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Announcements ~ 4 August 2019

fleur cross logo Celebrate with us this Holy Day of Obligation, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Vigil Mass, Wednesday, August 14 at 7:30pm. Holy Day Masses throughout the day Wednesday, August 15 at 6:30am, 9am, Noon, 7:30pm (Bilingual).
 
fleur cross logov Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo The Saint Bernadette Women's Group is forming!  Come with a friend to the next gathering, Bunco on August 20 at 7pm in the Bradican Room.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Just when you thought you there wasn't a program that could help you know your path by God's plan, this Workshop comes along! For more information please see page 11 in this bulletin or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo It’s time to be thinking about RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults begins this September and we welcome all who are interested in learning more about our Catholic Faith, and considering becoming Catholic. If you or someone you know are seeking answers, call and register for the process in the parish office.
 
fleur cross logo A letter was sent to every registered family in the parish who has a sixth or seventh grader explaining the change to our current Confirmation preparation process. If your family did not receive a letter, please contact our Faith Formation office. Sixth graders who begin the new process this year will be confirmed the beginning of their 8th grade year (Fall of 2021). Seventh graders who begin the Confirmation process this year and will be confirmed their at the end of the 8th grade year (Spring of 2021). Information sessions will be scheduled at the beginning of the school year.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 4 August 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

Sometimes you can be surprised by how much you don't know! Or that you've been wrong for 25 years. I discovered this week that some customs which have been in effect in every parish and with every pastor I have ever served aren't, actually, according to the law of the Church.

For all these years I have been under the impression that in order to receive a sacrament or a sponsor certificate you would have to be a registered parishioner. It turns out "registration" is not found in Canon Law. The authority of a pastor extends juridically for those who live within the borders of a parish, and if people wish to register from outside the borders, the parish is able to serve them as well.

All these years we have been forcing people to register if they come to the office asking for these things. What has resulted is a very inflated picture of the actual active members of the parish. I'm guessing the real parish is probably half as large. So many people register to be Godparents or to receive sacraments and we never hear from them again.

So here is how it works now. If you are seeking a Sponsor certificate, we can provide it for anyone, whether registered here or anywhere, or not. It is basically a statement that you fill out, under oath, that you are a practicing Catholic, fully initiated in the Church (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist), that you are at least 16 years of age, if married that you were married in a Catholic wedding, and that you will support the person you are sponsoring as a good example and spiritual guide. The testimony is yours before God, and Ivonne or Kendra will witness your signature and and seal the certificate as a legal document.

It is a little more complicated for sacraments. For example, if you seek baptism for your child, you do not need to register here, or anywhere. If you are registered here or live within our parish boundaries, there is no question. If you are registered in another parish, we need a letter of permission from the pastor of that parish. If you are not registered anywhere, you will need to obtain a letter of permission from the pastor of the parish in whose boundaries your residence lies.

As I said in my memo to the parish staff, on one hand it seems like we are giving up. On the other hand, it just seems like we are being honest. To register just to get what you want doesn't really make you a member in the active sense of a practicing, active member serving God and the Church. Also, it is not up to the parish to prove somehow the intentions of the person seeking the certificate to support another person in the faith; it is the integrity of their word, which we only witness and seal.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A special thanks to all those who worked so intensely to produce our summer show, Kiss Me Kate. I had the privilege to attend all five shows this year and don't think I have ever had the chance to watch young actors grow so quickly in the craft of singing and dancing, in their confidence and in the way they opened up to the audience. I can see why such a dedicated staff of producers, director, conductor, costume makers and choreographer come back each year as volunteers to make this happen! Many of them were in the cast many years ago and realize how much this changed them and helped them to grow, and they are paying it back. So, thanks. A special thanks to Bill and Anna Molino, who help put it together!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Watch the next few bulletins for information about new groups and programs in the parish. Saint Bernadette Women's Group is forming. They are planning a Bunco night on August 20 at 7pm in the Bradican Room—all women are invited to bring a friend! We are also calling on young adults in the parish to start a Young Adults' Group. After a year of no available space for new programs, we think we have figured out a way to introduce the Alpha Series to anyone interested, both an Alpha Series for adults as well as for youth. If you are curious, look at alphausa.org/ catholic. You may have noticed we have added classes in Faith Formation for youth in high school who may be looking for more of a classroom approach to learning the Faith.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to a very special Buddhist event which is coming here August 24-25. We are honored to host the Capital Area Tibetan Association's visit by the 7th Yongzi Ling Rinpoche, who was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of his Senior Tutor. He has traveled all over the world to teach Buddhists and will be here teaching the Buddhist community in the gym in the mornings. We are all invited to a vegetarian lunch on Sunday, August 25 at noon, an interreligious prayer/dialogue from 2:30-4pm, followed by a presentation of Tibetan Culture at 4:30pm. Please see p. 10 for details.

