From the Pastor, August 9

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INDEBTED – Your Parish Staff is amazing. I want to publicly express my gratitude to the office staff (Patsy, Cindy, Jim, Cheri, and of course, Fr. Frank) for responding to your needs in my absence. I’m grateful for the extra effort of our principal and summer helpers (Terry, Charles, and Alex) who prepared the school. My heart also goes out to the many Volunteer leaders who give of their time and efforts (Christine, Mike, et al.) who keep the grounds and buildings clean and who help me see that everything is in good hands. And finally to Fr. Norm and Fr. Milton who helped with Masses. Thank You! God bless you!

From the Pastor June 13

Dear Community of St. Bernard,

            In May we held ZIP Code meetings for the three regions of our parish – Central, West, and East. Once again I thank each and every one of you who took the time to participate. Although the turnout was light, the benefit was huge. This past week the Pastoral Council received the compiled responses from the participants.        

            I have asked the Council members to read over the responses, prayerfully! Not so we can formulate some big strategic plan, but more importantly to see what God is doing in our midst. Our patron, St. Bernard (1090-1153) taught that a wise person is one who reflects on the working of the Holy Spirit in their life. He said ‘be like a reservoir that receives water and retains it until the water overflows its banks’. Our parishioner, Jim Burand (11:30 Mass) pointed out this insight of St. Bernard to me. Jim compared our parish to a reservoir that receives people from all over Akron, like water, and is filled with God’s Holy Spirit by your presence. For this reason, it is important to reflect closely on God’s presence and action in our personal lives and that of this parish. And then discern where and how that Spirit overflows into the lives of those around us.

            Make sense to you? How then are you allowing the Spirit of God’s grace to come into your life? Do you take time to pray DAILY, listen to Catholic speakers, read spiritual books/articles? Often I hear people say that they intend to be more disciplined about spiritual practices (exercises). I’ve even said it! St. Bernard is often quoted for saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Being disciplined is being a Disciple. With a busy schedule, I know the challenges personally to be disciplined in prayer, Scripture reading, spiritual exercises, etc. You just have to make the time, I tell myself.

            For over two years now the parish staff has been working at a hectic pace. (Keep in mind that the staff is also responsible for St. Mary Parish and its School.) Staff and volunteers have been working overtime in order to serve the needs of many (people and buildings). Since summer is usually a slower time in most parishes with a school, we are cutting back our daily office hours for THIS summer (9:00am – 1:30pm). We ask your cooperation by making your non-emergency needs known when the offices are open. Small groups that meet here are asked to do so before 1:00pm; or on a Sunday before or after Mass; or in a participant’s home.

            This cut back will also be a slight financial savings to the parish. As the fiscal year comes to a close on June 30, we will publish our statement and projected budget this summer. Each week we publish in the bulletin the monetary sacrifices you make at all the weekend Masses. I do not publish what we ‘need to get’ every weekend. It leads to minimalism. What needs to go in the Mass offering is your sacrifice to God because of your trust in His providential care and out of gratitude for His blessings. IF you do that, I trust He will keep us open; and be an ‘overflowing reservoir’ of His Spirit of love in downtown Akron. God give you Peace, Fr. Dan

 

From the Pastor, May 23

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Dear Community of St. Bernard,

A Blessed Pentecost. May the Spirit of God dwelling in each of you be a source of strength and peace in your daily life. May the Spirit lead you to share the joy you have in His Son, Jesus Christ.

As we gather this weekend to remember that Jesus laid down his life for us and gave us this same Spirit of love, we also remember with grateful prayer the many soldiers who died in the act of defending and saving this nation and our freedoms. May they rest in an eternal Peace that no war can ever attain.  Monday’s Mass – in church – 9:30am.

Our prayers are also with the 12 children receiving the Eucharist for the first time at the 4:30 Mass this Saturday. God bless them and keep them in union with Christ and His Church all their days.

Thanks to the members of the Pastoral Council who helped with the ZIP Gatherings these past three Tuesday evenings. They will now look to the suggestions made for future parish improvements.   Thanks to all who participated.

Many of you have been supporters of Kirt and Hilda Bromley’s “Books for Africa”. They will be here on Saturday, June 13, 5:30 – 8:00pm.

Please read the items in today’s bulletin about: Memorial Day Mass, Parking lot gates, Panhandlers, Bologna House (Hunger) needs.

Effective June 15 the Parish Office Hours will be from 9am-1:30pm until August 15. I ask that small prayer/meeting groups who usually meet at the church; please schedule your event here no later than 1:00 pm or meet in a participant’s home.

Would anyone like to volunteer as an English-Spanish translator? I am looking for someone who could attend any Mass here and simultaneously translate to another language via an FM Transmitter. We have the transmitter for the size of our church, a small microphone, and a few portable radios with earpieces for people to listen. I just need a bilingual volunteer if the need arises.

