After St. John’s in Columbia and we announced our sister parish relationship, I received the following letter:

Dear Monsignor Bozzelli,

I am a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Church in Columbia, MD and I recently heard our pastor, Fr. Gerry Bowen, announce our partnership with St. Bernardine. I smiled when Fr. Gerry announced this because many years ago, St. Bernardine played a crucial role in my life. God brought me to St. Bernardine at a time of great despair and St. Bernardine’s lifted me up and enabled me to carry on.  Now, many years later, the despair has passed and I’m in a much better place in life. I think through Fr. Gerry’s actions, God is reminding me of what St. Bernardine did for me and asking me to “pay it forward.”

         I attended Mass at St. Bernardine almost 20 years ago at the suggestion of someone who suggested it would lift my spirit. When I walked in the church, I was immediately welcomed by everyone, even though I was a stranger.  I loved the joy I saw in the congregation, I was moved by the “Baptist” type sermon deliverd by Fr. Ed, I was inspired by the music, and I was lifted up by the 30 minute Kiss of Peace where everyone walked around the Church, shook hands, and talked.  It was truly a celebration of the spirit and the Eucharist.  I’ve never forgotten the difference between how I felt walking in vs. how I felt when I left at the end of the Mass.  In at time of great need, I found a “Home Under the Dome.”

         I am deeply grateful to God, to Fr. Ed Miller (God rest his soul) and to the parishioners of St. Bernardine for everything that was given to me at the time when I needed it the most.  I hope you can use this donation to further the mission of your church and to keep St. Bernardine a vital force in the community.

         God Bless All of You!