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Announcements ~ 16 February 2020

fleur cross logo It’s time for each and every registered family to consider how they plan to support the work of the Catholic Church in the annual Bishop’s Lenten Appeal: “Steadfast in Faith and Joyful in Hope.” Please prayerfully consider making a pledge to this important appeal that funds many programs and ministries that serve the people in our diocese. Commitment Weekend will be February 22-23 at all Masses. Your generosity is what makes our Church’s response possible.


fleur cross logo Lent begins a week from Wednesday!  You will find a complete schedule for Lent in next week's bulletin.


fleur cross logo ALPHA Lenten Friends: Small Groups Program. This year we have will introduce/reintroduce the ALPHA program for adults as our Lenten Small Group Series. If you are a small group facilitator or would like to become one, please plan to join us on February 19 at 7pm in the Bradican Room in the Parish Office to learn more about the program or please see page 8. 


fleur cross logo St. Bernadette’s winter food drive for the St. Lucy Project is the weekend of March 7/8. Grocery bags with lists of needed items will be distributed after Masses on February 29 and March 1. The St. Lucy Project partners with food banks in our diocese to distribute food to those in need. Please pray for the success of the food drive and help by filling one or more bags with needed items and returning it the weekend of March 7/8.


fleur cross logo Inclement weather policy:  Saint Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. If public schools are closed, our school is closed and all activities on the campus for that day and evening are canceled.  Check the parish website for weekend announcements regarding cancellations. You may also call the Parish Office for a recorded message. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 16 February 2020

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,


Last fall the Diocese of Arlington published our own Norms for the Celebration of Eucharist to be observed by all parishes.  The good news is, we are pretty much already doing everything as required.  I was glad to finally see in print a policy that officially allows both boys and girls to serve at Mass, that says that standing is the proper posture for the reception of Holy Communion, and that women are welcome to serve in the roles of Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.  For most places in the world these are taken for granted, but have been a source of controversy in our diocese for many years.


There are, however, a few points which probably require some further discussion.  One of them has to do with the practice of coming up at Communion time and requesting a blessing.  The document says,


"The practice of ministers of Holy Communion imparting a blessing on those who come forward but who do not receive Communion is nowhere indicated in the liturgical books of the Roman Rite. Therefore, such practices—including verbal blessings, touching the forehead of an individual, and other gestures of blessing—are strongly discouraged for Priests and Deacons. Because lay persons cannot impart blessings in the context of Mass, Extraordinary Ministers are prohibited from imparting blessings and from enacting gestures that could be confused as a blessing. Alternatively, all ministers may indicate in a few simple words [a prayer for unity, or] that a blessing will be imparted at the conclusion of Mass, namely, the Final Blessing that is given by the presiding Priest" (77).


For many years we have offered this as a sort of alternative for receiving Communion—St. Pope John Paul II was the first to invite non-Catholics to come forward for a blessing since they could not receive Holy Communion—but I think the message here is that there is no real "substitute."  In my mind there needs to be a sense of hospitality in welcoming people to join the procession even if not able to receive (especially children preparing to receive First Holy Communion, or others due to consciousness of grave sin, non-members, or lack of marriage in the Catholic Church), but is a blessing the appropriate alternative?


A number of years back I was at a celebration of full communion between Episcopalian priests and Lutheran pastors, and the presider was a Lutheran liturgist I admire.  It seemed perfectly right to me, to go forward at communion time—not to receive communion, of course—but to ask for his blessing.  What he did was, for me, marvelous.  He paused.  Without any rushing, he began with "Let us pray."  And what followed was a beautiful prayer about how painful is the sin of our division, that we know this is not the will of God, and how we might spend our lives in God's presence with each other in prayer for unity and to do all we can to make this full, visible communion a reality among all the baptized.  


I sort of stood there for moment stunned by the beauty of what he just did.  Not just to settle for the next best thing, but to commit actively to doing everything we can to get ourselves back in communion.  You see, this could be because of either creed or sin:  either way, we are praying for reconciliation and unity.


For this reason, I ask that we ministers of Communion, priests and lay extraordinary ministers, instead of giving a blessing, say with profound gravity, "May we be one in God."  This is the text approved by the Diocese.
The blessing you would be asking for is the same blessing given at the end of Mass, anyway.  It isn't like you collect blessings.  The more the merrier.  Each blessing is unique for you as well as infinite, and two is not better than one.  Instead, at this moment of broken unity, we pray for the one thing that we desire, that we may be one in God.  Please look it up.  It is Jesus' desire on the night after the Last Supper and before he died (Jn. 17:21).  It is the prayer of Jesus.


