But with current St. Paul the Apostle pastor, Father Michael Gilsenan, approaching retirement the community made a difficult decision to return pastoral care of the parish to the diocese. They still maintain a presence at Holy Innocents Parish in Victorville and Holy Spirit Parish in Hemet, a city in which the community owns a residence.
“As we grow older, we also need to make choices that hurt, this is one of them,” said Father Richard Danyluk, Provincial Superior of the order, in a letter to St. Paul the Apostle parishioners. “We thank you for letting us work alongside of you and letting the love of God be known, felt and shared.”
In a letter read to St. Paul the Apostle parishioners at Masses Oct. 25-26, Bishop Barnes acknowledged his “concern and sadness” upon first learning that SS.CC’s would be leaving the parish.
“More recently the Lord Jesus has moved me to a great spirit of thankfulness and gratitude for the wonderful Christian witness and friendship that the priests of the Sacred Hearts have shared with you through these many years,” Bishop Barnes says in his letter.
In addition to its leadership of several diocesan parishes, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have played an important role in social service ministry in the San Bernardino area. Father Michael Barry of the order founded Mary’s Mercy Center in 1986. That shelter and food pantry led to the establishment Mary’s Table and Veronica’s Home of Mercy and Veronica’s Home of Mercy II, both of which provide refuge and rehabilitation to women in crisis.
Bishop Barnes has appointed Deacon Paul Von Ins as Interim Pastoral Administrator of St. Paul the Apostle parish from January 1 through June 30 of 2015. A new pastor will be in place July 1.