Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Bishop Barnes

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino


Christmas is a time where we show generosity and good will by giving each other gifts and celebrating with family and friends. The “Christmas Spirit” of today still traces its origins to the hope and joy that was felt at the miraculous birth of Jesus, God’s promise of salvation made manifest in human form.

As we reflect on the closing year, many think of Pope Francis and the example of selflessness and hospitality that he gives us. What a gift we have received in him. Let us take his message to heart so together we can build the kingdom of God here on Earth. Let that spirit, that hope, be a seed that grows within us in 2014.

I offer you my deepest prayers and blessings for a joyous Christmas season. May the gift of hope that God gives us in the birth of his Son stay with you in this new year. May your family and friends enjoy good health and prosperity in the New Year. And may God bless you in your journey of faith.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Challenge of Holiday Sensory Overload

By Deacon John DeGano
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside


The holidays are upon us. The stores are chock full of electronics, perfume and handbags. Music and festive light displays fight for our limited attention span as our senses are slammed with sensory overload.

And in many parts of our country there is a chill in the air, the chill of winter and shorter daylight hours. Soon people will stay nestled around their fireplaces wrapped in blankets and sipping hot beverages remembering what the weather was like just a few short months before.

The Season of Advent welcomes us to a new year in the liturgical (or church) calendar. It is a season of expectation as we await the second coming of Jesus and reflect upon his incarnation – or first arrival as a baby in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger and surrounded by the sounds and smells of animals kept confined in a makeshift stall in a cave.

No glitz. No glamour. Just the bare necessities associated with pilgrims and/or strangers in a strange land.

And yet, this humble abode and its tenants 2,000 years ago give us an opportunity to reconnect with our Creator by pausing from our hectic goings and comings and retell the stories of the real meaning of the season.

And as we do, we are reminded of the question Jesus put to those who said they believed in God but whose actions betrayed their words.

“What did you come to see?” (MT 11)
  • A star hovering over a sleepy village?
  • An Archangel announcing God’s bold plan to an inquisitive girl, who subsequently scandalized the neighborhood as a virgin with child?
  • Or the dutiful husband/step father who accepted them both into his care?
  • Or an angel announcing the good news to shepherds in the fields?
  • Or an elderly cousin blessed by the visit of the mother of her Lord?
  • Or her son, living in the wilderness as one of the prophets, baptizing and proclaiming ‘repentance’ for the forgiveness of sin?
  • Or the huge crowds who hungered for love and forgiveness, gathering around the son of the carpenter of Nazareth?
  • Or a miracle worker? A healer? A rabbi?
  • Or even the promised Messiah?
  • Or a man called, Emmanuel, meaning ‘God is with us’?
This is the question Jesus asks each of us today.

As we celebrate the holidays let us not allow ourselves to get so caught up in all the commercial hoopla of black Friday sales (or standing in long lines for a chance to purchase the latest gismo when our current one suffices quite nicely) that we forget the true message of the manger.

Our Lord had ‘no place to rest his head’ and invites us to join in the celebration of our humanity with humility by serving the least among us – especially the widows and orphans, the poor and the stranger at our door. This is the one perfect gift we can give to the ‘birthday boy’ whose day we celebrate on December 25.

When we do this, our faith is put into action and proclaims loudly our unequivocal response to the question, “What did you come to see?”

“God’s Unconditional Love.”

Monday, November 18, 2013

A look at Haiyan

By Father Benjamin Alforque, MSC

At the height of the typhoon/hurricane “Yolanda” (international codename: Haiyan) Nov. 9, a daughter, carried away by the torrents and with debris on her body, said, while clasping the hand of her mother, “Ma, just let go. Save yourself.” This happened in Tacloban, Leyte, near the beach where Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise “I shall return”. Tacloban is now in the world news, pictured as the worst hit by the fury of the storm Yolanda.

My nieces and nephews in Cebu, when I visited with them two days after the typhoon, told me of the sound of the howling winds: it was like a roaring engine of a jet plane passing by so closely. They described the heavy rains carried by the wind as falling in a slanted position. And central and south Cebu was not even in the direct path of the hurricane. Northern Cebu was heavily devastated: homes destroyed, poultry gone, plants and trees uprooted.

Friends of mine from Cebu organized themselves to search for their loved ones in Tacloban. They boarded a navy boat to get there. Upon arrival, they were not allowed to disembark. They were told it was too dangerous. Only rescue teams were allowed into the city. I got calls from the US, Hong Kong and from Manila, requesting help to find their loved ones in the city.

Three days prior to Yolanda’s arrival, the Philippine government’s weather and disaster advisory already talked of a storm that packed strength of 320 mph winds with heavy rains. It talked of forced evacuation of the people in the path of the typhoon, together with safety and food provisions, for nothing could possibly withstand the wind of that magnitude. The people complied. But nobody knew that a water surge from the sea was going to happen. Waters from 15 to 30 meters high surged and engulfed the city of Tacloban, so sudden and so swift, carrying anything with it when it went back into the ocean.

For a day, nothing was known of the terrible impact of the typhoon, save from the videos and snapshots taken by “netizens” that went on Facebook and carried by the news agencies. This was short-lived. Communication networks soon went down. As of this writing, Nov. 14, our network of non-government organizations continue to reach out to areas and communities whose fate remain unknown to the world.

Millions of help has come from all over the world, including the U.S. military and its naval ships. Yes, the government here has ships and helicopters too, but they have been rare in coming. Instead, the Philippine government has sent three C-130s to take people out of the city. Indeed, there have been many initiatives of heroic and epic proportions by the people themselves to help each other, with civic groups and private companies.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Prayer is both personal and communal

The following are excerpts from a homily given at the Mass celebrating the 60th anniversary of Sacred Heart Parish in Rancho Cucamonga on Oct. 19.

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

Readings: EX 17:8-13; 2 TM 3:14-4:2; LK 18:1-8

Try to think of the things that you do in your life that really exhaust you because there is a lot of hard work that you have to do. Try to think of those things that tire you.

If we understand the experiences in our lives that have caused us exhaustion, then we understand today’s stories. He uses that human experience so that we can understand what he is talking about as he says, ‘do not grow weary.’ We have to know what weary is, what being tired is, in order to understand what he is saying.

He is telling us don’t get weary when you pray. Sometimes we get tired when we pray. We are tired because we are praying, and praying and praying and it doesn’t seem like our prayers get answered. We ask and ask and sometimes we get tired. So we just say the words or we don’t do it anymore. “What’s the use? All is does is it makes me tired.” Now he uses the example of this woman, this widow. The widow keeps asking this judge who is not a just person. Because the woman is so persistent he grants her request. She doesn’t get tired of asking. He uses that as an example for us individually. We should not tire of asking the Lord.

