RIALTO—Bishop Gerald Barnes has entrusted the pastoral care of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Rialto to The Society of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) – Western Province, a religious order with an extensive track record of parish leadership in the Diocese.
The announcement was made to the parish in a letter read at Masses Jan. 20-21.
Father Steve Porter, who has served as pastor of the parish for the past 14 years, and Father Rogelio Gonzalez, Parochial Vicar, will receive new parish assignments. The change takes place July 1.
With this announcement, the SVD order is now entrusted with the pastoral care of eight parishes in the Diocese.
The others are Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, San Bernardino; St. Anthony, San Bernardino; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Ontario, Queen of Angels, Riverside, St. George, Fontana; St. George, Ontario and St. Matthew, Corona.
Father Soney Sebastian, SVD, Provincial, expressed thanks to Bishop Barnes for his continued trust in the Order to lead parishes in the Diocese of San Bernardino.
“The Order is happy because we’ve had a wonderful working relationship with Bishop Barnes,” Fr. Sebastian said. “We want to serve the local church and work with the Diocesan administration.
In addition to its parish presence, the SVD Order also operates a Retreat Center in Riverside and a television studio in San Bernardino. Father Paul Schmidt, an SVD priest, serves as the Spiritual Advisor at Notre Dame High School.
Of St. Catherine of Siena, Fr. Sebastian said, “It’s a vibrant and wonderful parish and we look forward to working with the people there as we have in the other parishes.”
The SVD priest who will serve as pastor will be named in May, Fr. Sebastian added.
The entrusting of St. Catherine of Siena to the SVD community underscores the key role that religious communities and their priests play in meeting the needs of parishes in the Diocese.
There are currently 88 religious priests in active ministry in the Diocese, compared to 94 diocesan priests in active ministry.
There are 17 parishes in the Diocese whose pastoral care has been entrusted to a religious community.