Our Ladies Guild is a very active group in our Parish community and is a model of service and stewardship. Activities planned and implemented by the Guild have include Pancake Breakfasts, bus-trips, and Ziti Dinner nights. The motivated and hard-working membership seem capable of any and all tasks. Great fun is had by the Ladies and all women of the Parish are cheerfully invited to join and participate. The Guild holds five meetings annually, with special meetings held on an as-needed basis. Members may volunteer as much time as desired and may serve on any of the five sub- committees within the organization, including; the Altar Committee, Hospitality, Sunshine, Fund Raisers, and Baptismal Robes. Please see the accompanying Ministry Contact sheet for the most current contact information.
Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus, Rodrigo Council No. 44, a Catholic layman’s organization, meets in the Church Sacristy on the 1st Tuesday of each month. The purpose of the Knights of Columbus is to help Catholic men remain strong in their faith through fraternity. Parish activities in which the Knights are involved are; assisting with the Parish food pantry, the Christmas wreath lighting ceremony, and involvement in the annual Church carnival. Please see the accompanying Ministry Contact sheet for the most current contact information.
Legion of Mary
The Legion of Mary is a lay Catholic organization whose members participate in the life of the parish through visitation of families, both in their homes and in the hospitals and through collaboration in every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by the parish. Please see the accompanying Ministry Contact sheet for the most current contact information.
Young people in grades 4 through High School who have the maturity to understand and live up to the significance of their ministry assist the Celebrant during the Mass and special Liturgies. Servers are trained by the Pastor and Deacon. They are provided with information regarding appropriate dress and footwear and arrival times.
“Singing is praying twice” are the by-words of this ministry. Under the direction of Parish Music Director Ms. Marie Celso, interested adults may participate in this ministry which adds beauty to each Mass and Liturgical service.
Elementary school children in grades 3 through 8 may elect to serve in this ministry. Under the direction of Parish Music Director Ms. Marie Celso the children’s choir provides music during the Christmas season, singing appropriate liturgical music during the Christmas Eve Mass at 4:00 PM. Practices are usually held in the choir loft after the 10:00 AM mass for several weeks prior to Christmas. Information regarding the annual formation of the choir, practices, and time commitment will be published in the parish bulletin prior to the start of the Advent season.
By definition, “hospitality” means the generous treatment of guests or strangers. Saint Bernadette Parish strives to act as a good host to Parish members and their guests. What better way to get to know each other or enjoy each others company than by sharing a cup of coffee or tea and a lovingly baked treat. The Hospitality committee acts as Parish hosts/ hostesses by helping to coordinate receptions for special events as planned by the Parish.
This is a special ministry that creates meaningful liturgies for all seasons of the liturgical calendar; Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time. The committee also prepares Reconciliation Services as requested by the Pastor. Committee members may expect a commitment once per month depending on the liturgical season, with an average of 5 meetings per year.
Those who serve as Eucharistic ministers should bring a strong faith, a sense of awe, and an inclusiveness of others as the foundation for their ministry. Men and women called to this ministry must be invited by the Pastor to assist in the distribution of the Eucharist at Liturgy and to home-bound parishioners. This usually takes place after an individual expresses interest in becoming part of the ministry. The candidate will then go through a training session provided by the Archdiocese before being commissioned as a Eucharistic Minister. Those wishing to serve as Eucharistic Ministers must be actively living the Catholic faith, reside in the Archdiocese of Hartford, have attained age 18, have been confirmed, and, if married, the marriage must be a valid Catholic marriage. Please contact the rectory for more information.
Members of this committee work on a rotating schedule counting the collections offered at each Mass and are responsible for preparing and proving the receipts for deposit. Time commitment begins on Sunday mornings at 8:15 AM and usually lasts until 11:00 PM.
