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Streaming Mass and Announcements for the Week of 24 May 2020

Click here to Reserve A Seat (reservation system is scheduled to be available on Tuesday afternoon, 26 May)  (Español)
In accordance with the Governor’s Phase 1 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
 

Community Mass for Saturday after the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Pentecost Vespers (Evening Prayer)

       Worship Aid for Evening Prayer 

Community Mass for Friday after the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Thursday after the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Wednesday after the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Tuesday after the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Monday after the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Mass for the Ascension of the Lord 
         Worship Aid for the Ascension of the Lord


ANNOUNCEMENTS

fleur cross logo Times are uncertain but we rely on your offering to the weekly collection to continue parish ministries. We humbly ask for your continued financial support.  Please consider Faith Direct. Thank you for your generosity. 

fleur cross logo Plans are in progress to welcome you back to Saint Bernadette next weekend. Please remember the dispensation for attending Mass remains in effect indefinitely. Our Saturday 5pm Mass will be in-person in the church as before and we will continue with Live Streaming at 5:30pm to provide continued access for those who cannot or are not yet comfortable attending Mass in person. Our Mass schedule for Sunday will change to 7am, 10am, 1pm in Spanish and 5pm, to allow for enough time for your arrival, Mass and departure, followed by a thorough cleaning of the church and bathroom facilities. In order for our reopening to be effective, efficient and safe, a minimum of 2 Porters and 4 Ushers are needed for each Mass. If we are unable to staff a Mass with the minimum number of volunteers the Mass will be canceled. You will find a complete overview of our plans in Fr. Don's letter and an instructional video will be available this weekend on the announcements page of the website. Our online reservations system is scheduled to be available on Tuesday afternoon, 26 May. Reservations will be required. Daily Masses are scheduled to resume on Monday June 1.

fleur cross logo Our Novena to the Holy Spirit begins this Friday, May 22.  We will pray the novena prayers at the end of live-streamed Masses and you will find the text of the prayers on pages 12-13 in this bulletin as well as at the parish website's announcements page.

fleur cross logo  Our Parish Staff members will be observing the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, 25 May. We will be available to receive your calls again on Tuesday 26 May.

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School.  We invite you to visit our Virtual Open House at our school Facebook page, facebook.com/stbernschool/videos, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more.  Registration is open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

fleur cross logo For the Fairfax County Health Department's toolkit regarding mitigation of the coronavirus spread please see https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/toolkit-slow-spread   To receive regular updates by text, you may text FFXCOVID to 888-777.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 24 May, 2020

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Here is the text of our welcome back video which will be available online at our website and facebook platform:

Finally it is time to welcome you back to the Lord’s table.  We want to provide a safe space for you, and ask that you always wear a mask, bring hand sanitizer, and observe 6 foot physical distancing as outlined by civil authorities.

Remember Bishop’s instruction: the dispensation from the Sunday/holy day obligation is in effect indefinitely, and no member of the faithful is obliged to attend Mass. The allowance for the public celebration of Mass in no way intends to place an undue burden on the conscience of those who choose not to attend Mass, out of concern for their own safety and/or the safety of others whom they regularly encounter.  Anyone 65 years of age or older, anyone with medical or mental issues which could put them at risk, and anyone responsible for their care is encouraged to attend Mass online through our live-streamed Masses which will continue everyday.

Our area has seen one of the highest infection rates in Virginia, and we have parishioners who have tested positive.  Spread of infection also occurs by people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 so to come to a large gathering without a mask only adds to the existing risk.  I would advise people with small children to consider not bringing them, as they can’t receive Communion anyway, and we still do not know the extent of COVID-related inflammatory syndrome in children.  
We are opening back up, but the virus is no less contagious.  Let us find Christ also in the way we take care of one another.

Online sign-up required
You will be able to sign up online as individuals or in family groups.  This is so that you will be able to see before leaving home whether or not there are going to be enough available seats.  When one Mass is full, please choose another.  We’ll review that online process with a step-by-step explanation in greater detail on the website.

Entering the church
You will be asked to arrive here at the church starting 30 minutes before Mass begins.  Please do not be late, this will already be a slow process.  While waiting, please observe proper social distancing with masks on.  This includes children.  Porters will be inside the door on either end of the vestibule to admit you, and an usher will escort you into the church.  Please pay attention and follow the directions of the ushers.  The restrooms will have an occupancy of only two people at a time, so please plan ahead not to use the bathrooms at the church.  Children will not be allowed to get up and run around the vestibule during Mass, as that area will have been exposed to everyone coming into the church.
You will see in the vestibule large baskets in which we ask you to drop your offertory envelopes.  We thank you in advance.

