What to expect
Whether you’re new to faith, new to Catholicism, or new to the area, it’s nice to know what to expect when you go to a church for the first time. Mass at St. Bridget is a lively affair, filled with people of all ages and walks of life worshipping God with words and patterns that have been passed down over 2000 years.
On weekends, organ and choir music is provided at our Saturday Vigil mass (5:30pm) and our 9:00am Sunday mass. Our 12:00pm mass is without music. Mass tends to be about an hour long.
Of the three masses, our Sunday 9:00am mass is usually the fullest. If you are new to the church, we recommend coming at least 15 minutes early to be able to find a comfortable seat. We also have overflow seating in the narthex, if needed. Our parking lot is large and usually sufficient, but latecomers may need to park on the grass.
Both our church and Hobert Hall are handicap accessible with ADA bathrooms. Handicap parking places are also marked near both buildings. For those with hearing loss, we have Assisted Listening Devices available for those with and without hearing aids. Please contact the parish office to find out more.
Regarding Covid-19, we do not have a testing or mask mandate in place, but many of our parishioners wear masks. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to the sanctuary, and Father Paul uses hand sanitizer when distributing the Eucharist.
Finally, all are very welcome here – regardless of faith or background: the Church is a welcoming mother. If you have further questions after browsing our website, we invite you to contact the office, a staff member, or Father Paul. We’d be glad to help you feel welcome.
Before 1999, Catholics in Clarke County had no church to call their own. Mass was celebrated variously at Holy Cross Abbey at Cool Spring Farm, or the Berryville Opera House, or in shared space at Grace Episcopal Church. In 1999, however, Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Winchester, VA officially formed a mission church in Berryville, VA – St. Bridget of Ireland.
The church building itself was completed and dedicated in May of 2002, seated on eight and a half acres of land just west of the county fairgrounds. In 2013, the Chet Hobert Church Hall was added – named for the man who was one of the primary proponents for a Catholic Church in Berryville. In 2017, a rectory was added.
On July 12 of 2017 Bishop Michael Burbidge formally dedicated St. Bridget of Ireland Catholic Church as the 70th Parish in the Arlington Diocese and Monsignor Stanley Krempa as the pastor. Monsignor Krempa had formerly served as Pastor at Sacred Heart, and oversaw the creation and growth of St. Bridget from there.
Monsignor Krempa retired as pastor and at the end of June 2018 after many years of service. Since then, Father Paul M. Grankauskas has served as pastor, overseeing continued growth and vitality in the parish.
About St. Bridget of Ireland
St. Bridget (or Brigid) of Kildare is one of the three major patron saints of Ireland along with Saint Patrick and Saint Columba. Saint Bridget’s faith and labors for the Lord are remembered among the Irish people through prayers, sacred places, blessings, and customs. St. Bridget was an extraordinary woman of faith: strong in her mission, loyal to the Lord, faithful to the Church, generous to the poor, and hospitable to missionaries. St. Bridget laid strong foundations for the Church in Ireland.
St. Bridget was probably born around 450 A.D., and died in 525. Her life overlapped that of St. Patrick and she is said to have met him as a child. Bridget was born to a Christian slave woman and the pagan chieftain, Dubthach. At the age of 10 she was brought to the chieftain’s household as a servant, but quickly angered her master/father by persistently giving away his wealth of food and possessions to the needy.
After the intercession of the Christian King of Leinster, St. Bridget was given her freedom and began to organize a group of women who dedicated themselves to a consecrated religious life. Her community grew and eventually settled and built a monastery in what we know today as Kildare (“Church of the Oak”).
The monastery grew with Bridget as its abbess, and eventually became a whole monastic movement, spreading throughout Ireland. Bridget herself often traveled throughout the island to found and encourage new communities and thus permanently shaped Irish monasticism, faith, and intellectual vigor.
St. Bridget’s feast day is February 1, the first day of the celtic spring. She is sometimes called “Mary of the Gaels” and is often depicted in artwork with her uniquely shaped cross of reeds, an abbess’ staff, and a flame or lamp. St. Bridget is the patron saint of Ireland, blacksmiths, abused children, dairy workers, scholars and, of course, our church in Berryville, VA.