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Anouncements ~ April 15, 2018

fleur cross logo Please join us as we celebrate our patron Saint Bernadette’s Feast Day on Monday evening, April 16 at 7:30pm in the Church. Light refreshments will be offered immediately following the Mass.
 
fleur cross logo Registration is now open for “A Biblical Walk Through the Mass” by Edward Sri. This five-session course begins April 19 at 9:45am in the Bradican Room. There is a $25 participation fee to cover materials. Please contact the parish office to register.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette will again host a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Mark your calendars and invite your friends. For more information see page 7. Registration opens May 7.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call 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 ~ April 15, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
You may have noticed... we have broken ground!  We are already a few days behind schedule with permits and building the temporary road for construction equipment, but it is begun!  We are still on for an August 15 completion date so we are ready to welcome 20 new Pre-K students to Saint Bernadette School!
 
You can see at the right, the upper floorplan shows the space of my old office which has been completely gutted. You can see in the upper right corner the back half of the chapel, which might give you a better sense of location. Also, the room called “Conference” is our one first-floor conference room in the Parish Center, the room we refer to as 100, inside the front door of the office and up a few steps.
 
The drawing below shows how we will add additional square footage to the classroom floorplan and connect it directly to the existing pre-school classroom. The children will share the private playground that is currently outside the classroom. It is going to be a great solution and help ensure greater enrollment in upper grades from here on. Hopefully, people will become integral parts of our parish community in the school and stay through 8th grade.
 
One of the great features and bonuses of this plan is that the additional square footage will provide for a nice, generous balcony off the youth ministry rooms on the second floor with beautiful views of the woods and Accotink Creek. If you can’t find me sometime, perhaps that is where I will be!
 
This is the first phase of summer 2018 construction. We plan to get a head start on the school administrative spaces, perhaps as early as mid-May when building permits are received. We will expand existing offices, and add along Wisdom Hall much-needed private offices for our assistant principal, registrar, curriculum coordinator and counselor, all very necessary offices. And to add that, we will be able to expand the faculty break room and clinic, and add a conference room. The plan now is to have this work also done, at least as much as is needed to open school without disturbance, by August 21 when the teachers come back from the summer.
 
Hard to believe we are already talking about the end of the summer... but I wanted to keep you up-to-date on our developments. It is an exciting time!
 
I hope you are still holding onto the joy of Easter!
 
God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ April 8, 2018

divine mercy image jesus2 website fleur cross logo Join us at 3pm today for Divine Mercy Devotions in the church.
 
 fleur cross logo Today is the last day to purchase tickets for our Biannual Saint Bernadette School Auction. Please join us April 14 for a wonderful evening with a beautifully catered dinner, live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75 per person or a table of 10 for $650. Alumni tables welcome!  A preview of auction items is now available at the Saint Bernadette School website. After today no addtional tickets will be sold, we must provide the caterer a final count in the Monday, April 9.
 
 fleur cross logo Please join us as we celebrate our patron Saint Bernadette’s Feast Day on Monday evening, April 18 at 7:30pm in the Church. Light refreshments will be offered immediately following the Mass.
 
fleur cross logo Bishop Burbidge will celebrate a Respect Life Mass at 9am on Saturday, April 21 at the Cathedral, all are invited.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette will again host a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Mark your calendars and invite your friends. For more information see page 17. Registration opens May 7.
 
fleur cross logo Registration is now open for “A Biblical Walk Through the Mass” by Edward Sri. This five-session course begins April 19th at 9:45am in the Bradican Room. There is a $ 25 participation fee to cover materials. Please contact the parish office to register.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School.  We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call 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 ~ April 8, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

There is a sense of great peace and comfort each year when, after the last Mass is done and all is finally quieting down, you reflect that the Lord rose from the dead just as anticipated and all is right with the world. He rose from the dead despite our imperfections and shortcomings, his loving Presence doesn’t rely on our level of perfection... everything is gift. The temptation to treat all this like some kind of “reenactment” that depends on us can cause us to forget sometimes that God is in charge and does all things well. Remember from our parish mission back at the beginning of Lent (seems so, so long ago, doesn’t it?) that there is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. His love is complete and constant. It is our love which needs to grow and become more constant, growing out of our gratitude.

