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Announcements ~ 16 June 2019

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, 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, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish will be conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program today June 15-16 after all Masses.
 
fleur cross logo Please support our Capital Campaign Fundraiser by purchasing tickets for “La Gran Pollada” on Sunday, June 30th from 2-6pm in the School Cafeteria (Pollada is a Peruvian style dinner with chicken, potatoes and salad). There will be music. Tickets are $10 and will be available for purchase in the church vestibule after all Masses.
 
fleur cross logo La Hermandad del Señor de los Milagros de NOVA les invita al Bingo bailable pro fondo para Misa y Procesión del Señor de Los Milagros el sábado 22 de Junio, 2019 de 2:30pm a 10pm . Habrá premios, música y exquisita comida peruana. Las entradas estarán a la venta el Domingo después de la Misa de la 1pm.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 7, 2019. For more information please visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 16 June 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Last week was a whirlwind... this is the way this time of the year always goes.  You celebrate all the larger than life Mysteries of Jesus' death and resurrection, Confirmations, first Holy Communion, all the graduations clustered around Mothers' Day.  It is a lot.  And then suddenly you look around and it is the last day of school, the eighth graders we've enjoyed getting to know are moving onward and upward.  There is a lot to be thankful for, there is a lot to look forward to.
 
I like the word commencement.  Commence.  Let us begin.  Graduation can sound kind of glass-half-empty if you consider it to be the goal.  Yes, there is accomplishment and we look back and recall and reward a job well done.  But that job is for a purpose, something yet to come.  We go out, we take what we have learned and begin what comes next.  It is time to take your tools and fix the world.  Take your words and use them to heal.  Take the love you have been shown and known and help someone else to know it.
 
I especially like the kindergarten celebration (seen here).  We don't use the word graduation - there just isn't enough past yet.  It is truly a commencement:  imagine how great life would be, how stressless and full of wonder if we could just know our ABCs and therefore go out and discover the world.  You might tell me well, it isn't that easy.  Well, I'm not sure it is really that complicated.  When I was assigned to Saint Leo the Great (1998?) our art teacher in the school got a better offer from Fairfax County and resigned one week before the school year started.  I stepped in for the first couple of weeks that it took to find a new art teacher.  In those two weeks I became thoroughly convinced that our teachers are the greatest, most valuable people in our parish.  Especially teachers who teach specials.
 IMG 5163
I have never been so tired.  You go from seventh graders to the next period with first graders, then to fifth, eighth.  One different age-appropriate art project after another.  You learn pretty quickly not to use messy art materials.  The roller coaster never stopped to let me off.  (You can't begin to pay teachers what they truly deserve.)
 
Anyway, one day I just wanted to know what the kids were thinking.  I asked the kindergartners: "How many of you are artists?"  All hands shot up.  In the first grade, a few were unsure.  By third grade we were down to half, and by middle school I wasn't sure if anyone understood the question.  By eighth grade there were only a couple of brave souls who raised their hands.  In all cases, I asked why they said they were not artists.  In every case it was because someone had told them that they were not. 
 
It is my prayer that all our graduates this year are commencing with a strong sense of encouragement.  We must always go forth filled with our gifts, not emptied of them, confident that we are up to the task because of God's love for us and our own God-given abilities to fulfill his plan for our life. 
 
Like I said, none of this is about ending.  We want to see you every Sunday - for as long as you live here - and for you to know that you can't graduate from home.  Home is always here and you always have a place.  All of you, now get involved in our life.  If you serve Mass, you are always welcome to serve.  Come and sing with us, and pray, and continue to grow in God.  And thanks to Mrs. Dalmut, and all our teachers and staff, for a job well done.
 
God bless you.

 

Announcements ~ 9 June 2019

fleur cross logo Please join us today, Sunday, June 9 (Pentecost): Solemn Evening Prayer at 6:15pm in the church. Evening Prayer, or Vespers, is a wonderful way to conclude the season of Easter for the parish.

fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish will be conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program on June 15-16.  Collection bags will be distributed this weekend 8/9 June. Please watch the bulletin for a list of requested items.

fleur cross logo Mass cards for the Father’s Day Novena of Masses are available in the vestibule or parish office. Remember your dads and grandfathers in this beautiful remembrance. Please return your envelopes by Friday, June 14.