The small handicapped entrance will not be open for entering:  those requiring handicapped accessibility to the church are asked to park in the designated spaces behind the rectory and enter by way of the new ramp between the gym and the church.

Unfortunately, there can be no stopping and talking, no gathering, no standing room in the vestibule or back of church.  We expect everyone to enter the church single-file and down the center of the aisles.  The aisles will be taped off every 6 feet to help you keep a safe distance from the person in front of you.

You will see we have placed a brass upholstery tack 40 inches from the ends of each pew.  No one is to sit closer to an aisle than this 40-inch marker.  Every other pew will be roped off; our pew backs are exactly 6 feet between every two pews.  The usher will invite you into the next available pew and you will go to the other end as far as the brass tack on the other end.  Individuals, couples and families may sit comfortably spaced, then there must be a 6 foot gap between you and the next person.  When less than 6 feet remain between those seated and the first upholstery tack, that pew is full.  You will not be able to choose your favorite pew in the church.

Once in the pew, you will notice that all hymnals have been removed.  If you would like to have the readings for Mass with you, you are encouraged to follow along with a hand Missal or readings brought from home.  For the time being, there will be no singing, as this has also been shown to be a cause of spread.

The diocese has stated that there is to be no sign of peace, and no holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.  There will be announcements and explanations given during Mass to help everyone as we get accustomed to these practices.

Holy Communion
At Communion time, people will be called forward section by section to receive, one section at a time, single file, 6 feet between each person.  All are encouraged to sanitize your hands before and after receiving Communion.  Bishop has asked all Catholics to prayerfully consider choosing the option of receiving on the hand, at least temporarily.

You will see crosses on the floor where you are to stop if receiving Communion in the hand, 6 feet from the priest or deacon.  You receive it, step aside from the priest, lowering your mask with your free hand, placing the host in your mouth. Priests are instructed to sanitize their hands if making contact with your hand before continuing distribution.

If you receive on the tongue, try to distance as best you can from the priest, lowering your mask for only the moment of reception.  Because the virus is airborn and the priest's hand is close to your nose and mouth, he is required to sanitize his hands after each instance.  

You will return to your pews, distanced 6 feet, without crossing traffic lanes with any others in the aisles.

At the end of Mass
At the end of Mass you will be asked to leave the church one section at a time and exit through the vestibule and go to your cars.  The back pews in each section will leave first, minimizing exposure.  Unfortunately you will not be permitted to stay in the church for prayer when it is time for your section to leave.   Once outside and away from others, face coverings may be removed.

Sanitizing
Speaking with other pastors who have already opened their parishes again, we know that it will take about 30 minutes to get everyone into the church, and somewhat less than 30 minutes for everyone to leave.  At that time, the doors will be locked with no one in the church except our cleaning company, who will come into the church and carefully sanitize all pews and surfaces, vestibule and bathrooms.  They will require about one hour to do this work, before we are able to open the church 30 minutes before the next Mass.  

Some priests are asking their parishioners to wipe down their areas with sanitizing wipes before they leave.  While it is true this would take less time, we are advised that this is not wise in areas where we have seen higher instances of coronavirus.

New Mass schedule
Because of these needs, we will adjust the Sunday Mass schedule to 7am, 10am, 1pm in Spanish, and 5pm.  We will keep the 5pm Vigil Mass on Saturday and also keep the 5:30pm live-streaming Mass which will be available to the parish from 5:30 Saturday throughout the day Sunday.

We thank you for your disciplined cooperation to these guidelines.  We also ask that you be flexible to attend Mass when seats are available on the sign-up platform online.  I know everyone is going to want to come to the 10am Mass on Sunday but not everyone will be able to do so.  Consider the need we have for Eucharist and do not allow convenience to prevent you from attending.  

One last word about masks/face coverings:  please do not wear a mask that is inappropriate or will distract from the prayerfulness of our gathering.  Follow the same rules we try to follow with regard to what is reverent and appropriate in our attire.

I know there will be people who do not want to wear masks;  nobody likes it.  Studies indicate more and more each day that masks are going to be the solution to virus spread.  They provide an 80% decrease in possible infection.  Wear a mask because it is an act of love for those around you and include it as a part of your offering to God at Mass when you are able to join us.

God bless you.

