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Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 14 April 3rd Sunday of Easter

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

A study in the community.

Although we didn’t see the “totality” (a word we’ve heard a lot lately) of the eclipse, our school and parish staff who were still on the property assembled outside and watched the greatest show off earth that we have seen, perhaps in our lives. All with the proper eyewear, of course.

After all the build up and the hype, the random likelihood of clouds (if not even rain), and reports of travel crunches involving even hundreds of thousands of people, I must admit I was expecting to be underwhelmed. What I discovered was wonder, for a phenomenon that is unlike any other. It was emotional, even at our 85% reality. Watching also as the eclipse went across the country in different cities, I had the sense that we were witnessing something incredibly special.

Earlier that day I was listening to a scientist who kept referring to the eclipse as a remarkable cosmic mistake. What are the chances, she asked, that our moon is 1/400th of the size of the sun, and the distance between us and the moon is exactly 1/400th the distance from us and the sun? What are the chances that this is just how things happen to be? Stop and think: the chances of this being a random mistake are none.

God made this, and he made this to do this, so that we can see how totally “other” he is as our creator, and how he made this possible for our delight. God makes marvels. His miracles unfold every day. We discover something new about his creation, and at the same time we grow in our knowledge of him. We not only share his creation, we share being part of his miraculous creation.

Many people referred to this as a religious experience. No wonder. Like God, we feel so small and insignificant in comparison. Humility is good.

One psychologist on a news bit said that experiences like this are what we need more than anything right now. Think of all the social ills that we suffer from today.

Communal experiences form community. Look at the effects of a good football team on a city (or even a bad football team). Shared projects like our new parish hall or our new ministry of Mary’s Comfort shape us as a community through our common experiences. Some of those experiences, like the pandemic, for example, brought out the best and the worst in us as we suffered together, and triumphed together in service. Most of all, we encounter God together in the Mass.

This psychologist said that this is the perfect time for an eclipse. For one thing, there is no way you can spin this politically. It doesn’t have potential for division at all. We are looking at a miracle, for crying out loud. It is something so other than ourselves that it takes us outside of ourselves, together, where we need to be. Too much time inside your head and alone is not a good place to be.

Finally, she said, the two major illnesses of our culture are denied. Depression is a disordered relationship with the past, and anxiety is a disordered relationship with the future. An eclipse doesn’t have a past or future at all; it causes everyone to be present in the present moment. It automatically unifies here and now.

Lynn Jones, our Director of Religious Education, took this photo at our maximum (see our bulletin).

The Lord be with you,

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the week of 14 April 3rd Sunday of Easter

Today's Live-Streamed Mass

Worship Aid for the Third Sunday of Easter 

fleur cross logo We are almost to goal – 94% for our parish participation in the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. If you have not yet contributed, please try to finish this week. You may make a gift at: www.arlingtondiocese.org/BLA 

fleur cross logo Celebrate the Feast of St. Bernadette with a special Mass on Tuesday, April 16, at 7 pm.

fleur cross logo Join us for our monthly Taize Prayer Service on Monday at 8 pm. Come for a peaceful moment of simple song and silence and pray for Christian Unity.T

fleur cross logo All 6th - 8th graders are invited to join us for games and snacks in the gym on Wednesday, April 17th, from 6:45-8pm! See the bulletin for more details.

fleur cross logo Our online Silent Auction is live! Bidding will close on April 20. This is your last week to bid or purchase a ticket to attend our Gala and Live Auction next Saturday, April 20th. Please visit our website to start bidding. The entire Saint Bernadette Community makes our gala and live auction possible. Thank you for your support and generosity!

fleur cross logo All-Saints Car Raffle is on April 27th. Four Vehicles will be raffled along with a $20,000 cash prize and other cash drawings. There are lots of chances to win. Your purchase provides additional financial support for our church and school, and you could win a prize, too. Please return your sold and unsold tickets to All Saints by April 23rd.

fleur cross logo  Our online Silent Auction is live! Bidding will close on April 20. This is your last week to bid or purchase a ticket to attend our Gala and Live Auction next Saturday, April 20th. Please visit our website to start bidding. The entire Saint Bernadette Community makes our gala and live auction possible. Thank you for your support and generosity!Buy a Gala Ticket TODAY!

