The following comes from an Inland Catholic Byte article:
As he gave his homily during the Dedication Mass for the new church at Queen of Angels in Riverside, a crowd of children seated on the steps to the sanctuary before him, Bishop Gerald Barnes held up his hands and uttered part of an old British nursery rhyme.
“Here is the church, here is the steeple, open up the doors… and see all the people.”
Three churches – Queen of Angels, St. Adelaide, Highland and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Winchester were, indeed, packed with people the weekend of April 23-24 as Bishop Barnes dedicated and blessed the new and remodeled structures. It was the first time in the history of the Diocese that three new churches were celebrated in one weekend.
Though much of the attention went to the new and beautifully designed buildings, Bishop Barnes used the nursery rhyme to drive home the point that the people, themselves, are the church.
St. Adelaide Church saw a major expansion that included a new plaza and sidewall extension that doubled seating capacity from 500 to 1,000. Bishop Barnes joked in his homily that the oft-lamented orange carpet in the church was gone. Parishioners liked the design and extra room.
“I like the simplicity of the altar. It’s not too ornate,” said Nina Young.
The people of Queen of Angels waged a similar long-term campaign to replace their 250-seat church on Jones Avenue with a building that would hold their growing community. On the morning of April 23 they celebrated the opening of a towering 1,600 seat church that is the largest Catholic church in Riverside County.
For the people of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta the move into a new home was perhaps even more monumental because it is the first building raised by the parish since it was erected by Bishop Barnes 10 years ago. Until Apr. 24 the people there had celebrated Mass in the back of a local Moose Lodge.
The three new church celebrations in one weekend underscore the continued growth in the Diocese as many faith communities have long outgrown smaller churches built in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The Diocese has seen the opening of four new churches in the last four years, coinciding with the decision of the Diocese to assume the role of general contractor for all new church building projects. Coupled with design templates established by the Diocese, this has dramatically reduced construction costs and made a new church building attainable for working class communities like Bloomington (2012) and Mecca (2015).
There are six more parishes in the Diocese that have reached at least as far as the schematic design and permitting phase of building a new church. They are Our Lady of Soledad, Coachella; The Holy Name of Jesus, Redlands; St. Mary, Fontana; St. James, Perris; St. Anthony, San Jacinto; St. Mary Magdalene, Corona; and St. George, Fontana.