 


P.S.  At the time of this posting (Friday evening, 22 May), we only have 13 volunteers for Porters and Ushers.  We figure we need a minimum of 6 per Mass to open safely - a Porter at each entrance and 4 Ushers to escort families to properly-spaced seating. 

Please contact me if you are willing/able to serve:

Porters/Ushers Job Description 

Eligibility:  Adults under 65 years of age and not suffering from any sort of medical or mental condition which would put you at risk.  We must state from the start that this ministry will not be without inherent risk.  You must wear a mask (we can provide for ministers) and observe the discipline of CDC guidelines of physically distancing from all people by six feet.  A balance of authority and humility, patience. High school students who wish to volunteer need to call Fr. Don and have a letter of permission from their parents.

Porters will stand at the entrance doors of the church and regulate people, preventing people from grouping together inside.  Doors will be propped open to prevent spread by contact.  We will begin using an online sign-up platform so that we do the same thing from the start without changes and people can get accustomed to using it, but we don’t anticipate exceeding the number of seats inside for a while.  You will kindly ask people not wearing masks to come back to another Mass or attend Mass via live streaming online.  Near you will be a basket where people will be able to drop their offering before or after Mass.  Your job will be to keep an eye on it.  They are 36” tall and easy to keep track of.

Ushers will escort families or individuals into the church one group at a time (we must have at least four per Mass), taking them to the next available pew.  We have a simple way for this to work, and will cover this in training early next week (hopefully).  After each seating, you return to the porter to invite the next family in.  There is no collection, and there will be no need to direct traffic at Communion as we will call each section to come forward individually to avoid crossing lanes of traffic.  Likewise, we will invite the people to leave the church section by section starting at the back of each section, and staying six feet apart as they leave the church.

Streaming Mass and Announcements for the Week of 17 May 2020

STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES

Community Mass for Saturday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Friday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Thursday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Tuesday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Monday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Mass for the Sixth Sunday of Easter 
         Worship Aid for the Sixth Sunday of Easter


ANNOUNCEMENTS

fleur cross logo Times are uncertain but we rely on your offering to the weekly collection to continue parish ministries.The Second Collection this weekend is for Parish Special Needs. We humbly ask your continued financial support.  Please consider Faith Direct. Thank you for your generosity. 

fleur cross logo Arlington Diocese released guidelines this week about how parishes are going to reopen for Mass.  As we are currently still in Phase 0 (pre-opening stage due to continued rise in local infections) we are instructed by Bishop Burbidge to wait until the weekend of May 30-31 to resume community Masses.  You will find explanation and initial planning in Fr. Don's article this week (page 3) as well as the instruction sheet prepared by the diocese (page 5-6) in today's bulletin.

fleur cross logo Our Novena to the Holy Spirit begins this Friday, May 22.  We will pray the novena prayers at the end of live-streamed Masses and you will find the text of the prayers on pages 12-13 in this bulletin as well as at the parish website's announcements page.

fleur cross logo Our Parish Staff members are all working from home and standing by to receive your calls.  Let us know how we can serve you.  We're still here for you.

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School.  We invite you to visit our Virtual Open House at our school Facebook page, facebook.com/stbernschool/videos, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more.  Registration is open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

fleur cross logo  Washington Lamb has informed us that effective this week they need to discontinue the food order/delivery program until further notice.  They have been experiencing difficulty in receiving deliveries on the supply side and must prioritize the normal demand for their primary restaurant clients to whom they are first contractually obligated.  They apologize for the suddenness of this announcement but want to let you know they are still offering their walk-in retail option to members.  Questions may be directed to 703-339-7000, info@washingtonlamb.com.

fleur cross logo For the Fairfax County Health Department's toolkit regarding mitigation of the coronavirus spread please see https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/toolkit-slow-spread   To receive regular updates by text, you may text FFXCOVID to 888-777.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 17 May 2020

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

All of a sudden we have a big bulletin this week!  We knew the Holy Spirit Novena was coming:  rather than attach it to daily Mass this year, since we have the video option, we will record and provide the short prayers with a link for the texts on the announcements page of the parish website.  This was the first novena, the nine days that the Apostles prayed in hiding after Jesus' ascension into heaven (observed next Sunday) and Pentecost, two Sundays from now.  We all need to pray "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful" now more than ever!

As you will find beginning on the page to the right, Bishop has published guidelines for the reopening of parishes.  Some parishes to the south are open this weekend, but we are delayed because we are not yet determined Phase 1 in the plan of reopening.  We are still under stay-at-home orders and the best thing we can do to beat this is to stay at home.  On a zoom meeting with pastors this week he told us that it does no good, in a Phase 0 zone, to pretend that we are not in a Phase 0 zone.

