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Announcements ~ September 23, 2018

fleur cross logo This weekend’s Second Collection is for Kerala, India which has experienced its worst floods in 100 years. The Diocese of Arlington is taking up a collection to support Catholic Relief Services in their effort to assist thousands of families that are in emergency shelters and temporary relief centers. Please make checks payable to the parish. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
 
fleur cross logo It’s not too late for RCIA!  Although we have begun, there is still time to register. If you or someone you know would like to join the Church or are thinking about it, you are welcome to please call the office.
 
fleur cross logo St. Bernadette Choirs are welcoming new members. We have choirs for singers of all ages; three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade. For more information contact Director, David Mathers at 703-451-8576 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Ministry Fair Weekend is September 22 & 23.Take advantage of our time to visit with ministry leaders and representatives outside under the tents about various ministries & choose one for your commitment this year. Bring your commitment card to Masses next weekend, September 29 & 30.
 
fleur cross logo On Sunday, October 1, please join our parish along with many other parishes as we conduct a public witness to the sanctity of human life. For more information on this event or other Pro-Life events coming up in October, Pro-Life Awareness month, please contact the parish office. 703-451-8576 or office@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Save the Date! You are invited to our Saint Bernadette Parish Picnic and Fall Festival Family Day, October 14. The afternoon Mass schedules will be adjusted to accommodate our family celebration of all the diversity in the parish. More information and details in next weekend’s bulletin.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ September 23, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
I was talking with a parishioner this week about the Parish Life Weekend and the Ministry Fair, about how I hoped people would sincerely consider how they might get involved in the life of the parish, and the Church in general through participating in ministries.  And about how I wished people would be interested in discerning/learning what their baptismal gifts are, and how God is personally calling each of us to come alive in the Church. 
 
This person replied to me, “Don’t get your hopes up.  We just aren’t a parish like that.”
 
I asked for further explanation.  “Well, this is one of those parishes where people just come for Mass, do what they have to do, and leave.  At Saint Bernadette the Church really hasn’t been a big part of peoples’ lives.”
 
Then there was a long silence.
 
So I guess what I want to do is include you, dear parishioner, in this conversation.  Is this true?
 
I have looked for evidence that it is false, and haven’t found a lot.  There are great examples of people serving in the parish in various ways.  It pretty much has to be on certain terms to fit peoples’ particular schedules, that is true, but there are examples.  But generally, parish life, church life, spiritual life seems to be one entree among many on the menu and it is chosen if the time fits and the mood is good.  I have to say this because I am your pastor and no one else will say it.
 
At staff meeting this week we talked about how we somehow have to get the message out that sacraments and life in the Church aren’t fast food:  there needs time to lovingly prepare the meal, to savor it, to rest afterward.  And that this is Good News.
 
We have tents outside church at all Masses this weekend representing the many ministries in which you can get involved, but my last information says that you may not find some ministries represented, nor tables under the tents staffed at all Masses with representatives to speak with you about their work.  Everyone is busy, I get it.  Please, if there is something you feel called to do, persevere!
 
At some point, we need to discover that the Church is not a service provider.  One of the biggest mistakes we ever made was when we started using the word “Service” for Mass, but it reveals a lot.  Do we come to be served?  Or to serve?  And what would that service look like?
 
We don’t think of those in ministry as “volunteers” any longer.  The only way ministry will bring you joy is if you are actually called.  Of course, ministry is a response to a need.  We don’t become ministers because we need to feel good or fulfilled, we become ministers because somebody else has a need that can only be met by someone with a special gift or ability that you may have.  You might be the only person who can respond to a need in exactly the way it needs to be answered.  If you don’t respond, there will be something less than fullness in the Body of Christ.
 
None of it is about me; I find my fulfillment in you.  It is in our serving others that we come to full stature as the image of God and the Body of Christ.  Are we just “not a parish like that?”  Then, I ask also, what exactly are we?
 
Should I be optimistic about the ministry commitment cards coming back?  Tangible commitments to pray, to serve, and to give to your parish community? 
petrus et paulus 4th century etching1
 
I’m also concerned that our surveys about whether or not we move forward with expansion and renovation will come back and make the decision that we do nothing.  Someone asked, “Why do we need two more confessionals, we only have two priests?”  I said, if we only have two confessionals, we will never get a third priest, because people will continue to just go somewhere else (if they go).  We will never grow groups to meet together and grow in their faith if we never build rooms where they can get together (if that is a value).
 