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the week of 7 April Divine Mercy Sunday

Today's Live-Streamed Mass

Worship Aid for the Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday

fleur cross logo THANKS! If you haven’t already, please complete your commitment to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. As of March 3, we are at 73% of our goal with 10% of households participating. Take a pledge envelope from the church or go online to make a gift or pledge. The funds from the BLA provide a way for leaders of all ministries, volunteers and people from all walks of life to grow as a community, enrich parish life, teach the faith, and help those in need. You may make a gift at: www.arlingtondiocese.org/BLA 

fleur cross logo Join us in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet on Sunday, April 7 at 3 pm in the church. 

fleur cross logo Celebrate the Feast of St. Bernadette with a special Mass on Tuesday, April 16, at 7 pm.

fleur cross logo All-Saints Car Raffle is on April 27th. Four Vehicles will be raffled along with a $20,000 cash prize and other cash drawings. There are lots of chances to win. Your purchase provides additional financial support for our church and school, and you could win a prize, too. Please return your sold and unsold tickets to All Saints by April 23rd.

fleur cross logo Have you purchased your ticket to the 23rd Gala and Live Auction on  April 20, 2024. ? Our Biennial Auction is generously supported by our entire Saint Bernadette Community. Buy a Gala Ticket TODAY!

 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 7 April Divine Mercy Sunday

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Happy Easter to you! Did you know that today is still Easter Sunday? Actually, all Sundays are celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection, but this Mystery of Christ is so big that it cannot be contained in a Sunday, even with the Vigil Mass included. It is an octave, and all eight days are considered Easter Sunday. What Sunday is to the week, Easter Sunday is to the year.

Every year it seems like Easter is over so fast. The eggs are eaten, the chocolate is gone, the liturgies – so carefully prepared and beautifully celebrated – are events in the past. The season of Lent sometimes feels like it will never end, and we come to that most important moment when we renew the promises of our Baptism – for many of us promises that were made for us by our godparents – and live in that new light and water of Easter. “Now that our Lenten observances have come to a close...” we find ourselves on the other side of Jesus’ resurrection and, if I can speak for myself, beginning an Easter season that seems even longer. Fifty days to Pentecost, trying to sustain preaching about the same thing for fifty days.

This year, however, I hope to approach the Easter season from a different perspective. Not so much about the resurrection itself, but what that means to us as baptized persons. We tend to be a people who come to the moments, check the box, and then look for what’s next. Maybe it is our experience in the educational system. I remember in college developing an attitude that it was sufficient to study enough to pass the exam, without considering what was beyond. If I can just get the good grade, I won’t have to remember all of this anymore, and I will move on to the next thing.

It cannot be so with Baptism! I’m sure you have heard me preach about this before, but it was one of the observations of Saint Pope John Paul II that we tend to do just what we have to do to win the reward. To get baptized, we jump through hoops to earn this package, this beautifully wrapped gift, and then we put it on a shelf and maybe admire it because it is so beautiful. But too many people never open up the gift to know what is inside! For so many, Baptism remains a concept, or a requirement to get what we want, not something that is actually given to us to be opened so it can transform our life.

David Mathers, our music director, said this: “One of the greatest fruits of Vatican II was a return to Baptism and the consideration of the other sacraments, particularly Eucharist and Holy Orders, from the perspective of Baptism. Saint Pope Paul VI understood this and, as a result, personally created the Renewal of Baptismal Promises for Easter Sunday.”

