Through the kindness of Msgr. Gerard M. Lopez, I recently learned with great pleasure that the diocesan family of San Bernardino wishes to express its profound gratitude to Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes, on the first anniversary of his retirement.
As your diocesan family commemorates the generous service of Bishop Barnes, it is my special privilege to convey to you the warm greetings, heartfelt congratulations and spiritual closeness of His Holiness, Pope Francis.
During a recent meeting with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and catechists, the Holy Father affirmed: “How great is the beauty of a humble Church, a Church that does not stand aloof from the world, viewing life with a detached gaze, but lives her life within the world. Living within the world means being willing to share and to understand people’s problems, hopes and expectations. This will help us to escape from our self-absorption, for the center of the Church is not the Church! We need to become immersed in the real lives of people and ask ourselves. For me, three words come to mind ... Freedom, creativity, dialogue” (St. Martin Cathedral, Bratislava, Sept. 13, 2021).
Under the energetic guidance of Bishop Barnes, the diocesan family of San Bernardino has experienced a dynamic Christian life through which the Church has been a precious light. Care and concern for all of God’s children have been promoted, especially for the most vulnerable, and the dignity of all human life has been advanced.
I am sure that the good seed planted for 25 years by Bishop Barnes has already begun to bear fruit, and the diocesan family of San Bernardino will continue to love and serve the Lord following the example of their beloved Bishop Emeritus.