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, 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, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

fleur cross logo Summer Theater Program is back! Auditions for this summer's musical, Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate will be held Monday June 10 from 6:30pm until 9pm in the school gym and is open to all 7-12th graders. More details can be found on page 8.

fleur cross logo Please support our Capital Campaign Fundraiser by purchasing tickets for “La Gran Pollada” on Sunday, June 30th from 2-6pm in the School Cafeteria (Pollada is a Peruvian style dinner with chicken, potatoes and salad). There will be music. Tickets are $10 and will be available for purchase in the church vestibule after all Masses.

fleur cross logo La Hermandad del Señor de los Milagros de NOVA les invita al Bingo bailable pro fondo para Misa y Procesión del Señor de Los Milagros el sábado 22 de Junio, 2019 de 2:30pm a 10pm . Habrá premios, música y exquisita comida peruana. Las entradas estarán a la venta el Domingo después de la Misa de la 1pm.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 9 June 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

When I was in business I attended a couple of these  motivational conferences where the speaker would stand up in front of all of us and proclaim that if we could imagine it we could realize it.  I was raised as a skeptic and decided I saw through this chicanery for what it was: someone telling people exactly what they wanted to hear, so that the messenger could make a lot of money.  Obviously, if I imagined myself as the most successful creative director/designer/millionaire, it wouldn't just happen, even with a modest fanfare.  Many people fall into this trap today in the development of new Gospel interpretations, sometimes called the Gospel of Prosperity.  God wants you to be happy and rich.  I want to be happy and rich.  All I have to do is unite my will to God's, and the resulting synergy will go even beyond my imagination.

On the other hand, however, many people have adopted an unintended effect of the Reformation which would render our efforts futile and without merit.  God is in charge of everything: I am absolutely powerless.  This is usually how people feel able to blame God for all the bad things that happen to them and to the world.

As usual, when you see the two extremes, the answer is most often found in between.  God gave us an active intellect (not passive) and an informed (by memory) free will that calls us to both act as individual persons with our rights and obligations, as well as respond to our desire for the good by seeking the meaning of Goodness in God.  Made in the image of God, we are also causes in the creative development of God's Kingdom.  A beloved professor in the seminary put it simply in one, profound question:  "You may be able to convince me that our complex brain may somehow be the result of a long process that began with the chance collision of two primordial bugs in the ooze... but how do you explain Beethoven?"

Stay with me here; I have a specific purpose for this thought process and then a challenge for you.

You might then say, "This is all well and good, but I am not Beethoven."  It is here that I want to confirm in you the knowledge that God doesn't withhold anything from anyone in pouring out his love and life.  You might not be a Beethoven in musical composition, but you may be a Beethoven with regard to a capacity of kindness.  You may be a virtuoso of order and organization, or an unseen Nobel Prize winner in the work of caring for the unseen and forgotten poor.  God's gifts come in so many ways, often unseen and unrecognized even by ourselves.  We sometimes need someone else to recognize them in us to know that they are truly there.  Our own bad self-image or false humility, or laziness, might fool us into thinking that God somehow forgot me.  As my mom often used to tell us kids, "When God was passing out brains, you thought he said trains, and you missed yours."

Now this is Pentecost Sunday, and we rightly consider the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, mostly given in the sacrament of Confirmation:  knowledge, understanding, wisdom, counsel, fortitude, piety (the ability to recognize the Sacred), and fear of the Lord (proper self-awareness in the Presence of the Sacred).

But there are countless other gifts which you have also received, in most cases, when we were not paying attention as infants at Baptism.  Baptism is everything, my brothers and sisters.  Not only is it the basis of our family, it is the fullness of gifts that God has given his family to accomplish his will, a will that will truly make us happy and rich (in ways that actually mean something).  You have received them but chances are, you got the gift package but still have to tear off the pretty wrapping paper and find the powerful gifts inside.  How do we open these gifts?

We are scheduling the Called and Gifted Workshop again this fall on September 7.  It is now a one-day Workshop to make it easier for you.  I believe this Workshop is the doorway by which the people of God discover their identity.  It is not until we know who we are that we will be able to imagine what we can do.  Then, uniting our wills to God, we will co-create this Kingdom whose blueprints we will study, do the necessary preparation and begin construction as Beethovens in all arts and disciplines.

Since summer is here and the Called and Gifted Workshop happens shortly after summer ends, I request that you register now and mark your calenders now.  Renewal will follow, I promise.

God bless you.