People often comment about the exuberance of the sprinkling rite at the Easter Masses and how much fun it looks like the priests are having. The fun – the true joy – of the moment isn’t because we get to soak everybody! It is because this is the water that has saved us! This is the water into which Jesus descended in the Jordan River so as to leave his cloak of divinity in the water so that when we enter it, we literally put on Christ. “Awake, O sleeper! Arise from death and Christ will fill you with life!” (from an ancient Easter homily). It is the water blessed at the Paschal Candle at the Easter Vigil, sourced from the blessed primordial fire of creation. All of creation awaits this moment of rebirth. Let it rain.

We now look back on that sprinkling with water which was the moment of fulfilment of all our Lenten preparation. Easter isn’t just so that we can more faithfully and more beautifully remember the saving event of Jesus (which is, of course of utmost importance), but far greater it is for the reality to sink into our hearts that all of this is for me, for you, and only means something if we live the reality of baptismal life as humble, thankful servants following Jesus. Liturgy is not a pretty gift we put on a shelf – regardless of what kind of wrapping it has. Our liturgy is our life.

It only works if you unwrap the beautiful package. We can no longer be people who simply come to hear the readings and receive Communion and then go about our lives as if nothing really happened. It is the process of casting off the old self, and celebrating a new life in God.

The Lord be with you,

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the week of 31 March Easter Sunday

Today's Live-Streamed Mass

Worship Aid for Holy Thursday 

Worship Aid Good Friday Passion Liturgy

Worship Aid for Easter Vigil

fleur cross logo THANKS! If you haven’t already, please complete your commitment to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. As of March 3, we are at 73% of our goal with 10% of households participating. Take a pledge envelope from the church or go online to make a gift or pledge. The funds from the BLA provide a way for leaders of all ministries, volunteers and people from all walks of life to grow as a community, enrich parish life, teach the faith, and help those in need. You may make a gift at: www.arlingtondiocese.org/BLA 

fleur cross logo HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE

Palm Sunday, March 24

  • Vigil Mass on Saturday, March 23 at 5pm
  • 7am, 9am, 11am, and 5:30pm Mass in English
  • 1pm Mass in Spanish

Holy Thursday, March 28

  • Office of Readings and Morning Prayer at 8am
  • Mass of the Lord's Supper (bilingual) at 7:30pm, followed by a procession to the Altar of Repose
  • Night Prayer at 11:45pm

Good Friday, March 29

  • Office of Readings & Morning Prayer at 8am
  • "Tre Ore" -The 7 Last Words of Jesus in mediation & song, 12-3pm (Limited confessions will be available)
  • Stations of the Cross in English at 3pm
  • Via Crucis en Español a las 4pm
  • La Pasión y Veneración de la Santa Cruz en Español a las 5pm
  • The Passion & Veneration of the Holy Cross in English at 7:30pm

Holy Saturday, March 30

  • Office of Readings and Morning Prayer at 8am
  • Easter Foods Blessing at 10am
  • The Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord (bilingual) at 8:30pm

EASTER SUNDAY, March 31

  • 7am, 9am, and 11am in Englsih. There is NO 5:30pm Mass.
  • 1pm en Español

CONFESSION Opportunities 

  • Friday, March 29, 12-3pm (limited confessions available)
  • No confession on Saturday, March 30

fleur cross logo Please return your Rice Bowls. We would appreciate it if you could change the coins and bills into a check, but we will accept coins.

fleur cross logoThe ECHO Yard Sale returns to the school gym on Saturday, April 6, starting at 8 am. 

fleur cross logo The Knights of Springfield are sponsoring a shred event open to the public on Saturday, April 6, between 10am-Noon in the parking lot. 

fleur cross logo Have you purchased your ticket to the 23rd Gala and Live Auction on  April 20, 2024. ? Our Biennial Auction is generously supported by our entire Saint Bernadette Community. Buy a Gala Ticket TODAY!

fleur cross logoParish Offices will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 31 March Easter Sunday

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Happy Easter to you! and all that means as we continue to run together on that road from Emmaus back to the apostles in the upper room, as we claim together, “We have seen the Lord.” Coming from places of doubt and discouragement, having learned from Jesus himself what all of this has to do with him and how great is the call that he has come to bring us back, let us focus our eyes on him now, and allow all the attention that we give to ourselves turn to him.

