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Announcements ~ 12 May 2019

Happy Mothers’ Day!

fleur cross logo Our parish youth who are planning for Work Camp this summer continue with their Flower Sale Fundraiser in front of church at all Masses this weekend. We still have about 800 healthy, mostly drought-tolerant annuals in 6” pots ($7 ea., 3/$20) ready for your garden. Great gifts for Mom on Mothers’ Day, too!

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website,, 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 Our Mothers’ Day Novena begins today (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 as well as the parish office. Please name those you would like to remember with your donation on the envelope and we will place them near the altar.

fleur cross logo The Knights’ Project Manger envelope distribution is this weekend, an effort to provide pregnant women with the cribs and other items they need. Please see page 8 in today’s bulletin for details.

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.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 12 May 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Last weekend we celebrated one of my favorite liturgies of all the year: 122 girls and boys in our parish became one with all of us for the first time in the perfect way that we can only know united in the Body of Christ. Congratulations! The Gospel was about when the disciples were fishing on the Sea of Galilee, though they could not tell who Jesus was by his appearance, they knew with certainty it was Jesus on the shore because of his action. Jesus communicated his presence and worked his wonder by his action.

Suddenly the miracle happened, there was an abundance of fish where there had been none, the net did not tear and the disciples were able to bring all of them to shore. “It is the Lord!” proclaimed Saint John.

These children for the first time entered into the Holy of Holies, that place where the Most High dwells in our humanity. They are not members of that Body of Christ begun in baptism, now literally the case by the reception of Jesus’ Body. It still looks like bread, but we know otherwise, because of Jesus’ saving actions. We are called to be Christ: people will not know us by our appearance; they will know Christ by our actions.

Walk the talk: there are too many people who wish to appear differently than they truly are. Once found out, the damage is done and people are confused. May our witness be true to the One Whom we receive everytime we come to the Table and open our hands and our hearts to truly welcome the presence of Jesus, to live in us.

It was a miracle unfolding before our eyes last weekend, as the work of Incarnation continues. The Incarnation, of course, is the moment (of the Annunciation) when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son of God entered our human-ness. Our humanity. He became one of us. His life as God and Man are inseparably present to us in the Eucharist (“Holy Communion”) as, by the power of the same Spirit earthly food becomes heavenly Food, God’s life in Jesus literally flows through us. We are awakened, a new creation. The Incarnation of Jesus is continued forever in his people who open themselves to this first Communion, and every Communion to follow. He is our life. Congratulations, boys and girls.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I have received several letters of concern from members of the parish who express their apology, even embarrassment, that they can’t give a lot to our parish capital campaign. Please, if you are worried about this, don’t worry. These things are for those people who can at this time: from each, according to their ability to give. I have witnessed personally and heard stories of many of you whose comparatively small gift is courageous and powerful and inspiring. Thank you. Pray for the success of our parish campaign and the life of our parish community.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Again this weekend we will be selling beautiful annuals in 6” pots for your garden. We had a lot of fun selling in the rain last weekend, perhaps this weekend it will be better. All of our beautiful flowers are 100% natural and, in many cases, medicinal. They were selected for their habits (which is also how you should pick your friends): their ability to spread, their tolerance of dry situations and their ability to bloom all the way to frost. They make great Mothers’ Day gifts (in case you are still looking for something to give Mom).

I want to thank Nathan Carver, owner of Carver Custom Landscaping who beautifully maintains our parish grounds, for a great day going to Isle of Wight week before last to pick up these 1200+ annuals and 75 hanging pots. (Alas, the hanging pots sold out last weekend.) It was a hot day, and I don’t know when I have been so tired at the end of a day. It took us four and a half hours to load his trailer, and I was grateful that our youth were at the parish when we returned, or we would still be unloading it. Nathan is a generous friend and hard worker and we owe the success of our Work Camp fund-raiser to him. Please, if you see plants still looking for a home after Masses this weekend, adopt some. $7 each, three for $20.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Finally, take a moment and check out the ads at the back of the bulletin. These folks help underwrite the cost of this bulletin with their advertising. Get acquainted with our advertisers, and the next time you might be looking for one of their services, remember their contact information is on the final pages of this bulletin. Thanks.