Announcements ~ 2 June 2019

fleur cross logo Please join us as we continue to pray together the Holy Spirit Novena in preparation for Pentecost!  The last three days prayers are published in this week’s bulletin for the Novena (the Church’s first and most important novena). Join us at 8:50am before the morning weekday Mass. Please see this week’s bulletin for details for weekend Masses.
 
fleur cross logo The Second Collection this weekend is for The Catholic Communications Campaign.  Bishop Burbidge has sent a letter to all pastors to promote this collection, much of which stays here in the diocese.
 
fleur cross logo Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Tuesday, June 11 from 1:30-7:15pm at American Legion Post 176, 6520 Amherst Avenue, Springfield. Walk-ins are welcome or call for an appointment 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish will be conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program on June 15-16.  Collection bags will be distributed next weekend 8/9 June. Please watch the bulletin for a list of requested items.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, 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, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 2 June 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Last evening I attended another presentation about the opioid crisis in Fairfax County. The statistics are the same, Fairfax County has the highest rate of death in the Commonwealth due to overdoses. The solution is not immediately apparent, but our Commissioner Pat Herrity called this meeting hosted by the Annandale Latter Day Saints Church to talk about how county and church can work together to do something.

First of all, we need to talk about it. These folks who are trapped in the cycle of addiction are not bigger sinners that the rest of us, they are not suffering some particular judgment from God to find themselves where they are. Addiction is clearly genetic, and most often comes as a result of people who have not received the tools that they need to succeed, or have a healthy sense of self. There is a complicated mixture of psychology, circumstance and substance that takes control of people. They are set up to fail again and again and just really need a community behind them. Families living with this reality need to be able to freely talk about it. Programs should be established in parishes to gather people and form plans of action for educating people about the dangers of these drugs, of which the new synthetic ones are 50 times more powerful than the originals. I only wish we had a facility available here at the parish to dedicate to this cause.

We need to clean out our medicine cabinets and dispose of all these over-prescribed painkillers before our kids or their friends find them. Police stations have safe drop boxes for these drugs - West Springfield Station on Rolling Road is a good place to take them.

We should also include in our CPR programs how to administer opioid overdose medication, naxalone/Narcan. The Fairfax County Task Force on Opioid conducts REVIVE Training for anyone who would be willing to carry Narcan on their person in the event of an encountering someone who has overdosed. In 2017, over 4,800 lives were saved by the administration of this drug by emergency medical technicians. For more information, see fairfaxcounty.gov/community-services-board/heroin-opioids/revive
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I'm now working on thank you notes for the many gifts and wishes I received for my 25th anniversary. There are so many kind letters, thoughtful gifts, it is my goal to respond to all gifts with a card. If I have somehow responded incompletely, I want to say thanks to you. A 25th only happens once, and I can't imagine nicer memories than we have from our Mass and reception following in the gym.

The greatest gift of all, however, was what the volunteers said after it was finished. Apparently, the 100 or so volunteers who worked together, many not knowing each other previously, all had such a good and powerful experience of community they were wondering what we might celebrate next? This is the feeling we always have after a beautiful liturgy: it is never once and done, it is always beautiful until the next liturgy.

It's like learning a language. You can't begin to learn as quickly and completely with a book as you can by immersion. This is the concept behind our Confirmation Teams preparation program. Rather than just being told how to be Church, we gather in small groups and DO what the Church does. The experience comes not only with the knowledge of Jesus, but also the heart and blessing of having been a witness of the love and mercy of God.
 
It breaks your heart to hear stories about parishes where this living witness of her members goes unvalued. Nobody volunteers (or should) simply to be recognized for what they do, certainly, but to go unrecognized is to deny the living love of God in each other. I see Christ in the person I serve; I pray that they see Christ in me. The win-win is that Christ is everywhere. That is what makes us the Church. If you know someone who is away from active life in the Church because they feel unimportant or undervalued, invite them back. Help them to see that their witness is the most important thing, and assure them that we will do our best to thank God for them and their gifts, and grow together, better for having each other. This is how families work. This is how parishes work. This is why the Son of God took flesh, so that this love might be seen in our eyes, our words, our actions and our witness.
 
Indeed. What is next? We don't know right now (though we have a few things planned...) but we know that it will be amazing, because God is amazing.