During this Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday I have intended to give the same homily through the different lenses of Jesus’ Passion on Palm Sunday, his self-gift at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, is offering of love, the same self-gift, now given to the Father on Good Friday, and the joy we know that he did all this so that we might put on Christ as we watch the miracle of baptism continue to live in those we welcome into the Church this Easter Vigil. That was us, once, even though most of us were not old enough to make that commitment for ourselves.

I’m writing my five points here, again.

He made us so that we can be here, right now. There are no accidents. Each moment is an opportunity for mercy and forgiveness and unconditional love. It is assured with God, if we tune our hearts to the melody of his creation. His love reaches out to all he has made to gather it back to himself.

This is how God saves what is lost. He himself comes looking, sending his only begotten to become one of us. He becomes human so that we can become divine, nothing less. We become him. Saint Augustine said, “Let us rejoice and give thanks that we have become not only Christian, but Christ.”

All of this is for you. The plan of God before time began, the forming of covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and now Jesus -- all of this is for you. Can you feel it? Theologians say that if you were the only person on this earth, the Son of God would still come and die for you. The Gospel we hear: the angry mob, the torture, the blood, the ignominious death. All of this, for you, so you don’t have to endure it. What wondrous love is this?

Even in Jesus’ humanity we see the tension between love and obedience. “Father, take this cup from me...” if that is your will. But your will be done. He was resolved, not resigned to this. Committed, not compliant. He could have shut down the whole thing at any minute if that was his preference.

God is love, and he has no other desire that you thrive. Here’s how, he shows us, in Jesus his Word. It’s the cross. From the world’s perspective it doesn’t make sense if you don’t see the resulting beauty and joy.

You are the Body of Christ. Born in the cold world, exiled, persecuted, dismissed, rejected, judged, scourged, crucified. It is the story of centuries of martyrs, and not just the ones whose stories are public. You are is passion and death.

We do this at Mass every time we gather, don’t we? We join him on that cross, we offer our self-gift to the Father in love. “Do this in memory of me.” Saint Augustine says that the true measure of time is our inner memory. You decide that the saving act of Jesus is not in the past, or something to hope for. It is now. So, we remember. Like the thief on the cross, “Jesus, remember me...” This day, Jesus says.

There is no other place we are to be at this time that at the Mass. The instrument of the gift that saves the world. Is there a more important role anywhere in the world?

The Lord be with you,

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the week of 24 March 2024

Today's Live-Streamed Mass

Worship Aid for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord 

fleur cross logo THANKS! If you haven’t already, please complete your commitment to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. As of March 3, we are at 73% of our goal with 10% of households participating. Take a pledge envelope from the church or go online to make a gift or pledge. The funds from the BLA provide a way for leaders of all ministries, volunteers and people from all walks of life to grow as a community, enrich parish life, teach the faith, and help those in need. You may make a gift at: www.arlingtondiocese.org/BLA 

fleur cross logo HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE

Palm Sunday, March 24

  • Vigil Mass on Saturday, March 23 at 5pm
  • 7am, 9am, 11am, and 5:30pm Mass in English
  • 1pm Mass in Spanish

Holy Thursday, March 28

  • Office of Readings and Morning Prayer at 8am
  • Mass of the Lord's Supper (bilingual) at 7:30pm, followed by a procession to the Altar of Repose
  • Night Prayer at 11:45pm

Good Friday, March 29

  • Office of Readings & Morning Prayer at 8am
  • "Tre Ore" -The 7 Last Words of Jesus in mediation & song, 12-3pm (Limited confessions will be available)
  • Stations of the Cross in English at 3pm
  • Via Crucis en Español a las 4pm
  • La Pasión y Veneración de la Santa Cruz en Español a las 5pm
  • The Passion & Veneration of the Holy Cross in English at 7:30pm

