Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In Honor of the Most Reverend Bishop Gerald Barnes

By Father Benjamin Alforque, M.S.C., V.F.
Parochial Vicar, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside

Our very own Most Reverend Bishop Gerald Barnes was ordained a Bishop on March 18, 1992.  Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of our local church, the Diocese of San Bernardino on December 28, 1995.  “On March 12, 1996, before a crowd of over 2,500 people, he was installed as the second Bishop” of our diocese (Diocese of San Bernardino Website).  But who is our bishop as a human person? 

Our beloved bishop was born Gerald Richard Barnes in Phoenix, Arizona to George and Aurora.  He comes from a large family of five brothers and one sister.  He grew up in East Los Angeles, helping his family tend to their grocery store.  He knew work and play and study early in his life. He went to public schools and got his religious education from the Victory Noll Sisters at San Basilio Center on
Fetterly Avenue
.  He finished high school at Roosevelt High, obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, Los Angeles and attended seminary formation in St. Louis, Missouri, Dayton, Ohio and the Assumption-St. John Seminary in San Antonio, Texas.  In 1975, he became a priest for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas.  

His life was graced early on.  He was blessed with a large family that exposed him to the value of family life and loving sibling relationships.  From early childhood, he learned the value of work, stuffing the grocery store with goods and cleaning it too.  Probably it was from there that he was introduced to reading, writing and arithmetic.  He probably developed a feel for life, for struggle and love for the poor playing with the kids from around the block.  His parents’ religiosity and his religion classes taught him early of the sense of the sacred, even as he ventured more deeply and scientifically into the real world in his high school and studies in political science.  The real struggle for him was in his deep desire to obey God’s call.  Oh, how he was tested by seminary rectors in the pursuit of his vocation.  A life of struggle, study and prayer:  these prepared him well to be our great spiritual and pastoral leader and companion in our time.

Our very own Bishop Gerald Barnes is well-respected by his peers, who are inheritors of the apostolic succession.  The U.S. Bishops recognized his political acumen and love for the poor.  They chose him to chair the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Refugees and Migrants.  They deeply respect his administrative skills.  They made him member of the USCCB Administrative Committee and the Communications Committee.  His sense of internationality and scholarly intelligence is reflected in his membership in the Board of the Mexican American Cultural Center, of the Assumption Seminary, and of the Inland Empire Hispanic Scholarship Fund.  He is a member of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for the Church in Africa. 

We are so blessed to have been gifted by God with a holy bishop who is so human and so understanding, a man of high intellectual caliber, compassionate administrative skills and profound sense of direction in the service of the Church, for the Event of God’s Reign.  Let us thank God by supporting our very own Bishop Gerald Barnes!

1 comment:

  1. He is indeed a righteous man.


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