Even once we reopen he asked all pastors to remind everyone that coming back together does not mean that our doing so does not involve risk.  The virus is no less contagious than it was two months ago.  For this reason he has told us that nobody should feel like this has to happen right away.  He expects a slow return as people become more and more comfortable, and people display proper respect for others by wearing masks and physical distancing, at least six feet between people.  The Mass will be no different.  We will be expected to wear masks, have no physical contact with each other and build a culture of trust where we know we are safe with our parish family.  You can read where he has included certain precautions to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The dispensation from any obligation of public worship continues indefinitely.  If anyone is over 60, or has any medical or mental condition that could put them at risk, you are encouraged to stay home.  All will be asked to make sure they do not have a fever or any (even non-COVID) symptoms in order to come into proximity with others.  All will be asked to bring their own masks and hand sanitizer.  I've been told that Walmart has stopped providing sanitizer because they simply can't afford the quantity of sanitizer that was being used.  Please be working on obtaining these items if you haven't already.

Bishop also asked that anyone who has responsibility to care for someone who might be at risk to take seriously the need to stay healthy and not put them at risk.  Masks and distancing aren't practiced to keep ourselves healthy, but to keep others protected from us, as none of us knows if we might be asymptomatic positive carriers.

We are also watching developments in children's cases, so I would caution parents (hopefully unnecessarily) about bringing children who move around rather than staying in the pew, if at all for now.  Maybe parents can come individually while one stays home with the children.  My parents did this when we were little because we couldn't sit still.

My purpose here might seem discouraging, but it isn't.  My point is to make sure that our actions don't endanger any parishioners.  Care must be our motive and caution our method.

We have a Liturgy Committee meeting this week and will be looking for parishioners who would be willing to help us as porters/ushers to help people to be seated according to the restrictions.  With six feet between individuals, we can only accommodate about 175 people at a Mass, so we will need to figure out what that looks like.  Also, the Mass schedule will need to adapt to the reality of seating people before Mass properly-distanced in the aisles and pews, dismissing the church section-by-section with proper distancing, and closing the church between Masses so the cleaning crew can come in and sanitize the pews and all surfaces which were touched by the people at a previous Mass.  We are in contact with parishes who are already opening this weekend (so much work in a short time) and pastors and Bishop will meet on Monday by Zoom to determine best practices.

I intend to produce a video this week which will be available by the end of the week, a virtual procedures demonstration of how people will enter church, be seated, come forward for Holy Communion, and be dismissed when Mass is over.  Unfortunately, there can be no pausing and visiting for a while.

I hope that this is going to help us all become people who are more aware of the care that others need from us even when we might be unaware of them.  So much of our health depends on the caution of others who are doing the right thing.

God bless you.

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the Week of 10 May 2020

STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES

Worship Aid for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for the Saturday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Friday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Thursday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Wednesday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter

         Worship Aid for the Wednesday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter (School Mass)

Community Mass for Tuesday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Monday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
         Worship Aid for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

fleur cross logo Times are uncertain but we rely on your offering to the weekly collection to continue parish ministries.The Second Collection this weekend is for Parish Special Needs. We humbly ask your continued financial support.  Please consider Faith Direct. Thank you for your generosity. 

fleur cross logo Our Parish Staff members are all working from home and standing by to receive your calls.  Let us know how we can serve you.  We're still here for you.

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School.  We invite you to visit our Virtual Open House at our school Facebook page, facebook.com/stbernschool/videos, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more.  Registration is open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

fleur cross logo  Washington Lamb has informed us that effective this week they need to discontinue the food order/delivery program until further notice.  They have been experiencing difficulty in receiving deliveries on the supply side and must prioritize the normal demand for their primary restaurant clients to whom they are first contractually obligated.  They apologize for the suddenness of this announcement but want to let you know they are still offering their walk-in retail option to members.  Questions may be directed to 703-339-7000, info@washingtonlamb.com.

fleur cross logo For the Fairfax County Health Department's toolkit regarding mitigation of the coronavirus spread please see https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/toolkit-slow-spread   To receive regular updates by text, you may text FFXCOVID to 888-777.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 10 May 2020

 

 

 

0510330 pastor letter

Streaming Masses and Weekly Announcements for the week of 3 May 2020

STREAMING SUNDAY AND WEEKEND MASSES

Community Mass for Saturday after the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Friday after the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Thursday after the Fourth Sunday of Easter


Community Mass for Wednesday after the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Tuesday after the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Monday after the Fourth Sunday of Easter 


Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
 

       Worship Aid for the Fourth Sunday of Easter


ANNOUNCEMENTS

fleur cross logo Times are uncertain but we rely on your offering to the weekly collection to continue parish ministries.The Second Collection this weekend is for Parish Special Needs. We humbly ask your continued financial support.  Please consider Faith Direct. Thank you for your generosity. 

fleur cross logo Our Parish Staff members are all working from home and standing by to receive your calls.  Let us know how we can serve you.  We're still here for you.

