There's a bit of clerical star power coming to the second annual Kern Catholic Prayer Breakfast on March 21. In addition to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who will serve as the principle celebrant of the Mass and the keynote speaker at the event, Bishop-Designate Joseph Brennan of the Diocese of Fresno will also attend.

Hundreds of local Catholics are expected to gather at St. Francis of Assisi Church in the celebration of their faith, as 15 different parishes and Catholic schools join together in prayer.

Archbishop Cordileone brings esteemed leadership and a distinguished educational background to Bakersfield. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of San Diego, an undergraduate degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a doctoral degree from Gregorian University. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Diego by Pope John Paul II, and then appointed the fourth bishop of Oakland by Pope Benedict XVI. Three years later, Archbishop Cordileone was appointed to his current position and received the pallium from Pope Francis in Rome. The local Catholic community is honored to welcome him to Kern County.

The 2019 Kern Catholic Prayer Breakfast will start with resident priests and deacons leading the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary at 6 a.m., followed by their concelebration of Mass. This gathering takes place during Lent, which is a pivotal time within the Catholic church. Parishioners embark on 40 days of reflection and preparation before Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This year’s event marks the second time local Catholics will join together for an annual prayer breakfast. The idea was brought to Bakersfield after a portion of the local Catholic community attended the Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast. They were inspired by the profound unity of many parishes, and promptly carried this celebration back to Bakersfield. The committee is expected upwards of 700 people to celebrate their Catholic faith.

Kern Catholic was formed in 2017 by a group of local Catholic women who were planning a women’s retreat. In addition to the women's retreat, the group also sponsors the prayer breakfast and a men's retreat.

The prayer breakfast will be held from 6 to 8 a.m. March 21 at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 900 H St. Tickets are $25, available at kerncatholic.com.

Marcie Soper is the chairman of Kern Catholic.

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