Saturday, February 12, 2011


Is anyone else getting a little stir crazy? I don’t know about you, but lately it seems like that movie Groundhog Day, where the same day keeps playing out over and over again – at least as far as the weather goes. I look out my window to see if any of the snow has receded, and what do I find? Snow again!

My inner Alabaman has a low tolerance for winter. I have long recognized that when it comes to this season, a necessary evil at best, I can handle intensity: it is duration that bothers me. And we have had our intensity this winter for sure, and endured it since mid-November!

The thing about winter is how little changes. Nothing grows. Nothing blooms. Nothing turns a pretty color. And most days lately, nothing even melts.

This year, not even the liturgical season changes. I don’t remember the last time we celebrated the sixth or seventh weeks in Ordinary Time – but here we are, as if it were normal. Usually those weeks get covered over by Lent, and then we emerge after Pentecost to the eighth, ninth, or tenth week. This year we’ll celebrate the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time before we get to Ash Wednesday.

So we march toward Lent, looking for something to break the monotony. I’m not sure the annual Appeal is going to brighten things up as much as we need, even if this year, it is the Cardinal’s Appeal, not just the Archbishop’s. That at least is a little new color.

There has been one change here at Saint Bernadette Central. This week, Margie Deen resigned as our parish secretary and rectory receptionist. After seven years on the job, often as the first face encountered at the rectory, or the first voice on the telephone, Margie has welcomed a lot of folks and tried to help them get what they needed.

Before her, there was Olive Gervase, who not only tended the front desk but played the organ as well. She was here for a long time. She and Margie are only the most recent in an unbroken line of generous, helpful folk stretching back to Ada, Msgr. Stricker’s housekeeper, all of whom put up with priests and helped a lot of people here at Saint Bernadette. Keep her in your prayers.

Speaking of parish history, this weekend (Sunday 13 February) is Fr. Bill Thompson’s fortieth anniversary of Priestly Ordination. He was Pastor here from 1997 – 2006, and now is retired and living at the O’Boyle residence by Providence Hospital. I know he would be thrilled to receive your well-wishes, and your prayers. Drop him a card: P O Box 29206, Washington DC 20017.

The only faces that don’t change around here are Jesus, His Blessed Mother, and the saints – especially that stone Saint Bernadette who looks delightedly up at Our Lady revealed in the grotto in the front of the church. I was relieved to see her face again after it was covered over for so long after that wet, heavy, sticky snow we had a few weeks ago, which reduced her to a misshapen blob. Now that I think about it, by this point in February, and this winter, I feel like I am a misshapen blob. Lent may be late this year, but that doesn’t mean spring needs to be. Saint Bernadette of Lourdes – pray for us!
Monsignor Smith

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