By Andres Rivera
Staff Writer

CORONA—Corpus Christi Parish in Corona is celebrating its second year of recreating the nativity of Jesus in a big way. 

 The “Streets of Bethlehem” event will feature a life sized recreation of Bethlehem streets and a manger scene, filled with actors, activities and live animals on Dec. 7 and 8. 

 “This event is our gift to the families of our communities and is free to all,” said Mary Kruger, organizer of the event.

 Last year Corpus Christi saw approximately 1,500 people visit the exhibit.  Thinking this year may yield a larger turnout, organizers opted to extend the hours and add another day for viewing.

 “We hope this will keep the true meaning of Christmas alive and educate children as well as adults,” said Kruger.

 Bethlehem’s gates will be open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on both days, allowing visitors to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Israel 2,000 years ago.

 The exhibit will cover approximately one acre and include a meat and fish market, spice grinding shop, gladiator school, candle shop, Jewish home, market place, carpenter shop, wine grape stomp, pottery making, open fires and more.  

 A cast of about 100 volunteers will recreate the travels of Mary and Joseph through the birth of Jesus. The Bethlehem experience will also portray an encounter with angels, Roman soldiers, King Herod, the three kings, shepherds, a live camel, donkey and other animals.  

 This year will also feature food and drinks, a petting zoo, and craft booths.

 Corpus Christi Church is located at 3760 McKinley St., in Corona. For information contact Mary Kruger at (951) 202-9910. Donations are needed and greatly appreciated.

REDLANDS—For many Arabic speaking Catholics in Inland Southern California, attending Mass in their native language requires long drives and late nights.

 On Sept. 23 this community rejoiced at finding a home in the Diocese of San Bernardino when it held its first Mass in Arabic at The Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Redlands. The day was made all the more special by the honored presence of Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who concelebrated the Mass. Archbishop Twal oversees all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus.

 “This community has been waiting for something like this for a long time,” said Fadi Faraj as he distributed worship aides to those entering the Columbia Street church for Mass. “It will definitely bring the community closer together.”

 In addition to holding a weekly 12:30 p.m. Mass at the parish’s Columbia Street church, the Arabic Catholic Community will hold Bible studies and annual celebrations there. The community will continue to hold a Saturday evening Mass at St. Joseph Parish in Pomona. But that did not work well for those living an hour or more away, especially families with young children, said Dr. Ayed Khoder, who played a key role in bringing the Arabic speaking community to Holy Name of Jesus.

 “For the last two months they were asking me, ‘when do we start,’ ” he said. “They are thirsty.”

 The local Arabic-speaking community, which includes those from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, filled the church to capacity and then some for the first Mass. Father Oscar Reynoso, priest minister at The Holy Name of Jesus, told those who attended that the parish is also grateful to receive them.

 “Because of your presence here we are a more complete family,” Fr. Reynoso said at the beginning of the Mass.

 Sister Mary Garascia, C.P.P.S., Pastoral Coordinator of The Holy Name of Jesus, said discussions about bringing the Arabic-speaking community to the parish began during the summer. With no afternoon Masses held at the Columbia Street church, it was an easy fit, she said.

 “We are even more, ‘one Church of many people,’ ” she said. “I’m delighted.” 

By Andres Rivera
Staff Writer

RIVERSIDE – For almost 16 years the Korean community of St. Andrew Kim yearned for a worship space to call their own. They were happy to meet and worship at St. Mel Parish in Norco but wanted more freedom to enhance their missionary activities.

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By Andres Rivera
Staff Writer

NORCO—Families who have children with special needs in the Norco area have a new ministry that makes faith formation and sacramental preparation more accessible to them. 

 The Special Needs Ministry, coordinated by Andrea West, is in its second year at St. Mel parish in Norco. 

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MENIFEE—Parishioners at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Menifee celebrated the installation of Father Frederick A. Costales, MS as the new pastor at a special Mass on Sept. 9.

 Father Thomas Burdick, Vicar Forane for the Hemet Vicariate, was the installing priest.

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PALM SPRINGS—Art imitated life last month when a Hollywood film crew came to Our Lady of Solitude parish in Palm Springs to recreate the funeral Mass of the late entertainer Liberace.

 A lifelong Catholic, Liberace maintained a residence across the street from the parish and producers of the forthcoming HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra” said they had wanted to film in the church because a funeral Mass for Liberace had taken place there after his death in 1987.

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