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Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
Such a time of grace and celebration we have seen these past few weeks as our children receive Jesus in the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. There is so much going on we can’t get in all that we could include in the weekly bulletin! At times the liturgies seemed a bit chaotic from our location, but I think everyone had a wonderful celebration as we look at the reality of becoming Jesus from different perspectives: being Jesus by receiving him, being called together by his Spirit to be one as he and the Father are One, so that when the world looks at us, they will believe that the Father sent Jesus for them, too. Here is a great photo I took at the Confirmation reception and didn’t have space for last week. We are proud of so many of our young people who were attentive to the call of God and received the grace of these powerful sacraments. This time of the year all the Cardinal red in our buildings becomes Pentecost red.
Speaking of that gift of the Holy Spirit, the love of God, which conforms us to be the Body of Christ, we have been talking a lot lately about how we need to start seeing ourselves more clearly for who we are. For ever it seems people have come to Mass to observe. Previous generations would easily use the expressions that they went to “hear” Mass, or even worse, “hear Father’s Mass.” It revealed a real disconnect in the common understanding of why we go to Church, indeed, why it is an obligation to go every week. Far from an observance or mere “attendance,” we go to Mass to celebrate our identity as Jesus himself. That is what the sacraments are for: to make us Jesus. Once we are Jesus full stature, as our newly-confirmed brothers and sisters are, we stand in the church, we proclaim God’s glory, we sing and pray no longer as ourselves, but as the Body of Christ. We are Jesus, offering himself to the Father in the Memorial of his crucifixion offering, death and resurrection into which we are caught up—body and soul—yes, in heaven, but something that we truly experience now on earth as a foretaste. We are Jesus.
A friend of mine made a great observation: we need to quit saying things like “I attended Mass,” and need to start saying “I participated in Mass.” It is the whole Christ, head and members, you and me, who celebrate, making the sacrifice of the Mass present here and now. Always here and now, and all the heres and nows from always and in every place. It would make no sense for us to make Eucharist if there were no one to receive him; it would make no sense to have a Body that could not survive without being fed. We care for each other, and our service is Jesus, to the glory of the Father.
I wanted to mention one other change we have made in the process of scheduling Baptisms here at St. Bernadette. From now on, parents will need to have all their paperwork and godparents’ paperwork into the office, and have attended a Baptism class before a Baptism can be placed on the calendar. We have had a great deal of difficulty lately with people who do not wish to comply with Canon Law and force the issue with people coming in from out of town, etc. We don’t write the law, nor to we break it. It may not be followed in other places, maybe even here at St. Bernadette in the past, but we will follow the rules. This means that anyone who wishes to serve as godparent must themselves be fully sacramentally initiated in the Church (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist), if they are married it must be a marriage in the Catholic Church according to the Canonical form, be at least 16 years of age, and promise to lead by a good example as a practicing Catholic, to pray for the person they sponsor and be a good influence in their life. They must be registered in the parish where they reside and receive a Sponsor Certificate from their pastor of that parish saying that they are suitable to serve as godparents/sponsors of the person to receive the sacraments. Please tell all your friends, and help everyone remember this new policy.
God bless you.