He also uses today’s first reading as an example for the community. The community needs to support each other in prayer. He uses the example of Moses who is praying to God and his arms are getting tired. Moses has one and another person on each end, Herr and Aaron, to hold his arms up so that he doesn’t get tired of praying. In other words, praying is also a communal experience. We support each other in prayer.

Bishop Gerald Barnes at Mass celebrating the 60th Anniversary
of Sacred Heart Parish, Rancho Cucamonga
This year of Faith has reminded all of us that we are to pray personally, individually, but also as a Church, as a community, as families. Your parish has offered you experiences of that, of coming together as different people from different backgrounds and families together in prayer. The Lord is saying you have to do that together, to support each other. We can grow tired, but the other will help us to keep our hands up. The other will help us in prayer. That is what he is telling us today. If it were not for the prayers of these people here present and those who have prayed over the past years, we would not be here celebrating today. They stayed together and they prayed together during difficult times. They prayed for each other when their particular families went through tragedies. They supported each other in faith. They prayed for the others that came in. They tried to work together as a community so that today we could celebrate 60 years as a parish.

The challenge is ours now. How do we as a family of today build on the legacy of these people who have prayed for us to have this Church, this faith, that has sustained us in our trials and that has accompanied us in our joys? How do we build on that for the people of today and tomorrow? How do you share your time, your talent and your treasure as a community of faith for today and for tomorrow? We cannot grow tired. We have to support one another. It has been proven that it can happen, because we are here today. And so it is a day of commitment. As we always give thanks to God, we commit ourselves to live our faith together as a community, forgiving each other, welcoming one another, supporting each other and praying together. Celebrate who you are, a people of God who will not grow weary, but who will live together with the grace of God for today and for tomorrow.

La oración es personal y comunal

Por el Obispo Gerald Barnes
Diócesis de San Bernardino

Cuáles son esas cosas que haces en la vida, que mientras lo estás haciendo te sientes cansado porque sabes que tienes mucho más trabajo que hacer. El señor está usando la experiencia humana. Él usa esa experiencia humana para que podamos entender de lo que está hablando cuando él dice, "no se cansen.” Ay que entender lo que significa eso para apreciar lo que el señor nos dice hoy. El señor usa esa experiencia humana para decirnos que muchos de ustedes se cansan a un de rezar y de orar. Piden, piden, y piden, y nadad pasa. Saben lo que es pedir y no mirar que algo pase. Eso es lo que dice hoy, no se desfallecen de orar. Una viuda esta allí pidiendo y pidiendo y el señor nos dice a nosotros: ve esa mujer, esa viudita, ella no se cansa de pedir. Ella no se cansa. El señor nos enseña que ay que pedir personalmente, pero ay que pedir también como el pueblo de dios, como la iglesia, como comunidad. Ay que apoyar el uno al otro en la oración. Ay que hacer oración en comunidad como muchos han hecho en esta parroquia, en este año de la fe. Lo que celebramos hoy son los 60 años de fidelidad en oración [para la parroquia de Sagrado Corazón en Rancho Cucamonga]. Que todos aquellas personas y familias que han trabajado, han rezado para que nosotros podamos gozar los frutos de sus sacrificios de los 60 años de oración. Y ahora nos toca a nosotros. Pidamos para los de hoy y los de mañana. Trabajemos juntos como familia para hoy y para mañana. Compartir de los talentos, del tiempo, y del tesoro para hoy y para mañana.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

10 years later ...we remember Bishop Dennis O'Neil

The following are excerpts from a homily given by Bishop Gerald Barnes at a Mass held on the 10th Anniversary of Auxiliary Bishop Dennis P. O'Neil's passing.

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

There are people that you just never forget for one reason or another. There are some people that you would like to forget, but never do. Other people come into the family and to the workplace and they don’t know about the people that have been here before. In 10 years we have had a lot of people come and work here and they know the O’Neil room, seen the picture there, but don’t him. It’s always good to stop at time like this and do some remembering.

I think we all have some fond memories of Bishop Dennis. I know his family does. Even though he was with us for such a short time with our family in the Diocese, he made such an impact on us. There are countless stories of how he made us feel like we were his family. He made us feel happy. He made us laugh. He could laugh at himself and it loosened up the public. He had a tremendous love for justice and a prophetic voice for some of the poorest in the church. He is probably partially responsible for our present pope being pope, because Pope Francis has the heart of Dennis O’Neil. I like to think that he had a role up there in having the spirit lead the cardinals to choose someone like Francis, who is a man of Dennis’ heart. It has been such a great gift for us.
Bishop Barnes with Bishop Dennis O'Neil's family

In 10 years, time has a way of healing the heavy pain, but it doesn't mean we don’t miss him. We still include him as if he were here. The person is still here among us because of the impact he made. So we are brought back here to remember him, sometimes with a tear, but most of the time with a smile.

God has favored us so much to allow someone like Dennis O’Neil to come into our lives. We can be better because of that. When you really look at it, all he was doing is was what the Gospel tells us to do: He was leading us to the Lord.

The Lord is the one who includes us like family. He is the one who sets challenges before us for us to grow. The Lord is the one who reminds us how gentle we are to be and how much fun we are to have with the life he has given us. What Dennis was doing in his ministry here was leading us, walking with us all, to the Lord Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. As we come across people like Dennis O’Neil, and hopefully like all of us, we can come to know the Lord even better.

Someone gave me last night a quote by John Donne and I do wish to share it with. “I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen him, I shall never die.” And so we know that our brother Dennis is alive.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bishop Barnes on the Veto of SB131: Faithful Citizenship in action!

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I would like to express my thanks to Governor Jerry Brown for his decision, announced Oct. 12, to veto Senate Bill 131. He has demonstrated great prudence and judgment in this decision, recognizing that the bill denied justice to a great majority of child victims of sexual abuse in our state. I am grateful to God, who was with us in our efforts to advocate against the bill and whose Spirit guided the process to its ultimate conclusion. I also offer my thanks to all who worked tirelessly in the effort to voice objection to SB 131 among their representatives in the State Legislature and who continued in prayer for a just outcome. This was Faithful Citizenship in action! Finally, we must not lose sight of our commitment as a Church to protecting children and healing victims of abuse throughout society. Let us continue steadfastly in this ministry so that, with God's grace, our children and youth will be kept safe.

