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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

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,, 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.
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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,, 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.

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.

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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.
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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.

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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.


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