Both CSUSB and Palm Desert Catholic Newman Clubs are preparing to welcome their new bishop for the Diocese of San Bernardino. For over 25 years, Bishop Gerald R. Barnes has led the Diocese of San Bernardino from being the first Auxiliary Bishop to becoming the second ordained bishop for this local diocese.
It was announced in San Bernardino at the Diocesan Pastoral Center that Bishop Alberto Rojas from the Archdiocese of Chicago will become the new Coadjutor Bishop for the Diocese of San Bernardino.
David Gomez, president of Palm Desert Catholic Newman Club, said, “This is a great day to welcome a new bishop into our diocese and I’m looking forward to continuing my ministry here within the Catholic Newman Club of the Desert.”
“I’m looking forward to this transition and am humbled to become the new ordinary for this local church,” Bishop Rojas stated. Bishop Rojas had been an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago, since 2011.
He was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, a small state in the central part of the country. Bishop Rojas was raised in a devoutly Catholic household and attended Catholic elementary school in his community. He has served on five committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other missions throughout his Archdiocese.
“Becoming a bishop has been a learning and humbling experience because I never thought I would be one. In serving the people of God along with my brother priests, religious sisters, parish leaders, and other bishops, I have become aware of who we are as a Catholic Church,” Bishop Rojas said.
Bishop Barnes is the current ordinary for the diocese, who under his current leadership has seen new parishes and new buildings, such as the Barne’s Center for the San Bernardino campus Newman Club. He has overseen many changes within the diocese and looks forward to this new transition within the diocese between him and Coadjutor Bishop Rojas.
The Nuncio, who is the Ambassador of Rome to the United States, extended Barnes for another year until the age of 76 for Rojas to learn more about the diocese before taking over as ordinary in 2021.
The Catholic Newman Club from both campuses of San Bernardino and Palm Desert was ready to welcome Coadjutor Bishop Rojas at his welcoming mass on February 24, 2020, at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Chino Hills with a mass and invitation for the entire diocese to attend. This was a new transition within the modern times that only happens once about every two decades due to the mandatory age of 75 under Church Canon Law for bishops to retire and pass on to another bishop.