Come join fellow St. Bernard Community members for the following Upcoming Events:

Father’s Day Luncheon – June 19 – 2pm

            Akron Rubber Ducks Night – July 25 – 6pm

            Blossom Music Festival – August 29 – 8pm

            Outdoor Mass & Picnic – Sept. 13 – Noon

            Latino Pilgrimage to Carey, OH – Sept. 20

            Dinner for the 110th Anniversary of the                        church’s Consecration – ca. October 15

Mark your calendar, Friends! Pentecost is not just for today, but is possible at every event where we Disciples of the Lord gather in His Spirit.   Fr. Dan

From the Pastor, April 19

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Dear Community of St. Bernard,

Have you noticed the restoration in the floor of the sanctuary and the main aisle? It stands out, doesn’t it? And we hope to do the other aisles too.             The expression ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ is not literally in the Bible. Among the Israelites, being ‘unclean’ described someone or something apart from the holiness and purity which is of God. In 1605, Sir Francis Bacon refers to ‘cleanness of body’ as a fruit or result of ‘reverence to God’. Two centuries later, the spiritual revivalist John Wesley stated in a sermon “cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness” to make the point that being sloppy or untidy isn’t very religious.

All that said, it wasn’t about ‘cleanliness’ that led St. Bernard pastor, Fr. John Broun (1834-1915), and his parishioners in 1905 to install in this church a gleaming marble floor that one could eat off of!!

Why not a wood floor, or carpeting, or a rug throughout the church? Well, I think they wanted to tell us something; and to make a Biblical statement!

In your Bible you find people encountering God. On Mount Sinai Moses sees God, eats and drinks. Prophets, like Ezekiel, describe their visions of God’s dwelling in Heaven in metaphorical language. St. John the Apostle, in the Book of Revelation, reveals similar visions of Heaven. And what do they all talk about: the FLOOR! Yes, the sparkling condition of Heaven’s floor. Here’s what they say:                                  (bold emphasis is mine)

 

MOSES – “…and they beheld the God of Israel. Under his feet there appeared to be sapphire tile work, as clear as the sky itself…after gazing on God, they could still eat and drink.” (Exodus 24:9,10)

 

EZEKIEL – “the heavens opened, and I saw divine visions”. Ezekiel speaks of the firmament, a firm vast expanse, seeming like glittering crystal and above the firmament was a sapphire-like throne on which sat “one who had the appearance of a man” (Jesus?). (Ezekiel 1:22, 26)

 

  1. JOHN – In Chapter 4 of the Book of Revelation (the last book in the Bible), St. John tells of seeing the door of heaven open. Similar to Ezekiel’s vision, there is ‘One seated on a throne’ and “the floor around the throne was like a sea of glass that was crystal clear” (v.6)

Also, in Revelation 15:1-3 – St. John writes, “I saw in heaven… something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image…they were holding the harps used in worship of God, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb”.

After all these decades it’s good to have a clean floor in our church (thanks to the Knights of Columbus, so far). And, more so, it’s great to have the sanctuary floor and aisle(s) of the church restored to their original metaphor: Heaven’s floor!

At Easter a number of people noticed something different about the floors and marveled at how they are like “a sheet of glass”. Some walked slowly down the aisle wondering if the floor was wet with water, as like – ‘a sea’, perhaps?

What we do in this consecrated building are the things of Heaven. We come from the outside world and enter a spiritual one. That’s the purpose of gleaming floors; metaphorically speaking – to imagine that Day when you and I will “stand before [God], Saints among the Saints in the halls of heaven” and before the Lamb on His throne, victorious over the beast and his image, death! Imagine that Day! Hope for it! Pray for it! That, I believe, is what the St. Bernard Catholics of 1905 wanted us to hope for in 2015.  May they see God!

And may I add…? Decades ago there was a greater awareness that we aren’t in Heaven yet. The gleaming aisles of a church, where people stood and prayed, were a symbol that we share in the vision of Heaven. We can peer into it and see Jesus on His throne in the Eucharist, but we aren’t totally there.             Back then, a church sanctuary was completely off limits to traffic. People just didn’t presume to enter the sanctuary unless absolutely necessary; it is sacred space where sacred mysteries occur (such as, the Consecration of bread and wine). Sadly, we’ve lost in our culture somewhat an awe and sensitivity for what is to be held sacred today.

With time and effort, I hope we can restore, more than the floor – restore a respect for sacred areas; and the sanctuary is one. We’re not going to rope it off or put back rails. In churches with an open sanctuary like ours, they post signs in clear view on the sanctuary steps after Mass – “Do Not Enter” – to show reverence and prevent damage. We won’t do that unless it becomes necessary.

