Frs. Esparza, Vu, Dcn. Dewhirst, Elder Samaniego named to new leadership positions

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Elder Samaniego

SAN BERNARDINO—Elder Samaniego has been named the new Director of the Diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection, replacing Sister Cathy White, s.P., who retired in December.
 Samaniego had served as Associate Director of the Office since 2009, conducting all of the ministry’s Spanish language outreach and coordinating the Restoring Me retreats that it offers.


 “It’s an honor and it’s a challenge,” said Samaniego of being named to lead this key diocesan ministry. He stressed the importance of parish, school and diocesan ministers participating in the mandatory trainings and background checks that he is charged with administering.
 “We can’t do our job without all the people in the parishes and schools helping us,” he said. “It’s about collaborating and protecting our youth.”

Fr. Hau Vu

 Father Hau Vu has been named by Bishop Barnes as Associate Director of the Office of Vocations, effective July 1. He will work closely with Vocations Director, Sister Sarah Shrewsbury, O.S.C. Fr. Hau was ordained to the priesthood in 2016 and has since served as Priest Minister at The Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Redlands. The addition of Fr. Hau to the Vocations Office continues an expansion of the ministry that began last year when priest vicariate coordinators were established to strengthen parish level outreach.

Deacon Tom Dewhirst

 Deacon Tom Dewhirst has been named to the newly created position of Diocesan Funeral Services Coordinator. He will serve as the primary contact person to assist all priests in the Diocese with the planning of their funeral services. Deacon Dewhirst will also assist in coordinating Diocese of San Bernardino Priest funerals and burials at Our Lady Queen of Peace Cemetery in Colton. He will also help with the special Masses at the All Souls Chapel at Our Lady Queen of Peace.

Fr. Erik Esparza

 Father Erik Esparza, J.C.L., was named Director of the Office of Priest Personnel as part of the reorganization of the office. The Office of Priest Personnel will integratre services to support priests, including priestly transitions, continuing formation for priests and support for international priests. Fr. Esparza will oversee these and other personnel areas for Diocesan, Extern and Religious Order priests. He will also continue in his ministry as Priest Moderator of The Holy Name of Jesus Parish.