Tuesday, December 31, 2013


For a more readable version ,please click the image

Monday, December 30, 2013


Telegraph UK.website 
In case you missed the ABC "Game Changer" piece about Pope Francis, you can see it here
(You will have to endure a 30 second commercial before the video with George Stephanoplis, Cokie Roberts and Cardinal Dolan and clips of Pope Francis starts)

Francis Reminds Us of the Plight of Refugees

Vatican City, 29 December 2013 (VIS) - The  Feast of the Holy Family  is celebrated on the first Sunday after Christmas.
Pope Francis reminded thousands of the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer at midday  that the Gospel for that Sunday  tells the story of the Holy Family's painful flight to Egypt in search of exile.  Pope Francis said. "Joseph, Mary and Jesus experienced the dramatic condition of life as refugees, full of fear, uncertainty, and discomfort. Unfortunately, in our times, millions of families can identify with this sad reality. Nearly every day, television and newspapers provide news about refugees fleeing hunger, war, and other serious dangers in search of security and a decent life for themselves and their families. In distant lands, even when they find work, refugees and immigrants are not always welcomed, nor do they find respect and appreciation for the values they bring. Their legitimate expectations clash with complex situations and problems that at times appear insurmountable".

The Holy Father urged those present to contemplate the Holy Family of Nazareth  forced to seek refuge, and to consider "the tragedy of migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation ... of human trafficking and forced labor", as well as "those who are exiled within families: the elderly, for example, who are sometimes treated as a cumbersome presence".


The Pope's universal prayer intention for January 2014 is "that all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples" .

His prayer intention for evangelization is "that Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ".
Vatican Information Service, 30 December 2013 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saint Bridget's Chapel in the Field Christmas 2013

Our Church was decorated for Christmas  after the noon Mass on Monday. The age range of the volunteers was impressive -- from five year olds to a couple of octogenarians, Maura Rhodes and her sons took over the ladder monkey duties for the higher level decorating chores much to the relief of the spouses of the men who performed that duty in past years.
The Maluccis the Drakes and the Kellys did their usual great job.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas in Rome

During the final days of Advent, the Holy Father traditionally meets with the cardinals, superiors and officials of the Roman Curia to exchange Christmas greetings.On Saturday, this took place for the first time during the pontificate of Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, who warmly thanked all his collaborators and in particular Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who recently began his service as Secretary of State, and who needs our prayers.

The Holy Father thanked the Curia for “the work which you do each day: for the care, diligence and creativity which you display; and for your effort – I know it is not always easy – to work together in the office, both to listen to and challenge one another, and to bring out the best in all your different personalities and gifts, in a spirit of mutual respect”. He also expressed his particular gratitude those now concluding their service and approaching retirement.

“Dear brothers and sisters”, let us feel close to one another on this final stretch of the road to Bethlehem. We would do well to meditate on Saint Joseph, who was so silent yet so necessary at the side of Our Lady. Let us think about him and his loving concern for his Spouse and for the Baby Jesus. This can tell us a lot about our own service to the Church! So let us experience this Christmas in spiritual closeness to Saint Joseph. I thank you most heartily for your work and especially for your prayers. Truly I feel 'borne aloft' by your prayers and I ask you to continue to support me in this way. I too remember you before the Lord, and I impart my blessing as I offer my best wishes for a Christmas filled with light and peace for each of you and for all your dear ones”.

Here is a link to a  lengthy YouTube video of the ceremony.
(The sound track is not in English)

Friday, December 20, 2013

"Francis: The Pope From the New World available on DVD

The DVD version of the TV documentary Francis: the Pope from the New World has become a best seller on Amazon. In fact, the DVD which sells for $14.95 is temporarily out of stock at Amazon but can be ordered now for delivery when the stock is replenished.
On December 17th, Carl Anderson, an executive producer of the documentary, said “This documentary arrives as the world realizes that a very special man has assumed the leadership of the Catholic Church, and this begins — but does not end — with his gestures of humility and care for everyone,” . Anderson said many of the details of the Pope’s life “remain largely unknown to the public,” including “the ways in which he has defended the voiceless and Catholic principles.”

