Bishop Gerald R. Barnes

Most Reverend Gerald Richard Barnes was born on June 22, 1945 in Phoenix, Arizona. His parents, George and Aurora, moved to Los Angeles when he was one year old. He and his five brothers and one sister grew up in the East Los Angeles area of Boyle Heights where his family owned a grocery store. Each of the children helped in the operation of the store. His mother, Aurora, died in May of 1991, and his father, George, died in May of 1998. His brothers and sister still reside in the greater Los Angeles area.

Bishop Barnes attended public schools with his religious education overseen by Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters (Victory Noll) at San Basilio Center on Fetterly Avenue. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles and went on to attend California State University, Los Angeles where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 1967. After attending seminaries in St. Louis, Missouri and in Dayton, Ohio, he enrolled in the Assumption-St. John Seminary in San Antonio, Texas.

On December 20, 1975, Bishop Barnes was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Antonio by Most Rev. Francis J. Furey. He was later named an honorary prelate with the title of Monsignor. In January, 1992, he was appointed as the first auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino by Pope John Paul II. His last assignment before being named auxiliary bishop was rector of his alma mater, Assumption-St. John Seminary in San Antonio.

After his episcopal ordination on March 18, 1992, Bishop Barnes assisted Bishop Phillip Straling in conducting parish visitations, celebrating confirmation liturgies, and attending Diocesan and community functions. Following the June 1995 transfer of Bishop Staling to the reconstituted Diocese of Reno, Bishop Barnes served as administrator of the Diocese of San Bernardino until Pope John Paul II appointed him diocesan bishop on December 28, 1995. On March 12, 1996, before a crowd of over 2,500 people, he was installed as the second bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino.

With over 27,000 square miles and over 1.2 million Catholics, Bishop Barnes is chief shepherd to one of the fastest growing dioceses in the nation. In addition to his leadership of his local church, he currently serves as chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' sub-committee on Hispanic Affairs and is a member of the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. At the local level, he is a member of the board of the Inland Empire Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

His episcopal motto is, “Amar Es Entregarse”, “Love is the Total Giving of Oneself”.

Bishop Gerald R. Barnes


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Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Gerald Richard Barnes displays a field of red with a band of silver at the top. Bishop chooses red as the color of love, zeal, and fiesta, the celebration of life. He thinks of red as the color of the Southwest sunset, a reminder of his birth in Arizona, rearing in Southern California, and years of service in South Texas. The color silver in the chief of the shield acknowledges his ancestral roots: his grandparents and great-grandparents worked the silver mines of Northern Mexico (Sonora) and Southern Arizona.

The basin and towel are symbols of service, following the example of Jesus who washed the feet of the apostles. “As I have done, so you must do” (John 13:15). The green and red design of the basin and towel speaks again of the Southwest and emphasizes Bishop’s roots and his ministry to the people of the region. In using this symbol, Bishop also pays tribute to his mother and father who were models of hospitality and service, always ready to welcome into their home the stranger and those in need.

On the base of the shield is blazoned a tilma in gold and three red roses with green leaves and gold seeds. This is the tilma of Juan Diego spilling out the roses sent by Our Lady. In displaying this charge, Bishop places himself at the service of and under the protection of the Virgin of Guadalupe, proclaiming himself a Son of Guadalupe.

The motto further emphasizes Bishop’s aspiration to give himself in wholehearted service to the people through his priestly and episcopal vocation. He repeats the theme of his presbyteral ordination, Amar es Entregarse, “Love is the total giving of oneself.”

Behind the shield is a gold sword with a hilt in the shape of a cross. Above the shield are the green hat and six tassels on each side denoting the rank of Bishop.

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Barnes is a combination of his personal Coat of Arms, and the Coat of Arms of the Diocese of San Bernardino.

Bishop Gerald R. Barnes

"Amar es Entregarse"
The motto which translates "Love is the total giving of oneself" further emphasizes Bishop's aspiration to give himself in wholehearted service to the people through his priestly and episcopal vocation

Key Milestones

  • The Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes was born in Phoenix, Arizona on June 22, 1945.
  • He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas on December 20, 1975.
  • He was named Prelate of Honor and granted the title Monsignor in 1989.
  • He was appointed first Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of San Bernardino and titular Bishop of Montefiascone on January 27, 1992 and was consecrated on March 18, 1992.
  • Bishop Barnes was installed as second Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino on March 12, 1996.