These are real questions and I believe we are at a turning point for the future of this parish.  If this is important, now is the time to step in.  After discerning our own gifts, I believe we can accomplish what I was sent here by Bishop Loverde to do, to care for and grow the community at Saint Bernadette.  But community doesn’t grow by itself, and it can’t be forced to exist, and it isn’t true if only a few get involved and carry the responsibility.  Are we a community?
 
Community is formed by people who are formed into the People of God by savoring God’s life, brothers and sisters adopted and beloved of God in the sacraments.
 
God bless you.

  

Announcements ~ September 16, 2018

fleur cross logo We warmly welcome Fr. Rich Miserandino, formerly assigned at Saint Agnes Parish in North Arlington, to Saint Bernadette Parish. Receptions will be held on Sunday September 30 following the 9am and 11am Masses. Please join us in welcoming Fr. Rich to our parish family
 
fleur cross logo Next weekend’s Second Collection will be for Kerala, India which has experienced its worst floods in 100 years. The Diocese of Arlington is taking up a collection to support Catholic Relief Services in their effort to assist thousands of families that are in emergency shelters and temporary relief centers. Please make checks payable to the parish. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
 
fleur cross logo It’s not too late for RCIA!  Although we have begun, there is still time to register. If you or someone you know would like to join the Church or are thinking about it, you are welcome to please call the office.
 
fleur cross logo St. Bernadette Choirs are welcoming new members. We have choirs for singers of all ages; three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade. For more information contact Director, David Mathers at 703-451-8576 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Ministry Fair Weekend is September 22 & 23. Take advantage of our time to visit with ministry leaders and representatives outside under the tents about various ministries & choose one for your commitment this year. Bring your commitment card to Masses the following weekend, September 29 & 30.
 
fleur cross logo On Sunday, October 1, please join our parish along with many other parishes as we conduct a public witness to the sanctity of human life. For more information on this event or other Pro-Life events coming up in October, Pro-Life Awareness month, please contact the parish office. 703-451-8576 or office@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Save the Date! You are invited to our Saint Bernadette Parish Picnic and Fall Festival Family Day, October 14. The afternoon Mass schedules will be adjusted to accommodate our family celebration of all the diversity in the parish. More infomration and details in next weekend’s bulletin.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ September 16, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

As we move forward together through a very difficult time in our Church, it seems important for all of us to keep talking about what is happening—and also to share as much information as possible. It’s natural when “big news” breaks for the focus to turn to sorting through the news, like the disturbing news out of Pennsylvania with the Grand Jury report. I wanted to take a moment to share additional thoughts as a way to keep building context for ever greater understanding.
 
This seems especially important because of some feedback I’ve been getting. I’m always happy to hear from you, and your  emails that reveal a very real struggle to sort out the good from the bad—while personal peace is being compromised. It’s important to take time to address what threatens the peace which God bestows on our hearts (Col 3:15).
 
For example, I received an email this week from a parishioner who, speaking about the abuse scandal in the Church, said “the silence is deafening,” and that people are reacting negatively to the lack of response. While it’s true that it seems crimes and immoral acts in specific places were hidden in silence, that is not the whole truth here. I’d like to remind us all that not everywhere is the Church silent. If you are unaware of the homilies, prayer meetings, Masses and other activities that Bishop Burbidge has provided in recent weeks, be sure to go to the diocesan website. Our diocese does not ignore abuse or the impact of abuse. It has a very active ministry to survivors of abuse which you can find on the diocesan website. Also, I think I and our priests generally have addressed the issue every weekend, either directly or in the context of preaching about the Scriptures of the week.
 
If this charge about “silence” refers to what is happening in Rome, I can’t speak to that, but I imagine that Rome is very busy working on this. While some people do criticize Pope Francis for refraining from speaking, others see in his decision to refrain from bickering in the media a model to emulate. Maybe it’s a good time to wait and see. We will see in Pope Francis’ actions his response perhaps without words. It does seem fair to give our Pope a chance for more than the short time media usually gives people to react. He is dealing with a world Church grappling with this in very different ways.
 
