Bishop Rojas takes leadership of San Bernardino Diocese


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Inland Catholic Byte

SAN BERNARDINO– Exactly 25 years to the day after Bishop Gerald Barnes was appointed to be the second Bishop of San Bernardino, the Vatican announced that his retirement has been accepted by Pope Francis and his successor, Bishop Alberto Rojas, now assumes leadership of the nation’s fifth largest diocese.

A statement released by the Vatican Press Office early Monday morning declared that “the Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of San Bernardino, United States of America, presented by Bishop Gerald Richard Barnes. He is succeeded by Bishop Alberto Rojas, until now coadjutor of the same diocese.”

The announcement automatically triggered the installation of Bishop Rojas as the Ordinary Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino. An Ordinary Bishop assumes full responsibility for the teaching, sanctifying, and governing of a diocese, and reports only to the Holy Father. Bishop Rojas was announced as the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese on December 2, 2019. A Coadjutor Bishop works alongside the Ordinary Bishop for a period of time before succeeding him upon his retirement.

“In God’s name and forever grateful, I begin my ministry in the Diocese of San Bernardino as Ordinary Bishop,” Bishop Rojas said in a recorded message to the faithful released Monday. “While continuing to listen and learn more about our large and diverse Diocese, I would like to build on the momentum that is clearly present here.”

Per Church law, Bishop Barnes submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis last June 22, his 75th birthday. He had been informed by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, that his time as Ordinary Bishop of San Bernardino would be extended up to a year beyond his retirement age.

Bishop Barnes released a statement Monday on his retirement, expressing gratitude for his years leading and working with the local Catholic community. He now holds the title Bishop Emeritus of San Bernardino.

“Thank you for all you have shared with me,” he said. “Thank you for your prayers, your support, the sharing of your gifts and for your constructive criticism.

“I move on now to retirement and with you I greet our new leader, Bishop Alberto Rojas. May he experience the joy, the faith and the hope that our Diocese has to offer, and may we all continue to impact family, neighborhood and society with the Gospel so that people’s lives are filled with hope.”

(The San Bernardino diocese was formed in 1978. Until then, the Catholics in the San Bernardino region were served by the diocese of San Diego.)

The Inland Catholic Byte is a publication of the Diocese of San Bernardino.

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