“We are grateful to the people of God in the Diocese of San Bernardino for their generous support of Bishop Barnes and our seminarians who will shepherd the local church in the years to come,” said Theresa Montminy, director of Mission Advancement and coordinator of the dinner. “It seems that more and more people are recognizing that the dinner is an opportunity to practice Catholic stewardship and support vocations to the priesthood. This is truly a blessing from God.”
The diocese marks its 35th anniversary this year and the three recipients of Bishop Barnes’ Amar Es Entregarse Award honored at the dinner played important roles in the early years of the diocese. Bishop Phillip Straling, founding bishop of the diocese; the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founders of St. Bernardine Hospital, and Rabbi Hillel Cohen, a key interfaith ally of the diocese from its earliest days.
“In the history of our faith the Lord has always called people in the time and place where they could best serve His Church. This was no different in the early days of the Diocese of San Bernardino,” Bishop Barnes said in his remarks at the dinner. “As we look back on our first 35 years we recognize three who helped set a solid foundation of faith for the diocese and also helped us to join hands with the communities we serve.”
All three recipients were warmly received, and each was given a video tribute before making brief remarks. Eight Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word attended to represent the community. Rabbi Cohen’s acceptance remarks were tinged with humor as he talked about his and the Bishops’ mutual wearing of skull caps and their significance in different colors. Bishop Straling took the crowd through some brief recollections of his time as Diocesan Bishop, ultimately giving credit to the Holy Spirit for the growth and success of the diocese.