Another email I received this week basically dismissed the Church and said that we should just focus on getting to know Jesus. Focusing on Jesus is the source of all good things, and it’s also true that, as they say, the only thing needed for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. We have seen how, when Catholics ignored conflict over the past 500 years, good people left the Church physically by schism, or spiritually, as we see so much of today. It’s worth the effort to be sure we work toward unity as God’s family. Dialogue and working through difficult issues is what keeps marriages and families healthy, and that is what our Church family is doing. It is hard, but it does work. Just because someone fails does not mean a marriage must end or family members need to remain alienated. The Church has caused problems, but still must be a part of the solution, including all of us.
 
We all have to grapple with what is going on prayerfully. It’s important to keep deepening our understanding with more information and dialogue with each other—as a family. So, I’m sharing a few thoughts here, grateful you share your thoughts with me. You see, we need to help each other to be ready to reply to whatever others say to us. If we seem defensive, the public interprets that as denial by the Church. And, in fact, there has been a great deal of denial which has brought about this problem in our Church—but also in our whole society. The fact is that I still cherish the Church, despite her sins, and plan to run the race everyday. I became a priest to help you do the same. So, here are a few more thoughts that you may find useful.
 
I attended an interfaith religious leaders meeting recently and of course the conversation came around to the abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. All leaders present—Christian churches as well as Judaism represented—said it is time that we address this problem all together, that it is not just a Catholic problem. All have the same difficulty, but since individual congregations have their own individual leadership and boards and are not organized under a hierarchy like the Catholic Church, these cases don’t go beyond local action.
 
We discussed how, interreligiously, we might start a conversation about the reality of abuse in our society. The most conservative estimates indicate that two out of five women (some studies say three out of five) and one (maybe as many as two) out of five men live with the reality of having been abused. We are talking about millions of people who are angry and trying to find a resolution to their own wounds. One of my friends, a Protestant pastor, thinks this may be why the Catholic Church has become such a focus: millions of people are suffering and don’t know what to do about it.
 
This perspective does not, in any way, seek to rationalize or trivialize the crimes of the Church, especially the Church, where these things should never happen. The Church has to be a safe place where we can go seeking to realize Christ in ourselves. The question we face is how to make the Church safe for even the most wounded of people, in particular for adults who have survived abuse by clergy or anyone who represented the Church. 
 
I am the spiritual director for the Office of Victims/Survivors of Abuse for the diocese, and I am blessed to consider some survivors of clergy abuse my friends. They tell me that the most damaging thing people can say (and often do say) to a victim of abuse is, “You should have known better.” I was shocked how common this response is. Whether they were told this as adults, or as children, or even if as a voice replaying in their heads, many victims struggle to believe that, as children, they could not possibly “know better.” We take some things as obvious, but survivors have to come to believe that. And, as a Church, here and now, we can understand this reality. We know that children need to trust the adults in their lives. Adults need to be trustworthy, and the Church needs to be most trustworthy of all. While we cannot change the evil done to victims of abuse, we can learn how not to re-wound people who have suffered abuse and how to let them feel the welcome of our Church and parish. And, I’ll add this: Do you know how to respond to someone if they trust you enough to share they have been wounded by abuse? It’s a good time to find out what to do, to be prepared as a Catholic because this is where survivors do come for help. They are coming to us.
 
Another thought I have is how it wasn’t until the time when I was ordained, in the 1990s, that experts had even figured out that abusers couldn’t be sent away for “treatment” and emerge “healed.” If you look at the Grand Jury report from Pennsylvania, the vast majority of these cases involved abuse that happened in the 70s and 80s. At that time, bishops and counselors and others of good conscience truly believed that you could send someone with this “problem” off to a treatment program and they would return “fixed.” In my own work as a priest and pastor, my faith leaders group all said the same thing: we learned only then that you can’t send someone off for therapy and then reassign them. Everyone was using the few treatment facilities that existed, and they shared this philosophy. The abuse suffered by the victims before and after this change was equally horrible, and those guilty of abusing victims or enabling victims are still guilty. However, this is an important context to remember as we sort through the news.
 