May God bless you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bishop del Riego to seminarians: grow intellectually and spiritually

By Bishop Rutilio del Riego
Diocese of San Bernardino

The following are comments taken from the Commitment Mass for seminarians at Serra House with Aux. Bishop Rutilio del Riego held on Sept. 21 at Christ the Redeemer, Grand Terrace.

The readings of today are very appropriate for this occasion. The first one deals with the different ministries of the Church. Ministry does not only apply to the priesthood, but to all other ministries. One of the ministries is the ministry of shepherds, of pastors. So today we celebrate the commitment of these young men who, with the help of God’s grace, will one day serve as pastors in the Church.

The Gospel is also very appropriate because it talks about the calling of Jesus and the answer from Matthew, a very generous answer. Even though there is generosity on the part of Matthew, it’s nothing in comparison with the generosity of Jesus. That is what surprises and even scandalizes the people. So Jesus explains that he has not come to condemn sinners, but to save them. A doctor does not come to heal someone who is healthy, but to heal one who is sick. Those who think of God in a different way, is not a follower of Jesus. Jesus, son of the living God, is the God of mercy and God of forgiveness. This we need to keep in mind, both us priests and those who are preparing for the priesthood.

I could end here, but that would not be me.

View photos from Commitment Day Mass
The readings of today I think fit well with commitment day. Commitment day is a day in which seminarians make a commitment to a time of discernment and formation to the priesthood, if the lord calls them. It is a commitment before God and it should be a personal commitment, not just a requirement.

It has to be a personal commitment, a decision to take advantage of this time, to prepare well. If the lord calls you to the priesthood, then welcome it. If the lord is calling you to another ministry, then you will be prepared. It is a personal decision, but also a public commitment to live a life in the seminary.

You make a commitment in front of your mentors, in front of your brother seminarians, and members of your family. It is a commitment in front of this parish, Christ the Redeemer. You make this commitment to do what is necessary to grow in your physical, intellectual, psychological and spiritual life.

Many people will accompany you with their advice, prayers and their work. For them we pray in a special way today. We owe a debt of gratitude for your friends and family, your pastors and parishes and for the whole diocese for making this possible. The best way of expressing your gratitude for all these people is to work hard in your formation during your stay here at Serra House.

When I say work hard, I don’t mean only in terms of your school. I mean to work hard also in your spiritual growth. We know that this is the spirit is at work, but he expects us to do our share. During the priest convocation we heard how important it is for the priests not only to offer their ministry but offer an example of Christian life to the community. And so you are to prepare to be good Christians and good ministers. That requires the gift of the spirit and work.

One day you will be members of the presbyterate. You should be ready to live not as isolated individuals, but as member s of a community. Maybe to learn that is not to spend so many hours on the computer. That often isolates you instead of putting you in community. We used to think of asceticism as depriving ourselves of food or drink. Maybe part of asceticism today is depriving ourselves of time on the computer.

In the Gospel today, we see Matthew get up and follow Jesus. He is a good example for each of us to imitate, for you seminarians, for our lay brothers and sisters, for our men and women religious and for our brother priests and bishops.

You have probably heard about the recent interview with Pope Francis. Pope Francis states that his vocation is like that of Matthew. They asked him about his identity and he responded, “after looking at my life, I think the best word that describes me is that I am a sinner.” This is an identity for the pope. He knows of his complete dependence on God for his personal life and in his ministry. If it is good for the pope, then it should be good for each of us.

I wish to extend my gratitude in the name of Bishop Barnes to the rector, vice rector, spiritual director, Oblate Sisters of Santa Martha, the directors of Vocations, the Pastoral Coordinator of this parish, parish staff and all the parishioners of Christ the Redeemer who welcome the seminarians so generously.

This is a good sign for all the faithful. The responsibility for the calling and formation of priests comes through people like you. So you not only pray for priests but also take every opportunity to show your support for those who are preparing for the priesthood and for those ministering in the Church.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Desperately Seeking Participation: The Role of Civil Engagement in Discipleship

By Deacon John De Gano
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside

In an effort to encourage more participation in government (i.e., ‘transparency’) local residents have been given the ability to tune in to government access TV (GTV) and watch their civic leaders in action from the comfort of their barcaloungers.

While not nearly as popular as professional sports, G-TV has a small but loyal fan base.

I know this because I get fan mail. Or an occasional bewildered voice over the telephone, “Was that you I saw at the City Council meeting last night?”

“Yes!”, I respond enthusiastically, “That was me (on G-TV).”

That’s twice this month (A new record for me).

“If it happens a third time,” I tell my co-workers, “I may have to get a SAG-AFTRA union card!“ (This, of course, is a joke, since I would not qualify since I’m not being paid for any of my ‘performances’).

And the truth be told, I’m not that good at it. I’m not polished (like many a seasoned politician); I do not have a voice coach nor have I secured a hair and make up posse to hide the twelve o’clock shadow or the beads of sweat that sunk one famous (or infamous) TV personality and political debater of my adolescence.

The grace of ordination has not prevented my voice from cracking occasionally when I speak. I may even become self-conscious or concerned that my three minutes to speak will end before I finish my prepared comments, but I trust in God and, as they say, ‘keep it real’. I do not try and be anyone other than who I am… A baptized, disciple of Jesus Christ, called to live a life of love in service to God and my church and to be a witness of faith in my community.

And I invite others to do and be the same.

When Jesus called together his small band of disciples, he did not choose the most eloquent speakers he could find. Nor did he choose people of great power and influence in the community. He chose the outcasts, the misfits, those who desired to be more than a ‘big fish in a small pond’.

Fishermen, who had trouble catching fish. A despised tax collector. A zealot who advocated the overthrow of their Roman oppressors. Every day people who were hungry to know God better. Who, in time, were emboldened to act by the Holy Spirit and proclaim God’s concern and care for the poor and powerless in society.

And they were able to make a difference in the lives of the people they touched.

That challenge remains ours today.

Jesus’ commissioned us all to “Go. Preach, teach and baptize.” Not just for the apostles (modern day priests, bishops, etc.), or the seven deacons (who were waiting at tables), but to all the baptized. The born and future born.

This was affirmed fifty years ago in the Second Vatican Council document, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (published in 1965) and reiterated this last year in the document on the New Evangelization.

Even the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” published by our U.S. Bishops, stresses the need for people of faith to engage in the political process in order to provide a moral dimension to issues and laws affecting them and the ‘common good’ of all.

Often times, these ‘life’ issues (abortion, euthanasia, death penalty, education, immigration, housing and health care to name a few) are intentionally politicized by the politicians seeking office to divide (along party lines) rather than as a way to bring the community together and seek just and meaningful solutions.

