Looking at the list of America’s most populous dioceses, you see Catholic bastions like New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago.

Right behind those “big four” on the latest list is the Diocese of San Bernardino. At 1,740,655 Catholics, the Diocese is once again counted as the fifth largest in the United States.

“People would start going down that list and when they get to San Bernardino they might ask, ‘who?’ ” quips Diocesan Archivist Peter Bradley.

Bradley compiled the population information for the Diocese and reported it to the Official Catholic Directory that is published each year. More than 22,000 new Catholics were counted for the Diocese of San Bernardino this year. Factors that continue to drive general population growth in San Bernardino and Riverside counties – affordable housing, new construction, economic growth – would partly explain the growth of the Catholic community, said Bradley.

But factors unique to the local Church are also driving population growth, he said, naming the long-running, stable leadership of Bishop Gerald Barnes, and the continuing emergence of Hispanic Catholics, as highlighted in the V Encuentro process.

“In terms of a driving force, I think the Hispanic community is bringing our numbers up,” he said.

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.

Bishop Gerald Barnes says he’ll stay one more year

Bishop Gerald Barnes will continue to shepherd the Diocese of San Bernardino past his 75th birthday next June, he told a gathering of Diocesan priests on Dec. 4.

The announcement was made just two days after the local introduction of Coadjutor Bishop Alberto Rojas, who will succeed Bishop Barnes as Ordinary Bishop once his resignation is accepted by Pope Francis.

“I’m going to be staying one more year,” Bishop Barnes told the priests.

After a moment of stunned silence, the priests applauded the news, said Monsignor Gerard Lopez, STL, Vicar General of the Diocese.

“It was a big shock to everybody,” he said. “Everybody was thinking the Coadjutor would become the Ordinary Bishop in June.”

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.