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Announcements ~ 10 November 2019

fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette 2019-20 Concert Season kicks off Friday evening, November 15 as we  host the Capital Wind Symphony at 7:30pm, followed by a reception.  No cost, join us!
 
fleur cross logo World’s Finest Chocolates! Our School Chocolate Sale will run October 25–November 17 after all weekend Masses. The school receives 50% of the funds raised. Thank you for supporting our school!
 
fleur cross logo Christmas GIVING TREE begins November 23rd in the Church Vestibule! Our annual tradition of taking tags and returning gifts will benefit Catholic Charities, Christ House, ECHO, Project Gabriel/Project Rachel, ServiceSource, Saint Ann’s Center for Children, Bethany House and Refugee Resettlement!
 
fleur cross logo Beautiful handcrafted Olive Wood religious goods from Bethlehem will be for sale after all Masses November 16-17. A perfect gift from Bethlehem will complete your shopping list for Christmas and help support our brothers and sisters surviving in the Holy Land! 
 
fleur cross logo Our School will host an Open House on Friday, November 22 from 10-11am. Please plan to join us and learn more about how Catholic Education can make a difference in the life of your child.
 
fleur cross logo There will be only one Special Mass at 10am on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 28. Again this year, we ask all you attending to bring non-perishable food items to Mass, to be donated to the St. Lucy Project for those in need. We hope you will join us and begin your day with prayer and thanksgiving. Please note, there will be no 9am Mass.
 
fleur cross logo 2019 Saint Bernadette Parish Calendars - Please pick up a beautiful parish calendar which can be found on display in the church vestibule (one per family)

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 10 November 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
This week we received a couple of very generous bequests from parishioners which will bring us much closer to our Capital Campaign goal.  I have to admit I am not always so patient a person and need to remind myself to trust more completely in God, who always provides what we need in his time...  If only he would speed up!  We now only have $1.6 million to go ~ so achievable! ~ and then we will begin building our future with bricks and mortar on the foundation of a strong community. 
 
We met this past week with the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools, all pastors and principals, and they gave us our report cards for the year.  We have some ways to go in making our school financially strong, but this year was good.  We are up 1% in enrollment where most schools are dropping, some dramatically.  The education we offer is way beyond where we stood five years ago with a kind and generous faculty and staff with excellent degrees and experience.  We now offer well beyond the norm in special resources for children who need extra assistance, both to keep up as well as to go beyond.  And the school is a joyful place.
 
It is everyone's dream that somehow we could establish an endowment so that tuition could be affordable by all.  I am committed to making this a long-term goal.  For now our path to balance budgets depends on enrollment!  We are currently at 83% of the number of students we can serve with class sizes of 25 in K through 8.  If you are considering Catholic education for your family, or know anyone who might be interested, you are invited to come and see our beautiful school.  We have five upcoming Open Houses scheduled but you don't have to wait, come and visit us today.  And get the word out about our school!
 
With groups looking to do things here it becomes painfully clear how much we need space.  We have been unable to welcome new groups and public programs that have asked to come here.  I am very glad that we are able to host our first concert here this week, we will be able to host a quarterly program for the arts and hope to bring beautiful events to the parish and community at large.  The Church historically has always been one of the greatest patrons of the arts on a world scale, and it is exciting we can do our small part here in Springfield.  The Capital Wind Symphony on Friday is our first concert, and we have an Advent Lessons and Carols planned for our second, on December 13.  Please invite your friends as well, these events are intended to be welcoming to all people as our church becomes a home for all.

Another topic I wanted to run past everyone once again this year has to do with the "Night of Stars" evening event when we recognize our good volunteers with an after Christmas party at the Waterford down the street.  The last couple of years we have been able to dramatically reduce the cost of the event, it was down to about $36 thousand last year (If only our own parish hall were built already ~ remember, patience!).
 
I would like to make a proposal between now and the time our parish hall is a reality.  We proved year before last that we could put together a remarkable evening for our school auction.  We transformed the gym and made everyone feel welcome.  Since we are very capable of doing this ourselves, I propose that we spend the money on tables and chairs, dishes, glasses, flatware and tablecloths that we will then be able to use from here on for parish events—especially, when we have our own beautiful hall.  Last year we renovated and updated the parish kitchen in the school and it is quite capable of supporting everything we need.  And then, as our thank you to you, we the parish and school staff will serve you for the evening.
 
