Mission 150

January 1, 2024

Dear Parishioners,

Happy New Year!  This new year of 2024 is a special one for St. Bernard Church.  We celebrate our 150th anniversary of our founding as a parish church.  It was in 1874 that Fr. Halligan from Our Lady of Mercy Church in East Greenwich purchased a half-acre of land to build the church.  He had been coming to celebrate Masses in the homes of the Catholics who had settled in Wickford.  Many of them, of Irish and French-Canadian decent, were working in the local mills.  They were growing in number and very much wanted to celebrate the sacraments.  I suspect that there are quite a few parishioners who can trace their ancestors back to that period in our history.

During the course of the year, we have planned a number of activities and programs to highlight our Anniversary, to encourage our community to come together to pray and to celebrate!  We look forward to welcoming back parishioners who have moved outside of the parish—but were very connected for a time.

You will note that our beautiful logo captures the spirit of our year-long celebration, “Mission 150”.  In our origin we were a ‘mission church’ and for these 150 years we have had the mission to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We need to be vibrant in our mission as we go forward into the future.  We need to be vibrant in our mission as we pass on the faith to the younger generation among us—-who will celebrate our 200th anniversary in 2074!!

In addition to our special events, we have a number of opportunities for parishioners to make a donation for a ‘memorial’—-to provide an item for our liturgical life or parish life—in memory of a deceased loved one.  You will see a listing of these in this mailing.

Enclosed please find the calendar, also!  Put it on the refrigerator—-and remember to offer a prayer of gratitude each day for the gift of this parish, those who have sustained it for these 150 years through their time, talent and treasure.

As I wrote in a recent “Ponderings” column for our parish bulletin, when Fr. Halligan came from Our Lady of Mercy, East Greenwich to Wickford—a distance of approximately seven miles—by horse and buggy—it would have taken approximately two hours each way.  We have come a long way!  We hop in our cars and get here within a few minutes—

Let this celebration of 150 years keep your faith burning brightly or may it enflame the embers of your faith that need inspiration and encouragement or may it re-ignite the flame that may have gone out—-

In Christ,

Rev. David F. Gaffney


St. Bernard Church MISSION 150:  Calendar of Events 2024

January 27, 2024 “Soup Supper”. In conjunction with our collection of cans of soup between January 1-February 14 (Super Bowl Sunday). In recognition of our humble beginnings as a parish—-join us for a ‘soup supper’ after the Saturday, 5:00 p.m. mass.

February 24-28 Parish Lenten Mission. Rev. James Quigley, OP (from Providence College) will lead our parish on a Lenten Mission. He will preach at all masses on the weekend. Then on the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings he will celebrate mass and preach.

March 5 at 6:30 p.m. Presentation by Rev. Robert Hayman (Emeritus Professor of History at Providence College). His topic will be ‘The History of St. Bernard Church’. Fr. Hayman has written a multi-volume work of the History of the Diocese of Providence. He is the Diocesan Archivist.

April 12 (time TBD) Young Parents/Young couples “Night Out”—babysitting provided at the parish center!. Light refreshments and hors’douvres with a short ‘lighting round’ of “Grille the Priest” with Fr. Gaffney.

May 19 at 11:30 Mothers’ Tea. (Grandmothers, Mothers, Daughters, Godmothers!) To be held in the parish center. Reserve a ‘table for the tea’.

June 9 at 3:00 p.m. Choir Concert. Come listen to our wonderful parish choir in concert.

June 15 Parish Anniversary Dinner Dance at the Quonset “O” Club.

July 22 or July 22 Social Event: Beer Tasting at West Passage Brewery at 6:00 PM.

August 24 Feast of St. Bernard Parish Cook Out. Join us after the 5:00 p.m. mass.

September TBD Faith Formation Families: Pasta Dinner

October 20 Join Bishop Henning at the 10:30 Mass for this special Anniversary Mass.
Reception in the Parish Center to follow.

November 3 at 3:30 Presentation by Tim Cranston, our local historian. His topic will be the “History of Wickford and North Kingstown” focusing on the time of the parish’s establishment

December 15 Closing Mass for the Anniversary Year.

In addition: “Mini Reunions” after the 10:30 Mass: Feb. 4th “CCD teachers/Faith Formation teachers– past and present”; March 3rd “Choir and folk group members”; May 12th “St. Bernard School alumni; June 9th “all past St. Bernard scholarship winners; Oct. (date TBD) “former Work Camp participants and Altar Servers”; Nov. (date TBD) ‘former members of Fr. Fountain’s Band”