God bless you,
 
 
 

Announcements ~ 26 May 2019

fleur cross logo Parish offices are closed on Monday, 27 May 2019 in observance of Memorial Day Holiday.

fleur cross logo Please join us for our monthly Taizé Prayer Service, Monday, 27 May 2019 at 8pm. Come pray for Christian unity in our community and in the world. All Christians are warmly invited; invite your friends!

fleur cross logo Please join us we to pray together the Holy Spirit Novena in preparation for Pentecost!  The first five days prayers are published in this week’s bulletin for the Novena (the Church’s first and most important novena). Join us at 8:50am before the morning weekday Mass beginning this Friday 31 May. Please see this week’s bulletin for details for weekend Masses.

fleur cross logo The Second Collection next weekend is for The Catholic Communications Campaign.  Bishop Burbidge has sent a letter to all pastors to promote this collection, much of which stays here in the diocese, especially this year as the diocese is investigating and implementing more digital and online platforms to keep in touch with people.  See bulletin for more details - please be generous.

fleur cross logo Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Tuesday, June 11 from 1:30-7:15pm at American Legion Post 176, 6520 Amherst Avenue, Springfield. Walk-ins are welcome or call for an appointment 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.

fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette Parish will be conducting a Summer Hungry Children food collection drive for the St. Lucy Project, a Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington program on June 15-16.  Collection bags will be distributed the weekend of 8/9 June. Please watch the bulletin for a list of requested items.

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our St. Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 26 May 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

It is my personality to dread events of which I am the center of attention.  I would much rather watch from the sidelines.  Studies have shown that as many as 2/3 to 3/4 of clergy are actually introverts, so it is no surprise.  We are trained to rise to the occasion.
 
But the minute I walked up the hill to the gym after Mass and was greeted by the army of people carrying trays of water, tea and lemonade, I knew that this reception was going to be special. 
 
By their own account, about 100 people worked to make my 25th anniversary reception so special.  Thank you.  The combined choir at the Mass sang beautifully, as well as for the "Irish Eyes" mutation that was sung in the gym.  I was deeply touched by peoples' words and the outpouring of kindness IMG 5076shown to me and so obviously filling the the gym.  Beautiful flower arrangements, food, and especially these cookies.  The resemblance is uncanny, I have to say, as much as I really don't  want to admit it!  Everything about the Mass and celebration was perfect. IMG 5077
 
Anniversaries like this come around only once in a while, and I quickly realized that this celebration was as much about you as it was about me.  The center of attention of this party was the    amazing way that we came together—once again—as a family and enjoyed something truly wonderful.  We need to find more reasons to celebrate God's many gifts!  (And whoever the master is who made these cookies, you are welcome to contribute your art whenever you wish!)  Thanks again.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We have spoken frequently about the renewal that we seek in our parish family.  In many ways, this renewal has to begin at home, so we are looking for programs and activities that will strengthen our families who build up our parish.  A structure is only as sound as the integrity of the bricks.  God calls us to renewal—to the place where he has always intended for us.

We have several upcoming opportunities which will surely make this renewal happen.  Starting Friday, we begin the Holy Spirity Novena, nine days of focused prayer to the Holy Spirit leading up to Pentecost Sunday, in which we call the Holy Spirit upon the Church and the world in a new Pentecost.  How badly we need the guidance and gifts of the Holy Spirit in our world today.

I ask that you take this Novena seriously.  The prayers for the first five days are included in this bulletin on pages 10-11.  If you can, pray these prayers together as a family.  If you wish to pray with the community, we will include them at ten minutes before daily Masses throughout the Novena:  8:50am on weekdays, 7:50am Saturdays, 8:50am Sunday.

This novena was originally asked of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in the early 1900s.  For whatever reason, the Church didn't do it.  It was later picked up by some non-Catholic Christians nearly twenty years later in a multi-day prayer meeting when the gifts of the Spirit returned to the Church as they had been known in apostolic times.  This was the beginning of the Charismatic Renewal.  The Catholic Church entered the Renewal in the 1960s in Omaha, Nebraska.

Our other opportunity for renewal coming soon will be on Pentecost Sunday, with a special celebration of Pentecost Evening Prayer (Vespers) following the evening Mass at 6:15pm.  It will be our special opportunity to ask our Father to pour out his Spirit on our Church and our parish family.  Let this renewal begin in our hearts, and in the way we plan for the future home of our parish family here in Springfield.

