By Deacon Fernando Heredia
On a blessed Friday night, October 2, 1992, in the small town of Coachella in the southern part of California, a young Auxiliary Bishop helped God’s grace come upon four new deacons ordained for the Diocese of San Bernardino.
Twenty-five years later we, the people of the Diocese of San Bernardino, had a beautiful multicultural celebration to honor 25 years of service in love by our Bishop Gerald Barnes.
I am proud to part of that first class of permanent deacons ordained in October of 1992 by Bishop Barnes. When he came to the Diocese as an Auxiliary Bishop the whole diocesan community felt God’s blessings being brought to us. When we got to know him more closely we came to find out that he spoke Spanish, then the whole Spanish speaking community felt his love. However, his reach and his love poured out to all the diverse communities and ethnic groups that form our blessed Diocese.
There are many things I am grateful to God for Bishop Barnes: his love for God, his remembering my name every time I see him; his concern for prisoners and prison ministry; his commitment to making sure we are informed Catholics, well trained and knowledgeable of our faith; his passion for service and ministry; his love for inclusion; his love for unity in diversity; his love to celebrate the Eucharist as the glue, the whole, that holds us together. Bishop embodies his Episcopal motto, “Amar es Entregarse,” forgetting about oneself, looking for what brings happiness to others and understanding how beautiful it is to live to love.
I want to thank God for Bishop Barnes and pray that he will continue reflecting God’s love to us all.
Deacon Fernando Heredia ministers at Our Lady of Soledad Parish in Coachella.