Once clinical knowledge was advancing in the 1990s, changes were made in many places. There are some cases of abuse since the early 90s in the report, but dramatically fewer. The reduction of incidence of abuse started to appear even before the 2002 Dallas conference of bishops. Wherever even one bishop not following this advice was a travesty, and though it makes little difference to the victims and their suffering families, in terms of condemning the whole Church’s response, I think it is clear that there were big advances in many United States dioceses. The Pennsylvania report digs into the past bringing forward many cases from a time before this turning point. Many of those abusers are now deceased, and even people who might have something to say about decisions that were made are also deceased. Even with limited information, though, the investigations being launched by attorneys generally around the country will likely reveal how, after clinical scholarship got us to a turning point for dealing with abusers, some  Church leaders chose to ignore best practices and gave abusers a pass or got enmeshed in covering up for the past. This is now the reality that must be addressed.
 
It’s important to acknowledge that what these investigations focus on is not all there is. There are remarkable advances of child protection in the United States Catholic Church since 2002, when the bishops created a charter to protect children and young people, amended canon law, and launched a successful operational overhaul of child safety guidelines that now exceed those in any school or other similar institution in the United States. For more about everything the United States Church has done, you can go to the website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org).
 
Nothing I’ve said can alleviate the pain felt by the victims. Nothing we do can fix the past. But it’s still important to put this new wave of scandals into perspective to help us move forward. I want people to have some insights to help in their private faith struggles wherever they are struggling. The place where people must go is the Mass. There are many clear reasons that this remains truth. For one, we all need sustenance for moving through these difficult times together. We also need to remember we come together for Mass to worship God, no matter how broken and evil the world can be.
 
But, also, I’ll share a story from a survivor of clergy abuse who is my friend. This person used to park outside a Catholic church every Sunday, following the Mass from the car using a missal. It was that hard to step back into a church, yet they tell me how they were still drawn to be as near the Mass and the Eucharist as possible. They recount how much they envied the Catholics walking in the front door like it was all just so routine. So, please remember, we are gathering for the Mass, also, for all the people who can’t be here or can’t find a way home yet.
 
In closing, I’d add that I would still like to think that we priests (and bishops) can be a part of the solution. Otherwise the evil of these sins will have divided and conquered us. We know better, we know that the love of Christ that is within us is stronger than any sin, and we are sent out to make this love known to the world. We have to pull together, not apart. Go straight into the Mystery of being Christ at Mass, who himself offered his death on our behalf. Learning is important, doing is more important, as we must become witnesses of what the Catholic Church is really here to do:  advance the salvation of the world and be instruments of healing and reconciliation.
 
This is a long letter this week, but it started smaller and grew with significant additions and insights, co-authored by one of my heroes who just happens to be a Survivor herself. Let us pledge our prayers for her and all who live with this reality, for continued conversion, and the opportunity to begin this dialogue with all churches and religions who are seeking healing.
 
God bless you.
 
 

Announcements ~ September 9, 2018

fleur cross logo RCIA begins September 10:  register now for The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. We welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers and might be thinking about joining the Catholic Church, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
fleur cross logo All parents of children in 2nd Grade have a meeting with the Director of Faith Formation regarding their child’s preparation for 1st Reconciliation and 1st Communion on Thursday, September 13, at 7pm, in the school cafeteria.
 
fleur cross logo Parents of children in Faith Formation please note that classes will begin on September 9, 10, and 11. An email was sent this week with your child’s class, catechist’s name and contact information. If you did not receive this information via email, we will have class assignments for you at Door #13, the entrance to the school classrooms.
 
fleur cross logo St. Bernadette Choirs are welcoming new members. We have choirs for singers of all ages; three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade. For more information see stbernpar.org/praying/music-ministry or contact Director of Music Ministries David Mathers at 703-451-8576 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Knights of Columbus 5K Run/Walk at Burke Lake Park.Join us on September 15 for a 5K and cookout. See details on page 8.
 
fleur cross logo The U.S. bishops urge our participation each Friday in a nationwide Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life, August 3-September 28. Participants will receive weekly email or text reminders to pray and fast, along with their useful info. Sign up at usccb.org/pray!
 
fleur cross logo Ministry Fair Weekend is September 22 & 23. Take advantage of our time to visit with ministry leaders and representatives outside under the tents about various ministries & choose one for your commitment this year. Bring your commitment card to Masses the following weekend, September 29 & 30.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ September 9, 2018

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You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
             the new People of God...
   for he has called you out of darkness
         into his own marvelous light.
                          1 Peter 2:9

 

 

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
First of all, I want to welcome Doug Mills to the parish and school staff as Director of Development. He brings a great many gifts and we are very excited about what we will accomplish!
 
