Saint Bridget's Chapel in the Field
St. Bridget of Ireland in the Diocese of Arlington is the first Catholic Church in Clarke County, Virginia. It serves the growing Catholic population of the northern Shenandoah Valley. The dream of a Catholic Church started with Chet Hobert, a long time resident, business leader and benefactor of many civic projects in the town of Berryville. His vision was adopted by John R. Keating, Bishop of Arlington, whose successor, Bishop Paul S. Loverde, brought the vision to reality.
The Saint Bridget Chapel Fund, a legacy of Father Paul Stragisher the former pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, was established in the 1990's. Construction of the Chapel commenced in 2000. (See Catholic Herald.com news article). The cornerstone of the Church was laid in 2001 and the church was dedicated by Bishop Loverde on Trinity Sunday, May 25 2002 as a mission church of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester. Following the prayer of dedication Bishop Loverde anointed the altar with chrism, and Father Robert Barnes, abbot of the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, and Father Stanley Krempa, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, anointed the Church walls. During the dedication Mass, Bishop Loverde wore vestments given to St. Bridget's by the Trappist monks of the Holy Cross Abbey.
Situated in a small town at the northern gateway to the Shenandoah Valley, St. Bridget's welcomes travelers on Interstate 81 which lies a few miles to the west of Berryville as well as hikers on the Appalachian Trail which runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains a few miles to the east. History buffs visiting the civil war battle fields that surround the area, and weekend visitors from Washington D.C. seeking a a quiet weekend in the Virginia countryside are frequent visitors.
Some members of St. Bridget's growing faith community are from families who have lived in Clarke county for generations. Others are newcomers attracted by Berryville's family-friendly atmosphere, and professionals who commute to their work place in Washington D.C. and its suburbs. New members of the Saint Bridget faith community are welcomed every month.
Since its dedication as a mission church,St. Bridget's continued steady growth has been shepherded by Father Stanley Krempa, the pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. On September 15th 2013, Bishop Loverde dedicated the new Chet Hobert Church Hall - a community gathering place including a full suite of CCD classrooms.In the Spring of 2017, work was completed on the Rectory and on July 23 2017, Bishop Burbidge dedicated St.Bridget as the first catholic parish church in Clarke county. Father Krempa, who guided St. Bridget"s progress from mission church to the newest catholic parish in the diocese was appointed as its first pastor of the new parish much to the delight of all parishioners.
For sacramental information at Saint Bridget's, contact the Rectory at 540 277 2942 5858.