Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Year for Youth

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

I have spoken often about my great care and concern for the youth of our diocese. I believe that God is calling us today as Catholic Christians to take a fresh look at how we accompany, how we form and how we relate to our young people. This past weekend I released a Pastoral Letter to share more fully my thoughts on the importance of youth in the Diocese of San Bernardino. The letter is printed in the current issue of the BYTE newspaper, and can also be viewed at the diocesan web site at I invite you to take some time to read and reflect on the letter.

In recognition of our renewed focus and discernment on the issue of youth I have also proclaimed this coming year the Year for Youth in our diocese. This will be a time for clergy, religious men and women, and the lay faithful of the diocese to look to the Holy Spirit in how they might have a positive impact on our youth, and to begin to act on it. It will be a time for our youth to step forward.

We will inaugurate The Year for Youth with Diocesan Virtual World Youth Day on August 20-21 at Aquinas High School and close it with Diocesan Youth Day on August 4, 2012 at Xavier College Preparatory High School in Palm Desert. The Diocesan Ministry with Youth Office will coordinate many events and programs during the Year for Youth with the help of the newly-created Diocesan High School Youth Council and the Diocesan Youth Ministry Advisory Board.  The Ministry with Youth Office will also offer different models of youth ministry for parishes to follow. 

While the Year for Youth will last 12 months, it is my hope that the renewed awareness and spirit for youth ministry ignited by this year will only grow stronger and brighter in the years to come. Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth!

May God bless you and this Diocese of San Bernardino as we continue to seek the renewal of our Holy Catholic Church through the care and support of our youth.

Un año para la Juventud

Por Obispo Gerald Barnes
Diócesis de San Bernardino

Ha menudo he expresado mi gran interés y preocupación por los jóvenes de nuestra diócesis. Creo que en estos momentos, Dios nos está llamando como católicos cristianos a analizar de nuevo la manera en que acompañamos, formamos y nos relacionamos con nuestros jóvenes. El fin de semana pasado publique una Carta Pastoral para compartir en mayor detalle mis reflexiones sobre la importancia de los jóvenes en la Diócesis de San Bernardino. La carta está impresa en la edición actual del periódico BYTE, el cual está disponible en su parroquia, y que también pueden ver en el sitio diocesano de Internet Con todo respeto les pido que tomen unos momentos para leer y reflexionar sobre la carta.

En reconocimiento de nuestro renovado enfoque y discernimiento sobre el tema de los jóvenes, he proclamado este año próximo el Año de la Juventud en la Diócesis de San Bernardino. Este será un tiempo para que los clérigos, religiosos y religiosas y los fieles laicos de la diócesis busquen la guía del Espíritu Santo para discernir cómo pueden tener un impacto positivo en nuestros jóvenes, y pongan su conclusión en acción. Será una oportunidad para que nuestros jóvenes, y pongan su conclusión en acción. Será una oportunidad para que nuestros jóvenes tomen la iniciativa.

Inauguraremos el Año de la Juventud con la Celebración Virtual Diocesana de la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud el 20-21 de agosto en Aquinas High School y cerraremos con la Jornada Diocesana de la Juventud el 4 de agosto de 2012 en Xavier College Preparatory School en Palm Desert. Durante el Año de la Juventud, la Oficina Diocesana de Pastoral Juvenil coordinará muchos eventos y programas con los recientemente creados Diocesan High School Youth Council y Diocesan Youth Ministry Advisory Board. La Oficina de Pastoral Juvenil ofrecerá también diferentes modelos de pastoral juvenil para que los sigan las parroquias.

Aunque el Año de la Juventud durará 12 meses, tengo la esperanza que la concientización renovada y el espíritu de la pastoral juvenil cuya llama encendió este año se fortalecerá y brillará aun más en años venideros. ¡Ven Espíritu Santo y renueva la faz de la tierra!

Que Dios les bendiga y bendiga a esta Diócesis de San Bernardino al continuar nosotros procurando la renovación de nuestra Santa Iglesia Católica sirviendo y apoyando a nuestros jóvenes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WWJD? A good question in times of recession

By Ken Sawa, MSW, LCSW
CEO/Excecutive Vice-President, Catholic Charities San Bernardino/Riverside

