Bishop Barnes, San Bernardino Diocese Leader For 23 Years, To Retire Next Year

Bishop Gerald Barnes will depart as the spiritual leader of more than 1.7 million Catholics in the Diocese of San Bernardino next June, he announced Wednesday.
“Next June, when I reach the age of 75, I will submit to the Holy Father my letter of resignation as the bishop of San Bernardino. This is a requirement of church law,” Barnes said. “We’ll soon receive a coadjutor bishop, who will spend the year getting to know our diocese and working with me before he becomes the ordinary bishop when I retire. He will be the third bishop of the diocese, following our founding Bishop, Phillip Straling, and myself. At that moment I will leave behind my ministry of the past 28 years, 24 as your bishop.”
The Diocese of San Bernardino was formed in 1978 to oversee what has grown to 92 parishes in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, which formerly fell under the authority of the San Diego Diocese. The Diocese of San Bernardino is the nation’s sixth-largest Catholic diocese and, behind the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the second largest in California.
Barnes will turn 75 on June 22, 2020, at which point he will become the bishop emeritus of the San Bernardino Diocese, to which he was transferred to serve as the appointed auxiliary bishop in 1992 from his position as the rector of Assumption-St. John Seminary in San Antonio. Following the June 1995 transfer of Bishop Straling to the Diocese of Reno, Bishop Barnes served as administrator of the Diocese of San Bernardino, and on December 28, 1995 was appointed by Pope John Paul II the diocesan bishop, and installed on March 12, 1996.
Born on June 22, 1945 in Phoenix, Arizona to George and Aurora Barnes, he moved with them at the age of one to the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles, where his parents were grocers, operating their own store. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at California State University, Los Angeles in 1967. He subsequently  attended seminaries in St. Louis, Missouri and in Dayton, Ohio, and officially enrolled in Assumption-St. John Seminary in San Antonio. He was ordained to the priesthood, for the Archdiocese of San Antonio in Texas, on December 20, 1975.
Of note during his tenure as bishop, Barnes crusaded against the strict application of immigration law, decrying the separation of families by U.S. Immigration officials. In his response to the burgeoning sexual abuse scandal besetting the Catholic priesthood, he had the San Bernardino Diocese release the names of 34 priests in the diocese against whom there were what was termed “credible” accusations of the abuse of minors.

Leave a Reply