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September 10, 2017

In many ways, the beginning of the School Year is also the beginning of the Parish Year.  Our fiscal year (the year in which our finances are tracked) begins on July 1st, but, for all intents and purposes, the Parish Year begins after Labor Day.  Everyone is back from vacation, the kids are back in school, and our families are ready to take on a new venture.

            Our Pastoral Council met for the first time last Wednesday (September 6) and got caught up on the activities of the summer.  The Archbishop responded to our letter regarding the Netflix series, “The Keepers,” which investigated the death of Sr. Cathy Cesnick and the child abuse claims against Fr. Joseph Maskell at Archbishop Keough High School in the late 1960s.  Over the years, I’ve had many “concerned parishioners” and pastoral councils write to the Archbishop, but, believe it or not, Archbishop Lori is the first Archbishop ever to respond to those letters!  A copy of his letter is included in this week’s bulletin.

            I also reviewed the year-end financial report with the Council.  It, too, is in this bulletin.  As you’ll see, we fared well in the last fiscal year, and we’re looking to expand our activity this year by hiring a musician for a new Youth and Young Adult Choir and by hosting several events for our 90th Anniversary Year in 2018.  In that regard, the four committees of the Anniversary reported on their work from this summer: (1) a formal gala on Friday, April 20, 7-11 p.m., at Martin’s West; (2) a commemorative “oral history” to be published on the Feast of St. Bernardine, May 20 (which, in 2018, will be Pentecost Sunday); (3) a picnic on Fr. Miller’s birthday, Saturday, August 18, at the Pickall Area of Patapsco State Park; and (4) a tent revival in October 2018 (exact time and place still in the works).  Save the dates!!!!

            On a sad note, we lost several “pillars” of our church this summer.  Louise Baptist passed away on August 15 at the age of 94.  Louise and her husband, Bill, and their eight children, were one of the first African American families at St. Bernardine’s – at a time when it wasn’t easy to be a black family in a white parish led by a hostile pastor.  Louise and Bill’s persistence, together with many other black families who joined the church, laid the foundation for the magnificent parish we have today.  Later, on August 27, Geneva Prince returned home to the Lord at the age of 90. Geneva had been a parishioner for nearly 50 years and was one of the founders of our Women’s Club.  More recently, on September 4, Herb Salley left us at an all-too-early age of 53.  Herb loved his St. Bernardine’s family and could be seen D.J.’ing parish events, driving parishioners to church, and captaining our softball team.  We thank God for blessing us with these church family members.  May they rest in peace.