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Streaming Masses and Announcements ~ 17 January 2021

Click here to Reserve A Seat (Español)
In accordance with the Governor’s Phase 3 and Arlington Diocese Guidelines, we welcome you and your family back to Saint Bernadette. For specific instructions for attendance click the "New Guidelines for Attending Mass" video link below.

Click here for the video explaining our "New Guidelines for Attending Mass at Saint Bernadette"


STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES

Today's Live-streamed Mass

Worship Aid for Sunday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time

fleur cross logo Our Second Collection next weekend is for the Church in Latin America . Thank you for your generosity.

fleur cross logo March for Life: This year’s March will be held on Friday, January 29, to commemorate the 48th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Saint Bernadette Church will not be providing transportation to the event this year due to COVID protocols. Please see today bulletin for more information.

fleur cross logo Since the outbreak of COVID, Fairfax Inova Hospital changed protocols.  Now, if a family wants a hospital chaplain to visit a family member, you must make the request personally (not from priests or friends) by calling the chaplains directly: 703-776-3767. Since the outbreak of COVID, Fairfax Inova Hospital changed protocols.  Now, if a family wants a hospital chaplain to visit a family member, you must make the request personally (not from priests or friends) by calling the chaplains directly: 703-776-3767. 

fleur cross logo As always, please make reservations for Mass so that we can manage capacity and maintain a safe environment. As Mass attendance increases, we will seat those with reservations first and walk-ins will be accommodated after those with reservations are seated.  You can find how many seats are still available by visiting the website.

fleur cross logo  All are asked to please exit the church and vestibule right at the end of Mass so that there is at least a full half-hour for sanitizing the church.  Then we can reopen the building 30 minutes before the next Mass.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 17 January 2020

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

In the middle of so much division and community devastation I recalled a book I bought when I was in college, a poem called "It's Midnight, Lord" by Dom Helder Camara, who was a Brazilian archbishop from 1964 to 1985 whose entire episcopacy was under military occupation serving the poorest of the poor.  There is a good, brief article about him in America Magazine from 2015.  The book came to mind because of this excerpt which has stayed in my mind these years:

In the middle of the night,
when stark night was darkest,
then you chose to come.
God’s resplendent first-born sent to make us one.
The voices of doom protest:
“All these words about justice, love and peace –
all these naïve words will buckle beneath the weight
of a reality which is brutal and bitter, ever more bitter.”

It is true, Lord, it is midnight upon the earth,
moonless night and starved of stars.
But can we forget that you, the son of God,
chose to be born precisely at midnight?
It is into our midnight right now that the Lord chooses to enter. 
At a moment we were unaware of until later.

jesus christ saviorIt is in our boat in the middle of this storm that the Lord seems to sleep.  I have placed a favorite illumination of the scene (left) from a 15th century Book of Hours.  It's title is "Jesus Calming the Storm" although that clearly is not yet happening in the image.  Or is it?  The disciples were in real danger—boats were small and probably seemed smaller the larger the waves grew.  Their minds were racing: how can Jesus be sleeping through our terror?

He knew what he was doing.  He was waiting for them to make him awaken.  They began to call out, to shake him awake.  At that moment, though, who really awakened?  Jesus already knew the outcome, but his disciples needed to learn how to act.  To be the catalyst of the calming to come.  Jesus wanted them to realize that they had to be involved in this miracle.  Calling on the Lord in this moment prepared their hearts to receive the miraculous calm which followed.

We can't let the storms surrounding us cause an even more dangerous tempest in our minds and hearts that can cause forgetfulness of the love and mercy of God.  He loves you so much: He can't love you more; he can't love you less.  Clear-headed and trusting we need to call him to mind and realize he is here.  Even the winds and the sea obey him.

God bless you.

  

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the Week of 10 January

Click here to Reserve A Seat (Español)
In accordance with the Governor’s Phase 3 and Arlington Diocese Guidelines, we welcome you and your family back to Saint Bernadette. For specific instructions for attendance click the "New Guidelines for Attending Mass" video link below.

