Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Introducing Sacred Spaces

By Andres Rivera
Communication Department

In case you didn't notice, our diocesan newspaper Inland Catholic Byte recently began running a new column in the parish section titled Sacred Spaces. This column was created to highlight the hidden treasures that can be found in our parishes.

Sometimes we overlook great pieces of art or a beautiful altar piece or statue because it has been there ever since we can remember. This column is meant to shed some light and invite us to take a closer look at our parishes. What about our community, our places of worship inspire wonder and awe. Some parishes have a wealth of images, places, objects that showcase elements of our faith, while other parishes express their faith in another way. What does your parish do?

Occasionally we will be sharing parishes that have been highlighted in our column here. We will add additional photos and maybe some more history or reaction from parishioners on the significance of the "sacred space."

Perhaps you will be inspired to share with us what 'sacred spaces' can be found at your parish location. Our dream is to highlight each parish in our diocese at least once! With your help, I think we can do just that. If you would like to submit your own "sacred space", email me at

Now for sacred space no. 1...

Mosaic artwork: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Indio
The church building at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Indio, which was dedicated on April 24, 1960, boasts several mosaic embellishments. The sanctuary space displays five mosaics containing images of St. Joseph, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, God the Father, the assumption of Mary and Our Lady of Guadalupe. If you closely at the mosaic of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, you will see depictions of the priest who helped establish the parish and a replica of the current structure.Mosaics depicting the Stations of the Cross also adorn the nave of the church.

Stations of the Cross

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Don't start the revolution without me

By Ted Furlow
Director, Pastoral Planning

April 19, 1775 
By the rude bridge that spans the flood,
Their flag in April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1836

Friday will be the 238th anniversary of the commencement of the American Revolution. In the early morning hours of that day, after Paul Revere’s famous ride into history, a small local group of militia met the British troops on the green in Lexington, firing on them as they passed on their way to Concord. That small group was routed by the British, who then continued on their march only to be met at Concord bridge around 7:30 that morning.

The locals stood their ground at one end of the bridge and the British formed ranks at the other. Volleys were fired by both groups at a distance not much longer than the length of the Pastoral Center lounge. The farmers ultimately won out that day, with the British troops retiring to Boston, harassed the whole way by the farmers.

So the revolution really began, and the rest became our American history.

In 1836, a statue was dedicated commemorating the battle, and the “Minutemen” who fought it. It remains in place today, graced by a plaque which presents Emerson’s poem, the Concord Hymn.

There is some irony that this date will be remembered in the same week as the bombings in Boston. Our nation, full of its shortcomings and excess, born in the smoke of battle, reliant on our participation as its citizenry, continues to exist in a milieu of violence as our home and our legacy. On Friday I invite you to not only remember and pray for the victims of Mondays events, but to give thanks for our freedoms and to ask God’s grace to guide us in an uncertain future.

Monday, April 15, 2013

African Adventures

By Peter Newburn,
Lay Missionary in Cameroon

Greetings from West Africa! It’s hard to believe we have been here over nine months already. We look back on our almost nine years in the Diocese of San Bernardino, where I served as Pastoral Coordinator at Sacred Heart in Rancho Cucamonga, with fond memories. We miss our friends, and look forward to seeing them again. It was not easy to decide to leave our home to be missionaries. But we have no regrets about the decision. We are having a wonderful experience as a missionary family!

We are serving in the Archdiocese of Bamenda, in the northwest region of Cameroon. Thankfully, we are in the English-speaking part of the country, as two-thirds of the nation is French-speaking. I am teaching theology at the major seminary (the very first lay person to do so), teaching at the lay ministry formation institute, giving talks in various settings, and have been a regular guest on the Catholic radio station. Recently, I was asked to host a weekly program called “The Missionary Eye,” sharing my perspectives and reminding the faithful that we are all called to be missionaries in our own way.