We have presented this idea to many and have had no negative responses.  Of course, I realize that people don't volunteer so that they can come to an annual party, as all have said.  But I believe that we can put together something that is even nicer, right here at home.  Mark your calendars for a Night of Stars, heavy hors d'oeuvres and dancing, Saturday night, January 11.
 
Finally, Mass lately it seems louder than usual.  A lot of children are being experienced by the assembly. One little kid—who, actually, is one of the sweetest little kids who comes to Mass every week—was having a really bad day.  I want to say a couple of things about this, because we need to navigate a course between out-of-control and intolerant.  First, how beautiful that we have so many young families and parents, you must not consider it shameful if kids don't behave as you have taught them.  They are kids.  All of us were, at one point, and thank God you are here with us.  One of the things I plan to do when budgets allow is to replace the doors to the vestibule with clear glass doors so that there is not such a separation.  When Mass is going on, that would be a good place to go with kids to get things back on track.  But recently I have been in the vestibule a lot during Masses and find that it is a very noisy place.  It all comes in when the doors open.  Loud conversations, a lot of kids running and playing.  It doesn't become a good alternative to settle children down, rather, the opposite.  I ask everyone to consider the vestibule as church, too, and lead by good example.
 
God bless you.
 

 

Announcements ~ 3 November 2019

fleur cross logo Please join us for an evening “We Care Here: Facing the Opioid Facts Together” in the church on Wednesday evening, November 6 at 7:30pm. A light reception will be served beginning at 6:30pm in the church vestibule for those who have sent an R.S.V.P.  See page 7 for more information.Please join us for an evening “We Care Here: Facing the Opioid Facts Together” in the church on Wednesday evening, November 6 at 7:30pm. A light reception will be served beginning at 6:30pm in the church vestibule for those who have sent an R.S.V.P.  See page 7 for more information.


fleur cross logo November 5 is Election Day. As before, the Virginia Catholic Conference has prepared an issues sheet which can help you form your conscience to guide your vote.  You can find the two-page issues sheet in our October 13 bulletin, or at the Virginia Catholic Conference website, www.vacatholic.org.  Please review the materials for your consideration.


fleur cross logo World’s Finest Chocolates! Our School Chocolate Sale will run October 25–November 17 after all weekend Masses. The school receives 50% of the funds raised and will use the funds to support our school’s arts, academic, technology, and sports programs, as well as other events during the school year. Thank you for supporting our school! 


fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette 2019-20 Concert Season kicks off Friday evening, November 15 we will host the Capital Wind Symphony under the direction of George Etheridge at 7:30pm, followed by a reception.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 3 November 2019

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


A recent USA Today article quotes a 2016 study from the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute that 39 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 29) are “religiously unaffiliated.” That has nearly quadrupled since 1986, when only 10 percent of young adults identified that way. 


They continue:  “But as churches across the faith spectrum grapple with how to reach young adults, the Catholic Church already has a built-in group it can look to for growth: Latinos. According to Gallup, while the Catholic Church has suffered from declining attendance in the U.S., the overall percentage of Catholics has held fairly steady, largely because of the nation’s ballooning Hispanic population.


“Of the 51 million Catholics in America, 34 percent are Latino. That’s an increase from 2007, when Latinos made up 29 percent of the church. Catholic leaders expect this number to keep growing in part because of continued birthrate and immigration trends: The U.S. census projects that by 2045, the nation will be 'minority white.'


“‘Latinos are the emerging majority in the Catholic Church,’ says Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, assistant director for Hispanic ministry for the U.S. Catholic Church. ‘As Hispanic ministry goes, so goes the Catholic Church in the U.S. in the decades to come.’” 


As I was speaking at the Spanish Mass last week, for whatever reason, it struck me as one of the most beautiful prayer experiences I’ve had in quite a while.  The music was particularly beautiful and the lyrics were genuine and touched my heart; the assembly was singing full-out.  There is a warmth there that is not common to daily experience.  There is a deep love of God that is often very emotional, almost palpable.