We are coming into the summer months when so many people are away for the next weeks.  Please take care of re-registering your children for religious education / faith formation before you leave for summer activities, so we can continue to plan for the beginning of the school year to come.  If you might be interested in any sacramental formation, including RCIA (adult preparation for the Easter Vigil), please contact our office and let us know so we can be preparing for you.  Also, we still have space available in the school, come and check out the excellent opportunities we provide for our children!

God bless you.
 
 

Announcements ~ 19 May 2019

fleur cross logo Help us to keep the momentum of our parish Capital Campaign moving forward to make all things new!  In fact, the Lord has already begun his work of renewal among us - can you perceive it?  He calls us out of our self-imposed isolation into a community of love, compassion and service, after the example of Jesus his Son.  This community needs meeting space and administrative support, and our buildings need to develop along side us.  To date, more than 250 families have made pledges totalling over $2 million!  We thank you.  For those of you who still need to step up, please use this time for prayer and serious consideration how God can make us better people and a better family through a spirit of giving.
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our St. Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo The Second Collection this weekend is for our Diocesan Retired Priests. Please consider giving generously. Thank you!

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 19 May 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

As a priest, we are pretty familiar with the experience of being with families in the process of a loved one dying.  Often times it is up to us to help people make sense of it.  Let faith be our consolation and eternal life our hope.  It has been my impression that more often than not people don't actually confront the concept of death head on and name it.  As we learn in philosophy, when you may not be able to define what something is, it is often easier to say what it is not.

We know death is not an end.  We know, too, that the relationships continue.  We can actively recall moments so real that they call a person into our presence.  We can use their words and actions to keep their memory alive.  Even that expression "memory alive" is one that could use considerable reflection.

It is really the stuff that is no more.  Sure, there is the antique china cabinet with three generations of Christmas and Easter dishes and crystal.  It might find a good home.  There are the mementos which fondly recall a favorite devotion or hobby of the Deceased.  There is the closet of clothes you don't know what to do with.  The furniture that goes to storage for a while.  These are the things that can distract us from what has really happened.

I used to resist using the word "passed" instead of "died," because it seemed to me to be a euphemism for something very serious.  As I grow older, however, I consider it much more appropriate.  Death isn't an end at all, it is a passage.  A passover, thanks to the new Passover/Paschal Lamb at the last supper, as the Israelites crouched, eating a quick dinner, ready to run for it.  For freedom, for new life, for passage through the waters of the sea, into the promised land.  As I sat with my mom throughout the night before she died, as her breathing became more and more labored, as she seemed to be growing weaker (if that was even possible), I would say to her:  "Mom, if you see Jesus, don't worry about us, we're fine.  Just run to him!"  My brother Bob said something similar as he held her and we watched her take her last breath of earth air.

I found myself having these conversations with myself over the last couple of weeks as my brothers and I came to terms with the reality that our Mom's situation wasn't going to improve or even be sustainable any longer.  What were we trying to prevent from happening?  She had slogged her way through dialysis for four years and it wasn't working any more.  It was time, well past the time when her mind could keep up with her body.

IMG 4567As we stood in the line near the casket, over and over, we heard, "I'm sorry for your loss."  After a while I was able to say that I didn't see it as a loss at all.  We were made for that, not this.  There has to be a way to get there.  Certainly, we will miss her for a while.  We will miss her deep goodness, hers and Dad's, and we will miss the good things that they did for us and for their community.  Their example of a faith that did not waver even in a Kansas tornado of difficulty, the way they genuinely cared for people who had need. 

I remember my parents' 25th anniversary of marriage,  they ultimately had 27 anniversaries more.  But they seemed so old already to me at that point in their lives.  I realize now that they would have been six years younger than I am. 

At this point in my mom's life she was the last of her generation.  A great generation, children of those who experienced first-hand what it meant to leave a homeland and come to a new place.  But she was always surrounded by family and people who formed her as we were formed by them.  So many people who came to the Vigil at the church, and the little church in Wea, Kansas was full for the funeral.

Now this weekend I imagine (now, because I am writing still early in the week), the dynamic will be the same, surrounded by family (and I don't mean biological, in this case), those who have formed me by their 25 years of loving service who continue to teach me to be a loving servant.  I believe we are here, like those Israelites who ate that first passover in haste, people with staff in hand, at the block, ready to run like the wind together as a people to God.  We value and recognize our goodness in each other: a priest is only as good as his people, his people as good as he is.  Of course, it is Christ himself we see there.  I thank God for these years and hope for more with you.

God bless you.

 

Adoration


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