Jesus was counter-cultural. He didn’t differentiate between the haves and the have nots. He offered the kingdom of God to all who would accept it. And the powerful rejected his message of hope and love.

Jesus calls us to action today. The message remains the same. Our elected officials are eager for our presence and our participation. So what’s to hold us back?

Let us rise out of our comfort zones (and comfy chairs) and be seen, counted and heard.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pray for Peace in Syria

By Bishop Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Holy Father has declared this Saturday, Sept. 7 as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world. This is prompted by the terrible violence in Syria and the impending debate among our lawmakers about whether U.S. military intervention will take place. I am asking the parishes in our diocese to allow for a five-minute period of silence at vigil Masses scheduled on Sept. 7 so that we might bring our prayers for peace to God. Likewise, I ask that any other parish, school or ministerial gatherings on Sept. 7 also observe this period of silent prayer. In Rome, Pope Francis will lead a prayer vigil for peace that is scheduled to include Eucharistic adoration, recital of the Rosary and Scripture readings. These would also be appropriate observances in our parishes on Sept. 7.

Please join me on Saturday in raising up to God a fervent prayer of peace so that our brothers and sisters in Syria might be spared further bloodshed. And let us pray that God impart to the leaders of nations a spirit of prudence and of mercy as they consider how best to resolve this conflict.

Oremos por la paz en Siria

Por el Obispo Gerald Barnes
Diócesis de San Bernardino

Hermanos y hermanas en Cristo,

El Santo padre ha declarado este Sábado, 7 de septiembre como jornada de ayuno y oración por la paz en Siria, Medio Oriente y en el mundo entero. Esto es ocasionado por la terrible violencia en Siria y el inminente debate entre nuestros legisladores sobre si llevar a cabo la intervención militar de Estados Unidos. Le he pedido a las parroquias en nuestra diócesis que faciliten un periodo de cinco minutos de silencio en las misas de vigilia programadas para el 7 de septiembre, para que podamos presentarle a Dios nuestra oración por la paz. Asimismo, pido que en cualquier otra reunión de parroquia, escuela o ministerio el 7 de septiembre, también se observe este periodo de oración en silencio. En Roma, el Papa Francisco dirigirá una vigilia por la paz, en la cual se ha programado incluir adoración Eucarística, rezo del Rosario y lectura de las Escrituras, estas prácticas también serían apropiadas en nuestras parroquias el 7 de septiembre.

Por favor acompáñenme el sábado en elevar a Dios una ferviente oración de paz para que nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Siria sean librados de más derramamiento de sangre. Y oremos para que Dios imparta a los líderes de las naciones un espíritu de prudencia y de misericordia mientras consideran como resolver este conflicto de la mejor manera.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Senate bill fails to provide justice for all victims

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino


As fellow citizens we respect and abide by the laws that govern our communities, whether at the local, state or federal level. Likewise, we have an expectation that the law will be applied equally to the people in its execution of justice. Equality under the law does not always occur, of course, and in those instances we exercise our right to raise objection to those who make the law.

We have arrived at such a moment. A bill has been proposed in the California Legislature that would suspend the statute of limitations on civil sexual abuse lawsuits for one year. It would apply only to private organizations, including churches, youth organizations, recreational leagues and private schools and universities. It would not apply to public institutions, including public schools and universities. That means that a person who, as a child or teenager, experienced the terrible wound of sexual abuse at the hands of someone in a public institution would be denied the opportunity to benefit from this law.

The issue of sexual abuse of children has been a painful one for our Church. We have acknowledged our failure and sin, we have made restitution to victims and we have fundamentally changed our policies for responding to abuse and educating our people about it. The protection of children from sexual abuse is a ministry of our diocese and, indeed, our Church.

Because of this we know that abuse is not a problem that is confined to the Catholic Church or to only private organizations, for that matter. We know that it occurs across the entire spectrum of society, including public institutions. That is why this proposed law, SB 131, is terribly unjust in its execution of justice for all victims of sexual abuse.

At this moment, I am calling on all Catholics of the Diocese of San Bernardino to reach out to the members of the State Assembly and State Senate who represent them and urge a ‘no’ vote on SB 131. Our faith calls us to participate in the political process when issues arise that impact the moral teaching of our Church. This, in my view, is a moral issue, an issue of justice for all victims.

I invite you to visit the California Catholic Conference web site at www.cacatholic.org to find out more about this issue and learn how you can contact your representatives.

Let us pray for our state elected officials and for all those whom they seek to protect through the laws they make.

May God bless you and yours.

Proyecto de ley no ofrece justicia a todas las víctimas

Por el Obispo Gerald Barnes
Diócesis de San Bernardino


Hermanos y Hermanas en Cristo,

Como conciudadanos, respetamos y obedecemos las leyes que gobiernan nuestras comunidades, ya sea en el ámbito local, estatal o federal. De igual forma, tenemos la expectativa de que la ley se aplicará por igual a todos en su imposición de la justicia. La igualdad no siempre existe en la aplicación de la ley, por supuesto, y en esas instancias ejercemos nuestro derecho a expresar nuestra protesta a quienes promulgan la ley.

Ha llegado dicho momento. En la Legislatura de California se ha presentado un proyecto de ley que suspendería por un año la ley de prescripción en casos de demandas civiles por abuso sexual. Esta ley aplicaría solamente a organizaciones privadas, incluyendo iglesias, organizaciones juveniles, ligas de recreación y escuelas y universidades privadas. La ley no aplicaría a instituciones públicas, incluyendo escuelas y universidades públicas. Eso significa que a una persona que, en la niñez o adolescencia, sufrió el terrible agravio del abuso sexual a manos de alguien en una institución pública se le negaría la oportunidad de beneficiarse de esta ley.

El problema del abuso sexual de niños ha sido algo doloroso para nuestra Iglesia. Hemos reconocido nuestras fallas y nuestro pecado, hemos cumplido con el resarcimiento a las víctimas y hemos cambiando fundamentalmente nuestras políticas para responder al abuso y para educar a nuestra gente al respecto. La protección de niños del abuso sexual es un ministerio de nuestra diócesis, y ciertamente, de nuestra Iglesia.

Debido a esto, sabemos que el abuso no es un problema confinado a la Iglesia Católica o a las organizaciones privadas solamente, si vamos al caso. Sabemos que ocurre en todos los sectores de la sociedad, incluyendo instituciones públicas. Es por eso que este proyecto de ley, SB 131, es terriblemente injusto en su aplicación de la justicia para todas las víctimas de abuso sexual.

