St. Bernard of Clairvaux parish is a family-friendly church community located in the heart of historic Wauwatosa. The mission of St. Bernard Parish is to provide the people of God with the pastoral care and spiritual nourishment they need to proclaim the Good News of Christ in their lives and to the world.This blog will inform the community of events and activities at this special parish celebrating is 100th Anniversary in 2011. Visit us online atStBernardParish.org
The first, a letter from Director of Religious Education, Heather Lukaszewski to parents of Religious Education students of both parishes (along with Mother of Good Counsel religious education students) regarding exciting modifications to the religious education facility, and the second is a sidenote from Fr. Mike Barrett to St. Bernard Parishioners regarding funeral masses. Besides mailing the letter to religious education families, both were featured in the Sunday Bulletin dated August 14, 2011.
Dear Parents of Religious Education Students,
Here we are in the month of August, and I am sure the thoughts of the upcoming school year are beginning to surface in your minds. Not to mention, of course, the Religious Education program school year. As many of you have experienced, St. Pius X and St. Bernard have come to combine the Religious Education program to give you options to fit your family schedule without having to join another parish. And I am happy to say this has worked very well for families. Not only with Religious Education classes but with offering different date options to attend parent meetings and retreats for sacramental preparation. I am also proud to say that because of having options, the attendance at meetings have been 100% sometimes! So this year the pastors, catechists, and myself have discussed, contemplated, and prayed as to what the next step might be to make Religious Education the best it can be. And I think God has spoken to us that this is the right time to come together even more fully and take the next phase of change to this great program. So I am pleased to announce that the Religious Education classes for both parishes, as well as the families of Mother of Good Counsel Parish, will all be meeting at the St. Pius X site for religious instruction.
Now I know change is never easy and that it may seem difficult to pull off, but I think with what we have planned, this concept could come around a bit easier than you think. And the benefits of this coming together are so exciting to behold! “What advantages,” you say? Well, for one, we have a campus that our Religious Education students can call their home. The classrooms belong to the students as well as their teachers which means that they will be able to decorate and create a holy space for better learning. They can fill not only their rooms but the halls with their beautiful artwork displaying what their Catholic faith means to them. A chance to create more youth-centered social events could also stem from this!
Some of the other benefits would be having a larger pool of volunteers to help teach. We pride ourselves on having two teachers for almost every grade, but with a bigger pool, we could have two or more per grade. Not to mention possibly having a few substitutes! This helps volunteers feel less overwhelmed having to teach all the time. Or for those inexperienced teachers, this can mean a chance to have a veteran teacher to serve as a mentor. Another great benefit is that with trying to create a Religious Education Center at the Pius X site and having more volunteers to choose from, the possibility of expanding education to our young adults and our adults could be in the future works. So Religious Education can truly become a Lifelong Formation as Jesus intended for us. Not to mention perhaps a chance to have days of reflection or retreats for people of all ages!
So this is how we envision the future of Religious Education. All great things start with little changes. When your children attend in the fall, my hope is that they come with a sense of excitement in coming to Religious Education! They have a sacred space they can call their own, make as their own, and celebrate their faith together with their neighbors from the parishes down the road! I am very excited to see the fruits of this positive venture!
To be clear: Classes will be on Sunday mornings 9 am through 9:55 am AND Monday nights 6:30pm to 7:30 pm. You have the option to attend either session (for the year) but all classes will meet at the St. Pius X site. The 8th graders of both parishes will meet together on Sunday nights at 7pm (also at St. Pius X site.)
Yours in Christ,
Heather Lukaszewski DRE St. Pius X/St. Bernard Parishes
Fr. Bob Marsicek ~St. Pius X Parish & Mother of Good Counsel Parish
Fr. Mike Barrett~St. Bernard Parish
One Parish and One Eucharist by Fr. Mike Barrett
From our most ancient beginnings, as Christians assembled to pray, break open the scriptures, and share the bread, outsiders were struck at the show of unity exhibited by the common prayer and fellowship of the early Church. Right up to the Vatican II documents on the liturgy, we see the stream of continuity flowing from our shared liturgy which is the fountain and source of life for the Church. The Eucharist is both the sign and effect of our unity. It makes us one; they know we are one by our gathering together.
In parish life, I think this teaching boils down to the importance of celebrating the Eucharist well not only on the weekends but when we gather throughout the week. We do that so well here at St. Bernard Parish—due to the diligence of former pastors and the eagerness of our parishioners to assemble in prayer. The table of God’s Word and Bread are of great and regular significance to us.
In this same vein, I would like to ask parishioners to assist me in ministering to our grieving families by attending funeral celebrations with me during the week. Such funeral Masses will replace our morning daily Mass because a funeral Mass opens for us all an opportunity to pray with and for those who are suffering a loss. Remember, it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead. Your presence is also a sign of “Eucharist without walls,” that is, a going above and beyond what is the norm of expectation of our daily prayer.
Such ministry by the assembly also incorporates the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Also, as in the past, when our school children assemble for weekly Mass, this too will be our one Eucharistic celebration of the day. When a daily Mass gives way to the celebration of a funeral later in the day, our office volunteers will make every effort to reach our regular morning Mass attendees to notify them of same. The Mass intention will also be rescheduled for a future Mass. Even in the midst of death, grief, sorrow, and loss, there is a graced opportunity for us to gather as one family, in one communion of love.
Won’t you join me?