Click here for the video explaining our "New Guidelines for Attending Mass at Saint Bernadette"


STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES

Today's Live-streamed Mass

Worship Aid for Sunday, The Baptism of the Lord

fleur cross logo Religious Education Class calls will resume today and Monday, January 10 and 11, 2021

fleur cross logo March for Life: This year’s March will be held on Friday, January 29, to commemorate the 48th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Saint Bernadette Church will not be providing transportation to the event this year due to COVID protocols. Please see today bulletin for more information.

fleur cross logo Since the outbreak of COVID, Fairfax Inova Hospital changed protocols.  Now, if a family wants a hospital chaplain to visit a family member, you must make the request personally (not from priests or friends) by calling the chaplains directly: 703-776-3767. Since the outbreak of COVID, Fairfax Inova Hospital changed protocols.  Now, if a family wants a hospital chaplain to visit a family member, you must make the request personally (not from priests or friends) by calling the chaplains directly: 703-776-3767. 

fleur cross logo As always, please make reservations for Mass so that we can manage capacity and maintain a safe environment. As Mass attendance increases, we will seat those with reservations first and walk-ins will be accommodated after those with reservations are seated.  You can find how many seats are still available by visiting the website.

fleur cross logo  All are asked to please exit the church and vestibule right at the end of Mass so that there is at least a full half-hour for sanitizing the church.  Then we can reopen the building 30 minutes before the next Mass.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 10 January 2021

 Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

What word should we use for the path ahead—resetting, restoring?We all know that the economic and social situation before the pandemic is not something we want to go back to, to reset or restore.  Lives were out of control and community was failing everywhere as people pursued self interest.  Maybe the word recovery is the right word—it seems to imply a plan—the same word a person might use to describe the path out of addiction.  It is likely we have not yet hit rock bottom, but even if the worst is still coming, we should begin speaking about non-negotiable values with which we dream to shape the future.
  
One of the things I mourned the most in several past years was the loss of kindness.  I found this from Pope Francis in Fratelli tutti in a subchapter entitled "Recovering Kindness."

222. Consumerist individualism has led to great injustice. Other persons come to be viewed simply as obstacles to our own serene existence; we end up treating them as annoyances and we become increasingly aggressive. This is even more the case in times of crisis, catastrophe and hardship, when we are tempted to think in terms of the old saying, “every man for himself.” Yet even then, we can choose to cultivate kindness. Those who do so become stars shining in the midst of darkness.

223. Saint Paul describes kindness as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). He uses the Greek word chrestótes, which describes an attitude that is gentle, pleasant and supportive, not rude or coarse. Individuals who possess this quality help make other people’s lives more bearable, especially by sharing the weight of their problems, needs and fears. This way of treating others can take different forms: an act of kindness, a concern not to offend by word or deed, a readiness to alleviate their burdens. It involves “speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement” and not “words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn.” [208]

224. Kindness frees us from the cruelty that at times infects human relationships, from the anxiety that prevents us from thinking of others, from the frantic flurry of activity that forgets that others also have a right to be happy. Often nowadays we find neither the time nor the energy to stop and be kind to others, to say “excuse me,” “pardon me,” “thank you.” Yet every now and then, miraculously, a kind person appears and is willing to set everything else aside in order to show interest, to give the gift of a smile, to speak a word of encouragement, to listen amid general indifference. If we make a daily effort to do exactly this, we can create a healthy social atmosphere in which misunderstandings can be overcome and conflict forestalled. Kindness ought to be cultivated; it is no superficial bourgeois virtue. Precisely because it entails esteem and respect for others, once kindness becomes a culture within society it transforms lifestyles, relationships and the ways ideas are discussed and compared. Kindness facilitates the quest for consensus; it opens new paths where hostility and conflict would burn all bridges.

God bless you.

 

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the Week of 3 January 2021

Click here to Reserve A Seat (Español)
In accordance with the Governor’s Phase 3 and Arlington Diocese Guidelines, we welcome you and your family back to Saint Bernadette. For specific instructions for attendance click the "New Guidelines for Attending Mass" video link below.

