By Marge Bitetti

CORONA—For Henna Jalal, caring for the homeless is part of her faith as a Muslim. 

 “I can’t go to sleep at night if my neighbor is hungry,” she says. “Being a good neighbor and realizing the duty to our neighbors doesn’t just mean being friendly to the homeowners next door. It means to help take care of the community as a whole, and that includes the poor.” 

 This is also a core calling of the Secular Franciscans as they perform Corporal Works of Mercy, which includes Feeding the Hungry. 

Read more ...

SAN BERNARDINO—The Diocesan Office of Restorative Justice will hold its first ever Victims Symposium at the Diocesan Pastoral Center on April 10.

 The event will showcase the many ways the Office has expanded its ministry to victims of violent crime, including murder, and their families and loved ones. It takes place during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which sparked the idea to hold such an event, said Office Director Marciano Avila. “We’re usually out attending vigils that week. This year, we thought, ‘let’s have something here.’ ”

Read more ...

Each month the BYTE will publish sections of the U.S. Bishops Pastoral Letter “Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters.”

 In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis urges the faithful to “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them.”3 Jesus Christ is constantly reaching out to all persons, but there needs to be a response from us. We need not fear that the invitation is meant for someone else and not us. We can respond with a sure hope. “The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step toward Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: ‘Lord, I have let myself be deceived. . . . I need you. . . .’ God never tires of forgiving us. . . . [and no] one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love.” 

Read more ...

By Sister Chilee Okoko, D.M.M.M.

SAN BERNARDINO—The role of the Church in ministering to those affected by mental health struggles will again take center stage at the 2019 Behavioral Health Conference on May 8.

 Since 2015, the Diocesan Department of Life, Dignity and Justice has been promoting awareness, education and advocacy in the area of Behavioral and Mental Health. This has been part of a larger effort by the Diocese to promote wellness and health among communities of faith. This effort has led to collaborative relationships with the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, Riverside County Department of Behavioral Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and some healthcare entities like Riverside University Health Systems and Loma Linda University Health System. 

Read more ...

SAN BERNARDINO—Welcoming the launch of its second five-year ministry program plan, the Emergency Operations Collaborative (EOC) of the Diocese has announced that 3,500 teachers, catechists, ushers, parishioners and staff throughout the Diocese have completed the required mandated diocesan training in disaster preparedness and response.

 The EOC ministry program was initially created by Bishop Gerald Barnes as a response to the many natural disasters which impact the Diocese – fires, earthquakes, floods – and how the local Church can best provide pastoral care in those moments. With the hire of its first director in late 2011, the ministry program was revised to include training for man-made disasters such as dangerous persons and active shooters. 

Read more ...

On March 30, one Sister of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart made her final vows, and two made their first vows. Here we share their stories

God whispered, ‘This could be you’

By Sister Hannah Barnett, SDHS

 I am the youngest of five children, with an identical twin sister. My parents were very involved in our parish, St. Martha in Murrieta.  At age nine, I had the chance to attend Sacred Heart Girls’ Camp in Big Bear for the first time.  It was my first experience with the Sacred Heart Sisters (or any Sisters) and I loved the week at camp.

 The week of camp I remember most happened when I was ten.  One night, two of the Sisters shared their vocation stories. As I listened, God whispered, “This could be you.”  It was just that simple.  It was a very comforting thought for me to consider being a Sister.

 I didn’t share this call from God with anyone until I was 15.  Although I hadn’t seen the Sisters in several years, God’s invitation hadn’t weakened at all. After being invited to a vocation day, I finally had the courage to tell my parents that I was open to the possibility of religious life.  By sharing it with others, I was able to accept God’s invitation a little more.

 As I prepared for high school graduation, religious life was the last thing on my mind.  My plans were to go to Saint Mary’s College of California where I received a scholarship.   Yet in all this, I never asked God what He wanted for me; instead I was telling Him what I wanted for me. 

 During the summer before college, I returned to Girls’ Camp for the first time in four years, this time serving as a counselor.  One night at campfire, as we read the Scriptures together, I was sitting near the back, talking with God.  I realized I would only be truly happy doing what God asked.  So I told Him, “I give you my life.  I give you my heart. I give you my plans. Whatever you ask of me, I will do it.” His call came back: “This is you. This is who I have created you to be.”  I knew He was asking me to give myself completely to Him as a Sister.  