It was also the first time I preached a homily in both Spanish and English, responding to the requests of a number of parents who spoke concerns for their children attending the Spanish Mass but not being fluent in Spanish.  The community, they feel, is in danger of losing the young people.  We are in a time of great change—I sometimes have to pause and realize how things may not turn out the way we always thought they would, and with regard to how much more divided we are now than we were in nearly every aspect of society and culture.  I feel a profound gratitude for the aspects of faith which do not change with regard to love and service, and that these values cut across anything that might try to divide us in the Church.  There is no place for division here.  For one thing, we know that it is Jesus’ will to heal and bind us together; there is only one who divides, and he has no place here.


There has been some discussion, maybe a little criticism, about our choices for music in the past few weeks, we have been including a little more Spanish in English Masses which seems to have been a cross for some.  This was for a couple of reasons.  First, we need a repertoire for the Masses when we come together in both English and Spanish.  Practically, our parish is one-fourth Spanish speaking, and we often are able to only have one Mass, for example, on Holy Thursday.  There is not an allowance (or a need) for a second Mass.  Other feast days for the parish and community often must be inclusive of the whole parish.  Our parish feast, Our Lady of Guadalupe (Patroness of all the Americas) and the Easter Vigil are great examples when we must worship authentically as who we are.  If we practice a little, these bilingual events will become natural to us.  


But I think an even more important reason for Spanish elements at English Masses is simple hospitality.  We are one parish, and all should be welcome to all Masses.  If we don’t provide signs of hospitality we ourselves are contributing to division.  As families transition with their primary language at home, it is important for them to have a place to go as they grow into the Church.  


I was once accused, many years ago, of discriminating against Spanish speaking parishioners because I didn’t provide special services to them, services which we didn’t offer to the parish at large.  It struck me as odd at the time, because it would be discrimination to not serve, consider, and include everyone the same.  As much as we sometimes might not want to admit it, God has no favorites.  Not according to righteousness, not according to wealth or status, nor language, nor race, nor country of origin.  All sons and daughters of one Father.  And the home has to stand for all to enter and abide.


Pope Francis said something in his homily last weekend that stuck with me, when he was speaking about the Pharisee and the tax collector parable.  It’s worth looking up, his homily at the close of the Pan-Amazon Synod of Bishops (27 Oct) and what he calls “the religion of the self” in which we canonize ourselves.  How often in the sad history of our world have we introduced division between us and “strangers,” even to the point of denying their humanity!  If we alone are righteous, then that doesn’t allow space in our system even for God, because as the Author of righteousness, he requires more space than we can afford.


God bless you.


Announcements ~ 27 October 2019

fleur cross logo World’s Finest Chocolates! Our School Chocolate Sale will run October 25–November 17 after all weekend Masses. The school receives 50% of the funds raised and will use the funds to support our school’s arts, academic, technology, and sports programs, as well as other events during the school year. Thank you for supporting our school!

fleur cross logo Please join us tomorrow, Monday, October 28 at 8pm for this month’s TAIZE Prayer Service. Invite all your Christian friends to join us in this beautiful, peaceful ecumenical prayer service in the tradition of the Taizé Community in France.

fleur cross logo All Saints’ Day Mass schedule (holy day of obligation) October 31 Vigil at 7:30pm, November 1 Masses at 6:30 and 9am, Noon, 6:30pm in English and 8pm in Spanish. The All Souls’ Day Mass schedule includes 9am and noon on Saturday, November 2 for all our deceased. All Souls’ Novena of Masses - Include the names of deceased family or friends in envelopes which will be placed near the altar during nine days of Masses. To participate please fill out one of the envelopes with your donation and return them to the parish office before November 2.

fleur cross logo November 5 is Election Day. As before, the Virginia Catholic Conference has prepared a side-by-side comparison of the positions of the candidates in this year’s Virginia U.S. Senate race. Called "Know the Positions of the Candidates for U.S. Senate," this resource can be found at vacatholic.org. The issues appear in alphabetical order for informational purposes only and do not represent a complete list of issues that may be of importance to Catholics. The Conference neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office. A Spanish translation of the candidate comparison is also available.

fleur cross logo Please join us for an evening “Facing the Opioid Facts Together” in the church on Wednesday evening, November 6 at 7:30pm. A light reception will be served beginning at 6:30pm in the church vestibule. Be sure to R.S.V.P.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 27 October 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

It's not too early! Mark your calendars for our 2020 School Auction on March 25!

