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RIVERSIDE—Cathy Thompson, the longest tenured Catholic school principal in the Diocese, was called to eternal rest on September 25. She died of complications from cancer.

 Thompson began at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Riverside as the kindergarten teacher in 1981. Nine years later she became principal and the face of leadership in the school for two-and-a-half decades.

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 Monsignor Robert E. Lawrence, 75, a retired and beloved priest and pioneering figure in establishing the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal, was called to his eternal rest on May 25. 

 Msgr. Lawrence had been diagnosed with cancer at St. Bernardine Medical Center and then sought treatment at Anderson Cancer Treatment Hospital in Houston, TX. When his death became imminent, he received hospice care at the home of his sister, Mary, and brother-in-law, Harry, in in Tomball, TX. He died peacefully and happily in their company.

 Robert E. Lawrence was born to Robert A. and Mary (Crowley)  Lawrence  on June 30, 1939 in Rutland, VT. Discerning a call to priesthood, Robert attended St. John Vianney Seminary, Randolph, VT from 1962-63 and the Theological College of the Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C. from 1963-67. On completing his theological studies, Robert was ordained a priest May 19, 1967.

 After ordination Fr. Lawrence began his priestly ministry as Curate at Holy Angels Parish, St. Albans. He obtained a Licentiate in Canon Law at Catholic University, Washington, D.C. in 1974. 

 At the invitation of Bishop Phillip Straling, Fr. Lawrence transferred to the newly established Diocese of San Bernardino  in 1979 to assist in setting up and operating the Marriage Tribunal,  serving  as Judicial Vicar, Pro-Synodal  Judge, Advocate and Defender of the Bond. He was incardinated into the Presbyterate of the Diocese of San Bernardino in 1984. He was honored in 1990 as “Prelate of Honor to His Holiness” St. John Paul II, assuming the title Monsignor.  In his retirement after 2004, he continued to share his time and  expertise with the Tribunal Staff  and  delighted in priestly ministry at St. Mary’s Catholic  Indian Mission  at Cabazon.

 “In visiting with Msgr. Bob during his hospitalization at St. Bernardine Medical Center, prior to his going to Anderson Hospital in Houston, it pleased me to express gratitude to him from all of us for the gift of his life among us and his faithful service to our Diocese,” Bishop Gerald Barnes said in a letter announcing the passing of Msgr. Lawrence. 

 A Vigil Service was scheduled at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church, 1234 Palm Ave, Beaumont on Monday, June 6 at 7 p.m. Bishop Barnes was to celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial at  St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church on Tuesday, June 7 at 11 a.m.  The funeral procession was from St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church to Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Cemetery, 3510 Washington St., Colton, where the Rite of Christian Burial was to take place.

 Fr. Luc Tran was called to his eternal rest on September 8, 2015.

 Born on September 7, 1962, Fr. Tran was ordained as a priest of the Society of the Divine Word on March 23, 1996.

 He was a graduate of Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL.

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 Sr. Assunta Highbaugh, 99, of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana, died on Thursday, July 14, 2016, at the monastery’s Hildegard Health Center.

 She was part of the religious community that founded Holy Spirit Monastery in Grand Terrace in the 1980s and a strong presence in local Catholic schools for decades. 

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 Fr. Thomas F. Gillespie was called to his eternal rest on March 21 in Long Beach.

 He was born on July 29, 1932 in Chicaho, Illinois to John J. Gillespie and Ann V. Hayes (now deceased).

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 Deacon Joe Nevarez Acosta was called to his eternal rest on August 23 at his home in Highland.

 He was born on April 9, 1933 in Winslow, Arizona to Francisco and Raquel Acosta.

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