 I started college that fall and enjoyed my classes, making new friends, being on my own.  After attending a retreat with our Sisters during Christmas break, I knew God was calling me to enter the Sacred Heart Sisters that year.  

 On September 15, 2010 I entered the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart.  I professed my first vows on March 23, 2013, and was blessed to make my perpetual profession on March 30.  I am truly happy doing what God wants me to do.  In fact, I am more joyful than I ever thought it was possible to be.


My Heart is full of Joy

By Sister Charis Kwon, SDHS

 When I was in high school, I fell in love with all things beauty-related. My goal was to become a fashion makeup artist someday. I started working at Kohl’s as a beauty supervisor while assisting a few successful makeup artists on set. I also fell in love with St. Paul the Apostle Parish’s Young Adult Ministry and became part of the Core Team. Ministry helped me to realize that even though I loved makeup artistry, I was more joyful at church than at work. 

 The chapel was on my way home from work and every day after my shift ended, I visited Jesus in the tabernacle. This desire to be with Jesus and share His love with others intensified within me. I desire deeply to know His wonderful plans for me. God led me to discernment events where I met the Sacred Heart Sisters.

 I started volunteering at their camps AND experienced so much joy at camp; it felt like I was at a Catholic Disneyland. One of the Sisters saw this joy in me and asked if I was considering religious life. I told her, “Yes…but I think I’m called to youth and young adult ministry.” That conversation really challenged me to go deeper. I kept asking myself, “Am I not giving God everything? Am I holding back?” It was in the quiet of my heart that God spoke to me: “Won’t you just be MINE first?” 

 Soon after, I opened myself up and start seriously discerning religious life. I struggled in surrendering to God’s plan for me. Whatever it was, I wanted to see it through. Finally I went to adoration on Divine Mercy Sunday where I knelt down and opened my hands to give God my very small “yes.” 

 In that same year, I entered our community, the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart. Since then, I have fallen deeper in love with the God who created me. My heart is full of joy as I anticipate embracing Jesus, who is all beautiful, as my spouse. I could have spent my life painting faces, but God as the divine artist is molding me to be the most beautiful person I can be – a Sacred Heart Sister. Everything I do flows from this great artistry of His Love. 


I heard God calling me so clearly

By Sister Vivian Sun, SDHS

 As the youngest of three children, I was the trouble maker of the family: drawing on the walls, flooding bathrooms, and making a mess when I was left alone. When I was in high school, I went to the Girls Camp in Big Bear held by the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart (SDSH). I felt free to be myself there. It was the first time that I realized God was seeking out a relationship with me and He loved me, personally. Once, a Sister asked me if I thought about being a Sister. I told her plainly, “No.” I kept going back to help at the camps but the thought always stayed in the back of my mind. 

 I went to college at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where my faith started to become my own, not just my family’s. I helped lead Bible studies in a Christian fellowship called InterVarsity and was also involved in the Newman Club. These communities drew me into a deeper relationship with Jesus and brought me to know Jesus as someone with a heart for all His people. I graduated with a degree in International Studies and was open to do His will. Throughout my discernment, I was talking to the Vocations Director of SDSH, who helped me walk through God’s call for me. At the same time, I had a good job, was dating a very good Catholic young man, and was happy. But there was a part of me that knew there was something missing. It was only in Mass or praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament where I felt most fulfilled. 

 I still remember when I heard God calling me so clearly and yet mysteriously during Mass one day. It was not with a voice I could hear, but in the depths of my heart I knew He was calling my name and wanted me right now. After I said “yes” to God in my heart, told the Sisters, my family and friends, I found an overwhelming peace I have never felt before; my family saw a confidence in me they have never seen before. Having entered SDSH over two years ago, I am filled with gratitude and deep joy to make my First Profession of Vows, on March 30. Please keep me in your prayers! 

By Malie Hudson

 Going above and beyond the call of service not just once, but time and time again is what recipients of this year’s Amar Es Entregarse Award have in common. 

 The award is given to an individual or group who embody Bishop Gerald Barnes’ Episcopal Motto Amar Es Entregarse, “Love is the total giving of one’s self.” 

 Bishop Barnes will honor four extraordinary individuals and groups with the award at the 19th Annual Bishops Dinner on April 27. Two of the honorees are profiled here and the remaining two will be profiled in the April issue of the BYTE.

Read more ...

More Articles ...

Subcategories