By Liz Sullivan
At an age when most people are looking for slower pace of life Bayne Bentley discovered his second calling. Now, more than 18 years later, Bentley has closed a big chapter in his life.
The long-time Archivist for the Diocese of San Jose retired on January 20. He was 64 when he took the job and had a fulfilling career as an engineer. A member of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, Bentley, now 82, was told about the position by then Pastor Monsignor J. Patrick Browne and administrator Sharon Miller.
“When I heard about it, I knew it would be the perfect position for me,” said Bentley. “I had retired and I was looking for something and that was it.”
According to Canonical Law, which governs the Roman Catholic Church, every diocese must have an archive.
Can. 486 §1. All documents which regard the diocese or parishes must be protected with the greatest care.
§3. An inventory, or catalog, of the documents which are contained in the archive is to be kept with a brief synopsis of each written document.
“In many ways, Bayne has been the glue that holds us all together – literally, as he was the go-to person for our orders for glue and tape and a whole host of other office supplies for nearly 20 years,” said Bishop Patrick J. McGrath. “As our Archivist, he has been entrusted with organizing and caring for the historical artifacts of the Diocese. As much as we will miss him, we wish him a fruitful and restful retirement, one that is most certainly well-deserved.”
Bentley admitted a key to the job, which happened almost immediately after joining the Diocese: then Chancellor Linda Barrie in charge of the Archives sent her staff, including Bentley, to West Valley College for a two-day seminar to learn about a computer software program for the archives. Currently, Bentley said the Diocese of San Jose archives has about 15,000 lines of input in it.
“That was a game changer,” said Bentley. “We have 18 departments in the Chancery (Diocesan headquarters), so it really, really helps. We build on it every day. Whenever we receive a box from the Chancery or a parish or school we immediately put what’s in the box in the database.”
Interestingly, Bentley’s arrival in the Diocesan offices came just a couple of years after he converted to Catholicism. He was confirmed by Bishop Emeritus Pierre DuMaine, the first Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose.
“It was an intellectual conversion,” said Bentley. “I arrived at reason; a point of view. I went to track the ministry of Jesus and I found that Catholics do it right. They are very solid.”
As a result of his commitment to the Diocese, Bentley was honored in August, 2014 with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal. It is awarded by the Pope, at the request of Bishop McGrath, and given to lay people for distinguished service to the Church.
“What a nice surprise that was,” said Bentley. “A marvel of marvels.”
Bentley, who has two daughters and two grandsons, said he doesn’t have any immediate plans in retirement.
“I plan on doing a lot of reading,” he said with a smile. “I will miss all of the cooperativeness of the people I have worked with over the years.”