That said, still, I think we did some really beautiful liturgies this year. When Bishop Burbidge was here on Easter Sunday after Mass he gave our music director, David Mathers, the finest compliment. He said, “Boy, they were really singing! You must be doing something right.” More than right, downright beautiful, and it was a very challenging schedule. Not only the amazing liturgies of the Sacred Triduum which were carefully prepared and lovingly given by our choirs and musicians, but also all Good Friday afternoon with our Tre Ore, and rehearsals. Our thanks are due to David Mathers and all our music ministers who responded to what we needed, and helped us welcome huge crowds of people to all liturgies this year. Our thanks to our altar servers, ushers, lectors, ministers of Holy Communion—everyone who played a role in these beautiful experiences of living in Christ. Thanks to Fr. Vu and Deacon John, our decorators and sacristy volunteers, and all.

Of course we are still in the Octave of Easter this year, the ancient understanding of Sabbath fulfilled in Christ. In the old order of days shabat was the Israelite observance of God’s day of rest in creation, the seventh day, Saturday. The Jewish observance of Sabbath is still on Saturday. But we Christians say that God went back to work on the eighth day of the week in Christ, with the work of our redemption: he is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. All time begins in him and ends in him, so the first day of the week is also the eighth, the Lord’s Day. His work of redemption is a new creation, a day that didn’t exist before. The ancient baptismal celebration of the Easter Vigil and the Sacraments of Initiation defined this understanding between grace and time. For this reason in the tradition baptistries are often designed based on an octagon. How good it is that God has given us both the life/grace and the means by which the community is formed as its dwelling place.

As I write this week’s letter it is Wednesday morning and I have just returned from the gathering in Washington for the Rally2EndRacism on the 50th anniversary of the assasination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We need to bring our message of new life to our culture and help people to see that God treats all of us the same, with the same limitless love and mercy. Member churches of the National Council of Churches came together with leaders of many other religions. Christians met at the Martin Luther King monument at dawn and walked silently in prayer to the Mall for day-long presentations. Let’s make part of our Easter observance a commitment to reach out to all people in love, in the same way that God doesn’t see color, or country of origin, or power. It is time for all this unnecessary hatred and suffering to cease, and for us to start making amends as a part of our Easter life, new life, new beginnings.

God bless you.

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Announcements ~ April 1, 2018

 Happy Easter!

 
fleur cross logo The liturgy sheet for Mass today begins on page 7 of this bulletin.  Please take a bulletin per family, and leave the rest in the vestibule for people to use at later Masses on Easter.
 
There is only one more week to purchase tickets to our Biennial Saint Bernadette School Auction. Please join us April 14 for a wonderful evening with a beautifully catered dinner, live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75 per person or a table of 10 for $650. Alumni tables welcome! You can find an online version of our auction catalogue on our parish and school websites. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to provide excellence in Technology and the Arts. Please visit stbernschool.org to purchase tickets.
 
fleur cross logo Our Second Collection this Easter weekend is a Special Collection for Parish Building Fund. Thank you for your generosity.
 
fleur cross logo Parish offices are closed on Easter Monday, but some evening activities will still be held.  Please check with your ministry leaders to confirm schedules.
 
fleur cross logo Divine Mercy Devotions will be scheduled for 3pm on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 8.
 
fleur cross logo ECHO’s Yard Sale will be held in the Saint Bernadette gym on Saturday, April 7 from 8am-12pm. Proceeds from the sale will be used to help meet ECHO’s financial requirements.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette will again host a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Mark your calendars and invite your friends. For more information see page 17. Registration opens May 7, 2018.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ April 1, 2018 ~ Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
On the cover is an odd photo I took when I was in the Holy Land last January.  I know, photos may not be really appropriate in holy places, and I probably should not have taken this one (let alone publish it on our bulletin cover).  But the moment was so compelling, almost overwhelming, as it has been every time I have been here.
 
For me, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the holiest place in the world.  In one sense, I suppose, you could say the whole world and everything in it and everyone in it is holy, because the incarnate Son of God was here.  Though he ascended, he didn’t leave; his presence still fills everything as his Spirit is poured out upon the earth.
 
But in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre you visit both Calvary and the Empty Tomb of Jesus.  The church is built around/upon these holy places.  You can crouch beneath the altar built upon the stone of Golgotha and reverence the very spot where Jesus’ Cross was erected, inserted into the Rock.  It is the Rock - you can see it - where Jesus’ blood ran, the rock that has been revered by believers without interruption since the day of his crucifixion.  It is real.
 
Centered beneath what is now a great rotunda, is an ancient chapel built, literally, on the ground which was leveled around the Tomb of Jesus.  The floor of the Tomb is the level of the floor of the church, and you can enter this tiny, holy place only three people at a time.  There is a small antechamber with a pedestal holding a piece of the original stone that was rolled before the entrance to the Tomb; the entrance itself you must bow to enter, a doorway decorated in the Byzantine period when St. Helen built shrines at all the holy places, and later by the Crusaders when the original structures needed to be repaired and enlarged for the pilgrims who have continuously traveled here.  It is real.
 