Budgets are based on values.  This is true when parents decide to forego something they need at Target, so instead a child can pay to go on a school field trip.  Or a mom’s frugality during the week makes it possible to afford the extra gas needed to visit family that lives out of the area.  Anyone that has to manage finances makes decisions about how to spend their pool of never enough money based on what’s most important and most necessary to them.
Beginning in our childhood and throughout our adulthood, our Catholic Faith is a loyal and constant reminder of the deeply held values of our Catholic Community.  As people who belong to the Catholic Community, it is our job to live out those values, so we will make the right choices as we journey through life.  The phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” found on bracelets and posters is quite instructive as we each strive to be like Christ in all ways – to be Christ in the world.
 There is a very important question looming now that people of faith must contemplate. What would Jesus do during these times of budget crisis at the federal, state, and local levels of government?   How would Jesus decide on necessary spending cuts or tax increases?
There are three major themes in Catholic Social Teaching that clearly outline the values of Jesus that can help us think through seemingly complicated budgetary issues that are currently being debated across our country. 
Dignity of the Human Person:  Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society.
Preferential Option for the Poor:  The moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. We are called to look at public policy decisions in terms of how they affect the poor and those on the margins of society. 
Common Good and Community:  The obligation to "love our neighbor" has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment. Everyone has a responsibility to contribute to the good of the whole society, to the common good.
Talk of budget deficits, tax increases, percentage of the US budget spent on the military, corporate welfare, Medicare, and budget cuts can be overwhelmingly complicated.  Though many of us have grown weary and frustrated by the partisan grandstanding we hear about day after day, we must not grow complacent and just let “them” handle it.  For this is a tremendous opportunity for people of faith to interject OUR values into the budget debates occurring now in our cities, counties, state, and country. 
We must stand firm on our belief in the value of constantly striving for the common good – not what is in my best interest or in the best interest of other particular individuals or groups who already have their fair share of the economic pie.  Seeking the common good also  requires that resources are available for the most vulnerable in our society.  And our value of the sacredness of life and the dignity of each human person demands that budgets must aim to enhance the lives of people and their families not redlining their needs as too expensive.
Though economics, politics, law, and public policy may be quite complicated for most of us, our values as Catholics are not.  It is time for us to make our values known in the public arena as the discussion continues about how to best spend or not spend government resources.  Money is spent or cut based on what is most important.  So what is most important to a follower of Jesus?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Excitement rises as World Youth Day nears

By Cristina Ruiz
WYD Pilgrim, St. Bernardine, San Bernardino

Three years ago a group of youth from St. Bernardine Catholic Church had a vision: they were determined to make it to World Youth Day in Spain. Even though this determination was very high, there was one barrier holding them back. The cost was a bit expensive and none of the youth had the money to pay for the trip. Although this was true, it was not enough to hold them back. A decision was then reached that they would work hard and fundraise their way to that ticket.

I am proud to say that I am part of the group of youth that did this and after three years of hard work, we are finally only a couple weeks away from traveling overseas to unite with millions of other Catholic youth like ourselves.

These past three years have been nonstop fundraising and I know it will be worth all the hard work in the end. I believe that having worked so much for this to happen makes it that much better because it really shows how much we have wanted this since day one. Sure, we have had our disagreements and our arguments in the group, but it is only because over this period of time, the group is no longer a group, we are a family. And just like any other family, we have our good and bad moments but we always stick together.

St. Bernardine WYD group at Cinco De Mayo fundraiser.
The date for us to leave is fast approaching and the excitement within each of us is quickly rising. Going on this trip means so much to us because of what we’ve done to reach our goal. For me, personally, it is a chance to grow in my faith and meet others who will be experiencing the same thing. It is amazing to me that all these people from all different backgrounds and cultures are coming together for one simple reason: their faith. We are all so different but these differences don’t even exist when we come together under God.

There are plenty of people who would love to be in my place and I am extremely grateful that I have this opportunity. Even though our parish cannot accompany us, as much as we’d like, we are taking along with us their petitions. This is to show that, they too, in a spiritual way, are joining us in our journey.

We are approaching the day that we have all been waiting for and I am sure I speak for everyone in the world that is attending World Youth Day when I say that I have never been more excited.

Friday, July 8, 2011

True kindness is contagious

By Theresa Montminy,

Kindness is defined as an attitude or action that benefits others.  It is directed toward others, enjoyed by others, and edifying for others.  Cruelty, too, is defined as something directed toward others.  But those who seek a peace-filled life . . . reconcile hurt with random acts of kindness.

Just as patience ironically promotes those who are most reluctant to promote themselves, so kindness builds up those who are most interested in building up others.  Cruel people try to give themselves a boost by harming others, but the strategy backfires.  Harming others will eventually cause trouble for the cruel person.  Likewise, kindness will eventually be returned to the kind.  People who help others resolve conflict ~ also help themselves and so does God.  Blessed are the Peacemakers!

But we must be careful how we define kindness.  True kindness will prompt a person to speak the truth in love.  No one would question Jesus’ kindness, but it could be a very confrontational kindness toward those who distort truth and righteousness.  A wise person will accept that: “Let a righteous man strike me ~ it is a kindness; let him rebuke me, it is oil on my head,” wrote David.  Kindness is an intentional effort to pursue what is good for another person.

Have people been unkind to you?  There is a chance that the reason lies within yourself . . . not that you are unworthy of the kindness of others, but perhaps you have not made an effort to be kind.  A person reaps what he sows and if one has sown kindness, he will reap it as well.

Perhaps others take your kindness for granted.  God will not!  An unbiblical saying asserts that God helps those who help themselves.  Biblical truth says that God helps those who help others. 

True peace is found in the heart that is inclined toward Him, though it may go through hardship and pain, a heart at peace knows the true joy of reconciliation.  As Christians we are called to place every hope in Him.  He is our source of strength.  Our heart does not need to fear, because we are children of the fearless One.