SAN BERNARDINO—The Diocese will be experiencing leadership transitions in several key ministries in July as directors leave for retirement, relocation or a new assignment.
Maruja Sedano, Director of the Department of Ministry Formation Institute (MFI), will retire on July 1 after leading the Diocese’s flagship adult formation/education program for six years.
“My immense gratitude to Bishop Emeritus Gerald Barnes who gave me the opportunity of using my last ministerial years serving in a diocese so full of saintly and dedicated people,” Sedano said. “Also, my gratitude to Bishop Rojas, whom I knew from Chicago. It has been a blessing working with him for the past year.”
Under Sedano’s leadership the MFI received national certifications from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Asociación para la Educación Teológica de Hispanos (AETH), which now allows graduates of the MFI’s Continuing Ministry Formation Program (CMFP) to receive credit units towards graduate degrees in schools and universities approved by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).
“I consider the work of the MFI very important and instrumental in forming lay leaders for ministry, something that our diocese really needs,” she said.
Sedano says she will take an initial rest in retirement and then return to her native Spain for a period of time to visit family.
Mary Huber, Director of the Diocesan Office of Respect Life and Pastoral Care Programs, will be leaving her post July 1 as she relocates to Ohio to be near family. A pioneer in diocesan pro life ministry, Huber came to work for the Diocese in 1997, serving for years as Associate Director of Pro Life Catholic Ministries before becoming the director of the office in 2015.
Huber was instrumental in expanding the scope of the office to include post-abortion healing retreats, called Rachel’s Vineyard, and leading diocesan advocacy and accompaniment ministry for those at end of life.
“Developing programs to accompany those that are preparing for their last earthly journey offered immeasurable insight into God’s love and mercy for humanity,” she said.
Huber says her ministry was always challenged by the reality of California’s many anti-life laws and policies that have led some young Catholics to believe that “legal is moral.”
“Our Office advocates for all life, from the earliest embryonic stage to the end of life,” she says. “It is the foundation of the Church’s social doctrine. Human life has inherent dignity and must be treated accordingly, starting with the right to life.”
Huber is heading east to Dayton, Ohio to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren.
Also departing the Diocese on July 1 is Sister Maria Asopesio Iosefo, S.M.S.M., Director of Campus Ministry at Cal State University, San Bernardino since 2011. Sr. Pesio, as she is known, created the “Be Aware Project” to help students understand that they are loved by God no matter what; that they belong to God’s family and the universal Church; that the greatest tool in life is their faith in God; that their most honorable career and vocation in life is service of others.
It was also during Sr. Pesio’s time at CSUSB that the Bishop Gerald Barnes Newman Center, was built.
“It is a place they call home,” she says of the Newman Center. “A place to find friendly people, a sense of Christian community, a place to experience Church, a place to relax and be oneself, a place to seek and meet Christ.”
Known for her enthusiastic and empowering approach to campus ministry, Sr. Pesio says it is critical for the Church to have a presence among the students at that time of their life.
“Cal State University is a forum where public debate takes place, where opinions are shaped, and where values are formed. The Campus Minister has a unique responsibility to enhance the presence and the ministry of the Church within higher education and to influence the future of the Church and society with the message of the Gospel.”
During her time in the Diocese, Sr. Pesio also served as Director of Catechetical Programs at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Crestline.
A member of the Marist Missionary Sisters, Sr. Pesio has received a new assignment in her native region of Oceania. She will first enjoy a vacation in her home country of Samoa.
“I am indebted to you all,” she offers. With St. Paul I pray, ‘I thank my God each time I think of you, and when I pray for you, I pray with joy.’ Faafetai Tele lava. Muchas Gracias.”