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About St. Bernard's

As members of the St. Bernard's Catholic Church, we share in the mission of Jesus Christ by:

* Being a community that welcomes all who come to us 

* Actively participating in the Eucharistic liturgy

* Reaching out to the sick, lonely and home bound

* Serving the poor with generous hearts

* Handing down the Faith through participation in catechesis.

* Being models of Christian stewardship in the sharing of our time, treasure and talent.


We acknowledge that we are a pilgrim people, the Church of God, a family of believers,

united in the Spirit, on our journey to the fullness of the Kingdom.

St. Bernard's Church History

St. Bernard's Parish in Thief River Falls had its humble beginnings in private houses and schools in the late 1880's and into the early 1900's.  The first Mass was celebrated on August 11, 1895, even though the church was not completed until a year later with pews consisting of tree stumps and boards nailed across them.  Fr. Charles Cannon was the first resident pastor of St. Bernard's.  All the pastors that proceeded him were from St. Mary's in Red Lake Falls.  


In 1913, the church was moved to six newly acquired lots

on Knight Avenue purchased by Fr. Adolph Dingman. At

the same time, he added the rectory on the south side

of the church as well as remodeled the church to form

a cross, which doubled the seating capacity.  Six more

lots were purchased by Fr. MJ Noesen and in 1922 the old

Knox school was purchased by the St. Bernard's parish

and prepared to be moved for the new Catholic school.

The school was split into two sections.  The first part was moved across the ice on 3rd street without any difficulty.  The second half was moved half way across and then left overnight to be finished the next day.  Overnight, Mr. Math Barzen opened his saw mill so that which water could run from under the ice, and the school went down.  They were able to jack it up the next day and let the river freeze over again                                                                         and finished moving it a few days later.  During the summer of 1923,                                                                     the school was set up and painted and in the fall of 1925, classes                                                                          began at St. Bernard's Catholic School.  

                                                                     The parish continued to grow and by 1989, 830 registered families                                                                       belonged to the family of St. Bernard's.  Under the direction of Fr.                                                                          Boursassa, it was decided to proceed with a plan involving new                                                                            construction to provide a larger worship space and make 

improvements and additions to the school.   

Fr. Craig Vasek is currently serving as our pastor.  He, along with wonderful and talented lay people of St. Bernard's, are committed to upholding the mission of St. Bernard's parish.

In our changing world, our parish strives to grow.  We recognize the achievements of our past, and the growth that has occurred through the grace of God.  We pray that the Holy Spirit may continue to guide and direct us as we move ahead, for faith is life's journey into the future.

St. Bernard's Parish in 1913.jpg
St. Bernard's in 1948.jpg

St. Bernard's Parish in 1913

St. Bernard's Church and School in 1948

Stained Glass Windows


The art glass design used throughout the worship  space (included in the Eucharistic and Reconciliation Chapels) perhaps best depicts our Catholic Christian mission.  Starting with the circular window over the altar, we recognize that it is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are the source of our lives.  It is God's love made visible through Jesus and the Holy Spirit which enlivens us to be a People of Faith, the Church.  We, who celebrate many moments of grace on our faith journey sacramentally, celebrate these times in the Church (see the seven points along the flowing paths of each window).  Our lives are journeys (movement is essential to these windows) which entail hardships and joys.  Yet it is our God who sustains us at all times.

The horizontal and vertical lines represent the Cross while the circle is God's love for us which has no end.  You will see seven white points that represent the seven sacraments in our Christian lives.  The red and yellow ribbons are the pathways of dying and rising in our lives' "faith" journeys.  The colors brown, blue, black and green are symbols of our environment; earth water, wind and sky.  The trefoil represents the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Balance, harmony and cosmic order is symbolized by the yellow points in the center.  The number eight is considered the perfect number as it represent North, East, South, West, the two solstices and two equinoxes. 

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