En este momento, hago un llamamiento a todos los católicos de la Diócesis de San Bernardino para que hagan llegar sus voces a los miembros de la Asamblea Estatal y el Senado Estatal que los representan y los insten a votar ‘no’ a SB 131. Nuestra fe nos llama a participar en el proceso político cuando surgen cuestiones que afectan la doctrina moral de nuestra Iglesia. Esta, en mi opinión, es una cuestión moral, una cuestión de justicia para todas las víctimas.

Los invito a que visiten el sitio de Internet de la Conferencia Católica de California www.cacatholic.org para mayor información sobre este asunto y cómo pueden comunicarse con sus representantes.

Oremos por nuestros funcionarios estatales electos y por todos aquellos a quienes buscan proteger por medio de las leyes que promulgan.

Que Dios los bendiga a ustedes y a los suyos.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The face of hunger

By John Andrews
Director, Department of Communications

I stepped away from the smiles and handshakes that preceded the grand opening of the Galilee Center in Mecca to get a picture of the building. For years it had been a packing house that held the fruits of so many field workers’ labors. Now it is a place of refuge and sustenance for the poor.

I had to walk up Hammond Road a few hundred yards to get a shot of the new sign. On the way back to the event, as I passed a pickup truck parked at the side of the road, I heard a voice call out to me. “Are they serving food here tomorrow?” The woman behind the wheel was doing her best to be polite but you couldn’t miss the desperation in her eyes. A boy about 10, her son, I presumed, sat in the passenger seat. I didn’t know the answer to her question and I said I would go back to the center and try to find out.

Later, during the grand opening ceremony, there were some wonderful words spoken about how this center came to be, about the inspiring ministry of its founders Gloria Gomez and Claudia Castorena. But what registered most in my consciousness that evening, and drove home why places like the Galilee Center are so important, was my brief exchange with the woman in the truck. As hard as it may be for some of us to acknowledge, the face of the hungry, the one I saw that evening, is the face of Christ.

This has been a point of emphasis for Pope Francis in the early months of his papacy. In the sea of complicated issues that we are attempting to navigate as Catholics, the Holy Father wants us to recognize that we are often looking past the great whale in front of us – poverty, and the hunger that comes with it.

Consider that someone in the world dies of starvation every 3.6 seconds, and a third of the world’s population is considered to be starving. Closer to home, more than a quarter of the total population of Riverside County – where the Galilee Center is located – is considered “food insecure” and nearly 20 percent of children in Riverside County live in poverty.

As the great rock artist and global activist, Bono, once chided his audience after a monologue about the evils of apartheid, “Am I bugging you? Don’t mean to bug you….”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A familiar pilgrimage – to Los Angeles

By Hilda Cruz

   Attending Mass today (July 21) reminded me of my childhood days when my mother announced that our family would attend Mass in el Santuario de Los Remedios located in Naucalpan, Mexico. This trip took a whole day. We would begin our walk at about eight in the morning to make it to noon Mass. Then we would eat lunch and head back so that we would make it home by nightfall. These one-day pilgrimages left many wonderful memories that I now enjoy sharing. Today, I joined others from the Diocese of San Bernardino on such a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This trip also took a whole day, even though we traveled in a chartered bus. At the Cathedral we attended a special Mass in celebration of our immigrant roots. Along with many others who filled the Cathedral we prayed for our nation, our public leaders and comprehensive immigration reform. Throughout the liturgy I was reminded of the importance of hospitality in our everyday lives. Archbishop José Gomez, in his homily, reminded me that we are all created in God’s image and that is where our human dignity comes from, not where we were born. He also encouraged those present to continue working and supporting the immigration reform campaign. After Mass we all shared tacos, chips and chocolate, and we happily journeyed back to San Bernardino.

Hilda Cruz is the coordinator of the diocesan Justice for Immigrants Campaign.

Una peregrinación familiar – a Los Angeles

Por Hilda Cruz

Asistí a misa hoy (21 de julio) y me recordó mis días de infancia cuando mi madre anunciaba que nuestra familia asistiría a la Misa en el Santuario de Los Remedios ubicado en Naucalpan, México. Este era un viaje que tomaba un día entero. Empezábamos nuestra caminata a las ocho de la mañana para llegar y participar en la misa de mediodía. Después de comer algo, comenzábamos nuestro regreso para así llegar a casa al anochecer. Estos peregrinajes dejaron muchos recuerdos maravillosos que ahora disfruto compartir. Hoy, me uní a otros de la diócesis de San Bernardino en una tal peregrinación a la Catedral de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Este viaje también tomó un día entero, aunque viajamos en un autobús. Asistimos a una misa especial en celebración de nuestras raíces de inmigrante. Junto con muchos otros que llenaban la Catedral rezamos por nuestra nación, nuestros líderes públicos y una reforma migratoria integral. La liturgia  me recordó la importancia de la hospitalidad en nuestra vida cotidiana. El Arzobispo José Gomez, en su homilía, me recordó que todos nosotros somos creados a imagen de Dios y de ahí es de donde proviene nuestra dignidad humana, no donde nacimos. También animó a los presentes a seguir trabajando y apoyando la campaña de reforma de inmigración. Después de misa todos compartimos tacos, papitas y chocolate y felizmente viajamos de regreso a San Bernardino.

Hilda Cruz es la coordinadora de la Campaña Diocesana de Justicia para los Inmigrantes

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bishop del Riego on wildfire near San Jacinto Mountains

By Bishop Rutilio del Riego
Diocese of San Bernardino

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the name of Bishop Gerald Barnes, I ask that you join in prayer for the community of Idyllwild as it faces the threat of a very large wildfire in the San Jacinto Mountains. We ask God to spare the people of Idyllwild and the many who are bravely fighting this fire from harm. We pray for the protection of homes and businesses in the community and, in a special way, we ask God to watch over Queen of Angels parish which is very near this fire. Let us pray for the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary in this time of great peril and threat to human safety and property.

May God bless you

Prayer
Compassionate and loving God, at this time, when fires are burning in the San Jacinto Mountains around Idyllwild, Palm Springs, and surrounding areas, we pray for those who are victims of tragic fire loss, and for those who fear for their homes and businesses. Keep them safe. Fortify them with hope and faith. May the love shared among neighbors help them. We pray also for the brave men and women fighting fires throughout our diocese, may they be safe, and graced with hope, perseverance and faith in you, as they serve to protect communities from these destructive, raging fires. 
Amen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marian devotions lead us to Jesus

The following are excerpts taken during the Our Lady of Mount Carmel feast day Mass held July 16 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Rancho Cucamonga.