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School.  We invite you to visit our Virtual Open House at our school Facebook page, facebook.com/stbernschool/videos, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more.  Registration is open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

fleur cross logo Our Mothers’ Day Novena begins next Sunday with nine days of Masses for moms, grandmothers and anyone who has served in the role of mothers. It is still not too late to get your envelope in. Gift cards are available in the vestibule or download our Mother’s Day Novena Form from our parish website announcements page. Please name those you would like to remember with your donation on the envelope.

fleur cross logo The Second Collection next weekend is for Diocesan Retired Priests. They served us with their lives, let us help them now, later in life. Thank you for your generosity.

fleur cross logo Washington Lamb is partnering with organizations to get fresh meat, poultry and other essentials in family quantities at wholesale prices out to communities. This coming Thursday, May 7, Saint Bernadette Church  in Springfield, VA will host a pick-up event from 10am - 2pm. Below are fliers with a list of products being offered and pricing. Orders are placed, prepaid, and distributed utlizing no contact service, greatly reducing spread and contraction factors compared to traditional brick and mortar grocers. Prices are lower and the supply is guaranteed at the time of order. 

COVID 19 Relief Program Overview

Saint Bernadette Church - Thursday, May 7, 10am - 2pm 

Community Drop Pricing

fleur cross logo For the Fairfax County Health Department's toolkit regarding mitigation of the coronavirus spread please see https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/toolkit-slow-spread   To receive regular updates by text, you may text FFXCOVID to 888-777.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 3 May 2020

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Streaming Masses and Announcements for the week of 26 April 2020

STREAMING WEEKDAY AND SUNDAY MASS

Community Mass for Saturday after the Third Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Friday after the Third Sunday of Easter 

Community Mass for Thursday after the Third Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Wednesday after the Third Sunday of Easter 

Community Mass for Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Easter

Community Mass for Monday after the Third Sunday of Easter 

Mass for the Third Sunday of Easter
          Worship Aid for the Third Sunday of Easter

Taizé Ecumenical Prayer Service

Worship Aid for Taizé

 NO FACEBOOK ACCOUNT NEEDED TO VIEW DAILY AND SUNDAY MASSES, Just click on "Not Now"


ANNOUNCEMENTS

fleur cross logo  Times are uncertain but we rely on your offering to the weekly collection to continue parish ministries.  We humbly ask your continued financial support.  Our Second Collection next weekend is for our  Catholic HOme Missions. Please consider Faith Direct - our parish code is VA70.  Thank you for your generosity.

fleur cross logo Washington Lamb is partnering with organizations to get fresh meat, poultry and other essentials in family quantities at wholesale prices out to communities. This coming Thursday, April 30, Saint Bernadette Church  in Springfield, VA will host a pick-up event from 10am - 2pm. Below are fliers with a list of products being offered and pricing. Orders are placed, prepaid, and distributed utlizing no contact service, greatly reducing spread and contraction factors compared to traditional brick and mortar grocers. Prices are lower and the supply is guaranteed at the time of order. 

COVID 19 Relief Program Overview

Saint Bernadette Church - Thursday, April 30, 10am - 2pm 

Community Drop Pricing

fleur cross logo The Catholic Home Missions Appeal second collection is today. Right now, over 40 percent of dioceses in the US are considered home missions because they are unable to fund essential pastoral work needed in their communities. Please prayerfully consider supporting this appeal and ease their struggle. More information can be found at usccb.org/home-missions.


fleur cross logo Our Parish Staff members are all working from home and standing by to receive your calls.  Let us know how we can serve you.  We're still here for you.

fleur cross logo Instead of our monthly TAIZE prayer service on Monday, April 27 at 8pm in the church, you are invited to join us in prayer online via our parish facebook page. Invite all your Christian friends to join us in this beautiful, peaceful ecumenical prayer service in the tradition of the Taizé Community in France.