This past week we completed the Parish Renewal Handbook and Ministry Catalog for 2018 and sent it to the printer. It is our hope that you will receive it soon after September 9.
 
When you get the catalog, I ask that you use it prayer-fully to consider your place at Saint Bernadette. It is good to belong; it is better to belong and be involved!  Once again this year, I ask everyone to consider how they plan to grow in prayer, in service, and in giving to the parish or other charity during the coming year. If we don’t make concrete commitments, we usually just do whatever it was last year, or grow indifferent. The growth we want is living more deeply connected to God and his family. Our life of grace depends upon it.
 
The first part of the catalog has some texts (Sacred Scripture and other Church teachings) for your reflection and meditation. Read a little bit at a time, allow the thoughts to resonate in your memory. Most of us can go back to a time (I hope) when we lived our lives with the Church more at our center. Our world works very hard to draw us away from God and from each other, and convince us that the practice of faith (religion) isn’t as necessary or as important as we were taught as children. Unfortunately, too many people have bought the lie. Prayer and Sacred Scripture is something that we need every day. Making our “living sacrifice of praise” to God at Mass is not only required, it is the one thing that shapes us into Christ himself and makes us come alive. That life quickly begins to stagnate as soon as people stop coming to Mass to offer themselves to the Father in Jesus.
 
The second part of the catalog is a listing of all the ministries in the parish. You are asked to look through this section and prayerfully consider where God might be calling you to serve. Choose one. There is not a person that God is not calling to serve among his people. It might not be in the Church itself, it might be outside, at work, in the home. But the way he calls us is through the gifts we were given at Baptism. In this case, the Called and Gifted Workshop or something like it is so important, taking time to consider our life experiences and see where God was working through us:  those moments when we realize that we couldn’t have done that alone, it must have been God with us. Whatever gift you were working through at that time is the path God has for you, and you are invited to take that path not only to serve as Jesus serves, but to find fulfillment. Call the office if you might still be interested in the Workshop on the 15th, there may still be space. It is costly to invite national speakers to come and give the Workshop, and of the 50 people registered only 21 are parishioners from Saint Bernadette, so this will be the last time we host the Workshop in a while.
 
Choose your ministry for the coming year. You will have the added opportunity to speak with people already serving in all the various parish ministries under the tents in front of church before and after all Masses on the weekend of September 22-23. This year you will have the option to sign up directly with them at the tents. Give it a try—if it doesn’t bring you to life, if it becomes a chore, then that is not the ministry for you. The Church is not a place anymore where people respond to needs as volunteers. You must respond because you are called.
 
Finally, everyone is asked to prayerfully consider if the contribution they make to the Church is sincere. Our Sunday collections have stayed the same for seven years. Maybe it is time to consider giving more?  Costs have continued to increase, as always, and as we develop ministries and add the staff needed to bring our parish community and ministry to life, your support is needed more than ever. Please, give it consideration.
 
God bless you.
 

 

Announcements ~ September 2, 2018

fleur cross logo RCIA begins September 10:  register now for The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. We welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers and might be thinking about joining the Catholic Church, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
fleur cross logo Religious Education Class Enrollment is NOW!  Registration forms are available in the Church Vestibule and Parish Office. For more information, please visit our website: stbernpar.org. Calling all Catechists! Please respond to the call to share your faith the youth of the parish, Catechist Meetings have already begun, please sign up soon.
 
fleur cross logo All our St. Bernadette Choirs are welcoming new members. We have choirs for singers of all ages,  including three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade. For more information see stbernpar.org/praying/music-ministry or contact Director of Music Ministries David Mathers at 703-451-8576 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Knights of Columbus 5K Run/Walk at Burke Lake Park. Join us on September 15 for a 5K and cookout. See details on page 8.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15. For more information see page 9 or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo The U.S. bishops urge our participation each Friday in a nationwide Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life, August 3-September 28. Participants will receive weekly email or text reminders to pray and fast, along with ther useful info. Sign up at usccb.org/pray!

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ September 2, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
My dad sometimes would get frustrated with us,  his sons for having to repeat the same things over and over again.  Does this sound familiar?  But he would say that if you keep throwing mud at the barn, eventually enough will stick.
 
