a new reality:  diverse members of one Body who is Christ for the world.  That is one of the reasons we sing:  like it or not, we are called to act together in the prayer of Jesus (one voice) and the mission of Jesus in the Church (one heart).  It isn’t the time for self-focus.
 
One of the ideas called forth from the Second Vatican Council was to restore a theology of the active participation of the lay faithful in the mystery of salvation and how the Mass constitutes that work.  It is about receiving, of course, and bringing ourselves to God, present to him as he is present to us.  But receiving is not the end in itself, rather it is the means to the end that is the consecration of the world:  we receive in order to become:  to be Christ made present to the world, Christ who will become all in all, not through me, but through us.  Literally incorporated in baptism, we live the new life of the triune God.  We are not called to be Christians; we are called to be Christ.
 
God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ June 10, 2018

fleur cross logo The Second Collection this weekend is for ur School Tuition Assistance Fund (Tuition Angels).
 
fleur cross logo Mass cards for the Father’s Day Novena of Masses are available in the vestibule or parish office. Remember your dads and grandfathers in this beautiful remembrance. Please return your envelopes by Friday, June 15.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish s conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive today for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program.
 
fleur cross logo Please join us at the 5pm Mass next Saturday, June 16th as we celebrate our graduating 8th Grade, High School and College Seniors. We will have an Ice Cream Truck outside to mark the occassion following the Mass.
 
fleur cross logo “Sunday School for Adults” continues this week in the Bradican Room. Please join Fr. Don for two more classes before we break for the summer: Sundays 10-11am.
 
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 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.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ June 10, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Last week the bulletin had already gone to the printer before the public announcement was made about changes in parish clergy assignments this year, many already know that we have some changes that have pastorbeen made here at Saint Bernadette.  On June 28, our Father Vu will be moving to Saint James parish in Falls Church.
 
This is almost always a difficult transition for a parish, especially when we have known a priest for so long.  It is rare that a parochial vicar be assigned to a parish for seven years.  Some dioceses have only six-year assignments for pastors!  In my opinion, longer assignments are a blessing both for the parish and priest, it allows stability and an opportunity for people to grow together as a family to a degree that would otherwise not be possible.  It also helps a priest feel like he belongs more, and life isn’t a series of temporary experiences.  I’m probably talking to the choir here, as so many of you are military families and know exactly what I’m talking about.  Still, it is true, the longer you stay the harder it is to be sent somewhere else.
 
We wish Fr. Vu all the best in his new assignment and are grateful to him for his kindness and diligent service here.  Fr. Vu is one of the finest parochial vicars I have ever worked with.  He is kind and gentle, and willing to do whatever is necessary to help anyone who is in need, in trouble, or sick.  He has brought to us a maturity and a sense of responsibility in pastoral care that is relatively rare.  He is a true priest.
 
Everyone is invited to bid Fr. Vu farewell at receptions on Sunday morning, June 24 following the 9 and 11am Masses in the gym.  When you see him be sure to stop him and thank him for seven years of his life.  We will miss him.
 
Fortunately for us, though Fr. Vu is leaving, Fr. Jean Nicolas is coming.  Father came for a visit this past week and it was good to meet him.  Fr. Nicolas is from Haiti and previously has been a parochial vicar at St. Anthony Parish in Falls Church, as well as priest in residence at St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax Station.  He will arrive officially on the 28th of this month and we will welcome him at receptions following the 9 and 11am Masses on Sunday, July 1.
 
Farewells are hard for many people.  It is certainly not my intention to be morbid, but I once heard a homily at a funeral that has stayed with me for many years, which I particularly like.  It can apply to any kind of loss, certainly to death, but also to loss we may experience due to moving and changing circumstances in life.
 
It is about the families of immigrants who left Ireland at the time of the famine and persecutions.  My own Rooney ancestors started coming to the United States in the late 1830s, then coming in greater numbers around 1845 during the Great Famine when more than a million died, and more than a million fled to other countries.  Only 20% of the population remained in Ireland.
 
In those days people spent all they had on the cost of passage, and never had any hope of being reunited with loved ones again once immigration divided them.  Today we have communications, video conversations and affordable airplane tickets.  In those days, when someone left, they were gone.
 
As the boat would pull away from the docks, people would wave and continue to watch each other grow farther and farther away.  Finally, even visible land would drop beneath the distant horizon, as if vanishing. 
 
In these cases, we are reminded, we must turn and look forward, not keep looking backward.  Because as we look forward, there will eventually be visible land that appears on the distant horizon.  If we keep watching, there will be people eventually visible on new docks, who will welcome and embrace us in our new place.
 
Of course, Fr. Vu knows all of this, too well, with his own story of leaving Vietnam.  In this case he is only going to be about seven miles from here.
 
It is easy to forget, however, all the transitions that take place this time of year, especially with our military and government parishioners.  So many people coming and going. 
 
Let us remember, then, that we play a key role in this process.  We must consciously strive to be the people who are at the new port, watching and waiting to welcome the immigrants, the newcomers, new friends who need a friendly place to land and a new family to belong to.
 
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.
 
  
 
 
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