Bishop Emeritus Gerald R. Barnes
Most Reverend Gerald Richard Barnes was born on June 22, 1945 in Phoenix, Arizona. His parents, George and Aurora, both deceased, 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.
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 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. In 1989, he was 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 Saint 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 Straling to the reconstituted Diocese of Reno, Bishop Barnes served as administrator of the Diocese of San Bernardino until Pope Saint 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 1.7 million Catholics, Bishop Barnes is chief shepherd to one of the fastest growing dioceses in the nation. In addition to the leadership of his local church, Bishop Barnes is the past chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration and Refugee Services, and past chairman of the USCCB Committee on Hispanic Affairs. He also previously served on the USCCB Administrative Committee, the Communications Committee, and various other committees. He is a past board member of the Mexican American Cultural Center and of Assumption Seminary, both in San Antonio. In 2007, Bishop Barnes was presented with the OHTLI award by the government of Mexico for his service in working with citizens of Mexico living in the United States.
Per Church law, Bishop Barnes submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis on June 22, 2020 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.
On Dec. 28, 2019 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald Barnes, signaling his retirement.
His episcopal motto is, “Amar Es Entregarse”, “Love is the Total Giving of Oneself”.