By Anne Alhadef
SAN BERNARDINO—“We celebrate what is taking place today, not just what has happened these last 150 years,” said Bishop Gerald R. Barnes during his homily at the 150th Anniversary Celebration Mass at St. Bernardine Church in San Bernardino on May 20.
The youth are an important and respected part of what is happening today at St. Bernardine. Navarre Mendez, 18, cited two reasons why the youth are such an integral part of the parish. First he explained, “It’s really friendly and inviting. The youth don’t have difficulty communicating with the seniors.” This good communication between generations led to his second observation of how “the youth are included in all things. They never say you can’t do something.”
Mendez, who does a lot of the back stage work for every parish ministry, also has plans for St. Bernardine’s future. In a word, “wireless.”
“I would like to see it a bit more modernized,” he said, and with technology “that would really include the youth.” Mendez sees technology as a way to help engage more youth into active ministry because young people are so comfortable with technology and enjoy it.
Bishop Barnes also talked at the 150th anniversary Mass about carrying out “the mandate Jesus gave us to transform the world…and live the values of our faith.”
In a small, but no less important way, Anysia Aguirre, 9, is living out the values of her faith. She helps the younger kids in the Religious Education classes at St. Bernardine with their homework, makes copies for the catechists, and is looking forward to being a lector, “because I like talking in public,” she said with a big smile on her face.
How would she like to see the parish in the future? “I want it to be the same as it is right now because everyone is so nice,” she said.
As an altar server Elayna Garduno, 12, currently enjoys helping the priests and looks forward to being in the choir because “you get to sing.” She likes that she will be going to the practices for the additional singing opportunities they will provide.
With both young and old involved in activities big and small at St. Bernardine, the 150th anniversary celebration marked not only the past, but was also a celebration of what is yet to come.