What We Do

--------There are over 50 ministries and organizations in the church, ranging from Bible Study, Choirs, Sunday school, to basketball and bowling leagues. Community interest ministries i nclude Narcotics Anonymous and an emergency food pantry, and the list is constantly growing. Literally hundreds of laity in the Parish are involved, and 8 Parish members serve as "Lay Minister" in the areas of Education, Youth, Worship, Stewardship, Community Relations, Evangelization, and Hospitality. These 8 ministries coordinate all the Programs, which come under their "umbrella". Meeting monthly with the clergy staff and other at-large Parish members, they develop, discuss and evaluate various programs and activities, which will move the Parish forward. We also sponsor a Head Start Program, with approximately two hundred, 3 and 4 year olds. This makes us one of the largest programs in Maryland. We have also united with other churches in the community to establish the "40 West Outreach and Referral Center", assisting individuals in the community as needed, making the community a viable place to live.


~ Enjoy our video "17 Minutes Inside St. Bernardine Catholic Church"

Our History

-------- St. Bernardine’s began as a parish long before much of the existing housing in our neighborhood was built, and most that existed was brand new. The neighborhood at that time was heavily Catholic. In the mid 1920’s Catholics living between St. William of York and St. Edward’s were pressing for a parish of their own.  Ground for the church building was broke in June of 1928, and the church was completed June of 1929.  The school was opened in September of 1928.  Mr. & Mrs.  James Keelty, prominent builders in Baltimore City, erected the buildings and gave the Church building to the Archbishop of Baltimore.  It was a memorial gift in loving memory of their daughter, Nora Bernardine Keelty, who died in 1922 at the age of six.  Our church was named for her baptismal Saint, St. Bernardine.

--------The artist designing the beautiful stained glass windows used her picture for the little child seated on the lap of Jesus, in the second window from the back on the Mt. Holly Street side; and also the two angel windows in the former baptistry.  St. Bernardine himself is depicted in the  painting above the former main altar, wearing a brown Franciscan robe  (actually, his robe was gray, not brown at the time), standing on a  tree stump, no doubt, proclaiming the "Good News", and holding the  sunburst logo of the Holy Name of Jesus that he designed.  Providentially, the parishioners' choice for the name of the new parish was "Holy Name".  Since St. Bernardine is called "The Apostle of the Holy Name," it seems that all got their wish!   Father John Smith, the first pastor, served from 1928 until his death in 1944.   The next pastor, Father Louis Vaeth, later named a Monsignor served until his retirement in 1968.  The parish grew large and strong over those first 40 years, and became one of Baltimore's largest Catholic parishes, legendary for having produced many vocations, and for its support of the Propagation of the Faith.

 

--------The 1960’s in our country and indeed our world were a turbulent time of change.  St. Bernardine's did not escape the impact, especially the impact due to the blockbusting that occurred in Edmondson Village. This brought a change in the neighborhood from Catholic to non-Catholic residents of Edmondson Village.  The parish dwindled and declined in membership, but the clergy and the diminishing membership went to work, reached out, and made attempts to stabilize the church and community.  In 1968, Father James Cronin was appointed Pastor, and worked hard to stabilize and encourage growth.  Health problems however, led to Father Cronin's being replaced in 1970 by Father Theodore Rowan.  In June 1975 our current Priest, now Msgr. Edward M. Miller, became Pastor of St. Bernardine Church.

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