San Bernardino diocese receives three new religious communities

Priests come from India and the Philippines
Heralds of Good News is an indigenous Missionary Society, started in India in 1984; it became an Institute of Pontifical Right on May 5, 1999. The specific aim of the society is the promotion of vocations to priesthood, the training of seminarians and the supply of zealous and hardworking missionaries to the dioceses in India and abroad which experience a shortage of priests due to the lack of local vocations. (from Missionaries of Compassion/Heralds of Good News website)

Two priests from the Heralds of Good News will be serving in San Bernardino.  “The specific aim of the society is the promotion of vocations to priesthood… to dioceses which experience a shortage of priests due to the lack of local vocations.” (from Missionaries of Compassion/Heralds of Good News website)

The following comes from an August 8 Inland Catholic Byte article by Ashley Elizabeth Limon:

Bishop Gerald Barnes has often commented on the important role that religious order priests play in providing for the spiritual needs of the lay faithful in the Diocese.

So it was with gratitude and happiness that the Diocese welcomed three new religious communities—the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, the Heralds of Good News, and the Missionary Society of the Philippines—for parish ministry beginning July 1.

The Heralds of Good News, based in India, contacted the Diocese in January of 2015 expressing an interest in sending priests to serve here, said Monsignor Gerard Lopez, S.T.L., Vicar General of the Diocese and Director of Priest Personnel.

“The one thing that caught our attention was that they can serve in our diocese seven to ten years,” said Father Erik Esparza, Associate Director of Priest Personnel.

Three priests from the Heralds of Good News will minister in the Diocese, all assigned to different parishes. Before the priests came to the United States Msgr. Lopez and Fr. Esparza met with them via Skype.

“We used Skype for the first time to speak with men and get an idea of who they were,” said Fr. Esparza.

Father Suresh Manickam has already arrived at his new parish in the Diocese, Our Lady of the Desert in Apple Valley.

“The people and culture are very different, but I am very happy here, and everything is going well,” he said.

The other two Heralds of Good News priests coming to the Diocese are Father Abil Raj Pannerseluam and Father Jude Lourdhurajihgn. They are assigned to St. Anthony Parish in San Jacinto and St. Joan of Arc, in Victorville, respectively.

Both Missionary Society of the Philipines (MSP) and Comboni Missionaries have had a past connection to the Diocese so Bishop Barnes had asked that communication with them remain open in case they had a future interest in sending priests here, according to Msgr. Lopez.

MSP Father Manuel Jadraque is serving as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Chino while MSP Father Eliseo Napiere is serving as a Parochial Vicar at St. Edward Parish in Corona. Bishop Barnes has entrusted the Comboni Missionaries with the pastoral care of Sacred Heart Parish in Jurupa Valley. Father Gerardo De Tomassi is now serving there as a Priest Minister and Father Andres Garcia Chavez will arrive Dec. 1 to serve as Pastor.

Currently there are 168 religious order priests from 34 different communities serving in the Diocese, outnumbering the number of Diocesan priests in active ministry. Even with that benefit, there is still only one priest for every 6,117 parishioners in the Diocese, one of the most challenging ratios of any diocese in the nation.


  1. drewelow says:

    will they be allowed to ‘re-catholocize’ the diocese or will thed be expected to accept the status quo they encounter as a sort of ‘ ‘american exceptionalism’, catholic style?

  2. Justin K says:

    The reason San Bernardino diocese, like many dioceses, including especially LA diocese, needs new orders is to bring in priests to supplement their own chronic priest shortage. From 2007 thru 2014, there were only 15 men ordained, approx. 2 per year, for 1.6 million Catholics. Add to that that the vocation director, even for priestly vocations, has been a sister (? ) for the last 28 or do years—so dont expect much Vatican Ii-correlated change!

    • Justin K says:

      Correction, last 18 years approx, SB diocese has had a sister as diocese vocations director.. typo was “28”..

  3. Catherine says:

    In Order For Holy Vocations to Flourish There Must Be Uniformity In Upholding All Church Teaching.

    St. Alphonsus Liguori – Patron of Vocations

    God says to each of us: “Give me your heart, that is, your will.” We, in turn, cannot offer anything more precious than to say: “Lord, take possession of us; we give our whole will to you; make us understand what it is that you desire of us, and we will perform it.” If we would give full satisfaction to the heart of God, we must bring our own will in everything into conformity with his; and not only into conformity, but into uniformity also, as regards all that God ordains.


  4. Catherine says:

    St. Alphonsus Liguori – Patron of Vocations

    Conformity signifies the joining of our own will to the will of God; but uniformity signifies, further, our making of the divine and our own will one will only, so that we desire nothing but what God desires, and his will becomes ours. This is the sum and substance of that perfection to which we ought to be ever aspiring; this is what must be the aim of all we do, and of all our desires, meditations and prayers. For this we must invoke the assistance of all our patron saints and our guardian angels, and, above all, of our divine mother Mary, who was the most perfect saint, because she embraced most perfectly the divine will. –

  5. They should get in touch with the Diocese of Lincoln and find out their secret. They do well recruiting vocations.

    • FromThePew says:

      M, The Diocese of Lincoln = TRADITIONAL Catholic Teaching VS ‘whatever’ is currently taught in progressive California seminaries these days.