So, please take all the pictures you like, but kindly do so from the lower steps. Come to the priest sacristy whenever, but enter through the alcove door by St. Mary altar (it’ll be open). Remember: Heaven has no shortcuts! I welcome your comments.                         Blessings, Fr. Dan

From the Pastor, March 29

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Dear Community of St. Bernard,

We join with the entire Church throughout the world and enter into a Holy Week. As the Lord entered triumphantly into Jerusalem, we enter into the mystery of His Death and Resurrection. May this week bring a transformation in you and me by the working of the Holy Spirit.

We welcome family members at home this week and all our visitors. Good to have you back!

Be sure to check the schedule for Holy Week Masses and Services listed in today’s bulletin or at our website: stbernardakron.org.

In the pews you will find Invitations to give to friends or relatives to join us for Mass on Easter Sunday. Give it face-to-face or send it in the mail anonymously. Let them know they are welcome.

Eucharistic Ministers, Oil Bearers, and volunteers for Foot Washing – Please sign up to volunteer TODAY in the Sacristy. We need YOU!

Support Proyeto Raices this Tuesday at Chipotle’s in Hudson. See earlier article.

Religion Class to prepare children for their First Confession and then their First Communion will begin Wednesday, April 1st at 6:30 pm in the Social Hall. This is the Spring Session. The 12 children who began in the Fall Session will make their First Communion on Saturday, May 23rd.

The Neo-Catechumenate Catechesis Talks continue here on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm in the Hall. It’s never too late to attend.

Got Talent? Bring it to the Parish Dinner on April 18th. See the earlier ad in this bulletin. Plan to attend a few hours together for food & fun!

Now that warmer weather is here, we will be scheduling regional gatherings for parishioners by Zip Code. Dates will be posted in late April.

The church is open daily if you need a quiet place to pray this week. And, all are welcome to be part of the prayer services. However, the week may also be an opportunity for quiet time at home.

Each week the Bible readings are published in the bulletin. If you do not hear the Word of God regularly, Holy Week is an excellent time to follow the events in Jesus’ life each day this week.

In some cultures this Holy Week is spent in quiet speech or silence. Families may have limited conversation or quiet times daily. Households may turn off the television for the week, or choose not to play or listen to secular music. Try spending less time on the internet, computer, cell phone, iphone, DVDs, gameboy, or any other kind of electronic means of entertainment. Replace the time spent on these things with time in prayer, reading, charitable acts, visiting a church, praying the rosary, or attend a Triduum service here or in a nearby church.

Keep in mind that Good Friday is a day of world-wide fasting between meals and abstinence from meat. We are in this together!         Fr. Dan

From the Pastor, March 21

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Dear Community of St. Bernard,

This winter has been harsh and we had unexpected expenses. I hope we have seen the last of the cold and snow as we enter the Spring Season this weekend. Thank you for your participation in worship and your support during these past months.

With the warmer temperatures, construction has resumed on our parking lot expansion. Please be considerate to those needing to be close to the access ramp. And thank you to those of you who have honored your Rooted in Faith pledges. Please do not forget your commitment. Without you – the parish will incur serious debt.

Be sure to check the schedule for Holy Week Masses and Services listed in today’s bulletin. Eucharistic Ministers, Servers, and Volunteers for Foot Washing – Please sign up for Holy Week Masses and Services (March 29 – April 5) in the Sacristy (where the priest vests for Mass). Readers are already scheduled.

Proyecto Raices (Project Roots) is a cultural enrichment program open to all school-aged children of the parish. It is held on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month from 10am until 2pm. A lunch is provided. The program focuses on the richness of cultures with dance, song, arts; some tutoring is also provided and creative learning. The program is supported through the GAR foundation and the Akron Community Foundation, as well as St. Bernard Parish. For more information contact the parish office.

Religion Class to prepare children for their First Confession and then their First Communion will begin Wednesday, April 1st at 6:30 pm in the Social Hall. This is the Spring Session. The 12 children who began in the Fall Session will make their First Communion on Saturday, May 23rd.

The Neo-Catechumenate Catechesis Talks continue here on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm. It’s never too late to attend. Comments have been positive and appreciative. Folks are hearing Good News. Jesus is Alive!

Please pray for our ELECT who are to be baptized at the Easter Vigil on April 4th: Alia Hamad, Jonathan Gabriel, Lisa Gibson, Wynter Gibson, JeMarie and Andrea Weber-Harris.

Did you know? Akron General Hospital and Summa City Hospital have a Catholic priest on staff. If there is an emergency, the nursing staff can contact their priest. Please call the parish, due to HIPPA laws, to let us know of an admission, so we can visit and/or pray for our folks. Thanks, Fr. Dan

The Traditioning of St. Bernard Parish

27 June 2010 – The Traditioning of St. Bernard Parish In the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians we read “I handed on to you first of all what I myself received…” Handing on life and faith is at the heart of our religion. God hands over life to creation. In our redemption the Father hands over His Son to us. Together the Father and the Son hand over the Spirit to us. Jesus hands over Himself to the Church and in the Eucharist. Continue reading