God bless you.

Announcements ~ 28 July 2019

fleur cross logo There is still a chance to see our Summer Theater performances! Depending on if you see the bulletin online, here are the performance times: Thursday, 7pm; Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 1pm & 7pm; Sunday, 1pm. Tickets available at the doors of the Saint Bernadette School Gym.
 
fleur cross logo Our Prayer for Christian Unity in the Taizé tradition is Monday, July 29 from 8-8:45pm for beautiful prayer and meditative songs, praying with Jesus "that all be one."
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Just when you thought you there wasn't a program that could help you know your path by God's plan, this Workshop comes along! For more information please see page 9 in this bulletin or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo A letter was sent to every registered family in the parish who has a sixth or seventh grader explaining the change to our current Confirmation preparation process. If your family did not receive a letter, please contact our Faith Formation office. Sixth graders who begin the new process this year will be confirmed their 8th grade year (Fall of 2021). Seventh graders will also begin the Confirmation process this year and will be confirmed their 8th grade year (Spring of 2021). Information sessions will be scheduled at the beginning of the school year.
 
fleur cross logo The Greater Springfield Communities of Faith are providing school supplies for children in our community. Supplies should be turned in before or after Masses by Sunday, 28 July. A box is in the church vestibule to place your donations. See page 7.
 

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ July 28, 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,

At the end of August we will observe the 400th anniversary of the most-recognized date of the coming of slavery to England's American colonies, August 30, 1619. We know that the Africans who arrived in 1619 on the White Lion (and, a few days later, the Treasurer) were from Angola, and we know how they came to be captured. We don’t have all the names, but we do know that Captain William Tucker took two of them into his household, Isabella and Antony, and allowed them to marry. When their child William became the first recorded black birth in what would become the USA, he was baptized into the Anglican faith in 1624. We know that a “Negro woman” named Angelo in a 1624 census had arrived on the Treasurer in 1619. Archaeologists have recently discovered graves that might include hers.

About 20 slaves came on that ship, the White Lion, to Point Comfort—Hampton, Virginia today. They came here.

It was big business for Virginia. The economy flourished, business boomed with free "labor." Of course, human beings could never be called a commodity, as such. So we just didn't admit that they were human beings. Who goes against the system when it seems like the economy is improving?

Numbers are only estimates. 128,000 slaves came to Chesapeake, 210,000 to the Carolinas and Georgia. 27,000 to the northern U.S., 22,000 to the Gulf Coast. 2.6 million went to the Caribbean, and an unbelievable 5.1 million slaves went to the coastal ports of South America. In all, in the U.S., 387,000, and in Central and South America - 8,068,000.

And it is estimated that probably less than half survived the crossing of the Atlantic in such distress, no water, no food, no sanitary considerations, or simple torture and murder. Maybe 20 million? I did a family tree about 15 years ago. From the first Rooney families we have on record coming to Dubuque, Iowa, I have nearly 4,000 people on the tree. Imagine how many people's lives were touched by these 8,400,000 ancestors.

