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

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. 

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.