By Bishop Rutilio del Riego
Diocese of San Bernardino

To celebrate the patron saint of the parish is always a joyful occasion, an occasion for thanksgiving. Today we celebrate mother Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Everything that is great about Mary is because of Jesus. She was created so that she could be the mother of Jesus. She was preserved from sin from the very beginning, so she could be the mother of Jesus. Jesus is the savior and he came through Mary. How could we but praise this sacred vessel? We cannot do otherwise. When we Catholics offer praise to Mary, we do not take the praise from Jesus. We do this because of Jesus. So praising Mary is a way of praising Jesus. We do not see any contradiction. For Mary never separates us from Jesus, she leads us to Jesus. So our devotion to Mary is not idolatry in any sense. It is the worship of the true God, who sent his son born of a woman.

In the letter to the Galatians we hear that because of Jesus, we have been adopted as sons and daughters of God. Through Mary Jesus came and through Jesus we became his brothers and sisters, the sons and daughters of the living God. How can we not praise Mary? How can we not praise Jesus? He made us brothers and sisters. Is it such a big difference that we speak different languages? Not really. Is it such a difference that we are born here or there? No. We will not be asked at the end of our lives what language we spoke, what nation we came from. We will be asked how did you behave as a son, as a daughter of God? How did you behave as a brother or as a sister to the other sons and daughters of God? Mary reminds us of this most basic aspect of our identity. We are children of God. Not because we deserve it, but because he loves us. So there is hope for us and for the world that we live in.

In the Gospel we saw Mary close to Jesus at the end of his life. Mary was close to Jesus from the very instant of his conception in her womb. Mary accompanied him through his childhood, through his youth and in his adult life to the very end of his life. Mary always pointed to Jesus. Every once in a while she appears in the Gospels, but only a few times and only to point to Jesus. “Do whatever he tells you,” she tells the servants at the wedding at Cana.

Mary accompanies not only Jesus, but the disciples of Jesus. Mary was there when Jesus comes and sends the Holy Spirit, that is, the Church receiving the spirit. Mary accompanies the Church in the beginning in the book of Acts. Mary accompanies Jesus’ disciples throughout history.

Some people say, “These Catholics believe everything. Mary appeared in the 6th century, then in the 12th century, then the 15th century, then in Argentina, then in Mexico, then in Poland….” Yes, yes, yes! You got it! Mary accompanies us throughout history.

That is why you and I are here. Mary accompanies each believer through his or her own history. The company of Mary is a company of consolation, of solidarity, yes. It is also a company of intercession. Mary knows what we need. Mary knows our strengths and our weaknesses. Mary is our mother. We hear it in the Gospel, “John here is your mother. Woman this is your son.” You and I was John. So today we celebrate her as our mother. We ask for her intercession.

Each of us present here is in a different stage in our relationship with God. God knows it and Mary knows it, because she is our mother. We bring before her the needs we have. Maybe some do not have work. Maybe some have lost our health. Maybe some are going through difficult times in their marriage or in their family life. Mary is our intercession.

Don’t ever doubt when you ask for an intercession. Don’t think that this is something of the past or that this is something of the previous generation, of those who speak Spanish or of those who are over 70. Yes it is for them, but she is also the intercessor of the youngest members of this community. Don’t hesitate to communicate the devotion of Mary to your children or to your grandchildren. Witness humbly, but firmly. What you are sharing is the greatest gift and the greatest treasure that has come to you. This applies to all of us.

In this Year of Faith, in this time of New Evangelization, we need the intercession of Mary so that we can be open to the message of Jesus and make it more a part of our lives. The people of today are not better or worse than in the past. The people of today are called to receive the saving message of Christ. You and I are the witnesses, the apostles of this time. Let us ask the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to intercede for us, so that we can receive the message openly and proclaim it with conviction and in a credible way. Amen.

Devociones marianas nos llevan a Jesus
Los siguientes son extractos tomados durante la Misa para la fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo celebrada el 16 de julio en la parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Monte Camelo, Rancho Cucamonga.

Por Obispo Rutilio del Riego
Diócesis de San Bernardino


Celebrando la patrona de la parroquia nuestra madre Maria, Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo siempre es una ocasión alegre, y una ocasión para dar gracias.

Dios nos reúne para celebrar la eucaristía, y para hablarnos personalmente. Quiere hablarnos en nuestra lengua. No solo en el idioma que hablamos, sino quiere llegar a nuestro corazón así como somos. Las lecturas se dan para que las podamos acoger, escuchar y hacer nuestras.

Ha habido tres lecturas en esta celebración, la primera lectura fue sobre uno de los profetas mayores, Isaías. La lectura fue de un rey llamado Ajaz en una parte de Israel. Tenía que hacer decisiones que afectaban la fe de la gente y la seguridad de su pueblo. Entonces él, como buen político, había llegado a la conclusión que era mejor hacer esto: alinearse con este país y no con el otro, presentarle una guerra con este grupo y paz con el otro. Pero Dios nuestro señor pensaba de otra manera. Y a través del profeta Isaías, le dice “pon toda tu confianza en mí y saldrá adelante tu pueblo, mi pueblo". Ajaz aparentaba ser humildad, diciendo: no, no puedo tentar a Dios, pero en realidad le falta fe. No puede poner toda su confianza en Dios, quiere poner su confianza en sí mismo. Que diferente es a María, ¿verdad?

A la virgen Maria le propuso Dios algo humanamente imposible. Que no esperaba ni podía soñar ni comprender totalmente. Pero cuando se dio cuenta que era Dios el quien lo decía y que lo pedía a través de un ángel, dijo hágase en mi según tu palabra. No puso escusas, puso toda su confianza en Dios. Eso no lo pudo hacer Ajaz. El ejemplo para nosotros es Maria.

Tenemos que hacer algo, decidir algo. Y Dios nuestro señor a través de la conciencia, de un consejero o de un sacerdote, nos dice: “yo creo que este es el camino que Dios quiere para ti”. Podemos poner escusas para hacer nuestra voluntad, pero Maria nos dice, porque no pones toda tu confianza en el Señor. Nos dice a todos nosotros, “pongan toda su confianza en mí.” Y nos dice con el ejemplo de Maria, con el ejemplo negativo del rey Ajaz.

En el evangelio, vemos a Maria acompañando a Jesus al final de su vida. Maria acompaño a Jesus desde el primer instante de su concepción hasta el último momento de su vida. Maria nunca abandono a Jesus, ni siquiera cuando Jesus estaba predicando, ella aparece de vez en cuando a una distancia, sin llamar la atención a sí misma. Porque Maria nos lleva a Jesus. Aparece porque Maria es la primera y la mejor discípula que Jesus ha tenido o tendrá. Maria es la persona que escucho la palabra de Dios, la acepto en su corazón y la hizo suya, no solo en la concepción de Jesus pero después en la vida de Jesus. Podemos imaginarnos a la gente escuchando la predicación de Jesus y Maria sentada con la gente escuchando, abriendo su corazón totalmente al mensaje de salvación.