The Theme this year is "60 Years of Wisdom and Grace" honoring, on our 60th Anniversary since the founding of Saint Bernadette School, both the legacy of the Sisters who started the school, the Daughters of Wisdom, and the Grace of God which has held us together all these years.

 We are calling on the entire parish, as we did for the first time last year, to come for a nice dinner, bid on silent and live auction items, and by way of a very fun evening, help us in our school's operating budget to excel in good works and academic excellence. You will be invited to consider donating goods or services, especially larger items that might set off a bidding contest like time share vacation destinations or collectibles. Perhaps you have a business that can donate products, time or services which will be desirable to many. Are you an artist or craftsman? Consider creatively how you might be able to contribute to the school in ways that do not necessarily deplete your needed income.

Auctions are great opportunities for you to become visible to the community, too, especially by taking advantage of advertising spaces in our auction website and program book. Last year we served dinner to about 300 attendees, and this year we hope to reach an even wider audience through the use of online bidding.

At any rate, our committees are forming and our plan of action is in place. Our goal is to at least equal last year's amazing success, to net as close to $90,000 as possible. If you are on fire to get involved in planning or production of the school Auction, "60 Years of Wisdom and Grace," please talk to me or our principal, Barbara Dalmut! Or, if you have somebody's autographed jersey and can part with it, it will serve a wonderful purpose here.

~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~

There is a reflection I would like to share with you this week after participating again in the Lord of the Miracles feast day last weekend. Somebody showed be a YouTube video of the procession in Lima, Peru, and I was amazed. The crowds go on as far as you can see. This enormous bier carrying the richly decorated sacred image with candles and flowers is carried by dozens of faithful, taking turns, one group after another, just to get a chance to carry the cross. You can see a photo of ours on the front cover of the bulletin this week.

My core and my legs are still sore from helping carry the bier in the procession last weekend. It was so incredibly heavy. If 24-30 people are struggling to carry it on their shoulders, you can get a sense of how much this thing must weigh.

It is powerful to think about participating in the Lord's carrying of his cross in this much later and symbolic way. You feel in your own body maybe a glimpse of the suffering he endured. Moving forward so slowly, slowly. The crowd is following, keeping the slow pace.

But what is really more powerful that this is the fact that this is something that we can never carry alone. We would be totally crushed. But together, as the community slowly advances the journey, we can accomplish the task at hand. It is possible when we are together.

These kinds of intense devotions are found all over the world in cultures which have retained these remarkable expressions of deep faith as we witness in countries all over the world, even here. There is a noble dignity to it that you cannot deny, something that we must not lose to the conventions of pluralism and indifference.

I could only imagine, as I was feeling the crushing weight of this cross, how the Lord had to have been pleased with his little flock, his pequeño rebaño.

God bless you.

 

Announcements ~ 20 October 2019

fleur cross logo Our Capital Campaign for Community, "Make All Things New" continues. The private gifts phase has raised  $2.7M toward our goal of $5M. Now into our public phase, we have increased our pledge amounts to 3.1M. We appeal to you to truly support this opportunity for depth and growth for our community.  Hopefully you had an opportunity to really pray about how important this parish is to you and how we need space to be together.  If you have not yet filled out a commitment card, please offer a pledge amount over time.   Our society needs to put Church back into the center of its life.Our Capital Campaign for Community, "Make All Things New" continues. The private gifts phase has raised  $2.7M toward our goal of $5M. Now into our public phase, we have increased our pledge amounts to 3.1M. We appeal to you to truly support this opportunity for depth and growth for our community.  Hopefully you had an opportunity to really pray about how important this parish is to you and how we need space to be together.  If you have not yet filled out a commitment card, please offer a pledge amount over time.   Our society needs to put Church back into the center of its life.

fleur cross logo The 49'ers will be selling White House Ornaments after all Masses this weekend and next. Look for their table in the vestibule of the church. 

fleur cross logo ECHO’s popular Yard Sale will be held on Saturday, October 26 from 8am-Noon in the gym. Proceeds of the sale benefit ECHO whose mission is to help local people who are experiencing emergency as well as those who have long-term low income needs.

fleur cross logo Our 4th Monday TAIZE Prayer Service is next week, Monday, October 28 at 8pm. Please invite all your Christian friends to join us in this beautiful, peaceful ecumenical prayer service in the tradition of the Taizé Community in France.

