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The Sacrament of Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, and we are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.

Baptism: Infants (Children under 7 years of age)

Baptisms at Saint Bernadette are celebrated at 10am, on 1st and 2nd Saturdays in English; 3rd Saturdays in Spanish. Parish registration 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. Sponsor certificates are needed at the time of scheduling. Baptism classes are held on the fourth Saturday at 9am each month in English 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.

Godparents [Sponsors] must be practicing Catholics in good standing, having received all sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) and, if married, married in the Catholic Church according to Canon Law. They must be registered members of the parish where they attend Mass, at least 16 years of age and practicing their faith, with the intention to assist in the faith formation of the person they are sponsoring. A child may have no more than two Godparents [Sponsors], one man and one woman. Only one Godparent [Sponsor] is required. Though not a Godparent, a baptized Christian (non-Catholic) may participate in the Rite as a Christian Witness. Ex-Catholics may not serve as Godparents.

Godparents must obtain a Sponsor Certificate from the parish where they are registered members.

Those seeking Sponsor Certificates should call the office and set a time to come and sign the form to be witnessed by a priest or deacon.

Bautismo: en Español (para niños menores de siete años)

Saint Bernadette celebra Bautizos en Español el tercer Sábado del mes a las 10am. Requerimos que los padres se inscriban en la parróquia antes del Bautismo. Se encuentra la Forma de Registracion aqui.


Saint Bernadette requiere que los padres y padrinos atiendan una clase especial del Bautismo. La clase se ofrece el primer viernes del mes a las 7:00pm en Bradican Room. Si tienen alguna pregunta, por favor, llamen a la oficina de la parróquia al 703-451-8576.


Baptism: Children Age 8-16

Children and youth ages 8-16 who wish to be baptized attend the RCIC Program (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children). Preparation for the sacraments of initiation (in this case, children receive all three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) begins with classes in the fall and are completed with the reception of sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass. This is typically a two-year program of learning, studying, and praying.

To register for this program or for more information, please call the Religious Education Office at 703-451-8576, ext 136.

Children who are already validly baptized (in a non-Catholic ecclesial community) who wish to be received into the Church may join the regular cycle of religious education to receive First Holy Communion or, if they are older than other students studying for sacraments, they may be enrolled in a special sacraments class offered by the Religious Education Program. By receiving Communion their profession of Faith in the Church is validly received.

If students who seek reception into the Church through the sacraments are uncatechized, it is recommended that they be enrolled in the RCIC program to provide a broader base for their knowledge of the faith.


Baptism: Adults

Adults interested in learning more about the Catholic faith and moving toward Baptism or Reception into the Catholic Church (already validly baptized) are welcome to join our RCIA Program (The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). This series of meetings/classes begin in September and meet weekly Thursdays 7:00-9:00pm. Some special trips and liturgical participation are included throughout the year. The program culminates with the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil Mass: Baptism (if necessary), Confirmation and Eucharist. 





The Sacrament of Confirmation can be described as the sacrament of spiritual maturity. It enriches the soul of the person with deep graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is the sacrament that calls recipients to witness courageously the gift of faith by word and, especially, by the example of their lives. The Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, states that Catholics “are more perfectly bound to the Church by the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Holy Spirit endows them with special strength so that they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and deed as true witnesses of Christ.”

Confirmation of Eighth Graders (and through high school age):

Preparation for Confirmation is a two-year program administered by our Religious Education Office. The program begins in 6th and 7th grade and continues through 8th grade. Please visit our Religious Education Sacramental Prep Page for more information.

Confirmation: Adults

Many adults are baptized into the Catholic Church but fail to receive all of their sacraments.  Through Baptism they are freed from sin, become members of Christ and incorporated into the Church.  The sacrament of Baptism gives access to other sacraments. For adults who have never received the sacrament of Confirmation we offer the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) course,  beginning in the fall and culminating with the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation when our Bishop visits the parish in the spring. To register for Adult Confirmation classes, please call the parish office at 703-451-8576.




“The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of Christ.  Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church

The sacrament of the Eucharist, according to the tradition of the Latin Church, is received for the first time when a child has reached the age of reason (understood as around age seven). The preparation required to receive the Eucharist is offered, therefore, during Religious Education in the First and Second Grades.

First Holy Communion is received at Sunday Masses usually scheduled during the first Saturdays of May.  For more information about the program, please visit the Religious Education Sacramental Prep Page.

Guidelines for the Reception of Holy Communion





The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as the Sacrament of Penance and Confession) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness, and as a result we are called to forgive others.

Confessions are held on Saturdays, 3:30-5pm (English and Spanish), or call the parish office for an appointment.

During Advent and Lent, the parish celebrates Reconciliation at special parish Penance Services, held on a weekday evening. Several visiting priests will also be available.  Please watch for details in these seasons for information.

Those already baptized receive the sacrament of Reconciliation prior to the first reception of Holy Communion. For more information about a child's first confession, please visit the Religious Education Sacramental Prep Page.

Learn more about the Sacrament of Reconciliation

How to Go to Confession



Anointing of the Sick

For those who are severely ill or attempting a medical procedure, an appointment in the office or a visit from a parish priest may be arranged to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick, also known as Anointing.

Please call the parish office at 703-451-8576 to make arrangements. In case of emergency calls received after hours are directed to the answering service who immediately will contact the priest on duty.

The USCCB reminds Catholics that there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. In addition, the Sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers after the anointing but becomes ill once again, or if, during the same illness, the person's condition becomes more serious. A person may be anointed before surgery. Elderly people may be anointed if they are in weak condition even though no dangerous illness is present. Sick children may be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be comforted by this sacrament. Catholics are encouraged to ask for the anointing and to receive it with faith and devotion.