You enter this tiny space with two other people, and kneel on the floor.  Directly in front of you is a slab of marble upon which the Body of Jesus was placed after being taken down from the Cross and held by his Mother, Mary.  You get this feeling often in the Holy Land that these are the sights, the rocks, even these ancient trees, the places that Jesus himself saw.  Even some of the flagstones of the original Way of the Cross through the Old City of Jerusalem have been excavated and raised to the modern street level so you can know that Jesus carried his Cross here.  The slab in the Tomb is cracked; it was broken intentionally by believers when Jerusalem was being conquered, so that it would not be scavenged as a building material for a new building.
 
You kneel in the Tomb only for a moment, the line is long outside and there is an Orthodox priest telling people to keep moving.  But it is just long enough for the fact to sink in:  This is the place where they laid him.  Jesus’ Body was here, and it is here that the greatest miracle of all took place in the silence of the eternity of God which we could not bear to see, at least not now.  It is the place where the eternal Son of God, without beginning or end, is conquering death with life.
 
In that moment I held my phone one inch above the broken slab of Jesus’ Tomb and took a photo up in the air.  This is the best Easter photo of all:  it is the view up from the slab into the space where the risen Jesus arose.  He is our life, our self, our now and our future.
 
The photo includes some Crusader period marble carving, some flowers, an icon of the risen Christ (to help our imaginations, I presume), and some Byzantine-style oil lamps, dozens of them in the air above the tomb.  But for me it is a photo of eternity in a moment of time.
 
He is here, always before me.  He has gone to the depths of our human experience before us - to the darkest depths as well as the most beautiful fullnesses of what it means to be human.  He has touched our humanity with divine Life in such a way that we are a new creation.  And now he has freed us from the pointlessness of death, to reveal a beginning.  “I died, and now I live.”
 
We wish you profound peace and light in the midst of so much confusion and darkness.  I pray that Easter joy can overwhelm you and bring you to deep knowledge and love for God, and unwavering confidence in his love for you.
 
God bless you.

 

 

Announcements ~ March 25, 2018

fleur cross logo It’s time for the Parish to support our Biennial Saint Bernadette School Auction. Please join us April 14 for a wonderful evening with a beautifully catered dinner, live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75 per person or a table of 10 for $650. Alumni tables welcome! We will begin highlighting auction items next weekend. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to provide excellence in Technology and the Arts. Auction committee members will be selling tickets this weekend or you may visit stbernschool.org to purchase tickets online and for more information about opportunities to underwrite, sponsor or advertise in our auction program.
 
fleur cross logo Please find the Sacred Triduum schedule for Holy Week on page 7 of today’s bulletin. During this period of three holy days, we ask that regular parish activities be suspended and everyone try to come as much as possible to our liturgies.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette School would like to invite the Parish community to join the teachers and students in attending the Living Stations of the Cross on Thursday, March 29, at 11am. The Living Stations is being performed by a select group of 7th and 8th graders and would love to have you make this special presenation part of your Holy Week observation.
 
fleur cross logo Please remember, Fridays in Lent are days of abstaining from eating meat, and Good Friday will be a day of abstinence and fasting (one regular meal, two snacks if necessary) according to ancient Church Tradition.
 
fleur cross logo Remember someone you love, either living or deceased, with a donation for our beautiful Easter Flowers. Envelopes are available in your envelope packets, in the Church and in the Parish Office.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ March 25, 2018, Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
He is our Passover.  The words hang in the air as we pray the first Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation.  “Indeed, though we once were lost and could not approach you, you loved us with the greatest love: for your Son, who alone is just, handed himself over to death, and did not disdain to be nailed for our sake to the wood of the Cross.  But before his arms were outstretched between heaven and earth to become the lasting sign of your covenant, he desired to celebrate the Passover with his disciples...”
 
He is Lord of the Passover, God who became Man for this moment when he could become the fulfillment of Creation’s deliverance.  He becomes the Lamb of the Passover meal, prescribed so carefully by God in the meal of the flight from Egypt, now in the form of unleavened bread, because the people of Israel have no time to wait for the yeast to rise... we must flee from our captivity and come to know the freedom of the daughters and sons of God who is life.  Now, take haste.  To God, whose love is greater than any sin.  God, who is love, must redeem his beloved.
 
“Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of your Son Jesus Christ, who is our Passover and our surest peace, we celebrate his Death and Resurrection from the dead, and looking forward to his blessed Coming, we offer you, who are our faithful and merciful God, this sacrificial Victim who reconciles to you the human race.”  And from the second prayer, “Accept us also, together with your Son, and in this saving banquet graciously endow us with his very Spirit, who takes away everything that estranges us from one another.”
 