God bless you.

Announcements ~ 5 May 2019

fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School.  We invite you to visit our website,, 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 RACE for EDUCATION - Our parish school is currently hosting a month-long Race for Education. The students, faculty and staff will run on May 28, but we are asking for donations all month. Tuition tries to cover teacher salaries and benefits, but we raise additional funds to pay for the excellent education we provide for all our students. We have a whole team of Resource teachers who help our students with learning challenges, a full-time RN, and Counselor! Our faculty is amazing. It is such a pleasure to be a part of St. Bernadette! If you can help us out, please go to and make a donation. Thank you for your generosity!
fleur cross logo The Knights’ Project Manger envelope distribution is next weekend, an effort to provide pregnant women with unsure means the cribs and other items they need. Please see page 8 in today’s bulletin for details.
fleur cross logo The Second Collection next weekend is for Parish Special Needs. We will be assessing and repairing brick and mortar in our parish buildings that have taken on too much water during this record year for rain. Thank you for your generosity.
fleur cross logo Children’s Bulletins – Ages 3-8
Please pick up AFTER MASS each week our new Children’s Bulletins explaining the Sunday Gospel along with activities for your children to work on at home. They will be in the Bulletin Wall Racks located at each exit.
fleur cross logo Scout Troop 995 will be holding a fundraiser car wash on Saturday, May 11 in the church parking lot from 9am-2pm. Please stop by and let the Scouts wash all the grime and pollen off your car, and help support the Scouts in their main fundraiser for the year!

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 5 May 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
I just found out we still need 15 people for the trip to Ireland last week of September/first week of October, so I put the advertisement here at the bottom of the page!  I thought we were full.  You are invited to just call me if you are interested.
With the Easter liturgies behind us, and in a moment of calm with family concerns, I’ve had a chance to reach out to a few of those parishioners on my list whom I am calling to talk about making a pledge to our “Make All Things New” capital campaign.  I have been very excited how thoughtful and interested people have been.  And how interested they are in helping generously to realize a vision here at St. Bernadette.  Most of those with whom I have spoken have experienced a situation in the past either here or at another parish, where the life of the community literally becomes your life.  A family, a place where you know you will be embraced, your children will know they belong, a place permeated with the goodness and truth of God.  A place where you leave refreshed and invigorated, ready to spread what is found to the other places you go.  The world doesn’t provide this anywhere, and unless you have experienced it, you may not even believe it is possible.
When I was a kid, the parish was our second home.  Maybe that is why my older brother and I are both priests.  It didn’t seem strange at all to become a priest, because priests were already a part of our life.  I mean, they didn’t come over to dinner except very rarely, and we didn’t feel any more special than the next family, but we considered priests our family.  We also knew a closeness to others in the parish because we were involved in some of the work of the parish.  I don’t think there was a developed concept of “ministry” in those days, we just pitched in.  Whenever there was a set up or clean up for a parish event, we were just there.  We were active in a pool of altar servers, dad was a lector.  Mom was always cooking something for church.  We had a little museum in the basement for all the early families of the parish (we weren’t one) and took great pride in keeping the church clean, the candles changed out, the vestibule orderly.
One of my grooms at a recent marriage told me before the wedding started that he would not have stuck around in the Church if I hadn’t made him feel needed as a teen usher at the 5pm Mass on Sundays.  We need these things in our lives connected to God, otherwise we will pursue connections that do not involve God.
I don’t believe that these are “old fashioned” truths.  I have never been accused of being old fashioned (yet—I’m sure the day will come).  But I don’t think that new is necessarily better, especially if new is this alienation and isolation, division and rejection, disrespect and abandonment that is so apparent today.  I propose to you that we build up this community and let it become a highlight of our week, and central to our lives.  Maybe we can live Jesus among us, and his presence will spill out into the world around us.  Let us be the light on the hill on Old Keene Mill Rd.
God bless you.

Announcements ~ 28 April 2019

fleur cross logo This weekend we will prayer the Divine Mercy Devotions in the church on Sunday at 3pm.
fleur cross logo The Catholic Home Missions Appeal second collection is this week. 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. Your support of this appeal helps ease their struggle. Please prayerfully consider how you can support this appeal. More information can be found at
fleur cross logo Please join us for the Feast of Saint Bernadette, which will be celebrated this year with a special Mass on Monday evening, April 29, at 7:30pm.
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School.  We invite you to visit our website,, 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 ~ 28 April 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

By all accounts I agree that we experienced together some of the most beautifully celebrated Sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday liturgies I can recall.

It is time to thank all of you for being here in record numbers.  Each liturgy was well beyond attendance last year.  Thank you for singing, and praying together so powerfully.  The word “liturgy” literally means “work” in the Greek of Jesus’ time, and this work which we did together is the most pleasing thing we can do for God, and for our own growth as a community.  The family that prays together, stays together.  Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
The work of preparation for these liturgies is the product of much planning and practice!  First coming to mind are our brilliant musicians, vocal and instrumental, who spent countless hours preparing for these few days.  More beautiful than ever, and so inspiring, we give special thanks to David Mathers, our music director and 9am choir leader Sylvia Malinowski, for keeping it so reverent and beautiful.  We were able to include in our celebration so many different kinds of music from our Catholic repertoire of centuries. 

Thanks to all the ministers of liturgy—lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, such faithful altar servers who served multiple liturgies, ushers and greeters who welcomed people and helped keep track of all the many publications.  There were a lot of moving parts, and I believe most people were very pleased with the way our gatherings were organized. 

Finally, to all who helped even in small ways to help us set up different environments for the church each of the Three Days, as well as the gym for the beautiful adoration on Thursday night.  Throughout the week I was very much aware of how much beauty we were calling forth to help us enter into the beautiful loving mercy and new life of Jesus, our Lord.

Now the challenge is to hold onto this beauty and continually call if forth as a reminder to a world who knows so much ugliness.  The many experiences people have of isolation and alienation, of anger and loss, of violence and hatred which sometimes seem to characterize our world, can only be overcome by the love of Christ.  Only he can be victorious over so much death. 

I’m sure all of us were painfully aware that just as we gathered to celebrate Easter Mass, hundreds of people died in Sri Lanka doing the exact same thing.  I have a friend who is a priest from Sri Lanka and I sent him and email on Sunday morning with my wishes that his family was safe.  He wrote back to me on Monday, grateful for all our prayers, saying that he was thankful that his family was unharmed, but that he knew entire families that are no longer, who were attending Mass together.

NOW is the time to share the new life which you and I have been privileged to know.  We must become, as those who inherit the joy of Jesus, the hands, voices and hearts that offer this Easter joy to those who don’t know it, or perhaps have forgotten it.  It is a sacred duty, to help others to come to life, to awaken, to leave their small spaces in themselves and become a part of this beautiful life of Jesus which we now share. 

God bless you.

Announcements ~ 21 April 2019

Happy Easter!
fleur cross logo The liturgy sheet for Mass today begins on page 7 of this bulletin.  At the end of Mass, please take one bulletin per family, and leave the rest in the vestibule for people to use at later Masses on Easter.
fleur cross logo Our Second Collection this Easter weekend is a Special Collection for Parish Buildings and Maintenance.  Following the past record-setting rainy year we will need to do some brick maintenance and pointing on all parish buildings. Thank you for your generosity.
fleur cross logo Parish offices are closed on Easter Sunday and Monday, but some evening activities will still be held.  Please check with your ministry leaders to confirm schedules.
fleur cross logo ECHO’s Yard Sale is next weekend, Saturday in the gym.  Check out the biggest yard sale in Christendom.
fleur cross logo Please join us for the Feast of Saint Bernadette, which will be celebrated this year with a special Mass on Monday evening, April 29, at 7:30pm.
fleur cross logo Divine Mercy Devotions are scheduled for 3pm on the Second Sunday of Easter, next Sunday, April 28.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 21 April 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

What is your relationship with the Word of God? And then the next question: What is your relationship with the Word-made-Flesh? First, the Word. Are you one who reads the Bible out of curiosity, interest? To be more knowledgeable of the body of Sacred Scripture, maybe to be able to cite a few texts? Maybe you can take away a few insights that will help inform your life, making every day more understandable. To maintain such an impersonal interaction with God’s living Word is to only take as much as we want out of it, not to receive fully the Spirit that breathes behind the Word with the power to transform us.

Likewise, with Jesus. Do we allow ourselves to come close enough to him to just see what is going on, what he might be saying or doing (many simply wanted to see him perform signs), file all this away for future use if it should become necessary? Do we really identify ourselves in him? Or only with him? Do we enter into his experience as members in him?

Our relationship to the Passion narratives which we have listened to this week set a tone to our approach to the Mysteries of Christ, these saving Mysteries of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection as they unfolded on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Where do you fall in the story?

We asked that everyone not read the lines of the crowd for a very specific purpose. So you would not be focusing only on “your” lines and when they were coming next, these lines of condemnation and hate. Focusing only on these lines, as onlookers, might cause us to miss the message of the love of Jesus which lies behind all the other lines. And “whose” lines are they anyway?

Especially today, it seems, the last thing we need is another angry crowd. Look around us, how many angry crowds, everywhere, shouting and demanding. We are called to be more.

Reading this Gospel like a script was an experiment in the 70s that, oddly, contradicted the message of Vatican II. At a time when unity was of utmost importance, we segregated our congregations by this new mode of addressing these passion narratives as if we were characters in a play. You became the mob, the shouting mob. The priest alone became Jesus. ...Why?

Today it seems like this divide is becoming wider, a clericalism (an emphasis on the centrality of the priest as Christ) is more common today (as before) that can seek to deny the common priesthood of all baptized lay people to assume the role of Jesus in the world. …All of us are called not only to speak the lines, but live the role of Jesus…to be him.

Lay people—same as clergy—are called to be more than bystanders. Your spiritual life is more than being the angry mob. Somebody said to me last year, “Well, I like to shout ‘Crucify him!’ because then this Gospel reminds me how my sins crucified Jesus.”

I have thought about this all year. Our sins did not crucify Jesus, as if we could have such power over him. We are dead in our sins, there is nothing we can do. We are powerless, we are nailed down, unable to move, even unable to speak. So utterly helpless. It is Jesus who lovingly, intentionally climbs up onto that Cross (as the Church Fathers said) to give us life again—and life eternal! He followed the will of his Father and chose to do this. It is a story about love, not hate. Just one tear of the Son of God in the Garden of Gethsemane would have been enough suffering to ratify the new, eternal covenant given to us on Holy Thursday—but Jesus wanted to show us how radically deep is this love of God for you, so he emptied himself, entirely.

I gave you spiritual homework last week: while rereading those passion narratives, to read out loud all the parts of Jesus. Now I have Easter homework for you. We have now experienced the sacred Mysteries first hand—now consider his resurrection. If we have truly lived in him through these Mysteries, risen life will follow just as truly.

That vocabulary of Jesus now flows equally from your own heart, a vocabulary of kindness and mercy, forgiveness and peace, self-emptying love. Be transformed in this new life you have already received! We are called to be so much more than even the faithful friend who stands at the foot of the cross and stays until the end. In Christ, there is no death, no end, no division.

We are called beyond the end, to be Christ himself.

God bless you.

Announcements ~ 14 April 2019

fleur cross logo Please find the Sacred Triduum schedule for Holy Week on page 7 of today’s bulletin. During this period of three holy days, we ask that regular parish activities be suspended and everyone try to come as much as possible to our liturgies.
fleur cross logo Again, we will have the traditional blessing of Easter foods on Holy Saturday morning at 10:30am.
fleur cross logo Please start returning Rice Bowls
We would appreciate it if you would change the coins and bills into a check (it is more easily tax-deductible too!) but we will accept coins. Any donation will be graciously received!
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette’s new subscription to Word on Fire’s ENGAGE is your doorway to all the Word on Fire materials: text ‘saintbern’ to 84576 to join our parish account and receive updates and notices of what is happening in our parish community!
fleur cross logo Easter Flower Memorials Available - Remember someone you love, either living or deceased, with a donation for our beautiful Easter Flowers. Envelopes are available in your envelope packets, in the Church and in the Parish Office. The deadline for the listing in the bulletin is today.
fleur cross logo Again this year, when we proclaim the Gospels of the Lord’s Passion on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, the part of the crowd will be read by one of lectors, not by the assembly. In this way all can be attentive to the entire Gospel.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 14 April 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
There is a lot coming up, liturgically speaking, here at Saint Bernadette. It can seem a little overwhelming, especially to those who don’t have a daily practice of coming to church. Please don’t be intimidated, though. The Sacred Triduum and Holy Week is the time of year that God touches more hearts than any other:  all you need is a heart open to hear what God has to say to you as we enter into the depths and heights of Jesus’ own experiences as God-Man, of whom we are real members.
Let me break it down for you based on levels of participation and time expense.
If you are looking for one event, the most important, most ancient expression of faith that we know as Catholics, and want to see the Church at her best and most beautiful, you must plan to attend the Easter Vigil, on Holy Saturday at 8:30pm. Yes, it is a long liturgy, maybe several hours long, but it takes you throughout salvation history from the moment of the creation and blessing of fire, through Scriptures old and new, reaching the moment of resurrection at the Glory to God. Then a lavish celebration of God’s mercy and grace as we celebrate the sacraments of initiation for all those who have been preparing this year in the RCIA program. In the middle of it we reach our goal for the whole season of Lent, too, as we joyfully renew our baptismal promises together.
If you can spend a little more time, come to the three events which compose one continuous liturgy of Three Days (Triduum). This liturgy ends with the Vigil of Resurrection, but begins on Holy Thursday night at 7:30pm with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and continues with the Triduum liturgy of the Passion, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion on Good Friday night at 7:30pm. The three liturgies represent a harmony and a unity of the Mysteries of Christ as our Passover from death to eternal Life, we are not along as spectators, but we enter with him as members of his Body to know the depths of his mercy and love. Once the Mass begins on earth on Holy Thursday night, it does not end with a blessing, nor does the Good Friday liturgy have a beginning or an end (we simply disperse randomly), and the Easter Vigil doesn’t have a beginning either. But something wonderful happens:  this one liturgy consists of two Masses, the second now being the heavenly celebration, trasforming the earthly into the heavenly, the human into the divine. Of course, we look back and see the divine liturgy already present to the assembly on Holy Thursday, in the same way knowing that what is human is not lost in the light of Easter, either. It is divinized, we are awakened and charged with the power of God himself. We are a new creation in him.
Add-ons to this structure of the Triduum also greatly enhance the principal celebrations.
One traditional observance of the three hours of agony of Jesus on the Cross is a presentation of his Seven Last Words, or Tre Ore. You don’t have to come for the full three hours, but roughly every 20 minutes or so one of Jesus’ last Words will be read from the Gospel, surrounded by choral pieces, congregational hymns, instrumental music, a meditation and prayers. It is a lovely, peaceful way to stay at the foot of the Cross with Jesus at his lonely death. We will take turns giving the reflection.
Another traditional observance of the several hours of agony Jesus experienced praying in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper and before his arrest is the Adoration in the gym on Holy Thursday night. We literally leave the Last Supper place with Jesus in procession to another place, recalling how the Apostles accompanied him to the Garden to pray. We will stay in the gym until the recitation of Night Prayer at midnight, when the Eucharist is suddenly taken from the Garden and is hidden, as in death.
Stations of the Cross are popular on Good Friday, but not a part of the Sacred Triduum. The Stations will be prayed at 3pm. Some have asked why we don’t do the proper Triduum liturgy of the Passion Gospel and Veneration of the Cross at 3pm. At Saint Bernadette we have kept it in the evening so that those who still have to )work on Good Friday will have the opportunity to come for the beautiful liturgy. On Good Friday no sacraments are celebrated; the church is stripped of all adornment and the bare minimum of our survival is observed, as Holy Communion consecrated the night before is brought out and we wait in vigil for the new life to come.
We will have the traditional Eastern Blessing of Easter foods at 10:30am on Holy Saturday morning.
We also will include the public prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours in the mornings of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday at 8am. Please join us!  Remember, there are no other regularly scheduled daily Masses throughout the Sacred Triduum, not even the 5pm on Holy Saturday afternoon.
God bless you.


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