REGISTRATION AS A PARISHIONER
Welcome to St. Bernadette Parish! To register in the parish, please come to the rectory on Sunday mornings between 9:00am and 12:00noon. We are eager to greet new members of our parish community and look forward to meeting you.
Baptisms are held on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month immediately following the last Mass. Parents must attend a Pre-Jordan class held in the Wright Center following the last Mass on the first Sunday of every other month (please refer to the bulletin for exact dates). Registration for the class is required. In order to arrange for a baptism, the parents must be active members of the parish for six months. To register, please call the rectory office at 610/789-7676. Godparents should be practicing Catholics, confirmed and at least 16 years of age. If not from this parish, sponsors must have a letter of eligibility from their parish stating that they have been actively participating for six months. St. Bernadette Parishioners must be registered and actively participating for six months to receive a letter of eligibility.
Baptismal Names and Letters of Eligibility
Having been a priest for over 24 years now, I must say I have experienced quite a number of trends along the way. One of those trends which had died out for quite a while seems to be on the upsurge once again. That is the trend (or fad) of some people who seek to find the most unique name for their children. Unique because it is not truly a name at all or it is a proper name but spelled in the most unlikely (and sometimes the most cumbersome) manner. Certainly parents have the right to name their children as they wish. But at the same time, one wonders how some children with unfortunate names will fare throughout their lives. Sadly, so many times they end up the target of bullies and will be teased unmercifully. That is not necessarily a justification for some sort of mindless conformity but rather the simple facts.
From the very beginning of our Catholic Christian faith, it has been an ancient, time-honored tradition to name children after the saints. This wonderful practice provides children with actual patron, who right now stands before the throne of God, and who will intercede for that child throughout their lives. What a magnificent and deep relationship we can have with our patron saint! And one glorious day, we will be able to meet that life-long helper and friend face to face! How sad it is for those with unique ‘designer’ names that they will be deprived of such a beautiful relationship (because they simply have no patron saint). In desiring the very best for our children, what a powerful spiritual aid a patron saint can be in their lives!
Speaking of powerful spiritual aids, that brings us to the subject of Godparents. The MOST COMMON MISTAKE THAT LEADS SO MANY TIMES TO HARD FELLINGS IS WHEN PARENTS CHOOSE A PERSON TO BE THEIR CHILD’S GODPARENT SOLELY FOR THE REASON THAT THIS PERSON IS THEIR BEST FRIEND OR CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER. Just because someone is my best friend or my closest family member DOES NOT mean they are best suited to be a Godparent. Yes, being a Godparent is a great honor (and we may wish to honor that friend or family member) but we always need to ask a few other questions to determine if this person is truly the best choice. First and foremost: Is this person truly a good example of the Catholic Christian faith? (Does this person practice their Catholic faith by attending Mass regularly and receiving the Sacraments?) 2) Has this person received all of the Sacraments of Initiation? (Have they received their own Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.) 3) Is the person 16 years of age or older? (There are times at the judgment of the pastor that a younger person could stand.) 4) If the candidate is married, are they married in the church? (If they are not properly married by a priest, they are not eligible.) Each of these points is necessary for a person to receive a Letter of Eligibility from their home parish. That is the letter that MUST be obtained before a person is permitted to stand as a Godparent. This is not setting the bar high, but rather are the MINIMUM requirements to stand as a Godparent. Why is that? Because this person assumes the great responsibility of helping the parents, to the very best of his/her ability, to raise the child in the Catholic faith. Therefore the Godparent should be the best example of one who practices their faith from among all the parent’s family members and friends.
Although only one Godparent is required, traditionally people choose two. In choosing two, one must be male and one must be female. Can a non-Catholic stand as a Godparent? One non-Catholic CHRISTIAN, who is a fine example of the Christian life may stand as a Christian Witness. They will be recorded as such in the Baptismal register and are not technically a Godparent. If there is a Christian Witness, the other Godparent MUST be a Catholic who fulfills all of the above requirements.
I mention all of this because so often people are unsure of the requirements concerning Baptism. It is my sincere hope that this information clarifies any questions that people may have. When parents become co-creators with God and bring a child into this world, they are receiving an incredibly wonderful gift from the Almighty. It is our sincere hope that each and every child is given the best spiritual aids from the very beginning to promote a most intimate, life-long relationship with our loving God.
We request that couples contemplating marriage call the rectory at least six months in advance of their desired wedding date to make an appointment with the priest. At this initial interview, the date and time of your requested Wedding date will be recorded and you will receive a copy of the Parish Wedding Guidelines.
SACRAMENT OF THE SICK/COMMUNION CALLS
A priest will administer Holy Communion to parishioners who are unable to come to Church. If you desire, Eucharistic Ministers can bring Communion each week. Please contact the Rectory to be placed on our Sick List. Parishioners who are to undergo serious surgery at a hospital are encouraged to make an appointment at the Rectory before going to the hospital.