It is by repetition that we learn, isn’t it?  We revisit the same topics and situations throughout our lives and hopefully each time will be deeper, understood better, that the horizon will be wider.  So reminders are good, they keep us on track.  Even our liturgical year is cyclical, by its annual nature we revisit the Mysteries of Christ and come to know him more through them each year.
 
With the start up the school year, some of the teachers said we should have some reminders about proper practices that we observe when we attend Mass.  It occurs to me that this is something that might benefit more than only the students in the parish.  Here are some important points
.
Reverence.  We show our reverence in various ways during the Mass.  First, to the Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, when entering and leaving the church, we genuflect (that is, touch the right knee to the floor) before we enter the pew before Mass and as we leave the pew at the end of Mass. 
 
Between these two reverences directed toward the tabernacle, once Mass has begun until the final recession, the focus of our attention during the Mass is toward the altar.  You see this expressed by the priest when he kisses the altar at the beginning, and throughout the Mass when the lectors, servers and other ministers bow to the altar.  It isn’t that the tabernacle isn’t important during the Mass, but it really isn’t the focus: our focus is on the action of the Mass, the heart of this action is on the altar.  The altar and the walls of the church are the only things (not persons) which are actually anointed with sacred chrism (the oil used for the character sacraments of baptism, confirmation and holy orders) at the time of the dedication of the church and altar.  The altar is anointed in five places (four corners and center) to represent the five wounds of Christ on the cross.
 
If you are not able to genuflect, for example, if you have a bad knee or hip, the Church says that a profound bow (at the waist) is equally appropriate.  I often bow for this reason.
 
It would be good to teach your children from the earliest age that this reverence is required.  It will be a good springboard for conversations about how all things sacred should be reverenced, including each other.
 
For reverence shown before receiving Eucharist, please refer to the bulletin online several of weeks ago, when I copied the USCCB’s guidelines for proper postures, conduct when receiving Communion.
 
This reverence can be shown also for each other.  You notice, for example, when the family brings the read and wine to the altar at the time of the Presentation of the Gifts, priest and people always bow to each other before turning away, as does the priest with the servers.  This is to acknowledge the presence of Christ in each other.
 
Penitential Act.  This is the number one reason why you should never be late for Mass.  The Mass has, built in, a preparation for receiving Communion.  As you know, we should not receive Communion if not properly disposed, or in the state of mortal sin.  Still, we should be conscious of venial sins we have committed, even though these sins do not require sacramental confession prior to receiving Communion.  The Church teaches that forgiveness of venial sin may be received through a good act of contrition, a work of fasting or charity, or some other suitable penitential act.  After the greeting at Mass, the first thing we do is get this taken care of.  If you are late and have not taken care of this in the car on the way over, you may not be properly prepared!  We have several options, the confiteor (“I confess...), the kyrie (“Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”) and the responding prayer of the priest assure us of the necessary penitential act.
 
Processions and singing.  At various times during the liturgy we have processions, which are symbolic of the People of God on their way to the Kingdom.  The entrance procession, the procession of the Book of the Gospels, the procession of the Gifts at the offertory, the procession of the reception of Holy Communion, and the recessional at the end of Mass are all times that, at different times in the history of the Church, the entire congregation would participate.  For practical reasons, we don’t all get up and walk together, which would definitely make a greater impression of the symbol on our hearts.  Instead, usually ministers of the Mass process, and everyone else participates in these actions by singing.  Yes, singing!
 
Singing has powerful unitive effects: we are the voice of Jesus in his journey to the Father, gathering up all of his creation in the Mass and bringing us home!
 
God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ August 26, 2018

fleur cross logo RCIA begins September 10:  register now for The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. We welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers and might be thinking about joining the Catholic Church, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
fleur cross logo Religious Education Class Enrollment is NOW!  Registration forms are available in the Church Vestibule and Parish Office. For more information, please visit our website: stbernpar.org.  Calling all Catechists! Please respond to the call to share your faith the youth of the parish, Catechist Meetings have already begun, please sign up soon.
 