Es por eso que estamos aquí, María acompaña a cada creyente a través de su propia historia. María nos acompaña con consuelo de solidaridad. También nos acompaña por medio de intercesión. María sabe lo que necesitamos. María conoce nuestras fortalezas y nuestras debilidades. María es nuestra madre. Lo escuchamos en el Evangelio: "Juan aquí está tu madre. Mujer es tu hijo." Nosotros éramos Juan en ese momento. Así que hoy celebramos como nuestra Madre, le pedimos su intercesión.

Cada uno de nosotros aquí presente, se encuentran en una etapa diferente en nuestra relación con Dios. Dios lo sabe y María lo sabe, porque ella es nuestra madre. Traemos ante ella las necesidades que tenemos. Tal vez algunos no tienen trabajo. Tal vez algunos han perdido la salud. Tal vez algunos están pasando por momentos difíciles en su matrimonio o en su vida familiar. María es nuestra intercesión.

No vuelvas a dudar cuando pides una intercesión. No creas que esto es algo del pasado o que esto es algo de la generación anterior, de los que hablan español, o de los que tienen más de 70 años. Sí es para ellos, pero ella también es la intercesora de los miembros más jóvenes de esta comunidad. No duden en comunicarles la devoción de María a sus hijos o a sus nietos. Sean un testigo de humildad, pero con firmeza. Lo que estas compartiendo es el mayor regalo y el mayor tesoro que ha llegado a ustedes. Esto aplica a todos nosotros.

En este Año de la fe, en este tiempo de nueva evangelización, necesitamos la intercesión de María para que podamos estar abiertos al mensaje de Jesús y hacerlo gran parte de nuestras vidas. La gente de hoy en día no son mejores ni peores que en el pasado. Los hombres de hoy están llamados a recibir el mensaje de salvación de Cristo. Tú y yo somos los testigos, los apóstoles de este tiempo. Pidamos a la Virgen María, Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo, para que interceda por nosotros, para que podamos recibir el mensaje abiertamente y proclamar con convicción y de manera creíble. Amen.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bishop Barnes on the sainthood of John Paul II & John XXIII

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

Brothers and Sisters in Christ - We rejoice with Roman Catholics all over the world at the news that Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII will be granted sainthood. These two holy men of our time both opened up our Church in important ways.

In his calling of the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII helped us examine what it means to encounter and transform modern society with Gospel. We have celebrated the 50th anniversary of that watershed moment in our faith in this Year of Faith. 

Blessed John Paul II took his love for our faith and all who practice in his travels to virtually every corner of the world. With his inspiring words and acts, this "Pilgrim Pope" stoked the flame of faith in Latin America, Africa and Asia - places where we now see the fastest growth of Catholicism.


The lessons that both of these popes imparted to us are being carried forward today by our Holy Father, Pope Francis. I ask you to join me in giving thanks to God for the bold leadership John Paul II and John XXIII provided for our Church. We will surely continue to learn from and be inspired by their lives as their sanctity is officially recognized.

May God bless you.



Monday, July 1, 2013

Go as pilgrims and be instruments of Christ

The following are excerpts taken during the World Youth Day 2013 Send-Off Mass held June 30 at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, San Bernardino.

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

There’s always a temptation to be more of a tourist. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist. You learn things. You see things that are new. You taste new foods. You pick up a few words. And you will see how similar Brazilian Portuguese will be to Spanish, which is the language for many of our people in this diocese.

Sometimes we go as a very critical tourist, complaining about things we don’t like or that make us a little uncomfortable. And we are always thinking about what’s going on back here, not changing out watches to enter in the time of the place where we are. That’s part of who we are as humans. But we are going as pilgrims. It’s very different.

Pilgrims coming from throughout the world are coming to listen to the master, to listen to the Lord Jesus. You are going to listen to what Jesus has to say to you. And you will listen to him in what you see and what you feel in the catechetical sessions that you will attend and in the Masses and liturgies that will be celebrated. It will be the Lord Jesus who is speaking to you. Be very attentive to the lord Jesus who speaks through the other pilgrims, because they too carry the master’s message. Some of that may really affirm you or challenge you, but will always come to bring you to the Lord Jesus even better.

View photos from Send-Off Mass
You go as pilgrims. Enjoy all that you come to see and let your heart be moved by what the Lord has to tell you. Go with open hearts, open minds and open ears. The Lord waits for you in Brazil. And he gives you once again his word, his nourishment and the sacraments to fill your life again with so many others, to be pilgrims and disciples in the world.

Young people have a very special role. The Church needs you desperately. We need your witness. We need your energy. We need your passion. We need your enthusiasm. We need your creativity for the church and for the world. So go and come back inspired to strengthen our diocese here, to strengthen our parishes and to strengthen our families. So that other young people may know that it is Christ who is the way, the truth and the light. You might be instruments of Christ by having been pilgrims to World Youth Day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bishop Barnes on Supreme Court Decisions regarding Marriage

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation today of a previous court ruling that invalidated Proposition 8, we acknowledge with regret what now appears to be a fundamental change in the legal definition of marriage in our state. At the same time we take solace in the fact this decision will have no impact on how we, as Roman Catholics, celebrate and practice the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Let us take this moment to look again at what our faith teaches us about marriage, an expression of love and commitment between man and woman, a sign of Christ’s love for us, and a source of new life in God’s plan for humanity. I invite you to learn about our Diocesan Marriage Initiative at www.sbmarriageinitiative.org

Finally, I ask that in whatever emotions we may feel in the wake of this ruling we remember that we are called to recognize the dignity of our brothers and sisters who are homosexual. Let us welcome them in our communities of faith as children of God.

Obispo Barnes responde a decisiones del Corte Suprema con respecto al matrimonio

Por Obispo Gerald Barnes
Diócesis de San Bernardino

Hermanos y hermanas en Cristo:

Con la afirmación de la Corte Suprema de EE.UU. hoy de una decisión judicial anterior que invalidó la Proposición 8, reconocemos con pesar de lo que ahora parece ser un cambio fundamental en la definición legal del matrimonio en nuestro estado. Al mismo tiempo tomamos consuelo en el hecho de que esta decisión no afectará a la forma en que nosotros, como católicos, celebramos y practicamos el Sacramento del Matrimonio. 

