February 14, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate World Marriage Day today, our diocese begins a unique journey to promote, support, strengthen and protect marriage as the foundation of every Christian family. Our diocesan vision statement recognizes that the “family is the basic unit of the Church where faith is transmitted. It realizes that family relationships shape the direction of one’s life more than all other experiences.” Also, the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage from the U.S. Catholic Bishops calls our attention to the meaning and value of married life for the Church and for society.

In response, we, the Diocese of San Bernardino see the need for a more specialized attention to the vocation of marriage. Today, we are officially launching a five year Marriage initiative through the diocesan Office of Catechetical Ministry. Our goal is to become a “Marriage-Building Church” by promoting a comprehensive approach to ongoing education for the vocation of the Sacrament of Marriage at all stages of life. By doing this, we hope to create a culture in which Christian marriage education is seen as an integral part of people’s lives in becoming the domestic church.

We understand the need to include our youth, young adults, singles and couples in this discernment process. In the future months you will be invited to participate in communication skills workshops, to study the Pastoral Letter on Marriage, or to take the Marriage Specialization Course. I urge you to respond with generosity by attending any or all of these educational opportunities to discover the divine plan for marriage, to create stable and healthy marriages to impact family, neighborhood and society so that people’s live s are filled with hope.

My blessings and prayers are with you all.

Yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Gerald R. Barnes
Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino