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Announcements ~ The Resurrection of the Lord, April 16, 2017

* The Liturgy Sheet for today’s Mass begins on page 7 of this Easter Sunday bulletin. Please take home a bulletin (one per family), and leave the rest for people to use at later Masses on Easter.
 
* Our Second Collection this Easter weekend is a Special Collection for Parish Development and Maintenance. Thank you for your generosity. Your gifts will help us to maintain and beautify the parish property.
 
* You are invited to Divine Mercy Devotions 3pm on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 23.
 
* Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, www.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!
 
* ECHO Yard Sale will be held in St. Bernadette gym on April 22 from 8am-12pm. Proceeds from the sale will be used to help meet ECHO’s financial requirements.
 
* Our first Called and Gifted Workshop will be held on August 18-19, 2017. Mark your calendars and invite your friends. For more information see page 16: registration opens April 17, 2017
                         
* THANK YOU! for meeting our goal for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. Please watch for parish development plans in upcoming bulletins.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ The Resurrection of the Lord, April 16, 2017

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Happy Easter!  The reason we are here is today is that, in the Mystery of Baptism that we renew in our hearts today, we stay young. Life is always new.  In a recent survey of youth in our country, when asked why they have left the Church, many replied that it is nothing more than the Easter bunny and Santa Claus, that they outgrew it. Let’s take the time today to tell our children about this new life: if we understand what God is giving us we never grow old, we certainly never outgrow it, because it grows in us. This risen life of Christ is now within you.
 

Today is a new beginning. It is the day that you and I must begin again affirming the centrality of Jesus in our lives. And every day we must remind ourselves that he did not do all of this just for me. Although theologians have said, it is true, that if even only one person made up God’s creation, Jesus would still have suffered, died and risen for that one person, the entirety of his teaching reveals to us that Jesus’ saving death and resurrection was done for us and for our salvation. He came to give us life, life to the full, as one Body (his) united in the love of God, emp- tied out of love for the Father  and filled with the Holy Spirit. Our Vigil Mass this weekend is focused entirely on the sacraments which bring this Church into Being:  He did everything to make us one. We are his.

 
As such, we are called to restore in our lives this Church family as central to our lives. If the Church hasn’t been central to our lives this far, we need to discover it. Sadly today, a lens of selfishness, individuality, has clouded and confused this singular Mission of Jesus, and his Church.  churches put their logos on Bibles and call it theirs; one would like to claim that he has the answer (and they don’t, whoever they are).  But none of us can claim any of it as our own: all is God’s, and we are God’s, and somehow God has invited us to be a part of this life.  And if God stopped thinking about us for even a moment, we would cease to be.
 
Have you ever had the feeling that you don’t exist to some people?  It is an experience that I have more and more as I get older. I can be standing somewhere, sometimes even in the hallway at school or the vestibule after Mass, and if I don’t actively engage people and catch their attention, they simply pass by without acknowledging that I’m even there, eyes averted, not connecting. I’m a priest...if it’s happening with me it certainly is happening to someone set aside or in need.  But this isn’t about me, at all;  I watch people who pass by each other all the time (literally, all the time) without any connection at all.  It is possible, I suppose, to say that we live in a world that is somewhat scary and that there are strangers you would not want to engage. Let us build a community at Saint Bernadette where we can all greet one another, care for one another, and together reach out to those who are seeking the new life that we have been given.  It is a new life of joy, of peace, and a spirit of service that will allow us to be the risen Christ to the world around us.
 
After all—isn’t that exactly what Jesus did, first by his Incarnation and then by his Cross and Resurrection, break down the barrier that kept us from his Presence? His Presence that heals and consecrates, that reconciles and invites us every day to a deeper sharing in his life?  He catches
our gaze, he speaks the first Word of introduction and gathers us into his circle of life. He greets us first, and invites us to offer the same peace to one another. All are reconciled in Christ. The preface of one of the EucharisticZPrayers expresses it beautifully. “Though the human race is divided...you change our hearts...  By your Spirit you move human hearts that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries join hands, peoples seek to meet together...  Hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness, discord is changed to mutual respect.”
 
Thanks for being good witnesses to this new life!  See the fruit of so many people who, from our soup suppers and Stations of the Cross, from our prayer and penance, from our Lenten sharing, have come to this day of new life together.
 
God bless you.
 
 

Announcements ~ April 9, 2017

* We joyfully welcome more than 6,000 people to our four beautiful Masses on Easter Sunday. Please make note. First Mass on Easter Sunday is a bit earlier, 7:45am instead of 8am.  Our intent is to provide a little more parking lot space between the first two Masses.  Also, please remember there will be no 5pm Mass on Easter Sunday afternoon.  Thanks for your flexibility.
 
* Please find the Sacred Triduum schedule for Holy Week on page 9 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.
 
* Divine Mercy Devotions will be scheduled for 3pm on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 23.
 
* Please send in your pledge for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal if you haven’t already. We are asking every household in our parish to support this appeal to the extent you are able.  We are at 91% of our goal!
 
* Pontifical Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land - 800 Years of Franciscan Presence, Care, Service. At this time of year, the entire Catholic community participates in the support of Christians in the Holy Land. The Good Friday Collection is the primary means for support. It is a Ponifical Collection requested by Pope Francis, and your support is truly appreciated. Visit www. myfranciscan.org, for more information.
 
* The second collection on Easter Sunday is for  Parish Buildings and Maintenance. We are refreshing our Church and School Bathrooms.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ April 9, 2017

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
I walked out of the office last week toward the end of an afternoon and this is what I saw!  With so much on the horizon for Holy Week, it was for me  a message of hope and promise of the beauty of the resurrection, just how beautiful is the light that follows the darkness of a storm!
 
Come, gather this Thursday, as we re-present this event of our salvation, the institution of Eucharist and Priesthood when Jesus literally came into his own and fulfilled the plan formed by God from the beginning of the world.  The Meal and the Cross form a unity such that they cannot be separated either from themselves or from the dawn of new life in resurrection.  For this reason the three days of the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) cannot be separated, they form one continuous liturgy which begins with the Last Supper and ends with the Empty Tomb.  The tomb makes no sense without the ultimate sacrifice; likewise, the sacrifice This is my Body, this is my Blood makes no sense without a victory, his passing over the darkness and silence of our death.  You will notice we only begin once with the customary sign of the Cross, only once do we end with the final blessing after the Vigil Mass: they form a continuous whole, one liturgy of the saving Mystery of Jesus. 
 
There is something rare about what happens on Good Friday.  We observe the three hours of Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross, and people became accustomed to the Stations of the Cross in the few centuries before Vatican II before the restoration of the ancient Triduum in 1969, but these are really private meditations and devotions.  Neither of these actually belong to the particular ancient Tradition of the Church for this day.  We intentionally gather in the darkness of Good Friday evening to recognize the emptiness of the church where, for one day,
 
Jesus is not present among us.  We recognize the impact of this event:  no sacraments may be celebrated because the Lord of Life has died.  We listen to Saint John’s account of his Passion.  We venerate the wood of the Cross, the instrument of our salvation.  We receive Communion, leftover from Holy Thursday which is brought into our space from outside.
 
The Apostles took up the commemoration of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, because his Death and Resurrection are at the heart of our salvation, our Passover. At least by the second century, Christians celebrated the Great Easter Vigil, an event which began the night of Holy Saturday, continuing until dawn on Easter morning. During this vigil, Christians commemorated salvation history, awaited the return of Jesus, and celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus at dawn on Easter Sunday. It was at the Vigil that catechumens, after a three-year period of catechesis, were baptized and received first Communion. The Easter Vigil is the most important day of the liturgical year.  Imagine if our Vigil were to start at sundown and end at sunrise, as in the early Church!  As it is, it lasts several hours, as we only include seven readings and psalm responses from Scripture, instead of listening to the Word of God all night until the new light of dawn.  At that moment of Resurrection we sing, again, the Glory to God and the light of Christ, blessed and venerated, floods our hearts and minds with the new life of Christ himself.
 
Easter Sunday Masses are the celebration of our new life in Baptism as we gather for the sole purpose to proclaim the joy of our new life, as we renew our promises and are sprinkled in the waters of the Easter font of rebirth.  A day of ultimate Joy, we gather for no other reason than to celebrate and give thanks. Join us for these amazing days.
 
God bless you.
 
 
 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ April 2, 2017

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

This week I’d like to offer this pastoral reflection from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 22 March: “Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times.”

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee has issued the following pastoral reflection in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict or fear in their native lands. In the statement, the bishops encourage each of us to do what we can to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States.

The word of God is truly alive today. “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt” (Lev. 19:33-34). To live as a people of God is to live in the hope of the resurrection.

To live in Christ is to draw upon the limitless love of Jesus to fortify us against the temptation of fear. Pray that our engagement in the debate over immigration and refugee issues may bring peace and comfort to those most affected by current and proposed national policy changes.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that behind every policy is the story of a person in search of a better life. They may be an immigrant or refugee family sacrificing so that their children might have a brighter future. As shepherds of a pilgrim Church, we will not tire in saying to families who have the courage to set out from their despair onto the road of hope: “We are with you.” They may also be a family seeking security from an increased threat of extremist violence. It is necessary to safeguard the United States in a manner that does not cause us to lose our humanity.

Intense debate is essential to healthy democracy, but the rhetoric of fear does not serve us well. When we look at one another do we see with the heart of Jesus? Within our diverse backgrounds are found common dreams for our children. Hope in the next generation is how the nation will realize its founding motto, “out of many, one.” In doing so, we will also realize God’s hope for all His children: that we would see each other as valued sisters and brothers regardless of race, religion or national origin.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14), strengthens us to bring our words to life. How might we, as Catholics and in our own small way, bring our words of solidarity for migrants and refugees to life?

1. Pray for an end to the root causes of violent hatred that force mothers and fathers to flee the only home they may have known in search of economic and physical security for their children.

2. Meet with members of your parish who are newcomers, listen to their story and share your own. Hundreds of Catholic parishes across the country have programs for immigrants and refugees both to comfort them and to help them know their rights. It is also important to reach out in loving dialogue to those who may disagree with us. The more we come to understand each other’s concerns the better we can serve one another. Together, we are one body in Christ.

3. Call, write or visit your elected representative and ask them to fix our broken immigration system in a way that safeguards both our security and our humanity through a generous opportunity for legal immigration.

As Pope Francis said, “To migrate is the expression of that inherent desire for the happiness proper to every human being, a happiness that is to be sought and pursued. For us Christians, all human life is an itinerant journey towards our heavenly homeland.”

 

These are confusing times. The problem is we can be so sucked into the vortex of all the angry words and fear-dealing violence that we can, as the bishops say, lose a sense of our own humanity and begin to return hatred for hatred. It has been a rough year in the confessional: the anger that many of us have discovered is palpable, and it can come out of us in ways that are damaging. Although anger is one of the seven deadly sins, we also know that Jesus never sinned, though he was clearly angry at times. Anger is a response to injustice, inhumanity and irreverence and, as such, is really an expression of the love you have for those who are disrespected, treated unjustly or abused. But anger that has doing damage as its goal destroys both the one angry and the object of that anger. Jesus was an itinerant. He accepted the hospitality of those who would receive him as he worked, people like Lazarus and his daughters with whom deep friendships are born. Literally, life out of death.

God bless you,

Announcements ~ April 2, 2017

* Please make note. First Mass on Easter Sunday is a bit earlier, 7:45am instead of 8am. Our intent is to provide a little more parking lot space between the first two Masses. Thanks for your flexibility.

* We invite prospective families to tour our parish school at our next Open House is Friday, April 7th from 9:30-10:30am. If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar, Mrs. Johns at cjohns@stbernschool.org .

* Please join us for our Lenten Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross each Friday during Lent. Soup supper begins at 6:30pm in the school cafeteria, English Stations in the Church at 7:30pm and Spanish Stations in the chapel at 7:30pm. Bring the whole family to enjoy good soup and fellowship and then spend time waking the way of the Cross with Jesus.

* Please find the Sacred Triduum schedule for Holy Week on page 9 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.

* Divine Mercy Devotions will be scheduled for 3pm on the Second Sunday of Easter, 23 April.

* Please send in your pledge for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal if you haven’t already. We are asking every household in our parish to support this appeal to the extent you are able. We are at 90% of our goal!

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ March 26, 2017

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

It is hard to believe how much quicker time seems to be passing. It seems each day is over before I even get started on my lists. It occurs to all of us here in the office that Holy Week is already nearly here, and there is a lot to talk about.

First, I’ve failed to mention in all of our schedules that we will have an Easter Food Blessing on Holy Saturday morning in the church at 10:30am. The timing might be a little odd, you would think - at a time when there is no holy water. We drain the holy water we have on Holy Thursday night when the church is stripped following the procession to Gethsemane, and there isn’t any holy water available until the font is blessed at the Easter Vigil. But prior to Vatican II, when the midnight to Mass/Communion fast was still in force, it was the common practice to celebrate the Easter Vigil in the morning on Holy Saturday. In people’s minds, Lent therefore ended on Saturday morning. I remember when we were kids if we had given up candy for Lent, we were allowed to start eating candy again at noon on Holy Saturday. By then, there would have been holy water! So we are going to hide some on Holy Thursday. Shhh. We will use the blessings of the Eastern Catholic Ukrainian Rite. If you would like to participate and learn how to arrange your basket with the eggs, the butter, the meats and cheeses, you can find it at http://www.polishamericancenter.org/SwieconkaBasket.htmConfessions might be brisk this Holy Week, I hope everyone went to the Parish Penance Service last week when we had all the visiting priests! For the scheduled times during Holy Week (Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and Good Friday 12-3pm), please arrive at the start of these scheduled times. If the line runs out we will figure that we’re done. We will finish confessions exactly at 3pm, as we do not celebrate any sacraments during the time that we observe our Lord’s being buried.

On Holy Thursday night, rather than processing to the chapel as has been the practice in the past, we will process to the gym in the school. There, we will have a chapel set up in the center of the room where we will place the Blessed Sacrament, with chairs in circles around it. It would be impossible for everyone in the church to follow our Lord (symbolically) from the Upper Room to Gethsemane where he asks us to wait and pray with him until his arrest at midnight. I’ve been told that most people don’t bother, because the chapel is too small and the crowd is too close. I would imagine, also, that there isn’t even enough distance between the church and the chapel to get a real procession going. We will process into the gym, with the Blessed Sacrament coming last, and people will be invited to stay as long as they can. We will celebrate night prayer at 11:50pm and then the Blessed Sacrament will be removed in preparation for Good Friday.

We have commissioned a woodworker to make a simple cross for the veneration of the wood of the Cross on Good Friday. Many people don’t realize that it is actually the wood itself that we venerate, not the Body of Christ (he is in the tomb). Saint Augustine said that the wood of the Cross represented our own humanity, which Jesus chose as the vehicle of our salvation. You can see the cross displayed in a stand in the vestibule of the Church.

For Palm Sunday this year, we ask that you NOT bring old palms back into the parish. We won’t be burning them. Instead, I recommend that you cut them into small pieces and turn them into your gardens. As with any sacramental, the reverent way to dispose of them is either by burning or burying.

Finally, it gives me great gladness to invite everyone who attends the beautiful Easter Vigil to a reception following in the gym. Our wonderful ladies in the Friends in Need Committee will prepare a simple and refreshing repast for you following the Mass. It is a long Mass - often exceeding three hours, in my experience - so it will be good to strengthen weak knees and drooping spirits! Please join us.

God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ March 26, 2017

  • Please join us for our Lenten Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross each Friday during Lent. Soup supper begins at 6:30pm in the school cafeteria, English Stations in the Church at 7:30pm and Spanish Stations in the chapel at 7:30pm. Bring the whole family to enjoy good soup and fellowship and then spend time waking the way of the Cross with Jesus.
  • Please find the Sacred Triduum schedule for Holy Week on page 9 of today’s bulletin.
  • Please send in your pledge for the  Bishop’s Lenten Appeal if you haven’t already. We are asking every household in our parish to support this appeal to the extent you are able. We are at 84% of our goal!
  • Are you a Registered Parishioner? If you attend Mass here regularly, we encourage you to register as a member of St Bernadette to receive all mailings sent throughout the year.  Also in order to obtain sacraments or a letter or a sponsor certificate you must be registered with the Church for at least 3 months.
  • Registering is easy! Visit our Parish Office, or download the parish registration form from our website. Email it to us to officemanager@stbernpar.org or fax it 703-269-1121.
  • Have you moved lately? Changed your phone number? Changed your e-mail address? Help us keep our records up to date and save us some money on our communication expenses. Please notify the parish office of any changes.
 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ March 19, 2017

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette, 

Earlier this year, while we were in Rome, Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, held a press conference to present a new statement prepared by the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, DC.  The IFCMW is an organization that has been active for 25 years and has served as the primary center for dialogue among the various religious communities in our region.  

Wilson Gunn, Senior Presbyter of the Presbyterian Church, USA in Washington and I were the drafters of this document, taking the sentiments and ideas of the group and putting them to paper.  It speaks to the need for a return of religious voices to the public square in shaping our society.  It is a message that needs to be heard, especially in our “not in my backyard” culture: 

An Interfaith Vision for Our Community

As faith leaders from the greater Washington, DC area, we offer this as a statement that arises from our trust in God and belief that good government is exercised “under God,” with respect for the inalienable rights of all. The theological underpinnings that form the foundation of our principles and values have, at their root, our responsibility to serve humanity and these values call us into community. The truth of our common humanity is shared by all, including atheists, agnostics, and those who claim no particular religious affiliation. These values are in harmony with the best of the values undergirding the founding documents of the United States.  

This interfaith vision for our community is founded on the hope that leaders and citizens alike might use this fundamental truth as the basis of particular practices of citizenship and express these values legislatively across all the governmental, civic, corporate and not-for profit organizations that make up our diverse community.  

First and always, we are neighbors. We don’t get to choose who is our neighbor. The neighbor is a gift. We are neighbors regardless of creed, religious affiliation or non-affiliation, race, gender, gender identity, country of origin, political party affiliation, mental or physical ability, or socio-economic condition. We are called fundamentally to be good neighbors with and for each other.  

There are, in fact, moral requirements for society. We do not merely live for ourselves, but with and for each other.  We are not exempt from serving our neighbors. We proclaim that other people may never be reduced to opportunities for our own pleasure or success; they aren’t commodities to be traded, or inconveniences to be ignored or rejected.  

As religious communities we are committed to these values. We invite all area businesses, organizations, government entities, and individuals to prayerfully join us in this commitment:

1. to be a good neighbor.

2. to value life. We oppose slavery, human trafficking, economic or sexual exploitation, torture, racism, sexism and any other practice that harms life.

3. to value families and the safety and nurture of children within those families.

4. to value quality education for all - children, teens, adults, seniors.

5. to aspire to meaningful vocations for all adults and a living wage for reasonable labor serving the common good.

6. to embrace mutually beneficial commerce that serves the common good. We oppose any commerce that demeans human life, practices usury, benefits a few while harming others, or harms the common good.

7. to promote responsible environmental stewardship of the earth and its resources. 

Our urgent concern is to remind our fellow citizens at a time when our beloved country experiences anguish and division that there are in fact values which unite us. We insist our religious communities and individuals be free both to speak of and also to act on these concerns in order to help heal wounds and comfort those in need of God’s healing through prayer and neighborly service to their fellow human beings.

In many ways, these conversations are becoming more and more common today, in response to what seems to be a growing desire for a renewal of religious values in society. Let us keep each other in prayer, not only Christians, but people of good will of all faiths.

God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ March 19, 2017

* Plan to attend our Parish Penance Service, Thursday, March 23. Nine priests will be on hand for a special parish service, quick individual confessions, individual absolution, a prayer of penance and a song of mercy. Join us.

* Please join us for our Lenten Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross each Friday during Lent. Soup supper begins at 6:30pm in the school cafeteria, English Stations in the Church at 7:30pm and Spanish Stations in the chapel at 7:30pm. Bring the whole family to enjoy good soup and fellowship and then spend time waking the way of the Cross with Jesus.
 
* The Bishop’s Lenten Appeal is in the home stretch and we are asking every household in our parish to support this appeal to the extent you are able. The BLA funds many programs, services and ministries that serve people in need. Don’t forget every 
new donor or gift over last year’s gift will be matched by a challenge gift. We are 76% of our goal!
 
* Our Second Collection next weekend is for Catholic Relief Services. For more than 70 years, CRS has been providing expertise and compassion to the very poorest of our brothers and sisters in more than 100 countries. Your donation to Catholic Relief Services will feed hungry families, provide health care and clean water in remote villages, help farmers to grow better crops, protect orphans and vulnerable children, and allow for an immediate response to emergencies. Your support for this good work is greatly needed and humbly appreciated.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Christmas Bake Sale
Saint Bernadette's
First Annual
Christmas Bake Sale
December 14 and 15
after all Masses
(click image to participate)
 
 
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Christmas Advent Schedule 2019
 
 
 
 
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Our Saint Bernadette 2019'-2020 Ministry Catalog

 

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