This year’s celebration included a special touch as the location of the Mass was the site where last May, the Diocese, in collaboration with other community groups such as the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, helped to house asylum seekers being released in San Bernardino. The effort was part of the Diocesan ministry that came to be called “Operation Bienvenida.” It had been launched in the fall of 2018 in Coachella and served to house, clothe, feed, and connect asylum seekers with their families.
Prior to the Mass, volunteers of Operation Bienvenida from both the Coachella site and from the Cathedral were honored with a banquet for their work. Bishop Barnes also recognized them during the Mass for their efforts. A powerful testimony given by Our Lady of the Rosary parishioner Roberto Lopez, helping to illuminate the good work being done and the deep need that drives migration.
Those sentiments were also expressed in Bishop Barnes’ homily as he framed the push out the door that leads people elsewhere in search of peace and security. He called on all people to see the dignity of every human person by recognizing the Christ in them as they seek to find a place they can call home in peace and justice. He also reminded everyone to involve themselves in being counted for the Census as an act of civic duty.
The Mass provided a source of joy for our migrant brothers and sisters as well as acknowledging that they are, indeed, a welcome part of our community here in the Diocese of San Bernardino.
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