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Combined Vicariate meetings to preview ministry innovations

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SAN BERNARDINO—A year after reflecting on its 40-year history, the Diocese will forge ahead in 2019 with some innovative proposals designed to put a new spin on key aspects of church life.

 The Combined Vicariate meetings on Feb. 13 and Feb. 21 will provide a platform for these new ideas, which will be presented in breakout sessions.


Family Catechesis

 The “Domestic Church” will play a greater role in the formal religious education of children and teens, under a new model for catechesis proposed by the Diocesan Office of Catechetical Ministry. Some components of First Communion, and Confirmation programs traditionally provided by parishes would be undertaken by parents. “We’re just shifting and finding new ways to present catechesis,” says Maria Covarrubias, Director of Catechetical Ministry. “I think they will be surprised by some areas.”

Missionary Work for Youth and Young Adults

 Opportunities and, in fact, a physical place for young Catholics to engage in missionary work within the Diocese will be previewed by the Diocesan Office of Young Catholics. Director Edgardo Juarez will introduce the concept of a Missionary House, a place that will serve as a home base of sorts from which young adults can practice missionary work in the Diocese. “It’s a very concrete way to engage youth and young adults to life out their faith,” he says.

Ecclesial Integration

 A model for fostering greater involvement of lay leaders in the life and leadership of a parish, in collaboration with the pastor, will be presented by the Diocesan Department of Planning. It is derived from the Fifth Module of the Diocesan Building Intercultural Competencies for Ministers (BICM), which promotes the idea of “Ecclesial Integration.” How to enlist the gifts and talents of many committed Catholics in a parish under the collaborative leadership of a pastor will be discussed, as well as common mistakes that are made in parish leadership.

Pastoral Associate

 An upcoming opportunity for those who complete Ministry Formation Institute (MFI) programs to assume leadership positions in parish ministry will be unveiled in one of the four breakout sessions. A new four-year program to prepare lay persons to serve as a Pastoral Associate in a parish will be previewed. The MFI has adjusted the CMFP curriculum to include elements that prepare participants for pastoral leadership roles.


 Bishop Gerald Barnes will deliver a keynote address at the Combined Vicariate meetings that will tie the four breakout sessions together under the theme “Siempre Adelante” (Always Forward). With the celebration of his 25th Episcopal Anniversary in 2017 and the Diocese’s 40th Anniversary in 2018, now passed, Bishop Barnes will invite the leadership and staffs of the 92 parishes to fix their gaze on what lies ahead.