SAN BERNARDINO—Bishop Gerald Barnes will continue to shepherd the Diocese of San Bernardino past his 75th birthday next June, he told a gathering of Diocesan priests on Dec. 4.
The announcement came during the Advent Day of Prayer for priests held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in San Bernardino. It was made just two days after the local introduction of Coadjutor Bishop Alberto Rojas, who will succeed Bishop Barnes as Ordinary Bishop once his resignation is accepted by Pope Francis.
The Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, has communicated that Bishop Barnes will remain Ordinary Bishop for an additional year.
“I’m going to be staying one more year,” Bishop Barnes told the priests.
After a moment of stunned silence, the priests applauded the news, said Monsignor Gerard Lopez, STL, Vicar General of the Diocese.
“It was a big shock to everybody,” he said. “Everybody was thinking the Coadjutor would become the Ordinary Bishop in June.”
Bishop Rojas also referenced the one-year extension during an interview with Guadalupe Radio on Dec. 3. He said that when he spoke with Archbishop Pierre he learned that Bishop Barnes we by staying on as Ordinary beyond his 75th birthday. Bishop Rojas welcomed the news that he would have more time to learn under Bishop Barnes and familiarize himself with the Diocese before taking over as Ordinary Bishop.
“He is a spiritual father, a super pastor and the people love him very much in the Diocese,” Bishop Rojas said of Bishop Barnes during his radio interview. “To have him as a teacher and as a guide is like the best thing that ever happened to me.”