The annual Church Carnival, held each August, brings our community together for a week of fun, food, and fellowship. The carnival is one of the largest fund-raisers undertaken by the Parish and requires many willing hands for a successful event. The committee is responsible for the tremendous number of arrangements necessary to successfully run the carnival. Sub-committees are formed with each given responsibility for individual tasks involving amusements, games, food and beverages, entertainment, ride tickets, promotion, setup, and cleanup. Committee members may expect to attend four organizational meetings per year and to spend approximately 25 hours (4 to 5 hours nightly) at the Carnival. Many volunteers are also required to participate in nightly tasks by working in one of the booths, selling tickets, or helping to setup and cleanup. Those volunteers may devote as few or as many hours as they wish to help make the carnival a success.
Small Christian Communities
Active in our Parish since 1985, this diocesan program is designed to focus on the upcoming weekly scripture readings and the integration of the Word into our lives. There are four dimensions to the small Christian community: word, community, worship, and witness. The booklet Quest, published by the Archdiocesan Department of Small Christian Communities provides the structure for each meeting. Meetings are held for nine weeks in both the spring and the fall and take place in the homes of group members. The small communities have developed a special bond with each other and the Church. They have established a supportive network of friends who care for, pray for, and help each other. Those interested in deepening their understanding of scripture and its significance in their lives, in bonding with other members of the community, and in sharing their faith and questions about their faith are encouraged to participate.
Members of the Saint Bernadette Parish family serving in this ministry proclaim the Word of God through the first and second readings of the Liturgy of the Word and offer the Prayers of the Faithful. Those men, women and high school students participating in this ministry are able to publicly witness their faith while growing in their knowledge of Scripture. Those interested in becoming readers should be able to stand in front of large groups and speak well. They must be able to commit to at least one mass per month. Prayerful preparation is required prior to the Mass by reviewing the readings of the day in the handbook provided each reader. Time commitment varies, with one reader assigned to each Mass. A schedule is prepared by the Rectory annually and it is the responsibility of each reader to make arrangements for a replacement for those masses at which he or she cannot participate.
The role of the Usher at each Mass is to ensure that all parishioners are greeted and properly seated. They assist the handicapped and attend to emergencies. Ushers also pass the collection basket during the Offertory collection and assist those parishioners designated to bring the gifts of Bread and Wine to the altar. After Mass, ushers hand out the weekly Church bulletin and prepare the Church for the next Mass. Additionally, ushers take the October census for attendance and Communion.
At times assistance with various types of clerical tasks is needed. Thosewho have time during their day to help with tasks such as assisting with parish-wide mailings and insert for the bulletin should contact the rectory.
The annual parish raffle is held in conjunction with the Parish Carnivaland represents a major fundraiser for the Parish. This committee is responsible for obtaining the necessary permits, arrangement of raffle prizes, printing and distribution of tickets, sale of tickets at area churches and at the carnival, collection of the raffle returns, and recording of raffle prize winners. Those interested in assisting in this endeavor should contact the raffle committee chairperson.
This committee assists the spiritual life of the Parish by planning, recruiting, and coordinating annual retreats for men, women, and families of the parish.
We are all called to lead lives of active Christian Stewardship, sharing our Time, our Talents, and our Treasure. All members of the Parish are cordially invited to utilize their unique talents and gifts by participating in one or more of the many ministries listed in this booklet. The Stewardship committee provides leadership to the total stewardship process of Parish life, helping to coordinate the giving of Time, Talent, and Treasure. A Stewardship Fair is organized by the committee usually every other year to make information available to all parishioners regarding ways in which they can become more fully involved in our faith community. Committee members can expect to attend at least four meetings annually, with additional sub-committee meetings arranged as needed.
This committee has the pleasant task of welcoming newly registered parishioners. This is one of the first contacts a new parishioner has with our community and it is through this welcoming process that we are able to make new members feel part of our thriving, caring community. Committee members make personal telephone contact and provide appropriate Parish literature. Friendly folks are invited to participate in the activity of this committee.