 Extraordinary Ministers bring Communion to homebound parishioners, and to Catholic patients who request. Call the parish office (703) 451-8576 or the chaplain's office at each facility. Area hospitals have full-time Catholic chaplains who are on call. 

HOMEBOUND PARISHIONERS (request a priest visit)
If you have a homebound family member and would like a priest to visit for Anointing of the Sick or Confession, please call the office.  Arrangements will be made with the priest on call. 
If a family member would like to receive Communion ​while:

  • in the hospital​ - please inform the nurse ​to have the patient’s name added to the Communion List. (Due to  HIPAA regulations, the request cannot come from our parish staff; it must go through the nurse and the hospital chaplain.)
  • homebound - please call the office to be placed on our Communion List. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion visit ​homebound parishioners at varying times throughout the week




The Sacrament of Marriage is an outward sign of the love of God, when two people lay down their lives for each other in a way that is faithful, permanent and open to life. In the act of giving and receiving the consent of this self-gift (vows) we see Christ who, in his love for us on the cross, gave us all of himself so that we might, in turn, offer ourselves as his bride, the Church every time we gather at Mass. The loving union of husband and wife is a reflection of the perfect love God has for each of us.

Catholics who are married outside of the Church are warmly encouraged to consider supplying the Sacrament of Marriage to their already existing non-Catholic marriage, so that they may return to the Eucharist, or serve as Sponsors or Godparents. Baptized Catholics who are married outside of the Church need to be reconciled to the Sacraments through Confession and the Sacrament of Marriage, in this case, called a “Convalidation.”

We congratulate you both and warmly welcome you to be married here at Saint Bernadette Church! There are a number of preliminary steps you should take if you are considering marriage at Saint Bernadette. First, parish registration is required if you live within the parish boundaries of Saint Bernadette, or written permission from the pastor of the parish where you are registered. Please see the Join Saint Bernadette page or call the office to see if you reside within parish boundaries. A different fee for the use of the facilities of the parish applies to those who are not registered members of Saint Bernadette.

Weddings are celebrated at St. Bernadette on most Saturdays during the year at 12 noon and 2:00pm. Rehearsals are scheduled for the previous Friday evening at 5:00 or 6:00pm.

A six-month preparation period is required by the diocese for all marriages during which time you will meet occasionally with a priest and attend the Diocesan Conference for the Engaged. To start the process you must call the Parish Office and schedule an appointment with a priest. Reservations for wedding dates are made by the priest based on the availability of the church at the time of your meeting. We have prepared a document, “Guidelines for Marriage Preparation,” which will provide answers to many questions you may have.

Link to parish Marriage preparation program (COMING SOON)

Download parish Wedding preparation packet (COMING SOON)




Holy Orders / Religious Life

St. Bernadette has been the home of many who have gone forward to serve God and his people through the Priesthood and Religious Life. God can call at the most unexpected times in life! It is only necessary that we live with hearts open to him so that he may be heard above all the other voices of the world. If you think perhaps God is calling you to be a priest or religious, he probably is! You are always welcome to speak to one of the priests or sisters in the parish. We are happy to answer any questions or help you any way we can.

 In every age there have been men and women who, obedient to the Father's call and to the prompting of the Spirit, have chosen this special way of following Christ, in order to devote themselves to him with an "undivided" heart (1 Cor 7:34). Like the Apostles, they too have left everything behind in order to be with Christ and to put themselves, as he did, at the service of God and their brothers and sisters. In this way, through the many charisms of spiritual and apostolic life bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit, they have helped to make the mystery and mission of the Church shine forth, and in doing so have contributed to the renewal of society.

Living in obedience, with nothing of one's own, and in chastity, consecrated persons profess that Jesus is the model in whom every virtue comes to perfection.  In every age, the Spirit enables new men and women to recognize the appeal of such a demanding choice.
A call to a priestly life is best understood by considering who a priest is. He is a man of faith and prayer called to be a church minister; he proclaims the Word of God; he administers the Sacraments; he lives celibately as servant-leader; he builds a parish community that works to bring healing, justice, and holiness to all. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, baptized men are consecrated in Christ’s name “to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God.”

Arlington Diocese Vocation Information




Please know that you and your families have our deepest sympathy and the assurance of our prayers. When our loved ones die and go forth in faith those of us who remain are faced with a number of difficult decisions which must be made in a short period of time. The parish family of Saint Bernadette wants to be as supportive and helpful as we can during your time of need. We want to be with you at the death of a loved one in a way that is marked by Christian faith, hope and love. In an effort to aid you we have prepared a booklet to help you focus on the key decisions which will need to be made. This booklet includes the teachings of the Church with regard to the Rite of Christian Funerals and Burial, planning tools (including readings at Mass, music options and a planning sheet), services which are available to you from St. Bernadette ministries and many practical helps and local contact information which may be of assistance to you. We have tried to make these suggestions as complete and accurate as possible for you in your time of sorrow.

Link to At the Time of Death – Funeral Guide (COMING SOON)

Often the question of whether or not a Funeral Mass is necessary comes up, particularly among families with subsequent generations which may not be as active in the life of the Catholic Church or have adopted conflicting teachings about death and afterlife from other religions. Do not let personal discomfort be a reason to avoid the Catholic burial which may have been one of the most important wishes of the Deceased. Let us help you provide the desired Rites with beauty and dignity, just as they would have wanted. It might, too, be an opportunity to rediscover something about the Church which some may have forgotten.

Please contact our parish office so that we may help you through the preparations of the Funeral Mass. A packet of printed materials is always available at the front desk of the Parish Office to help you with your planning.

Download parish Funeral Planning packet (COMING SOON)