Joy has been volunteering at a couple different primary schools, training lay counselors, and helping facilitate a support group for those living with HIV /AIDS. She also has been co-hosting a radio program called “Catholic Moms” where she has been teaching about women in the Bible and the importance of developing virtues in ourselves and our children.

Our three kids are also missionaries in their own way. Joshua (11), Jessica (9), and Emily (7) attend a local primary school (the only white children) and have found that the teachers and the other children look to them as examples, academically and personally.

For a long time now, part of their nightly prayers has been, “Lord, help us to do what’s right, even when others don’t!” As parents, we are so pleased with how they are cooperating with God to fulfill that prayer. They seem to love it here—every new experience is an adventure! They are a great witness to people, and they bring joy wherever they go. Joy and I have found this to be a really wonderful environment in which to raise our children.

When we decided to become a missionary family and come to Africa for three years of our lives, we had many people tell us, “That’s wonderful for you, but I could never do that!” Folks either thought we were crazy, or made us out to be saints. Perhaps both! We had the desire, and felt God calling us, and now we feel so blessed to have this opportunity. We have the sense that our presence here is beneficial and well-received, which is very fulfilling. Experienced missionaries told us: “You’ll receive much more than you give!” We have certainly found this to be true.

We are serving with a Catholic organization called Lay Mission Helpers, based in Los Angeles. There is a link to our blog spot on their website, where you can read some wonderful reflections, especially from our children. We are grateful to be receiving support from the diocesan Office of Missions. If you feel inclined to partner with us in our mission, you can make a contribution via the LMH website. Even a little bit makes a difference!

I have been asked by the Office of Missions to share my experience for some of the mission appeals this summer. I will be speaking at the Masses at St.Patrick in Moreno Valley (weekend of July 28), St. Catherine of Siena in Rialto (August 4), and St. Therese in Palm Springs (August 11). Perhaps I will see you there!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Keep your eyes and heart on Jesus

By Deacon John DeGano
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside

What happens in heaven, stays in heaven.

I know it sounds like a commercial for Las Vegas and a decadent lifestyle, but no one has returned from heaven to tell us what happens there once we leave this mortal coil.

I suppose that’s so we don’t fall into the trap of expecting something to happen and then being disappointed if it doesn’t happen just the way we thought it would.

A case in point: The Messiah of Israel.

Since the time of King David, Jews had been awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, a warrior leader who would return the Chosen People to the land promised to their ancestors.

The Jewish people had experienced a kingdom under Saul and then David, and had known captivity in Babylon or Assyria or under the oppression of the Egyptians and now the Roman Empire.

They had had a lot of time to reflect upon their lives and they had grabbed onto the image of Messiah as the ends to their means…

When Jesus came, he did not lead the rebellion that the Jews so desperately looked for. He did not throw off the tyrants. He barely made a blip of the radar screen of history.

And yet, here was the promised Messiah, who used gentleness instead of might; love instead of hate; and mercy instead of revenge and wound up a victim of his own making.

Why didn’t he defend himself? Why didn’t he call upon Elijah or the angels or God almighty to break the shackles of Rome and renew the face of the earth?

The Jews got it wrong. Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. And, in fact, it was breaking in upon the world as we know it. Jesus founded his church and the church has continued the mission to the world, calling people to live lives of love and holiness.

Not so that they might claim victory over their enemies, but so all could enter the kingdom of God. But to do so, requires a change of heart, a life of love. And a spirit of forgiveness.

God gave us all free will and in so doing will not take us by force. That is why we have to look for him in the gentle breeze, the light of dawn or the beauty of a sunset. Jesus remains with us, but resides now in our hearts. To see Jesus we must look into the eyes of the soul. And we’ll find him in the least of our brothers and sisters because they, too, have something to teach us about hope and love. About sacrifice and prayer. About peace and joy.

If you want to catch a glimpse of heaven, then go and receive the Eucharist. It is the moment we are united with God on this side of heaven. Only there aren’t words enough to describe it.

And that is why we have to wait until we get there in order to truly appreciate all that God has in store for us.

May your Easter season be filled with peace and joy.