fleur cross logo 
The Bishop’s Lenten Appeal continues  and we are asking every household in our parish to support this appeal to the extent you are able.   BLA funds are restricted gifts that provide many programs, services and ministries that serve people in need—now, more than ever—and may not be used for any other purpose.

fleur cross logo Due to current circumstances, we ask that you convert your CRS Rice Bowl donation to a check and mail it to the Parish office. This will greatly assist in counting of the funds, and forwarding them on to Catholic Relief Services. Please note in the memo line CRS Rice Bowl, otherwise please place the funds in a sealed envelope and drop it through the mail slot at the parish office with a note CRS Rice Bowl.

fleur cross logo Mass Intentions are still available.  In fact, we have many Masses scheduled without intentions.  You can find a request form for Mass intentions on the Announcements page of the website.  Or, just call the office.

fleur cross logo Updated information for Fairfax County Health Department Toolkit and CDC Guidelines for those persons at Higher Risk has been added to the sidebar.Text FFXCOVID to 888-777 for regular updates.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 26 April 2020

 Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Can you recall the first Earth Day 50 years ago?  I can.  We had just moved to our new house in the Kansas suburbs and our new school, Cure of Ars, had a tree-planting ceremony in the afternoon. Even then we already knew we needed to treat the earth better.  At that point we had commercials on television begging people not to throw their trash out of their car windows as they drove past the crying Native American chief.

So, we have made some progress.  Most people have accepted the concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” if not the practice.  But Pope Francis’ words this past week should get our attention.  In his catechesis on Wednesday, the pope said Earth Day was “an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family.”  “As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst.”  It requires a new way of looking at the earth, not as a “storehouse of resources for us to exploit,” but as a sacred gift for sustaining all of humanity. 

Care for the earth is necessary to care for each other.

This week I dialed in to an online dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics on the topic of care for creation, and there were many convergences of message between the contributors.  Here are a few which I found to be significant and relevant:
                          •  When we put vulnerable populations at risk because of our selfishness, the resulting social and environmental injustice is morally wrong.

                          •  Consumerism is the fastest growing world religion that actually contradicts all other world religions.  It is the replacement of the divine with the self.

                          •  We are living as if our resources are not finite.  Why is more and more always better if it will never be enough?  And are these resources a means to an end, or a responsibility?

We are being challenged here, at that time when we “reopen” as a world community, to decide to open again to a better reality than before.  Our old ways of excess and ignorance need to be replaced with a heightened sense that God is calling us to be good stewards of the fragile reality of our life on this earth. 

It is time to consider him as an integral part of this picture, not only as Creator, but also the Sustainer upon whom we depend entirely.  I once heard a priest in a homily say that our entire existence is dependence on God.  If he stopped thinking of us for an instant we would no longer be.  But we are trained from a very early age that our existence is independence and we are consumed with the ideas of fairness and rights.  Again, this sense of entitlement is unfounded, a fiction.  But even if we have such rights, Saint Thomas says, they come with a corresponding duty.  That duty is justice, and a practical part of the virtue of justice is religion:  giving what is due to the Author of rights.

We have a lot to do here at Saint Bernadette, even to act on the “reduce, reuse, recycle” practice.  Going “zero waste” is a lifestyle journey that is possible, but not immediate.  We need to start with little steps imagining how we might use less, and produce less trash. 
 
A sign went up in our staff break room which I first found annoying but it grows on you.  It quotes Mother Teresa saying that you must wash your plate not because it is dirty, but because you love the next person that will use it.  Such instructions might be posted because somebody is tired of finding a sink full of dirty plates, but it reveals the same message of Pope Francis this week:  the focus of our lifestyles must not be only ourselves, but for others.  What we do must benefit others first, and a kind of servant leadership begins to emerge.  Sounds familiar, right?  I did not come to be served, but to serve... and to give my life...

When I was a kid we were expected to memorize poems, and one of my childhood memories is Joyce Kilmer's “Trees.” 
 
I think that I shall never see 
                            A poem lovely as a tree...
                            Poems are made by fools like me, 
                            But only God can make a tree.


I'm not a tree-hugger as such, but I have always marveled at the beauty of trees in any season, their architecture in winter, the subtlety in early spring and the grand finish in the fall.  I notice them, and am grateful for them.  There were early seeds planted in me—whether by planting a tree on that first Earth Day or because we memorized poetry, or living on a farm where I had time to reflect—to notice.  In a time of solitude, your senses sharpen and your thoughts can help redirect actions.  May we take advantage of this time of extra time to reflect, evaluate, and reshape the practice of our lives, focusing on others.

God bless you.