Click here for the video explaining our "New Guidelines for Attending Mass at Saint Bernadette"


STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES

Today's Live-streamed Mass

Worship Aid for Sunday, The Epiphany of the Lord

fleur cross logo Religious Education Class calls will resume on Sunday and Monday, January 9 and 10, 2021

fleur cross logo March for Life: This year’s March will be held on Friday, January 29, to commemorate the 48th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Saint Bernadette Church will not be providing transportation to the event this year due to COVID protocols. Please see today bulletin for more information.

fleur cross logo  Since the outbreak of COVID, Fairfax Inova Hospital changed protocols.  Now, if a family wants a hospital chaplain to visit a family member, you must make the request personally (not from priests or friends) by calling the chaplains directly: 703-776-3767. Since the outbreak of COVID, Fairfax Inova Hospital changed protocols.  Now, if a family wants a hospital chaplain to visit a family member, you must make the request personally (not from priests or friends) by calling the chaplains directly: 703-776-3767. 

fleur cross logo  School resumes: Classes begin again on Monday, Jan. 4. We are continuing our safety precautions and plan to remain open for in-person instruction.  Thank you for your prayers and support!

fleur cross logo As always, please make reservations for Mass so that we can manage capacity and maintain a safe environment. As Mass attendance increases, we will seat those with reservations first and walk-ins will be accommodated after those with reservations are seated.  You can find how many seats are still available by visiting the website.

fleur cross logo All are asked to please exit the church and vestibule right at the end of Mass so that there is at least a full half-hour for sanitizing the church.  Then we can reopen the building 30 minutes before the next Mass.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 3 January 2021

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Happy new year! 

Like I said last week, 2020 might be in the rear view mirror, but someone still has to be steering the wheel and guiding the car!  God is guiding, and we have our hands on the wheel, following his good will for us.

It is easy to think about all the stuff we couldn't do last year, but I think it is healthy to start the year thinking about all the good things we did accomplish despite global pandemic (maybe we can use the word "unprecedented" for the last time).  

Although a bit differently, we were able to stay current in providing all the Confirmations, First Communions, brought a wonderful group of new Catholics into the Church, married 16 couples, and grieved the loss of loved ones with 48 families.

We celebrated our wonderful volunteers with the Night of Stars event here at Saint Bernadette last January, and completed our parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land with about 40 pilgrims.  We hosted our first NCEA Day of Giving to benefit the school.

It was a very scary financial time for pastors and principals, but with our gold-ribbon church and school staff we secured PPP funding which allowed us to keep all of our associates whole throughout the spring and summer even though school was 100% virtual.  Later, CARES Funding allowed us to purchase much-needed remote learning resources and supplement PPE materials to keep our school safe. We successfully completed all requirements to have the PPP loan forgiven, and became proficient in how to turn a gym into a classroom and a classroom in to an office.  We learned to adapt, adjust, and succeed in a an otherwise tumultuous school year.

To the credit of our excellent and hard working teachers and staff, we were able to finish out the school year virtually, and be ready to reopen the school with in-person, blended and fully virtual options for our families.  Because we have an established USDA lunch program we were able to provide all children in the school free breakfast and lunch.  And because of our ability to offer multiple options for learning, we were able to increase our enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year to 468 students.

Other projects were completed in the background.  We:
•  installed the infrastructure to permanently provide live-streaming capability for all parishioners regardless of location.
•  installed a solar panel system for both the school and church to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.
•  refurbished our stained glass windows to be installed January 2021.
•  moved our Religious Education Program to 100% remote learning.
•  implemented a complete re-vamp of the parish office that allowed for telework by all as needed.
•  in collaboration with local churches, packed 75,000 meals to feed those in need.
•  promoted and hosted the first drive-through St. Lucy Project food collection that continues—to date has provided over 16,000 meals in the Diocese, including three subsequent food drives here.
•  continue to support ECHO not only with countless volunteer hours, but food drives and Christmas meal baskets.
•  developed a virtual giving tree so our partnering organizations could still count on Saint Bernadette for support.
•  We moved our bible studies and small group gatherings online and, when possible, we met outside on the grass or on patios or sometimes simply from one car to another.
•  Our choirs stayed intact with weekly classes and holiday recordings.  