Holy Saturday, March 30

  • Office of Readings and Morning Prayer at 8am
  • Easter Foods Blessing at 10am
  • The Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord (bilingual) at 8:30pm

EASTER SUNDAY, March 31

  • 7am, 9am, and 11am in Englsih. There is NO 5:30pm Mass.
  • 1pm en Español

CONFESSION Opportunities 

  • Saturday, March 23, 3:30-4:30pm
  • Wednesday, March 27, 6:30-8pm
  • Friday, March 29, 12-3pm (limited confessions available)
  • No confession on Saturday, March 30

fleur cross logo Please return your Rice Bowls. We would appreciate it if you could change the coins and bills into a check, but we will accept coins.

fleur cross logoThe ECHO Yard Sale returns to the school gym on Saturday, April 6, starting at 8 am. 

fleur cross logo The Knights of Springfield are sponsoring a shred event open to the public on Saturday, April 6, between 10am-Noon in the parking lot. 

fleur cross logo Have you purchased your ticket to the 23rd Gala and Live Auction on  April 20, 2024. ? Our Biennial Auction is generously supported by our entire Saint Bernadette Community. Buy a Gala Ticket TODAY!

fleur cross logoThank you to all of the volunteers who made our Spring Cleaning Day a tremendous success. The church looks fresh and clean as we enter into our Easter celebrations.

fleur cross logoParish Offices will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 24 March 2024

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Over the centuries Good Friday and the story of Jesus and the “Jews” has sparked some tragic anti-Jewish events in world history and the Church has been coming to terms with the ways in which our observances may have been complicit, if not responsible, in these segregations and pogroms.

The U.S. bishops’ conference announced recently that it will require a pastoral note on antisemitism to be placed in worship aids and pew missals ahead of all Good Friday passion narratives, beginning this year. The new requirement was announced last year in a memo from the heads of USCCB Committees on Divine Worship and Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs to publishers of missals and worship aids. The Conference has previously provided guidance on homilies and a similar statement for the Good Friday passion narratives in the 1990s and 2000s.

The goal of the statement, the newsletter said, is “to help ensure that the proclamation of the Lord’s Passion is not misused to promote anti-Jewish sentiment.” The note on antisemitism, which is available in both English and Spanish, reads:

“The passion narratives are proclaimed in full so that all see vividly the love of Christ for each person. In light of this, the crimes during the Passion of Christ cannot be attributed, in either preaching or catechesis, indiscriminately to all Jews of that time, nor to Jews today. The Jewish people should not be referred to as though rejected or cursed, as if this view followed from Scripture. The Church ever keeps in mind that Jesus, his mother Mary, and the apostles all were Jewish. As the Church has always held, Christ freely suffered his passion and death because of the sins of all, that all might be saved.”

The text is drawn from the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra aetate and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches explicitly that “Jews are not collectively responsible for Jesus’ death.”

“[W]e cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole,” it says. “Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places.” (The Pillar, March 12, 2024)

Our focus this weekend and Good Friday then, as we listen to the account of Jesus’ suffering and death, is not “Who is responsible for this?” There were people at the time who committed evil, as there are today, leaders whose control was threatened by this Jesus that they didn’t (and maybe didn’t want to) really understand. That kind of threat is something that is irrational, and all it took was a mob to manipulate to get what they wanted.

Our focus this weekend and Good Friday is on the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, could have shut this down at any moment along the way to Galilee, to Jerusalem, or to Calvary, but he chose freely to submit to oppressors so that his free sacrifice of himself could attone for your sins and mine. It isn’t about who did it to him, but the love with which he embraced this offering for himself, so they by dying we could rise with him.

To really feel the Easter joy next weekend, we -- all of us -- need to acknow-lege this darkness and not lay blame on anyone but ourselves, so that we can appreciate the full impact of what his forgiveness from the Cross means.

