After a year off and a change in Ordinary Bishops, the annual Bishop’s Dinner will return in May with familiar black-tie glitz in the Coachella Valley.
The dinner will be held Saturday, May 29 at the J.W. Marriot Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert from 6-8 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Diocesan Seminarian Education Fund.
It will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Diocese’s signature fundraising event, initiated by Bishop Gerald Barnes in 2000. The Dinner would quickly become an occasion for Bishop Barnes to bestow his Amar Es Entregarse Award.
In a special twist, Bishop Alberto Rojas, who succeeded Bishop Barnes Dec. 28, has decided to dedicate the 20th Bishop’s Dinner to honoring Bishop Barnes for his Episcopal Service to the people of God. After honoring 94 individuals or organizations with his Amar Es Entregarse medal, Bishop Barnes, himself, will receive it.
“Bishop Barnes lived out his own motto over 29 years of serving the Diocese, totally giving of himself in love, building the local Church in hope and Gospel values,” Bishop Rojas said. “It will be my joy to continue the tradition he started with the Bishop’s Dinner and to honor him this year.”
At press time, organizers of the dinner were planning for a maximum of 350 people in reflection of COVID-19 related public gathering restrictions. But they will use technology in hopes of increasing participation in the dinner. A “satellite dinner” will take place at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Chino Hills. Video conferencing technology will be used to allow attendees of this dinner to interact with those in Palm Desert.
In addition, the dinner will be livestreamed on social media, allowing those at home to participate and to contribute to the Seminarian Education Fund if they wish.
“Technology has been an important resource for our local Church throughout the pandemic and it will help us bring the Bishop’s Dinner to a large and diverse group of the Catholic faithful,” said Julio Chavez, Operations Manager of the Diocesan Office of Mission Advancement and a chief organizer of the Dinner.