Hopefully we learned to look, and talk and listen to one another—and yes, take care of each other a little more too.  We learned that being alone doesn’t mean we have to be lonely.
 
None of this would have been possible without our faithful volunteers, our passionate cheerleaders for God that support the work of the Church and the dedicated hardworking members of our parish and school staff —thank you.
 
And despite all that continues to challenge us we remain relevant, faithful and loved by God, and I look forward to meeting the new challenges with you in 2021.  
 
God bless you.

 

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the Week of 27 December 2020

Click here to Reserve A Seat (Español)
In accordance with the Governor’s Phase 3 and Arlington Diocese Guidelines, we welcome you and your family back to Saint Bernadette. For specific instructions for attendance click the "New Guidelines for Attending Mass" video link below.

Click here for the video explaining our "New Guidelines for Attending Mass at Saint Bernadette"


STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES

Today's Live-streamed Mass

Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God

         Worship Aid for Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Worship Aid for Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, the Mass for the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph


fleur cross logo The Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God is Friday, 1 January. This year, The Solemity of Mary is a not Holy Day of obligation due to COVID.  We invite you to join us at one of our Masses:  Thursday night Vigil at 5pm, Friday at 7am, 9am, 11am, and 1pm (in Spanish). There is no 5pm Mass. The 5pm Vigil Mass will also be live-streamed.


fleur cross logo The parish offices will be closed on Monday, 28 December through Sunday, 3 January. We will re-open on Monday, 4 January


fleur cross logo 2021 Saint Bernadette Parish Calendars - Please pick up a parish calendar which can be found in the church vestibule


fleur cross logo There are several Mass intentions still available in the month of January. You can find a request form for Mass intentions on the announcements page of our website or just call the parish office.

fleur cross logo Please make reservations for Mass so that we can manage capacity and maintain a safe environment. As Mass attendance increases, we will seat those with reservations first and walk-ins will be accommodated after those with reservations are seated.  You can find how many seats are still available by visiting the website.


fleur cross logo All are asked to please exit the church and vestibule right at the end of Mass so that there is at least a full half-hour for sanitizing the church.  Then we can reopen the building 30 minutes before the next Mass.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 27 December 2020

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

A lot has been said about just getting 2020 over with.  I share the feelings, it has been a rough year in so many ways, not only with the pandemic but also with nearly fatal divisions in our culture with regard to politics, race, and economy.  And we are not as affected as the vast majority of the world's population who are in   desperate need.  I do not have   a gloomy outlook, yet we can't   deny that poverty and hunger   are growing, unemployment   and evictions are likely to be   a real challenge for our society,   and factions seem to be more   polarized and entrenched than ever before, even within our church.  It is naive to think that we can just announce that “all that” is over and we have a shiny, new year to jump into.

Someone said they just wanted to forget.  I hope we don't.  We can't afford to.

We're driving away from it with 2020 in the rearview mirror, but we have to remember that we still have to steer the car and move forward.

What are your plans for the new year?  In moving forward have we made an inventory of lessons learned?  -  What have we discovered from the past that maybe isn't as important as we formerly thought?  -  What have we encountered in the present that we had overlooked before?  -  Have we realized any new virtues out of necessity that we hope to protect and preserve?  -  Have we admitted our weaknesses and made any progress in growing stronger with a resolve to be reconciled and transformed both in our faith and in our relationships?

We have been going through a master class of dealing with every emotion on the spectrum of human experience.  In daily conversations and especially in confessions, I find a prevailing anger that people are living with, an anger that they want to be free from.  Like any emotion, anger is not necessarily a sin.  Jesus couldn't sin, yet we see him really angry when confronted with the abuse of the temple by the bankers.