fleur cross logo All Saints’ Day Mass schedule (holy day of obligation) October 31 Vigil at 7:30pm, November 1 Masses at 6:30 and 9am, Noon, 6:30pm in English and 8pm in Spanish.  The  All Souls’ Day Mass schedule includes 9am  and noon on Saturday, November 2 for all our deceased.

fleur cross logo All Souls’ Novena of Masses - Remembrance envelopes in which you may include the names of your deceased family or friends are available in the vestibule of the church and parish office. Envelopes will be placed near the altar during the Novena of Masses. To participate please fill out one of the envelopes with your donation and return them to the parish office before November 2nd. Questions, please contact the parish office.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 20 October 2019

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


This week I have been on my annual retreat.  Priests are required to do a week-long retreat each year, something we probably wouldn't find the time to do if it weren't required.  All of us have a great need to step away for a few days and try to get an objective look at life and especially our life with God, to determine a course of action and ongoing conversion.   We should figure out some way to include a retreat in our yearly plan, even if just a day or two to devote to evaluating and moving forward with life.  That is primarily why we schedule a 40 Hours Parish Mission each year during Lent (this year will be Sunday evening, March 8 through Tuesday evening the 10th) when the parish stops regular activities and focuses on God.


It is all the daily stuff that can tend to shut down your spiritual life.  Things that seem more tangible, confronting us in ways that can be so distracting and contrary to the plan of God in our life.  We know that what he offers is complete love and mercy, but we can defer even our thinking about this because there are too many things pressing on us now at the present moment.  We can circle back around to God later, right?—or will we?  It will always be the present moment.  Maybe we will never get around to it.


Some people I know have a space dedicated in their house only for this.  A quiet corner with a chair and table and a Bible or spiritual book.  Even in this way you can designate a space into which you enter, and decide to leave everything else outside, even for ten minutes a day.  The fixer upper shows on TV would have you believe that a "retreat" is a spa bathroom that reminds you of the beach, or a basement cave where you can go and watch football.  The retreat we need is a place where one meets with God.


What if married couples were to plan time together like this before troubles begin?  Or families who need to just unplug and be together?  I am grateful, though it will be hard to leave daily parish life with all its needs behind, for the opportunity to go on retreat.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Another update on the Our Lady of Lourdes window in the sanctuary.  The diocese recommended a company to work with us in resolving this issue of the window, which has now been dark for over a year.  As I have said before, replacing the lights behind it requires that it be removed from the wall.  Now we are told that this particular window was installed without restoration (I had thought that the Saint Joseph and Lourdes windows were purchased at the same time, but apparently were not) and the leading has deteriorated and there are gaps between stained glass and leading that have made it very fragile.  The consultant told us that if we move it it could dissolve all over the floor.  


This might be more than you want to know, but I found it interesting.  Really old stained glass was made by casting lead into the filigree pattern of the window, then glass was added.  Today lead is extruded to fit between the pieces of cut stained glass.  But in the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a lot experimentation with adding alloys to the lead, a practice that has been discontinued as the alloys proved to fail with time.


The Lourdes window will need to be re-leaded which will take some time, as well as being remounted and retrofitted with a new lighting system.  While one is being done, we need to do both or we will be undergoing the same process twice.  The cost estimate for this is $75,000.


I'm not sure how to proceed.  We ran it by the finance council last week and they suggested we spend the money, but it is not budgeted and we need to keep our savings in case it is needed with the school this year.  Additionally, I was hoping that what unexpected donations might come in would be used to construct proper tiered risers for the choir area, a project that would really have a positive effect on our worship of God.  We will discern this, and I will be in contact further with the diocese to see what alternatives we have.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~


As I write this article the noon Mass and parish picnic have just ended and we are breaking down the area behind the school.  These moments of our being together as a parish are so important to the life of the Church.  Vital, I would say, otherwise we fall into the trap of thinking of faith individualistically.  Since the picnic will be already last weekend when you read this, we want to thank all the many people who worked to make our annual picnic a terrific event, including all the folks that brought food, who served food, who set up and took down tables and chairs, our great PTO who provided games and rides, and to our parish and school staff who provided a beautiful witness of teamwork and family. 

 
Family is great.  Family is even greater when we work together with a shared objective and produce a wonderful event that is so significant.  Thank you!