As mentioned in our post of November 1st, the program, which was produced by the Knights of Columbus, originally appeared on CNBC on November 3rd. If you missed the telecast, this is your second chance to see this remarkable documentary.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


December 8 2013 Post by James:
This post is a mere announcement to be followed by further posts, in depth, considering the impact of Conservation Easement. As readers of this website probably realize, Holy Cross Abbey had put some 200 acres of the northwest end of the property into Conservation Easement through Clarke County channels and the agency of her officials.
This past Wednesday, Abbot Robert Barnes, acting on behalf of the monastic community, signed the contract to put some 900 acres of our land, the Battlefield of Cool Spring Battle (18 July, 1864), into easement with the Civil War Trust. By this act, the land is guaranteed as green space as well as preserving its historic resources in perpetuity. This step has involved the sacrifice of a significant number of building rights on the property and any industrial development of the land or its resources.
Given Shenandoah University’s Easement of the land across the River, also with the Civil War Trust, almost the entire site of the Battlefield will be preserved and a significant swath of land along the Shenandoah can be healed to permit biodiversity to flourish again. This is a significant contribution to the ecological balance of the Shenandoah River and of green space in Clarke County.

Each aspect of the data here, and the implications and challenges to each of us, will be explored in future posts.

Conservation Easement at Holy Cross: Part Two

Mike Hobart, the Chairman of Clarke County’s Board of Supervisors writes:
The Shenandoah River and Blue Ridge Mountain border Clarke County making it truly one of the most interesting and beautiful places on earth. The residents of the County share a common vision resulting in comprehensive action to promote preservation of our land and natural resources for now and into the future.
Our citizens have worked together conscientiously to study lands worthy of conservation easements. Not only do conservation easements preserve the beauty of the land, they are of value for the protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity of the land.
The Monastery easement is of special value not only for recognition of the historical significance of the site, but also for the continuing protection of Clarke County’s most valuable asset, the Shenandoah River. Further, the easement provides continuing wild places for animals displaced by development.

The cooperative support and partnership among local, state, federal governments and private citizens ensures that environmental, sustainable practices and agricultural objectives are met for our community. It is not just preserving the beauty and access to the land, rivers and mountains, but it is an investment in the natural infrastructure of a place now and into the future.

Happy Birthday Pope Francis!


Today Pope Francis celebrates his 77th birthday, and congratulations have arrived in the Vatican from all over the world. The birthday celebrations will not end today. On Friday, 20 December, the Roman Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs will offer a concert in honour of the Pope,. The repertory will include the “Misa Criolla”, by the Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez, one of the Pope's favourite works, which will be performed by the Basilica's Schola Cantorum choir using popular Argentine instruments, and with the participation of the Chilean soprano Macarena Valenzuela.
Vatican City, 17 December 2013 (VIS)

Monday, December 16, 2013

YOUTH WORKCAMP 2014 June 21 - June 27, 2014 Shenandoah County, VA

On June 21-27 2014, youth from St. Bridget's will join approximately 700 other youths from throughout the diocese of Arlington in a week  long service project in Shenandoah county, VA.  The youth will be home based out of a high school and middle school complex for the duration of the project where they will set out each day to make necessary repair to the homes of those in need, build wheelchair accessible entrances to enable residents to remain independent as well as provide fellowship to those who may be home-bound by their current circumstances.

The video below captures the the work and fellowship at the 2013 event

More information from the Diocesean Office of Youth Ministry HERE

In order to make this year's work camp a success our youth will be calling upon the members of our Faith Community to support them in various ways:

1)  A lead contractor to provide direction in the many projects that will take place during the week.
2) Adult team leaders to chaperone the youth as well as transport them to and from the job site each day.
3) Security volunteers  to monitor the home base area each day and evening.
4) Vans to transport the youth..
5) Bag lunches  made and delivered.
6) Tools  donated, marked and sorted.
7) The cost per child and adult participant will be approx. $500  which includes purchasing all the materials that will be necessary for  the projects the youth will be completing.   Each child has been given an individual fundraising goal but, there will also be many joint fundraising efforts before camp begins.  Please prayerfully consider how you might be able to assist the youth of St. Bridget's in this endeavor.