Come, gather this Thursday, as we re-present this event of our salvation, the institution of Eucharist and Priesthood when Jesus literally came into his own and fulfilled the plan formed by God from the beginning of the world.  The Meal and the Cross form a unity such that they cannot be separated either from themselves or from the dawn of new life in resurrection.  For this reason the three days of the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) cannot be separated, they form one continuous liturgy which begins with the Last Supper and ends with the Empty Tomb.  The tomb makes no sense without the ultimate sacrifice; likewise, the sacrifice This is my Body, this is my Blood makes no sense without a victory, his passing over the darkness and silence of our death.  You will notice we only begin once with the customary sign of the Cross, only once do we end with the final blessing after the Vigil Mass: they form a continuous whole, one liturgy of the saving Mystery of Jesus. 
 
There is something rare about what happens on Good Friday.  We observe the three hours of Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross, and people became accustomed to the Stations of the Cross in the few centuries before Vatican II before the restoration of the ancient Triduum in 1969, but these are really private meditations and devotions.  Neither of these actually belong to the particular ancient Tradition of the Church for this day.  We intentionally gather in the darkness of Good Friday evening to recognize the emptiness of the church where, for one day, Jesus is not present among us.  We recognize the impact of this event:  no sacraments may be celebrated because the Lord of Life has died.  We listen to Saint John’s account of his Passion.  We venerate the wood of the Cross, the instrument of our salvation.  We receive Communion, leftover from Holy Thursday which is brought into our space from outside.
 
The Apostles took up the commemoration of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, because his Death and Resurrection are at the heart of our salvation, our Passover. At least by the second century, Christians celebrated the Great Easter Vigil, an event which began the night of Holy Saturday, continuing until dawn on Easter morning. During this vigil, Christians commemorated salvation history, awaited the return of Jesus, and celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus at dawn on Easter Sunday. It was at the Vigil that catechumens, after a three-year period of catechesis, were baptized and received first Communion. The Easter Vigil is the most important day of the liturgical year.  Imagine if our Vigil were to start at sundown and end at sunrise, as in the early Church!  As it is, it lasts several hours, as we only include seven readings and psalm responses from Scripture, instead of listening to the Word of God all night until the new light of dawn.  At that moment of Resurrection we sing, again, the Glory to God and the light of Christ, blessed and venerated, floods our hearts and minds with the new life of Christ himself.
 
Easter Sunday Masses are the celebration of our new life in Baptism as we gather for the sole purpose to proclaim the joy of our new life, as we renew our promises and are sprinkled in the waters of the Easter font of rebirth.  A day of ultimate Joy, we gather for no other reason than to celebrate and give thanks.  Join us for these amazing days, and rediscover who you are and why we are here.  Be here!
 
God bless you.
 

Parish Penance Service ~ March 20, 7pm

Please plan to join us for our Parish Penance Service this evening, Tuesday, March 20 at 7pm. We will have at least a dozen priests (English and Spanish) who will be here for you.

The service will be held regardless of weather conditions.

Religious Education, School and Ministry Activities are cancelled this evening.

Announcements ~ March 18, 2018

fleur cross logo It’s time for the Parish to support our Biennial Saint Bernadette School Auction. Please join us April 14 for a wonderful evening with a beautifully catered dinner, live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75 per person or a table of 10 for $650. Alumni tables welcome! We will begin highlighting auction items next weekend. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to provide excellence in Technology and the Arts. Auction committee members will be selling tickets this weekend or you may visit stbernschool.org to purchase tickets online and for more information about opportunities to underwrite, sponsor or advertise in our auction program.
 
fleur cross logo Please join us for our final Lenten Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross this Friday. Soup supper begins at 6:30pm in the school cafeteria, English Stations in the Church at 7:30pm and Spanish Stations in the Chapel at 7pm. Bring the whole family to enjoy good soup and fellowship and then spend time walking the way of the Cross with Jesus.
 
fleur cross logo Our Parish Penance Service will be this Tuesday, March 20 at 7pm, a time that we will have at least a dozen priests (English and Spanish) who will be here for you. Please plan to come.
 
fleur cross logo Please find the Sacred Triduum schedule for Holy Week on page 7 of today’s bulletin.  During this period of three holy days, we ask that regular parish activities be suspended and everyone try to come as much as possible to our liturgies.
 
fleur cross logo The Bishop’s Lenten Appeal is in full swing and we are asking every household in our parish to support this appeal to the extent you are able. We are at 89%: Thank you for your  wonderful  support of our diocesan mission.