Anger is an indicator that we need to act.  It drives us to seek justice when confronting injustice, to be generous when we are faced with poverty and hunger, to be peacemakers when we see so much conflict.  But there is also a kind of anger that can consume us, the product of deep frustration when we want to control things that we can't control, and often aren't supposed to control.  The only way to find peace in these situations is to decide how much responsibility we have in finding a solution, and then accepting our powerlessness:  change the things you can, accept the things you cannot change.  Living long-term with this kind of anger often leads to depression, and addictions.

I think for (what has seemed like) a long time we all just wanted all of it to go away.  As I said, it does no good to pretend it is past, these viral, social, racial and economic pandemics.  We still have to drive the car forward.

How does that look in the parish?  So I thought we might make some new year's resolutions as a community.

We must be more proactive in adapting to circumstances and staying in ministry, serving the growing poverty and hunger in our neighborhoods.  I have been reticent to ask people to come out of their homes (even since we have been able) to serve in any organized way, but have discovered a lot of people lately who, like me, are realizing that we have to keep moving forward as a relevant heart in our community.  We need to be flexible, mindful of the ongoing pandemic, in a way that is safe and effective.

Who are those among us who have particular needs with which we might assist?  We could develop a message center, as we attempted when I first came to Saint Bernadette, to determine who has needs and who is willing to help them.

All of us are going to come out of this changed.  We must take care to be certain that we will be better.  Our spiritual and social foundations need to be stronger to move into a truly a new year.  
What might that look like?  I would imagine at first we will celebrate for days.  We will go see the people in person that we have been visiting on screens.  More will work from home hopefully with fewer commitments, more solitude, peace and quiet, treasuring our time together as families and communities.  I wish you every blessing in the new year, and much peace.

God bless you.

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the Week of 20 December

Click here to Reserve A Seat (Español)
In accordance with the Governor’s Phase 3 and Arlington Diocese Guidelines, we welcome you and your family back to Saint Bernadette. For specific instructions for attendance click the "New Guidelines for Attending Mass" video link below.

CHRISTMAS MASS ANNOUNCEMENT

We invite you to make reservations to join us for Christmas Masses at Saint Bernadette Church.
Please be aware due to current COVID restrictions, we will be limited to a 250 person seating capacity in the Church. 
We have added additional Masses to the schedule at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm on the Christmas Vigil,
7am, 9am, 11am and 1pm in Spanish on Christmas Day.
There will be NO 5pm Mass on Christmas Day.
The 4pm Christmas Vigil Mass and the 9am Christmas Day Mass will be live-streamed.


In the unfortunate circumstance your and/or your family arrive and no additional seating is available,
we invite you to join us for our Live-streamed Mass online at 4pm for the Christmas Vigil Mass or 9am Christmas Day.

Reservations can be made
here.


Click here for the video explaining our "New Guidelines for Attending Mass at Saint Bernadette
"


STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES

Community Mass for Saturday within the Octave of Christmas

The Mass for the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas Day)

The Vigil Mass for the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas Eve)

               Worship Aid for all Christmas Vigil and Christmas Day Masses

Community Mass for Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Community Mass for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Community Mass for Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

                   Worship Aid for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

fleur cross logo Please remember the Catholic Charities Christmas Collection was last week, Dec. 12-13. It is never too late to make a donation!  Your help is greatly needed! Thanks for your generosity.

fleur cross logo Our Saint Bernadette Adult Choirs have combined to produce “virtual choir” of several Christmas carols. We are posting them on the Parish website, on the Saint Bernadette Facebook page and on the Saint Bernadette YouTube channel. From their homes to yours, this Christmas time, the choirs send you these prayer-filled songs of faith. Music will always find a way to join our hearts.

fleur cross logo 2021 Saint Bernadette Parish Calendars - Please pick up a beautiful parish calendar which can be found on display in the church vestibule.

fleur cross logo New Sunday Mass schedule - Saturday Vigil 5pm, Sunday Masses at 7, 9, 11am, 1pm (Spanish), 5pm .Live-streaming Masses 5pm Vigil (will remain available through Sunday), 9am Masses Monday-Friday, and 8am Saturday. All are required to exit the church right at the end of Mass so that there is a full half-hour for sanitizing the church.  Then we can re-open the building 30 minutes before the next Mass.