God bless you,

Announcements ~ October 13, 2019

fleur cross logo TODAY! You are invited to our Saint Bernadette Parish Picnic and Fall Festival Family Day, Sunday, October 13. The afternoon Mass schedules will be adjusted to accommodate our family celebration of all the diversity in the parish. Details are on page 7.
 
fleur cross logo Our Capital Campaign for Community, "Make All Things New" continues. The private gifts phase has raised  $2.7M toward our goal of $5M. Now into our public phase, we have increased our pledge amounts to 3.1M. We appeal to you to truly support this opportunity for depth and growth for our community.  Hopefully you had an opportunity to really pray about how important this parish is to you and how we need space to be together.  If you have not yet filled out a commitment card, please offer a pledge amount over time.   Our society needs to put Church back into the center of its life.
 
fleur cross logo Our Confirmation preparation process starts a year earlier this year in 6th Grade. If you have sixth OR seventh graders, you should have received a letter from us. Sixth graders who begin preparation this year will be confirmed the start of their 8th grade year (Fall 2021). Seventh graders who begin the process this year and will be confirmed their at the end of the 8th grade year (Spring 2021). Register now.
 
fleur cross logo All are invited to the Lord of the Miracles (El Senor De Los Milagros) celebration. on Saturday, Ocotber 19 at 10:30am. The Lord of the Miracles is a mural painted of Jesus Christ that is venerated in the country of Peru and throughout the world by Peruvians. The mural became famous after it withstood the many violent earthquakes that shook the City of Lima and for this reason it became known also as “The Lord of Earthquakes,” a divine sign that recognizes the Lord God as all powerful. There were many who swore the image was responsible for miracles that happened in their lives. The image became known as the “Lord of Miracles” and now is the Patron Saint of Peru.
 
fleur cross logo ECHO’s popular Yard Sale will be held on Saturday, October 26 from 8am-Noon in the gym. Proceeds of the sale benefit ECHO whose mission is to help local people who are experiencing emergency as well as those who have long-term low income needs.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ October 13, 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
I couldn't resist including one final picture of our pilgrimage to Ireland.  I can't really explain it, but since the first time I came here to Clonmacnoise I felt like it was home.  Perhaps there is some connection—after I finally did the DNA test last year I discovered that Rooneys come from a town called Moore's Church, two miles west as the crow flies from this place on the other side of the River Shannon in County Roscommon.  And the chapel in the photo above, the old one with the stone roof to the right, is the O'Connor chapel. My Grandma Rooney was an O'Connor.
 
Clonmacnoise was established by Saint Ciarán in 544.  At the crossroads of the main east-west road and the River Shannon it became a major center of religion, learning, craftsmanship and trade by the 9th century, and together with Clonard it was the most famous in Ireland and a center of learning for scholars from all over Europe.  The high kings of Connaught and Tara are buried here.  Having survived many Viking raids, it was finally destroyed by the English garrison at Athlone in 1552.
 
Here we are celebrating Mass in an oratory in the cemetery built for the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979.
 
 ~ ~ ~ ~|~ ~ ~ ~ 
 
I've been hearing some rumblings from the peripheries that we have too many second collections.  I agree.  I'm almost embarrassed to announce them all the time.  It seems endless, and I would also have to admit that each one takes a bite out of our weekly offertory for the parish.  So I thought I might say a little about this.
 
Second collections are optional.  We have a list of national collections that we are asked to take up, just shy of mandatory.  So we do them.  There are others that are local, such as maintenance of facilities or tuition assistance or religious education.  These are necessary because we have found people don't give to these things unless we ask, since the offertory literally breaks even with operations costs of the parish office and ministries, and our support for the school.  We count expenses very carefully lately and have put off a lot of repairs/projects because our budget is tight.  Then there are the collections like we had for the Little Sisters of the Poor last weekend, a charity that this parish has traditionally supported very nicely who has come to rely on our generosity.
 
Second collections are optional.  We include them in case you would want to give to them, but no one is expected to give to all of them.  For example, when asked by the diocese to add the Bahamas to the second collection list recently, we did so, because we thought it would be worse not to offer the opportunity.  Choose the charities you are passionate about.  Then, at least we have given you and them opportunity. 
 
Good news:  we have ordered a new mixer that will replace the patched together sound systems in the church.  Hopefully this will guarantee that microphones will work on Sundays during the middle Masses!
 
God bless you.
 

 

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