While on the subject, it seems like we are getting many, many more requests for "special" blessings for people after Mass.  Again, this is (borderline?) superstition.  More is not better.  If you can explain to us how that second blessing is different than the one you received at the close of Mass (just minutes before), then we will consider it.  It seems to be a trend, like so many, which emphasizes the "specialness" of me over the election of our community as the people of God, the Body of Christ.  I am who I am only because of my identity in the people of God, which is filled with grace and blessing because of Jesus' presence, where two or more of us are gathered in his name.


Greetings from the Holy Land.  We are in Jordan this weekend. I'm tweeting. Follow me @frdonrooney.


God bless you,

Announcements ~ 9 February 2020

fleur cross logo It’s time for each and every registered family to consider how they plan to support the work of the Catholic Church in the annual Bishop’s Lenten Appeal: “Steadfast in Faith and Joyful in Hope.” Please prayerfully consider making a pledge to this important appeal that funds many programs and ministries that serve the people in our diocese. Commitment Weekend will be February 22-23 at all Masses. Your generosity is what makes our Church’s response possible


fleur cross logo Year-end Giving Statements have been mailed. Please contact the parish office if you have any questions. 


fleur cross logo Inclement weather policy:  Saint Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. If public schools are closed, our school is closed and all activities on the campus for that day and evening are canceled.  Check the parish website for weekend announcements regarding cancellations. You may also call the Parish Office for a recorded message. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 9 February 2020

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,


We would like to think of our liturgical life of the Church as one which travels through the year according to the unfolding saving Mysteries of Christ.  We begin with that time of anticipation, waiting for the birth and manifestation of the Incarnation of Jesus which began in secret with the Annunciation March 25.  The Messiah is born, and is made known to the nations at Epiphany.  His public life begins:  his baptism, his transfiguration, his passion, death and resurrection.  He ascends into heaven and the year ends on the last Sunday with Christ the King in glory.


Too often, however, it seems like there is a different cycle of seasons.  This past year it was the quiet phase of the capital campaign, then the Bishop's Lenten Appeal.  Then the public phase of the capital campaign, now again the Bishop's Lenten Appeal.  A different seasonal second collection or three, the monthly facilities/maintenance and school tuition assistance fund.  Somewhere in all that we were supposed to do another pledge campaign to improve our weekly offertory collection this past year.


I hope you realize that we like always asking for money as much as you enjoy always being asked.  It seems we ask all the time.  Part of me wants to apologize for this and end the madness.


Except that I believe in the potential of this parish.  Community needs a home to happen in, but that home must ultimately be the commitment of a community who wants to be.  Likewise, I believe in the good works we are capable of—both as a parish and a diocese—and these, too, must be made possible by a community who is self-aware of their potential, and their responsibility to care for one another.


Self-awareness today largely takes place on the level of the individual.  I understand this, we live in a very unpredictable and often hostile world.  Nobody is going to stick up for me unless I stick up for myself.  I get it.  I have to feed my family, provide for their education, be prepared for the unexpected illness or tragedy.  A meal out each month might be nice (when I was a kid going out to dinner—even for a cheeseburger—was really an event!)  


But here is where we must begin to broaden the horizon to realize that there are many, many more people who do not have, at all, the ability or resources to care for themselves like we can.  This is why the middle class is disappearing and the ravine in world societies is becoming more and more unbridgeable between the wealthy and the devastatingly poor.  People have lost their awareness as a people, and are only persons fighting for their own, little space.


When I was ordained there was no Bishop's Lenten Appeal, until the diocese realized that doing business as usual was going to put the Church out of business.  The demands of everyday operation, paying ever-increasing living wages and benefits to an ever-growing number of employees who are necessary for the organization of parishes and services is beyond possibility.  We see this in our own school—but you can't just decide to cut one of the fourth grade teachers, right?  Twenty years ago the retirement fund for priests and diocesan employees had been spent for other things.  It was a wake up call that, thank God, Bishop Loverde and his staff saw coming in time.  If you remember, we launched the first-ever diocesan capital campaign in 2001, and bishops all over the world began an annual appeal to end their annual losses.  This does not even begin to mention the hardships experienced by some churches because of abuse.


I wish we lived in a world where we didn't have to ask.  The reality is, the vast majority of people don't give freely and generously (here at Saint Bernadette more than half don't give at all), and if you don't ask, you go under.  By the way, this is the case with every church and every charity in existence.