fleur cross logo We kindly ask that you reserve your places for Mass so that we can manage capacity and provide a safe environment for everyone. As Mass attendance limits begin to fill, we will seat those with reservations first.  Walk-ins will be accommodated once those with reservations are seated. You can find how many have already made reservations in advance by visiting the reservation website.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 20 December 2020

 Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

You might hear some people today saying that we are living in a post-Christian era.  Most often people who say things like this are looking backward to a time that they consider more innocent, more civilized, even more devout.  Sometimes such fond backward glances reveal more a fondness of sentimentality.

There may have been times that were better than others.  Sometimes people lived in a "bubble" and didn't experience racism or persecution because there was no diversity or integration.  This was my childhood.  Certainly now we are more saturated with the news media than ever before and it is very difficult to sift through all of it and discern what is actually true and not just someone's agenda.  The confusion that results alienates us not only from faith, but from reality itself.

Christian churches across the spectrum of denominations seem to be losing members at a fast pace.  The Catholic Church is no different, except for the gift of many Catholics who are coming to this country from Central and South America.

However, I believe "post-Christian" does not mean it's over.  Last one out hit the lights.  "Post-Christian" does not equal "pagan," although external evidence would certainly suggest strong secularism and amorality.  To me, the confusion we live in corresponds with a pre-evangelical era.  A time before Jesus, a time before the Gospels.  We have forgotten who we are because we haven't handed on the heart of faith from one generation to the next in a way that keeps the fire burning.  We don't know what we don't know, but we don't want to feel powerless in our ignorance.  This is why we find that people are leaving a Church they don't even know or understand or live in, as early as 12 years of age.

Rather than circling the wagons and protecting a dwindling flame, now let us consider Advent.  The world is calling out for something to save her but she doesn't even realize yet that it is Jesus.  Hearts look toward a future hope even when the evidence supporting its coming is thin.  A vaguely remembered promise, an inner ear that stays tuned to something whispered is enough for the grace of God to cause that flame to grow.  Over the centuries look at the times that candle became a bonfire.

So who is that candle, which by shining its light, can bring order to the confusion and illuminate and reverse the growing gloom?  It is we. 

We have to leave some of the stereotypes behind.  Who is the just person?  Am I righteous? Or self-righteous?  Aristotle wrote that by practicing justice you become a just person. By virtue or skill that is perceptive, intelligent, or active you can become a great flute player.  But we don't understand flute playing better because of our experience.  Proficiency is one thing, but the heart of the musician is another entirely.
Or this other example I think I used last week. Is a fruit tree good because it bears good fruit, or is the fruit good because the tree is good?  The tree is good first, regardless of its performance.

You and I have been conditioned into thinking our goodness depends on our actions, and not giving credit to God who made us good in the beginning.  Can we gain righteousness before God?  No.  Can we earn his love?  No.  He has offered it already, altogether free.  If we could earn this on our own we wouldn't need Christ at all.  The Church would be just a holy club, not the place where we must encounter God and find healing.
We are not formed by practice.  For this reason we are not to judge and, in so judging, kill the good spirit of one who is trying to do the right.  Rather, we are to love our enemies, do good to those who hurt us, be a witness of the God who loved us first and made us to be his forever.

We are formed by incarnation.  We must receive Christ, not just follow the rules.  I believe it is this fundamental flaw in our understanding of God's love and our response which prevents us from seeing the true nature of the Church.  It is not a series of hoops you jump through to stay out of hell.  It is a sprint—well, more of a relay, since we do it as a team—into the embrace of God.

This letter this week is a preface to my letter in the Christmas bulletin on Thursday.  You see, all of this only makes sense in the unlikely and unexpected event of the incarnation of the Son of God in human flesh.  Wherever you are this holy Christmas, stay safe and we will hold each other close in prayer.

God bless you.