fleur cross logo All our St. Bernadette Choirs are welcoming new members. We have choirs for singers of all ages,  including three adult choirs in English and Spanish, Children’s Choir for 1st through 6th grade and, starting this fall, the re-launch of our Youth Choir for 7th through 12th grade. For more information see stbernpar.org/praying/music-ministry or contact Director of Music Ministries David Mathers at 703-451-8576 x112 or dmathers@stbernpar.org
 
fleur cross logo Knights of Columbus 5K Run/Walk at Burke Lake Park Join us on September 15 for a 5K and cookout. See details on page 8.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 15. For more information see page 9 or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo The U.S. bishops urge our participation each Friday in a nationwide Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life, August 3-September 28. Participants will receive weekly email or text reminders to pray and fast, along with ther useful info. Sign up at usccb.org/pray!
 
fleur cross logo Our monthly Taize Ecumenical prayer service is this Monday, 8pm in the church.  All Christian friends are welcome to come, pray with us.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ August 26, 2018

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Our hearts are broken once again at even the possibility of the abuse of minors at the hands of Catholic clergy.  We are confused by thoughts of what is unthinkable.  How is it possible, first, that the abuse took place, but then that it was allowed to continue by our Church leaders?  As Bishop Burbidge said to teachers at the back-to-school Mass on Tuesday, tell your children that Jesus can never fail them.  But leaders can.
 
Many confessed anger last weekend about this newest and most painful development in the life of our Church.  I was quick to tell them that this is not a sin.  We know that Jesus never sinned, yet was furious when people abused his temple and turned it into a market.  That was about a building; spiritual temples are much more precious to God, and he is surely not okay with any of this.  What we need to do is figure out how to work through this anger in a healthy way.  Prayer, and care for each other is a good way to start
Bishop published on Tuesday the “Letter to the Faithful from Bishop Burbidge regarding the Pennsylvania grand jury report and allegations of sexual abuse in the Church.”  We had already finished the layout of the bulletin this week, so I will reprint his letter here
.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, recently reminded us of the words of the Apostle Paul: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). With you, I share the suffering of victims of sexual abuse on the part of clergy, and the suffering of all who have lost trust and confidence in leaders of our Church.
Upon hearing credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse on the part of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and the horrific accounts of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, including the failure of Church leaders to protect children, teenagers and young adults from abuse, I, like you, felt tremendous anger and shame that such crimes occurred within our Church.
 
I have had several opportunities to speak about these issues in recent days through statements, homilies, a letter to priests, and podcasts. (These are all available on the diocesan website.) In each instance, I knew full well that words cannot sufficiently express my regret for the sins of Church leaders and priests who betrayed Christ and his people. No matter how insufficient words may be, however, I again convey my sincere apologies to victims of abuse and reassure them, as well as the rest of the Catholic faithful in this Diocese, of my desire to support you in every way possible. Additionally, I assure you that no priest credibly accused of child sexual abuse is, or ever will be, in active ministry in this Diocese.
 
I was ordained a bishop in 2002, the same year the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was enacted to establish standards for reporting and investigating accusations, as well as to help victims heal from the trauma they experienced. As such, I have always implemented these procedures throughout my ministry as a bishop. Once again, I wish to assure you that in our Diocese, immediately upon receiving an accusation of abuse, we report it to law enforcement. In addition, all evidence about each allegation is assessed by our diocesan review board, composed of a majority of lay men and women who have expertise in areas that will assist with the process.
 
Policies are essential, and they must continue to be implemented and followed. This crisis, however, is not only about policies — it is about evil, the moral failings of priests, and at times a lack of courage and integrity on the part of bishops and other Church leaders. Priests and bishops should not need policies to keep from committing immoral acts or to report heinous crimes to the authorities. We should need only a well-formed conscience, a commitment to Jesus Christ, and fidelity to the promises of our vocation. With the Lord’s grace, we must strive to root out evil and work tirelessly to protect all young people as a matter of respect for their precious dignity as beloved children of God.
 
When witnessing such failures, many will naturally question their confidence and trust in the Church. Please always remember that Christ is Head of the Church and that he never fails us. While the Lord in his divinity works through his bishops and priests, at times they in their humanity fail to protect the flock, even in the most disturbing ways. Please join me in praying for our priests, as in this troubling time they greatly appreciate the support you have shown.
 
I pray that, together, we will renew our faith in Christ, who promises to be with us through periods of darkness and uncertainty. We call upon his Divine Mercy and saving help as we seek healing, purification and transformation. May Our Lord guide and protect his Church and his people, now and always.
Sincerely in Christ,
 
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington
 

 

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