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Ron McAndrew’s time as a Florida warden turned him into an outspoken opponent of the death penalty

 More than a decade later, Ron McAndrew says he can still smell the odor of cruel death.

 As the warden of Florida State Prison he was presiding over the execution of a man named Pedro Medina by electric chair. A malfunction in the chair led to a gruesome death for Medina and was one of several turning points that led McAndrew on a path away from the “eye for an eye” philosophy of his upbringing to a staunch opposition to the death penalty.

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By Andres Rivera
Staff Writer

 Budget is always a concern with any new construction project, perhaps even more so these days for Catholic communities seeking to build a new worship space. 

 A new “model church” concept developed by the Diocese of San Bernardino, however, is paving the way for a large capacity sanctuary to be an affordable option for many parish communities in the diocese. Parish building projects have always been subject to approval by the diocesan bishop. Moving forward, parishes will be required to use the new design template as a condition of that approval.

 The good news is that the model church concept can help to cut construction costs nearly in half. Diocesan construction officials say the secret weapon is pre-engineered steel construction. 

 About 90 percent of the churches in the diocese were designed and constructed to have a horizontal span of 40 to 60 feet. Breaking away from conventional methods of building such as wooden framing and masonry, the new concept for model churches in the diocese will have a horizontal span of 125 feet, creating a potential blank canvas inside the building’s shell. 

 Using pre-engineered steel construction, the building can have a larger span and architects can design the inside of the church any number of ways, because the interior walls will not be responsible for holding up the roof, says David Meier, Director of the diocesan Office of Construction and Real Estate. 

 “We are providing the concept; the parish has a lot of ability to make it their own church,” Meier said. “We are providing cost savings at the most important part, which is the structure.”

 The new design concept has already been piloted at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington, which opened a new 12,500 square foot church in June. Construction costs for the church building were about $1.3 million.

 Parishes are free to add or subtract details and architectural elements as their budgets allow. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Winchester, for example,  will be utilizing the new concept in the construction of their new sanctuary, adding architectural embellishments to the front façade and incorporating removable walls inside the sanctuary for the possibility of creating meeting rooms when Mass is not being celebrated. 

 The same building concept can also be applied to multipurpose buildings, social halls or school buildings. The structures feature metal roofs and substantial insulation throughout the building, which will help with cooling and heating.

 “In conventional construction you are limited by load bearing walls or columns; here there are no limitations,” Meier said.

 While it costs in excess of  $200 per square foot to construct a 900-seat sanctuary using conventional methods, it could cost about $140 per square foot or less using the pre-engineered steel building. The St. Charles church building cost about $106 per square foot to build.

 “Site improvements are costly to implement and are always changing,” Meier said, referring to parking, landscaping, utilities, street improvements and other elements of a building project. “They bring up the total costs of construction. We need to be diligent and keep the cost of the structure down.”

 Many of the church buildings constructed throughout the diocese in the 1940’s and 50’s were built using the most affordable concept at the time. 

 “This was after World War II, where no one had a lot of money,” Meier said. “It’s like that now. We are drawing from the past and doing what the diocese has done before.”

 The diocese looked at several materials and design options before selecting the pre-engineered steel building as a model. 

 “We looked at concrete tilt up, conventional wood framing and masonry, but we kept coming back to the pre-engineered steel building as the best value for our model church,” David Meier said.

 Several parishes are looking to use the model concept in the construction of new sanctuaries. Queen of Angels Parish in Riverside is currently working on a design using the model church concept. 

 Other parishes considering the concept as a possibility include: St. Mary Parish, Fontana; St. George, Fontana; Our Lady of Guadalupe Sanctuary, Mecca; St. Anthony Parish, San Jacinto; Our Lady of Hope, San Bernardino; St. Mary Magdalene, Corona; Blessed John XXIII, Fontana and St. Patrick, Moreno Valley.

 “I’m excited to see how all the designs will turn out,” Meier said.

Diocese helps more than 400 through Deferred Action process at workshop

SAN BERNARDINO—Chris Sandoval counts many of the young people who gathered at the Diocesan Pastoral Center on September 16 among his peers. Same style, same talk, same smarts, same dreams for the future.

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By Vanessa Boekenoogen

SAN BERNARDINO—In addition to one-on-one consultations with an immigration specialist, Catholic Charities San Bernardino-Riverside is now offering group consultation sessions for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. These consultations focus on creating awareness and informing applicants about opportunities within the program. The presentation highlights required documents necessary to apply for DACA including the risk factors and benefits. 

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By Andres Rivera
Staff Writer

SAN JACINTO—Advocacy, education and collaboration stemming from the works and individuals at St. Joseph Mission in San Jacinto has prompted the national Black and Indian Missions Office to recognize the parish. 

 The St. Joseph community was honored with the Katharine Drexel Evangelization Award by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, a subgroup of the Black and Indian Missions Office, at the National Tekakwitha Conference held in August.  

 Father Earl Henley, M.S.C., pastor of St. Joseph Mission in San Jacinto, chose three members of the community to nominate for the award. Michael Madrigal, Sister Marianna Torrano, R.S.C.J, and Marian Chacon, are examples of how the community works to evangelize, Fr. Henley says.

 “These people are doing basic evangelization and it is hard work,” Fr. Henley said. “This recognizes that we are doing what we should, spreading the Good News to all of God’s people.”

 Michael Madrigal, a lay minister at the mission, is known for his 12 years of dedication and service to the Native American Ministry. Madrigal brings his creativity and vision to the ministry. He heads the parish leadership team and is involved in the Human Relations Council as vice president. Madrigal provides workshops at San Jacinto Community College and helps in the Day of Understanding at the college each year. 

 Sr. Marianna has served for many years in the Native American Ministry of the diocese. She has worked for several years at Soboba reservation and began the St. Jude School there. She helped create two non-profit organizations to help support the Native American Ministry: the St. Jude School and the Kateri Fund. The Kateri fund is an organization that helps support evangelization efforts.

 Marian Chacon is on the mission council and is the financial officer at the mission. She lives out her Catholic faith through the service she provides to all people in her community. Chacon is effective in her work in and outside the parish, too. 

 “She is our ‘agent,’ our bridge builder between the Church and the tribes,” Fr. Henely said.

 Since receiving the award, Fr. Henley has taken it to the surrounding reservations in the diocese to show that all have equal share in the recognition. 

 “It demonstrates effective leadership, promotes faith formation and encourages identity and advocacy in the community,” he  said. 

By Andres Rivera
Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO—Ever since she was a young adult at Epiphany Parish in South El Monte, involvement in Catholic ministry has been important to Paulina Espinoza. As the new Associate Director for the diocesan Office of Worship, Espinoza is happy to continue serving the Church.

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