Thank you for the demonstration of leadership during these challenging times of pandemic and social unrest. During my training to become a military officer, I learned that to be a good leader you must be a good follower. Bishop Barnes followed the California Guidelines for opening places of Worship. Father Santos also followed the Bishops guidance for the protection of our parish from the pandemic.

Additionally, Bishop Barnes took steps to protect his staff and respond to the financial crisis. Nonessential staff worked from home. Bishop Barnes ensured that Sunday Mass was livestreamed for us to watch. His staff assisted the over 90 parishes in the Diocese to implement their own livestreaming capabilities.

Father Santos ensured the safety of his staff by closing the office from visitors. Father Santos continues to minister to the sick. The Deacons reached out to the registered members of our parish by phone to maintain contact and provide any ministerial needs that were wanted.

Staff worked shortened hours with two unfilled staff positions to continue to meet the needs of the church. They moved quickly to prepare for the return of services in our church. The staff and volunteers of our parish ensured that we were able to resume mass at the earliest date we were allowed. They are still going through a learning curve as we do all we can to meet the guidelines from the Diocese to keep everyone safe.

Bishop Barnes also addressed the social unrest resulting from the tragic death of George Floyd. The Diocese Website contains the following: “God is a God of love. Out of that we have seen the importance of the principle of Catholic Social Thought called ‘Respect for the Life and Dignity of the Human Person.” The second principle is “The Common Good.” This principle also flows from our understanding of God as a God whose love for the human community pours out like a river. The common Good focuses on God’s dream for the whole human community to grow and develop into the people of God.”

God calls us to a discipleship. We are all leaders of our families and the community. I pray that the frustration felt by some of our parishioners will be healed by Jesus’ loving embrace. We are called to Love one another as we love ourselves. We are called to selfless acts of kindness and mercy towards one another.

Tom Cowan

Yucaipa

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