Vamos a aprovechar este momento para mirar de nuevo lo que nuestra fe nos enseña acerca del matrimonio, una expresión de amor y compromiso entre el hombre y la mujer, un signo del amor de Cristo por nosotros, y una fuente de nueva vida en el plan de Dios para la humanidad. Los invito a conocer nuestra iniciativa del Matrimonio Diocesano en www.sbmarriageinitiative.org

Por último, pido que en cualquier emoción que sentiremos a raíz de esta sentencia recuerden que estamos llamados a reconocer la dignidad de nuestros hermanos y hermanas que son homosexuales. Démosles la bienvenida en nuestras comunidades de fe como hijos de Dios.

Friday, June 21, 2013

El legado de César Chávez se celebra en Riverside

Por Petra Alexander
Directora, Oficina de Asuntos Hispanos



La presencia de César Chávez se sintió de manera especial en la ciudad de Riverside el 8 de Junio del 2013. El anhelado monumento en su honor se develó al público en un evento lleno de esperanza.

El evento inició a las 7:30 am recordando la raíz católica y la animación espiritual del liderazgo de Chávez, con una eucaristía presidida por el Obispo Rutilio del Riego, y concelebrada por Monseñor Gerardo López y el párroco Alfonso Durán en el Santuario de nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Riverside.

En su homilía, el Obispo Rutilio hizo un recorrido del camino de fe que César Chávez vivió en su conciencia de la dignidad de la persona humana, en su determinación de poner en práctica los principios de la Doctrina Social y en sintonía con las bienaventuranzas en su lucha pacífica y constante. Bajo la imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, César Chávez no dudó en ser fiel a la inspiración y en manifestar públicamente su opción por la vida y una vida digna.

El Obispo Rutilio resaltó que los principios de César Chávez deben seguir animando a todos los líderes políticos, religiosos, de educación, administrativos y organizadores a buscar juntos soluciones. Las comunidades de fe debemos llevar la fe a las calles, a los trabajos, las fábricas, escuelas y al entretenimiento. Y a la vez, los trabajos de la vida cívica deben estar inspirados una genuina espiritualidad para que se transformen las instituciones y las sociedades.

Al final de la Misa, el Obispo pronunció una bendición especial sobre las manos de los asistentes, extendida a las manos de cuantos trabajan la tierra y transforman la creación de Dios. Acabada la Misa, siguiendo el estandarte de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe que portaron las comunidades de Perris, se encabezó una procesión hasta el centro de la ciudad.

El canto De Colores, tan popular en las marchas de César Chávez, regresó a nuestras gargantas para recordar esa conciencia de camino que los trabajadores más empobrecidos han tenido que recorrer para buscar unas mejoras de condiciones que les permitan vivir como hijos e hijas de Dios. Llegados al centro, nos esperaba un rico programa donde a nombre de la Latino Network, Alfredo Figueroa introdujo a las organizaciones United Farmworkers, a la Fundación César Chávez y a las diferentes Uniones de trabajadores.

El mayor de la ciudad de Riverside, Rusty Bailey, reconoció la aportación de los latinos a la ciudad, al condado y al país. El mayor anterior, Ronald Loveridge, así como el Councilman Andy Melendez, se gozaron en recordar el legado de César Chávez. La presidenta de la Latino Network Ofelia Valdes-Yeager dio los agradecimientos a tantas personas y organizaciones que cooperaron en este proyecto. El presentador esperado fue Paul F. Chávez, el hijo de César Chávez quien confirmó un testimonio sobre los valores de servicio y amor a la comunidad que guiaron siempre a su padre.

Finalmente se develó el monumento escultórico realizado por el artista Ignacio Gómez. Una ola de emoción llenó a la audiencia ante el bronce de César Chávez con paso erguido y seguro encabeza al pueblo que trabaja y lucha. Es indudable que Ignacio Gómez deja a la comunidad una herencia y un foco de identidad para las siguientes generaciones.



Legacy of Cesar Chavez celebrated in Riverside

By Petra Alexander
Director, Hispanic Affairs

The presence of Cesar Chavez was felt all throughout downtown Riverside on June 8. The long anticipated monument in his honor was unveiled to the public at an event that was filled with hope.

Recalling Chavez’s Catholic roots and spiritually-animated leadership, the event began at 7:30 a.m. with a Mass presided over by Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego, and concelebrated by Monsignor Gerard Lopez, S.T.L., V.G. and Father Alfonso Durán, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Riverside.

In his homily, Bishop Rutilio revisited Cesar Chavez’s journey of faith and his strong voice for the cause of human dignity. Bishop Rutilio recalled how determined Chavez was to put into practice the principles of the social doctrine of the Church and to be in tune with the beatitudes in their peaceful but constant struggle. Under the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cesar Chavez did not hesitate to be faithful to her inspiration and publicly declare his choice for life and dignity.

Bishop Rutilio stressed that the principles of Cesar Chavez should continue to encourage all political, religious, educational and administrative leaders to seek solutions together. Faith communities must come together and bring their faith to the streets, jobs, factories, schools and entertainment industries, he said. And at the same time, the work and jobs of civic life must be inspired by a genuine spirituality so that they are inspired to create better societies.

At the end of the Mass, the Bishop pronounced a special blessing on the hands of the audience and all those who work the land and transform it into God's creation. After Mass, the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who was carried by the community of Perris, led a procession to the city center.

The song, “De Colores,” which was once so popular in the marches of Caesar Chavez, was sung to remind all of the rough roads that workers have had to travel to improve their lives and allow them to live together as sons and daughters of God.

Once we arrived at the center, we enjoyed a rich program where, in the name of the Latino Network, Alfredo Figueroa introduced members of the United Farm Workers, the union founded by Chavez, along with the Cesar Chavez Foundation and other workers' unions.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey acknowledged the contribution that Latinos have made to the city, county and country. Former Mayor Ronald Loveridge and City Councilman Andy Melendez rejoiced in remembering Cesar Chavez’s legacy. The president of the Latino Network, Ofelia Valdes-Yeager, gave thanks to many people and organizations that cooperated with this project.

The anticipated presenter was Paul F. Chavez, son of Cesar Chavez, who offered a testament to the values ​​of service and love for the community that always guided his father. Finally the memorial statue, created by artist Ignacio Gomez, was unveiled. A wave of excitement filled the audience as they stood before the bronze figure of Cesar Chavez, which now serves to remind all who work and struggle that they, as a community, are not alone. Undoubtedly, Ignacio Gomez’s rendering of Cesar Chavez gifts this community with a heritage and a source of identity for generations to come.