The Lord be with you,

 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 17 March 2024

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

It might seem to some that the word “synodal” or “synodality” is something that has crept into Church culture in the past few years with the prominence placed on it by Pope Francis. Actually, it is the ancient process of the Church. It is still the practice today in the ancient Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Rite Churches. The Church is not just the clergy. The Body of Christ coming to full stature will not happen unless all of our voices are heard. The pathway of the Church is not determined by the vision and creativity of only priests!

We hosted one of the diocesan synodal listening sessions recently, and I still don’t think we have the process figured out. Perhaps in the interest of keeping the size of the session manageable (or maybe to assure that at least a certain number of people attended), each pastor was to choose four lay members of their parish to speak about what was on their mind. Our four parishioners represented differing viewpoints and social diversity, but it seemed that what was said at the listening session was more an extension of the pastors themselves because they chose the participants. I don’t believe a report sent to Rome about us based on that meeting would really represent us.

Particularly during this season of Lent, this synodal spirit is important: only by “walking together,” as Pope Francis says, will we find the kind of transformation that the Church needs so much. The journey through Lent to Easter is not a solo sport but a path that we are called to walk together. First of all, we walk together with God. It is Christ who leads us and goes before us. We learn to follow him more closely and realize more deeply how close he is to us. At the same time, walking with Christ opens us up to one another. Being a disciple is not only about following Jesus but about following him with others, just like the first Apostles that Jesus gathered around himself. They walked around Galilee and Judea together for three years. They listened to Jesus and each other. They weren’t walking around as individuals but as part of a community on a journey. That’s what the Church is, too.

How easy it is to see Lent as our own private journey in which each one of us strives to make our own individual efforts. But Lent is not meant to be experienced alone, just as Easter is not meant to be celebrated alone. Lent and Easter are the journey of the whole Church through the desert to the promised land, from death to new life, from sin to salvation, from the Cross to the Resurrection.

This brings us to the transformation that the Church needs so much. Our experience of Lent and Easter are meant to transform us, and so too is the path of synodality. The two go hand in hand. As we know, Lent is a time of conversion: to prepare ourselves for Easter, to open our hearts, and to let ourselves be changed by God. Jesus invites us to focus ourselves on Him and on others, overcoming our temptations to remain centered on ourselves.

Our mission as a Church is to share with everyone the joy of Easter, Christ who is truly risen and present in our midst. Walking with the world is the path by which we can live out this mission in the 21st century. Spread the joy of Easter more widely this year, especially with those who are on the margins. Perhaps invite someone from outside your family circle to join you for Easter or reach out to a relative that you have lost contact with. Let yourself be transformed by the experience of walking together with others in the light.

The Lord be with you,

 

Streaming Masses and Announcements for the week of 17 March 2024

Today's Live-Streamed Mass

Worship Aid for the Fifth Sunday of Lent 


fleur cross logo 
THANKS! If you haven’t already, please complete your commitment to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. As of March 3, we are at 73% of our goal with 10% of households participating. Take a pledge envelope from the church or go online to make a gift or pledge. The funds from the BLA provide a way for leaders of all ministries, volunteers and people from all walks of life to grow as a community, enrich parish life, teach the faith, and help those in need. You may make a gift at: www.arlingtondiocese.org/BLA 

fleur cross logo Lenten Soup Suppers are on Fridays at 6 pm, followed by Stations of the Cross in English at 7 pm and 8 pm in Spanish.

fleur cross logo Our parish Penance Service is this Tuesday, March 19th, beginning at 6:30 pm. We will have many priests available. Please come for confessions, as other opportunities are limited in the days before Easter.

fleur cross logo Have you purchased your ticket to the 23rd Gala and Live Auction on  April 20, 2024. ? Our Biennial Auction is generously supported by our entire Saint Bernadette Community. Buy a Gala Ticket TODAY!