Religious Education Minstries
Parents are the primary teachers of religious education to their children and have accepted this responsibility at the time of baptism. Parents who realize the importance of faith in daily life give witness to their faith through attendance and participation at weekly mass and frequent reception of the sacraments. The formal programs offered by our Religious Education department can only be successful by remembering that they are offered to reinforce and support the efforts of parents. Religious education at St. Bernadette Parish is viewed as a continuing process from birth to death. Religious growth is initiated at Baptism and continues through the fuller invitation into our faith through the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. This on-going process involves an education program developed for children in grades one through ten. The focus of the program is on developing a personal relationship with God, becoming familiar with Scripture, and understanding our Roman Catholic Faith. During weekly classes the children are prepared for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Members of our community who are called to this ministry teach classes under the supervision of the Coordinator of Religious Education. Other volunteers are needed to act as aides, hall monitors, and telephone assistants. They also help prepare several youth liturgies throughout the year, a living rosary, and the living Stations of the Cross. Please contact the Coordinator of Religious Education to volunteer as catechist.
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program is a response to the desire of the Catholic community to welcome new members. Sharing our faith with one another is important. Even greater is our reaching out to a friend or family member and inviting them to consider becoming part of our Faith family. The RCIA is a wonderful approach to learning what the Catholic Church is all about and helping to bring people into the faith we all profess.The Church’s desire is to welcome all adults who wish to become Catholic. The RCIA process prepares adults for initiation into the Catholic Church and is referred to as the “catechumante.” This is an extended period of time during which the participants are instructed, listen to Scripture, pray, and observe Christians fully living their faith. Participants are provided the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Gospel, find spiritual renewal, and establish direct contact with members of our immediate faith community. The catechumante is a process which prepares a person for full membership in the Catholic Church. If you are interested or know someone who is, please contact the rectory.
Social Concerns Ministries
This ministry seeks to fulfill our obligation to feed the hungry by coordinating the distribution of food to needy parishioners and others. Donated non-perishable food is stored and inventoried by committee members. Members of this ministry meet for one hour each month, with an additional four hours devoted to assembling Thanksgiving baskets in November.
Homeless Shelter meals
Under the direction of Mr. Mike Fimiani, St. Bernadette Parish prepares a meal one Saturday per month for delivery to the Emmanuel Baptist Homeless Shelter in Fair Haven. Food used in the preparation of the meal is purchased using monetary donations from generous parishioners. Frequently, volunteers prepare home-baked goods and bring them to the Church Hall kitchen where they are added to the nutritious meal being prepared. Parish youth enrolled in both the school and Religious Education program perform required service hours by helping to prepare fresh green salads and fruit bowls. Volunteers generally spend from 15 minutes to several hours depending on the level of involvement they desire.
God calls us through prayer and action to affirm the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. The Pro-Life Committee represents the entire Parish in this commitment. Members educate our community about all life issues, including abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, cloning, fetal tissue research, contraception, and population control. State and federal legislation effecting these issues is monitored and the committee ensures that the voice of the parish is
The Parish Council as we know it today traces its origin to the Second Vatican Council and the “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity” which stated that “lay persons are sharers in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ, and as such, have an active part to play in the life and activity of His Church.” Without the involvement of the community, it would be difficult for a Pastor to function effectively. Our Parish council represents the interest and concerns of parishioners to the Pastor at five scheduled meetings annually, September through May. The Council consists of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and a representative of each active Parish committee. At each Council meeting, the state of the Parish is reviewed and committee representatives present reports on their various activities and ministries. Those serving on the Parish Council are registered members of the Parish. Council meetings are open to all members of the Parish and all are encouraged to attend.
The Finance Committee meets regularly and works closely with the Pastor to set budgetary guidelines and assess parish financial needs and goals. The Committee prepares the budget annually in December/January. At that time, a thorough review is made of income and expenditures to ascertain the fiscal health of the Parish. Committee members are appointed.
Buildings and Grounds Committee
This committee, working closely with the Pastor, is responsible for overseeing the maintenance and improvement of the Parish physical plant and grounds. Keeping our physical house “in order” ensures that our Parish family has a beautiful and comfortable home in which to worship, learn, and socialize. The committee performs regular physical inspections of all Church properties for the purpose of performing preventive maintenance. Areas in need of repair or upgrade are noted and bids for any work are requested. The committee reviews bids as received and initiates action as required. Those interested in serving on this committee should contact the Rectory.