If you can help in any capacity, please contact Rob Barnhill any Sunday after Mass or email him at robotechx20@gmail.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

First Trappist monk brewery outside Europe to open in Massuchetts

Fox News.com
Fox News reports:
"At a meeting yesterday of the International Trappist Association in Brussels, the Spencer Trappist Ale was awarded the ‘Authentic Trappist Product’ designation,” Fran├žois de Harenne, Commercial Director of the Orval Trappist brewery, told the Belgian Beer Specialist on Dec. 11.'The decision was made after several controls made on the premises during the last weeks…We also were lucky enough to taste the beer'.”
The beer will be labeled “The Spencer Trappist Ale,” and will be brewed exclusively within the walls of Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass. Founded in 1950, the Abbey has roots that reach far back to monks who fled France during the revolution at the end of 18th century.

Trappist beers are one of the most well-known products which Trappist monasteries produce and sell commercially. A “Trappist”  beer must satisfy a number of strict criteria before it may bear the coveted  logo:
The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture.  The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds.  Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.
Eight beers now carry "Authentic Trappist Product"  label : the beers of Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren, Westmalle, and the beers of Stift Engelszell (Gregorius and Benno)

Perhaps Father Robert might consider emulating the Saint Joseph's Abbey venture at Holy Cross Abbey with a venture befitting our Shenandoah Valley heritage -- a cider mill producing a variety of ciders , sparkling , non sparkling, alcoholic and non-alcoholic

Christmas Tree Lights in St. Peter's Square reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world

Washington Post
Vatican Christmas tree: Pope Francis continues a custom originated by  Pope John Paul II   

The Catholic News News Service reported on the Tree Lighting Ceremony complete with Video Here

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pope Francis: TIMES Person of the Year

"With a focus on compassion, the leader of the Catholic Church has become a new voice of conscience." Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs explains why Francis is TIME's choice for Person of the Year 2013  
Read more (with sound and  links to Spanish and Portuguese language version)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Hobert Hall Calendar Enhances Saint Bridget Website

Jodi Bonett has designed and placed on the Saint Bridget Website a very user friendly calendar showing the date and times of events scheduled for Hobert Hall. The calendar informs Saint Bridget's communicants about events scheduled  for the Hall  by groups such as  CCD, Women's Club etc. The calendar also is a useful planning tool for individuals contemplating using Hobert Hall for celebrations such as wedding receptions.  In that regard, the Calendar includes a link to set of standards and provisions applicable to those wishing to use the Hall  for private functions.
To obtain the full benefit of the calendar, and to avoid conflicts, each Saint Bridget's group contemplating  an event in the Hall should inform Jodi (bonett@castlemancarpentry.com 540 247 2130)  as soon as it decides the date and time.

Here is a peek at the calendar

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Cardinals Consider a New Constitution for the Curia

(CNS photo/Reuters via pool)
The Council of Cardinals announced by the Holy Father on 28 September to assist him in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a plan for the revision of  the Roman Curia,  began its second round of meetings on December 3. The Council is composed of eight cardinals from the five continents and includes Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, U.S.A..

 The cardinals met in the Santa Marta guesthouse in the morning and will hold the afternoon sessions from 4 to 7 p.m. The morning began with the holy Mass concelebrated with Pope Francis in the chapel.

In a mid-day press briefing, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., said “The Pope was present at the meeting and will probably also attend this afternoon. However, tomorrow he will not attend the morning session as he will hold the general audience in St. Peter's Square."

He continued, "During the intervening months between one session and another, the cardinals have continued their work, both personally and in contact with each other; they have also gathered opinions and suggestions on the situation of the Church based on the events in which they have participated; for example, Cardinal Gracias has attended numerous meetings in Asia, while Cardinal Marx has held his own in Europe”.

“This morning work began immediately on the examination of the Roman Curia and in particular on the dicastery of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; or rather, they entered fully into what, as has already been stated, will be an in-depth task, not limited to retouches or minor improvements. The revision of Pastor bonus is substantial, to the extent that it may be considered as a new constitution for the Curia”.

Fr. Lombardi said that in this round the cardinals will not discuss matters regarding the economic and administrative sectors which,  he opined, will be considered in the  meeting in February, shortly before the consistory for the creation of new cardinals, which will be followed by the meeting of the Synod council.
He also referred to the Cardinals' working method, in which tasks are distributed so as to permit specific themes to be studied, but “everything will be brought before the Council and there is common responsibility in relation to all themes”.

Finally, Fr. Lombardi noted that the Council has invited the new secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, to greet him and in order to make first contacts with him.
(VIS Dec 3)