middle school

youth ministry


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    St. Bernadette's Youth Ministry exists to build faith-filled, prayerfull, well-formed, joyful young Christians who imitate Christ and bring His truth and sacrificial love into the world.


    Encounter Jesus. Be Transformed. Become Evangelizers.

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    The new youth ministry staff has a message for you:


child protection

VIRTUS - Protecting God's Children

The Diocese, the parish and the school are committed to providing a safe environment to all children entrusted to their care. The primary support that the PTO provides to the school is volunteer power, some of which involves direct contract with the children. A critical prerequisite for such volunteer work is compliance with the Child Protection and Safety Program instituted by the Diocese of Arlington. Compliance involves application procedures, including background checks. Forms and information about the application procedures can be found at the Diocese Link below.   Questions should be directed to Mrs. Zory Conde on the parish staff, at zconde@stbernpar.org


Compliance also requires completing - within 45 days of the start of volunteer work -- a PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN training program (otherwise known as the "VIRTUS" program). More information is available on-line at https://www.arlingtondiocese.org/Child-Protection/


Office of Child Protection & Safety

The Office of Child Protection and Safety for the Diocese of Arlington provides programs to ensure a safe environment for children within the community of the Church.


Children are the most precious resource of the family and the Church. The greatest care must always be taken when the safety of children is involved. The Diocese of Arlington is committed to providing a safe environment to all children entrusted to our care and assisting each child to grow in grace and wisdom.


OPCYP Programs

The Office of Child Protection & Safety provides several programs including:

-         A comprehensive training program for employees, volunteers, parents and children

-         Application procedures for persons working with children, including background checks

-         Monitoring of child and youth activities to ensure that all contact with young people is appropriate

-         Outreach and support for victims of child abuse and their families


catechists / volunteers


The apostolic work of the catechist springs from the Sacrament of Baptism through which all believers come to share in the prophetic ministry of Christ and the evangelizing mission of the Church. It is strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation. The call to the ministry of catechist is a vocation, an interior call, the voice of the Holy Spirit. Catechists need to be practicing Catholics who participate fully in the communal worship and life of the Church and who have been prepared for their apostolate by appropriate catechetical training. Their commissioning by the Church is a participation in the divine calling to teach as Jesus did. Their personal relationship with Jesus Christ energizes their service to the Church and provides the continuing motivation, vitality, and force of their catechetical activity. Christ invites all catechists to follow him as a teacher of the faith and a witness to the truth of the faith. Like all the faithful, catechists are called to holiness. (National Directory for Catechesis, 228-9)

St. Bernadette Parish is always in need of committed catechists (teachers of the faith) to lovingly and energetically teach our children about the love of Christ for each of us, prepare our children for the reception of the sacraments, and to instill in them knowledge of our Catholic faith. We understand that the lessons are important and, equally so, is your presence, attitude, and kindness in creating among the students a community of faith, hope, and charity.

For more information on our catechist formation program, please see our Parent & Catechist Handbook. We warmly welcome you and thank you for sharing the goodness in you with our children.


Ways to Help

There are many opportunities to get involved with our religious education program. We are always in need of:

- Catechists

- Substitute Catechists

- Classroom Assistants

- Office Volunteers

- Prayer Partners

Please contact the Director of Religious Education, Martha Drennan, if you're interested in helping our catechetical apostolate:  Lynn Jones, ljones@stbernpar.org, (703) 451-8576 ext 136.


Child Safety and Protection

For the safety of our children, all volunteers (18+) at St Bernadette Parish must complete a background check and attend a VIRTUS "Protecting God's Children" training seminar. A background check packet may be obtained from the Office of Religious Education. For more information, please visit the Office of Child Protection and Safety of the Diocese of Arlington.

sacramental preparation


Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ's Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ. (CCC 1275).



"Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism...The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ" (CCC 1277, 1279).

Infant Baptisms at St Bernadette Parish are celebrated at 10am, on 1st and 2nd Saturdays in English; 3rd and 4th Saturdays in Spanish. Parish registration (90 days) is required for parents and sponsors, as well as class attendance for parents. Please contact the parish office to schedule the baptism at least four weeks in advance. Baptism classes are held on the first Monday of each month in English at 7:30pm and the first Friday of each month in Spanish at 7pm in the Bradican Room. Please call the parish office to register for the class.

For those children 8 years or older seeking baptism, please find more information about our RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children) program. For those 18 years and older, please consider RCIA.



"The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church's life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church. The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship...Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ" (CCC 1407-8, 1416).

The reception of a child's first Holy Communion in the Lord's body and blood takes place at the conclusion of the second grade year, which also prepares the child both to receive his or her first confession (also called penance and reconciliation).

A child's first confession will take place during one of the regularly scheduled class periods during the Lenten season. Sacramental confession must precede the first reception of Holy Communion.

Important dates:

- First Reconciliation - During class time (during the Lenten season) TBD
- First Communion Masses: Saturday, May 2 & Sunday, May 3, 2020



"Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds...A candidate for Confirmation who has attained the age of reason must profess the faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ, both within the ecclesial community and in temporal affairs" (CCC 1316, 1319).

In the Diocese of Arlington, Confirmation is conferred on students during the 8th or beginning of the 9th grade year. Our bishop typically visits St Bernadette Parish during the spring. This coming year, Bishop Burbidge will celebrate the Mass of Confirmation on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at 10:30am.

Important dates:

- Confirmation Consultations for 8th graders:  TBD
- Confirmation rehearsal: Friday, April 17, 2020 7pm
- Mass of Confirmation: Saturday, April 18, 2020, 10:30am


A message on 2018 Confirmation Retreats:


Confirmation Forms 2020 Year I (6th & 7th Graders and Year I RCIC)


Confirmation Forms (2019) Year II (8th Graders)





Many children do not become members of the Catholic Church as infants for a variety of reasons; however, at some point in their young lives they or their parents may want them to learn more about their faith journey. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) is provided for any child in grades 3 through 12 (roughly ages 8 through 17), who is unbaptized or is baptized in another faith. This is a two year program that provides the foundation for the complete understanding of their faith journey and the Catholic Church. Year One provides a deeper understanding of their faith.  Year Two provides the link between their faith and their future. The entire program gives the individual an understanding of the Mass and the Catholic Church. At the end of Year Two, students receive the sacraments of Baptism (if unbaptized), Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Please contact the Office of Religious Education for more information: ljones@stbernpar.org or (703) 451-8576, ext 136.