The Bishop's Lenten Appeal is upon us again.  I can only ask you to give more if you can.  Our goal is $465,000 and, we have always done, we will keep you informed where we are with our goal in the weekly bulletin.  When we reach our goal, if you still haven't given, I ask that you consider our capital campaign as a worthy alternative.


There are only two things that bring a parish to life in God.  Prayer, which teaches us love, and community, which gives us a place to belong.  As human beings these are the two things we really need, love and belonging.  The Good News is that, despite all the unhealthy ways we have looked for them, God has given us a context, his family the Church, to locate our lives and grow in loving service of him and each other.  It is a simple vision which has fueled two thousand years of community, right from the time of the Apostles, just days after Jesus turned it all over to us, his servants.


God bless you.

Announcements ~ 2 February 2020

fleur cross logo Join us THIS weekend for a Pancake Breakfast in the school cafeteria Sunday, February 2, 8–11:30am, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. 

 
fleur cross logo It’s time for each and every registered family to consider how they plan to support the work of the Catholic Church in the annual Bishop’s Lenten Appeal: “Steadfast in Faith and Joyful in Hope.” Please prayerfully consider making a pledge to this important appeal that funds many programs and ministries that serve the people in our diocese. Commitment Weekend will be February 22-23 at all Masses. Your generosity is what makes our Church’s response possible.


fleur cross logo Concerts at St. Bernadette presents The Mason Cabaret, George Mason University’s musical theater ambassadors, for a musical evening: “The Great American Songbook.” Stellar young vocalists offering, ballads, duets and ensemble showstoppers from American song and theater. Free performance Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Family-friendly and all are welcome!!
Year-end giving statements have been mailed. Please contact the parish office if you have any questions.


fleur cross logo Inclement weather policy:  Saint Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. If public schools are closed, our school is closed and all activities on the campus for that day and evening are canceled.  Check the parish website for weekend announcements regarding cancellations. You may also call the Parish Office for a recorded message. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 2 February 2020

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,


This weekend we welcome our new Director of Religious Education, Lynn Jones, to our parish staff and religious education program.  We have enjoyed working together already two weeks, and Mrs. Jones has really hit the ground running. She prepared a short bio for us this weekend, which you will find below.


One change you will know right away is we have now in place a security plan for protecting our children in the program when they are in classes, essentially closing the building to anyone who is not a student or a Virtus-compliant volunteer.  If you are a parent in the program, please be sure you open your emails!  You can contact Mrs. Jones at her email address, ljones@stbernpar.org.

IMG 7184I grew up in Michigan. After graduating from the Naval Academy, I was a Surface Warfare Officer (ship driver!) for five years, including two deployments in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I married my husband, Jim, also a Naval Officer, and the adventure began! Moving every two or three years, we have lived in San Diego, Japan (for a total of seven years!), and here in Northern Virginia, including two years at St. Mary’s in Fredericksburg when Fr. Don was the pastor there. We have three children (one grown and two in college now) and I spent many years volunteering in their schools, scout troops and packs, religious education classes, Odyssey of the Mind, etc.  I was the DRE at our on-base parish in Japan for two years and for the last five years at another parish in the Diocese of Arlington. As a parishioner of St. B’s for over the last six years, I am thrilled to be working here in my own community. 


I've had quite a few conversations lately with colleagues and peers in our Church and everywhere about how unmanageable life is becoming now.  For a while I have wondered if we would come to the realization that life was just too much, that we would reach a point of the upward limit of just how much information and communication we can stand as human beings.  At what point does our quality of life disappear?  Sometimes 200 "real" emails daily (not including all the junk), each with a corresponding expectation if not obligation.  I'm sure I'm guilty, too, of making a request of someone who probably wonders how all this is going to get done.  It is too easy to hit send and make something somebody else's thing.


One friend says that I should put an automatic response on my email that tells the sender right away that, because of sheer volume, a response might not come right away.  That would be the "highway robbery" approach. If you can't pay the criminal tolls, you sit in the slow lane for a few more hours.  I'm type A enough to know that I would not like to see that, though it is probably true.  Another friend has an automatic reply on emails that simply says that she will be able to look at emails between 9:30 and 10:30 each morning and will have a daily triage to deal with those that are most important.  I'm not sure I would like to get that, either, though it is effectively what a lot of people do now, when you don't hear back from some people until next week.


If you don't hear back from me, it is not that I have ignored you, it probably means that today is full and I have put "mark as unread" on your email so I have some way to go back and try to find it and get caught up.  Up until a couple of months ago, I maintained under 200 of these that I knew I had to work on.  This week it went over 1,000.


I don't know what the solution is, but I do know that all of this is not making us better human beings.  We are less human.  And I don't know anyone who is growing more joyful in the process.  Let's try more to talk to one another.  And I promise, I will think twice before hitting send. Something even so small as an email still has three gates to pass before sending:  is it true? is it kind? is it necessary? (Thanks, Mom.)


You will find in today's bulletin a pull-out section.  We are only a number of weeks away from our biennial School Auction, this year title "Time Traveler" observing our 60th anniversary as a parish/school.  In this section you will find opportunities for sponsoring the event on several gift levels, donating auction items, or buying ad space in our booklet.  Please consider su pporting our school!  And also, please attend!


God bless you,

Announcements ~ 26 January 2020

fleur cross logo We invite prospective families to kick-off Catholic Schools week by visiting our Open House, today, Sunday, January 26, 10:00am-1pm.If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar, Mrs. Mary Del Rio at mdelrio@stbernschool.org. Come see for yourself why our school is a great place to grow and learn!We invite prospective families to kick-off Catholic Schools week by visiting our Open House, today, Sunday, January 26, 10:00am-1pm.If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar, Mrs. Mary Del Rio at mdelrio@stbernschool.org. Come see for yourself why our school is a great place to grow and learn!


fleur cross logo The mailing for the 2020 Bishop’s Lenten Appeal was sent to all registered diocesan households this week. The Appeal provides an opportunity to come together as one diocesan Church to support the ministries, programs and offices that help enrich parish life, inspire and form future generations of Catholics, strengthen families and help the poor and vulnerable throughout our diocese. Please prayerfully reflect on making a sacrificial pledge to this important appeal that furthers the Mission of Jesus Christ in our diocese. 


fleur cross logo Concerts at St. Bernadette presents The Mason Cabaret, George Mason University’s musical theater ambassadors, for a musical evening: “The Great American Songbook”. Stellar young vocalists offering, ballads, duets and ensemble showstoppers from American song and theater. Free performance Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 PM. Family-friendly and all are welcome!!


fleur cross logo Science Fair judges needed!  Come see the incredible projects Saint Bernadette 7th graders have been working on by being a JUDGE for the science fair on Thursday, February 13th. No experience necessary! Contact Mrs. Catherine Hanlon at chanlon@stbernschool.org to sign-up.


fleur cross logo Inclement weather policy:  Saint Bernadette Parish and School follows the Fairfax County School System regarding closings for snow and other inclement weather. If public schools are closed, our school is closed and all activities on the campus for that day and evening are canceled.  Check the parish website for weekend announcements regarding cancellations. You may also call the Parish Office for a recorded message. Please take this policy into account when scheduling use of Parish facilities during winter months.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 26 January 2020

0126330 pastor letter

Announcements ~ 19 January 2020

fleur cross logo Parish Office and Saint Bernadette School will be closed Monday, 20 January in observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday.


fleur cross logo Our northern Virginia Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ecumenical prayer service with Bishop Burbidge is this Wednesday, January 22, here at Saint Bernadette at 7pm.  Please invite all our local Christians of all denominations to join us.


fleur cross logo March for Life: This year’s March is this Friday, January 24, to commemorate the 47th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Please plan to join your parish family in this peaceful protest against abortion. Please see page 7 for details


fleur cross logo Next weekend is the Collection for the Church in Latin America. Please prayerfully consider supporting this collection, which strengthens the faith of our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Share your faith and support the second collection. To learn more, please visit usccb.org/latin-america.


fleur cross logo We invite prospective families to kick-off Catholic Schools Week by visiting our Open House, Sunday, January 26, 10:00am-1pm. If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar, Mrs. Mary Del Rio at mdelrio@stbernschool.org. Come see for yourself why our school is a great place to grow and learn!


fleur cross logo Concerts at St. Bernadette presents The Mason Cabaret, George Mason University’s musical theater ambassadors, for a musical evening: “The Great American Songbook”. Stellar young vocalists offering, ballads, duets and ensemble showstoppers from American song and theater. Free performance Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 PM. Family-friendly and all are welcome!!


fleur cross logo Science Fair judges needed!  Come see the incredible projects Saint Bernadette 7th graders have been working on by being a JUDGE for the science fair on Thursday, February 13th. No experience necessary! Contact Mrs. Catherine Hanlon at chanlon@stbernschool.org to sign-up. 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 19 January 2020

Pastor Letter 12020

 

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