We've heard desperate stories about my own ancestors in Ireland who were treated lower than the livestock in the manors, and it still makes me angry to consider how "my people" had the choice to starve, or leave. I didn't know them, but they still seem like a part of who I am. Only 3 million immigrants to the U.S... Is it any wonder people are angry. I gave a talk at the Buddhist Catholic Dialogue a couple of years ago in Taiwan. My topic was nonviolence and the teachings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. In my research I saw again riot photos that I had forgotten seeing on the evening news on our black and white TV when I was small. I knew at the time what I was seeing was wrong, though the culture I lived in sat silently, watching the TV. We had riots near our home, houses were burning. We moved to the suburbs.

Racism has been the topic of polite discussion for many years, growing and boiling and blowing up at times in ugly outrage. I don't pretend to know the solution, there are a lot of emotions we need to own for allowing the root and attitudes of slavery to coexist with our daily prayers even for next 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. What is one of the core beliefs of Christianity? That words don't matter if our actions, our thoughts don't match. In this sense, I guess you might use the word hypocrisy.

One thing I do know to be true: I don't remember ever hearing a groundswell from the grassroots that all this was terribly wrong. We can all agree on slavery and apologize for being so mistaken. These kind of stories inhabit every country and every culture in the long history of persecution and ethnic cleansing. It's the world, right?

Leaders might make statements of faith or moral values which "represent" culture, or divide it for personal or corporate gain. What would a world look like that is truly colorblind? Selfless, nonviolent, not just tolerating, but embracing?

I have a friend who is colorblind. He looks at a field of red flowers and just sees grey. So this is not the kind of vision I am talking about. We don't want to just blur our sight and live in a daze and let the world become grey. I am a painter as well as a priest, and can't imagine painting a canvas with just grey. Nor would God.

Color is such an amazing thing. In color theory, "value" means how light or dark that color is. "Hue" means how color is effected in its interaction with other colors. Colors work together to be made into beautiful things, not war and hate. That isn't God's plan. We must see God's beautiful variety in a new way. God, give us new eyes. I am not here for myself. This August let us spend our energy on reaching out to others in a groundswell of mercy.

God bless you.

 

Announcements ~ 21 July 2019

fleur cross logo Summer Theater tickets will be on sale after all Masses! This year, since Bishop Ireton High School is under construction, we will have the performances right here in our gymnasium at Saint Bernadette. See page 7 for information and save the date!
 
fleur cross logo Our Prayer for Christian Unity in the Taizé tradition will take place one week later than usual this month of July. Come join us on Monday, July 29 from 8-8:45pm for a beautiful time of prayer and meditative songs of joy and peace as we pray with Jesus "that all be one."
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Just when you thought you there wasn't a program that could help you know your path by God's plan, this Workshop comes along! For more information please see page 9 in this bulletin or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo A letter was sent to every registered family in the parish who has a sixth or seventh grader explaining the change to our current Confirmation preparation process. If your family did not receive a letter, please contact our Faith Formation office. Sixth graders who begin the new process this year will be Confirmed their 8th Grade Year (Fall of 2021). Seventh graders will also begin the Confirmation process this year and will be Confirmed their 8th Grade Year (Spring of 2021). Information sessions will be scheduled at the beginning of the school year.
 
fleur cross logo The Greater Springfield Communities of Faith are providing school supplies for children in our community. Supplies should be turned in before or after Masses Sunday, 28 July. A box will be available in the Church Vestibule to place your donations.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 21 July 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
The Good Samaritan stops and cares for his enemy.  Confronted with the evil of violence, he chooses to insert himself into the victim's life, literally caring for his enemy, embracing him, lifting him, probably preventing his death.
 
Evil is not active. Evil persons are.  Evil itself is a deprivation of a goodness that is should be there, a lack of what was originally intended by God in his creation.  Goodness, truth and beauty are transcendentals in which all beings participate to one degree or another.  We experience fear when we encounter anything or anyone who lacks the goodness that is supposed to be there.
 
Saint Paul says that fear is the absence of love.  Like good and evil, when we encounter someone or something lacking some degree of goodness, we can choose to love, or to fear.  Our response may be clouded by judgement or a misconception of reality, but we make the choice.  One of the most famous sayings of St. John of the Cross, a 16th century mystic and Doctor of the Church in Spain, is: "Where there is no love, let me put love.  There, I will find love."
 
"Enemy" and "friend" are on the same spectrum of extremes. We fear due to the absence of friendship, the absolute lack of love is enemy.
However, I choose to love.  I do not get to choose my neighbor, I only get to choose to love, or not.
 
"And who is my neighbor?" the man asks Jesus.
 
This is a very complicated question today.  Neighbors can be so different and varied.  Neighbors are People like me.  People completely different from me.  People who like me.  People who don’t like me. People who wish me well.  People who wish me harm.  People I like.  People I don’t like.  People who agree with me.  People I don’t agree with.  The rich man living on top of the hill.  The poor man living under the bridge.
 
They are best friends, and total strangers.  Fellow Americans, foreigners.  Big saints, big sinners. 
 
Often they are people we would rather avoid, or we are taught to avoid.  In the Gospel, the priest and Levite, by their own religious law, couldn’t come into contact with the blood of another.  They walked a wide path, knowing that their faith would not allow it.  Remember this is Jesus telling the parable...  Was the law of their faith more important than the compassionate care of this injured, dying man?
 
The instruction love your neighbor as yourself compels us to consider ourselves in the place of that man in the gutter by the road.  In such a place, how would you wish to be treated?  Ignored?  Refused?  Rejected? Denied?  Rounded up and expelled?  There is a lot to think about here.  In our culture we have blurred the lines between what is right and wrong, and what serves our interests.  We call it politics.
Who is my neighbor?  The least of these.

On the last day of judgement "the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’  And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers [or sisters] of mine, you did for me (Mt. 25:34).  Those who did not, will not enter the prepared kingdom.
 
Ultimately, you don’t get to pick your neighbors.  They always challenge our hearts to find a way to be moved with compassion at the sight of them.
 
“He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.  Then he lifted him up on his own animal and took him to an inn and cared for him.  Notice, he didn’t just throw him a dollar bill, he took his two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper to care for the man, promising to do more if necessary.
Which was the neighbor?  The one who treated him with mercy.  We do get to choose to love.
 
May we, in gratitude for the mercy God has shown to us, make him visible in our merciful treatment of our so many kinds of neighbors.
 
God bless you.

 

Announcements ~ 14 July 2019

fleur cross logo Summer Theater tickets will be on sale after all Masses beginning TODAY. This year, since Bishop Ireton High School is under construction, we will have the performances right here in our gymnasium at Saint Bernadette. See page 7 for information and save the date!
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Just when you thought you there wasn't a program that could help you know your path by God's plan, this Workshop comes along! For more information please see page 9 in this bulletin or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.
 
fleur cross logo A letter was sent to every registered family in the parish who has a sixth or seventh grader explaining the change to our current Confirmation preparation process. If your family did not receive a letter, please contact our Faith Formation office. Sixth graders who begin the new process this year will be Confirmed their 8th Grade Year (Fall of 2021). Seventh graders will also begin the Confirmation process this year and will be Confirmed their 8th Grade Year (Spring of 2021). Information sessions will be scheduled at the beginning of the school year.
 
fleur cross logo The Greater Springfield Communities of Faith are providing school supplies for children in our community. Supplies should be turned in before or after Masses Sunday, 28 July. A box will be available in the Church Vestibule to place your donations.
 
fleur cross logo Please support Saint Bernadette School! AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support our school every time you shop, at no cost to you. Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Saint Bernadette School.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ 14 July 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Every once in a while you need to keep your ear to the ground and listen to what people are talking about.  Once in a while you realize that it might be God talking to you through them.
Just in the last few days I have had people come forward and offer their gifts for programs in the parish that might not typically fit into the traditional categories of Catholic ministries.
 
We have many parishioners who have suggested we try a program of health and wellness in the parish.  Maybe a series of talks in many disciplines from the care of the elderly in our community to the emotional support of families suffering from members with addictions.
 
Maybe it is because I am finally realizing the sluggishness that gluten causes in my own daily life (since I have not eaten any for a few weeks), that I believe that if we do not start talking about diet and chemicals we will find ourselves sick.  We have people in the parish who have offered to do programs on all the ways that God has provided us healthy and delicious alternatives, as well as natural remedies for the many ways we have damaged our bodies. 
 
Another parishioner wants us to start a prayer group that involves physical movement, to get our bodies into the discipline of prayer.  I'm pretty sure this won't be high-impact activity, but I am intrigued by the idea of praying with your whole being, which of course includes our bodies as well.  I suppose we kneel and stand, so we are already started.
 
A most interesting conversation this past weekend was with a parishioner and speech pathologist, who said that we don't grow into our identities unless we learn to fully use our voices.  This would go beyond offering help to teachers or liturgical ministers (cantors, lectors), but even to every person who needs to have confidence in their own voice and how they sound to find a new level of self confidence and self acceptance.  I like the idea of a ministry which would give voice to the "voiceless" among us, aging adults, youth who feel unheard, children who are grappling with the first experiences of the unkindness and aggressive behavior of other children.
 
In my last parish we started a Parish Nurse program which always seemed to lack a clear vision.  We were able to do evaluations with people who were in transition working with physical and occupational therapists to help people get acclimated at home.  One of the best things we did was accompany families who had a loved one transitioning to hospice care, and the level of attention that was required not only to the person dying, but also those who lived.
 
Rather than a parish nurse situation, what if we formed a wellness committee (call it "Body and Soul"?) and see what is possible.  Of course, our greatest limitation will be finding the space where we can develop this ministry.
 
Summer is a time for planning.  For all of you I've spoken with, contact me again.  I probably lost the note I made to remind me to call you back in all the craziness this spring and summer. 
~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Finally, it is time to give a plug to our great parish Summer Theater Staff and the 60+ youth who have worked this summer putting together Kiss Me Kate.  Previous years I showed up a few times to see rehearsals or talk to everyone.  I have to admit it is good to have some life on the property during the summer!  But this year I have been a little more attentive to what it takes to decide on a show and produce it within two months.  A seemingly impossible task, they make it possible.  I was up in the gym just last night and the kids are singing and dancing their hearts out, so that you and I can come and see the show.
 
I don't know if you are acquainted with this Cole Porter classic.  We did it as singing waiters in repertoire at supper clubs when I was in college.  You can rent it and check it out, but it is one of those plays that never disappoints.   And after the energy and focus that I saw last night, I can only ask everyone to save the date to attend one of the performance times and come.  June 25-28 (see p. 11)
 
It will be a bit of an added challenge this year that we even have to build a stage... but I am confident that Bill and Anna Molino and all the creative and administrative talent who have given so generously of their summer will appreciate our generous applause, and thanks for using their amazing gifts.
 
God bless you.
 

Announcements ~ July 7, 2019

fleur cross logo Summer Theater tickets will be on sale after all Masses beginning Sunday, July 14. This year, since Bishop Ireton High School is under construction, we will have the performances right here in our gymnasium at Saint Bernadette. See page 7 for information and save the date!
 
fleur cross logo Please consider our Catholic School. We invite you to visit our website, stbernpar.org/parishschool, if you would like to see what we can do for your child. You are welcome to call our Saint Bernadette School office at 703-451-8696 to learn more, or to arrange for a tour. Registration is still open for all classes, we hope to see you soon.
 
fleur cross logo Saint Bernadette is hosting a Called and Gifted Workshop on Saturday, Septemeber 7, 2019, Just when you thought you there wasn't a program that could help you know your path by God's plan, this Workshop comes along! For more information please see page 9 in this bulletin or visit our parish website announcement page for online registration.