  6. I have always found it — shall we say ineresting? that Nuns were in charge of recruiting for middle level leadership positions [priests] that executive leadership [bishops] say the Nuns are not qualified for solely because of their gender. Curious, very curious.

  7. Justin K. says:

    Now, since I have a connection with the diocese of San Bernardino, let us clarify: there were 6 priests ordained this June 2016: but if you look at the average the past 6 years (2 in 2015, 1 in 2014, 1 in 2013; none in 2012; 4 in 2011), the average is still 2.3 per year for a diocese of 1.6 million Catholics.

    Another view of matters: In 1980, there were 120 diocesan priests for about 230, 000 Catholics; in 2014 (the year that the most recent statistics are available) there are only 152 diocesan priests for 1.6 million Catholics (thus why about 110 order-priests assist them, and most of the orders are fairly traditional).

    There are only about 40 seminarians in all 7 years of the process for SB diocese, and as everyone knows, the…

  8. One would think the Indian shepherds (dot not feather) would have their work cut out for them back home–over 1.3 Billion sheep (80% Hindu) and growing. Just wonderin’.

    • FromThePew says:

      H, The Indian priest at our parish survived the 2008 (?) Hindu uprising against Catholics. His ArchBishop visited 2 weekends ago and told us: 400 churches burned, 40,000 homes destroyed and 120 martyred before it was over. Our priest’s family land, houses, everything was destroyed. They are still re-building & have forgiven the Hindu’s. We had a special collection for the AB to take back to his people. The Hindu population didn’t like that the those Hindu’s converting to Catholic had a higher status in their caste system then they did. So they tried to wipe them out. Our priest (may have PTSD) does not want to be returned to India except for annual visits. They all learn English (so they can escape?). Coming to America must be…

      • FromThePew says:

        continued……………….Coming to America must be like heaven on earth for them. We could learn a lot from this experience about the depth of our blessings. Thanks be to God.

        • Which makes me wonder all the more. We’re talking about shepherds here not sheep, right? . . . in a 98% non Christian country . . . where the Order was founded.

          Far be it from me to question a medevac, or any man to escape any third world morass. I’m with Dorothy–and Toto too: There’s no place like home (US). That said, a desire to quit the Plentiful Harvest, learning English for comfortable digs would seem, in the Labourer, well, a tad disingenuous, not to mention skewed priorities. “Heaven on Earth” and Holy Orders? Holy Cow!

  9. Asbury Fox says:

    Yes, the vocations director for San Bernardino is a nun, but the assistant director is a Hispanic priest who has been a real help for the diocese. Yet, I think it’s time for a new vocations director, somebody from the outside, maybe from one of the thriving dioceses from the Midwest or East Coast.

    Seminary formation has gotten better. In years past, since the diocese had no seminary, seminarians were sent to secular universities and the seminary in San Antonio or Camarillo. Now the seminarians stay with the diocese, and take online courses with Holy Apostles College, which is a good seminary and formation.

    • Max Nolan says:

      I question the ultimate merits of solely online learning, regardless of the discipline.

      Holy Apostles has improved academically in recent years; however, it still has a good distance to go in that regard.

      Orthodoxy and academic excellence can coexist.

  10. I remember a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles stating thirty years ago that the United States was, once again, mission territory. The situation has only worsened since then.

    • Ann Malley says:

      The reality that the United States is open mission territory in desperate need of evangelization is directly observable if one pays attention to the words, actions, and choices of those who call themselves Catholic, Sawyer.

      And, as the saying goes, admitting there is a problem is often the largest portion of solving it.

      • The problem of course is also dissenting “Catholics.” Why would a young man for instance, reading comments here and in other articles, be encouraged to join the priesthood when he reads that they are denigrated, disrespected, berated, belitted; and bishops, including the Holy Father, attacked anonymously (ie cowardly)? Let us be under no illusion that your words too have an effect. Beware.

        • Friar Rusticus says:

          What nonsense. That, to suppress the truth of the vocation situation, this somehow affects candidates’ resolve to consider priesthood. Anyone turned back so easily by the truth is not a candidate and would be ensnared by a deception and its proponents.

          It was the same mentality in the 80’s and 90’s that insisted on silence and untruths during the abuse crisis. One wonders what motivates that mentality.

          Better to tell the unvarnished truth of matters, and since those who assail others as “beraters” and “belittlers” are the very worst hypocritical offenders, as well as ignoring the truth, best to ignore them also.

  11. Better hurry up before Pope Francis extends his prohibition of importation of foreign enclosed nuns to the rest of the clergy.

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