By Ken Sawa
Along with the Catholic Community in the Diocese of San Bernardino, I have been personally blessed by Bishop Barnes’ living example of “Love is the total giving of oneself” – year after year for the past 25 years. For I began my work at Catholic Charities in 1992, the same year Bishops Barnes was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese.
I frequently marvel at how much our diocese has changed over the past 25 years guided by Bishop’s vision. I am awed by his steadfastness in challenging our local Church and each of us to do better, to be better. Over all these years, every opportunity I have had to be in his presence, I have listened carefully to his words. Each time I am impacted by him in some way that nudges me to even more fully embrace and live out my Catholic faith.
Bishop Barnes has always provided tremendous support to Catholic Charities – fully understanding and appreciating the difficulties and challenges of our work to hear the cries of the poor and respond in all ways possible. Our shared compassion and commitment to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters is our bond. His long tenure in the Diocese is the reason for my long tenure at Catholic Charities.
For all of these years, I have regularly prayed for Bishop Barnes. My prayers are in thanksgiving for his spiritual leadership, wisdom, and inspiration. I pray too that he might receive the strength and grace required to shoulder the incredible responsibilities and burdens of his office.
Most respectfully, I offer my congratulations to Bishop Barnes for his unimaginable success in his service to our diocese. The total giving of himself to us for 25 years has left an indelible mark on our Inland counties, our Diocese, and in each of our hearts.
Ken Sawa is the Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities San Bernardino-Riverside.