Fr. Don's Weekly Letter ~ July 7, 2019

Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
 
Recently after the Bishops' November conference in Baltimore a friend called and asked me if I had heard what one of the speakers at the conference told the bishops, that 65% of the young people who have left the Church said that they already had made that decision by the time they were 13 years old.  I replied that, in fact, I did, and had given a talk to all high school teachers in the diocese on that subject about five years ago.
 
Not a week goes by that I do not hear from a parent who is devastated that their children have decided that they do not believe in God anymore, or that they have decided not to be Catholic.  I wonder: how does a 12 year-old have the knowledge to make such a decision, or even the sense of autonomy to do what would have been unthinkable when I was a boy.
 
When I speak with people who say they don't believe in God anymore, I have realized it is important to stop and ask them, exactly, to describe for me the God they no longer believe in.  In every circumstance, the God they describe is defined by individual, emotional experience.  I say to them, "If that is truly who God is, I wouldn't believe in him either.  Now, let's talk about the God who doesn't only live in your head."
 
The presentation I gave to high school teachers five years ago was a waste of time—not that the teachers aren't wonderful and have every intention to journey with students on the path of faith—but because the students were already gone at that point in high school.  In fact, my experience shows that the majority of our eighth graders are already gone by the beginning of eighth grade, and Confirmation for them is just a hoop they must jump through to "graduate" from God.  Pope Francis has referred to Confirmation as "the sacrament of goodbye."
 
If 12 to 13 year olds are making this decision to not believe in God in sixth grade, then it is problematic that sixth grade is the least attended year in religious education/faith formation.  The majority of the minority of families who enroll their children in faith formation only come for the two-year preparation for First Communion and seventh and eighth grades for Confirmation.  The vacuum of formation between third and seventh grades is taking its toll and giving children the idea that sacraments are really a just a commodity that we "get" along the way, not a choice of a way of life and a commitment to a community of beloved disciples which will change their lives and make them truly happy.
 
Some bishops in the country have moved Confirmation back to second grade, to restore the ancient order of the sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist), with the hopes that the grace of the sacraments will move these children, now fully initiated, into the active life of the Church.  After all, we learn to be Church by being and serving with people who are the Church.  It isn't learned by a textbook, it is learned in the context of a community.  Think how much more quickly you will learn and live another language by immersion, contrasted to just using a book.
 
For this reason this year, we will begin the Confirmation preparation two-year program with sixth graders as well as seventh graders.  We want to start the dialogue with our daughters and sons a little earlier with the hope that our voice will break through all the other voices that speak to them all the time.  The program will be the same, it will simply start one year earlier at the age of 12.
 
That means this year we will have two parallel Confirmation preparation programs—seventh into eighth grade and sixth into seventh.  The seventh graders who begin this year will be confirmed in the spring of their eighth grade year (as before); the sixth graders who begin this year will be confirmed right at the beginning of eighth grade.  Our faith formation for eighth graders will be focused entirely on deepening life in Christ and in his Church.
 
We sent a letter to every family in the parish who has a seventh grader, as well as a letter to families with a sixth grader this week.  If you did not receive one, please contact the office.  We will be getting this word out also through all our channels of online presence and social media, but somehow we never get to everyone.  For that reason, I ask you to consider the best form of communication in getting news out to people—word of mouth.  Tell your friends, begin to plan the beautiful process of preparing to be temples of the Holy Spirit and living members of Christ's Body.  If anyone has any questions, please call Martha in our Faith Formation office.
 
God bless you.
 
 

 

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