News Detail
(CNS photo/Jose Luis Aguirre, The Catholic Voice)
"I would like to do for Oakland what Pope Francis is doing for the whole church."
Jesuit Becomes Fifth Bishop of Oakland, Says He’s Inspired by Pope’s Vision of Church

May 31, 2013 — Jesuit Father Michael Barber, 59, was installed as bishop of the Oakland Diocese on May 25 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Calif.  Appointed by Pope Francis, Bishop Barber is the fifth bishop in the history of the diocese and the first Jesuit.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone was the ordaining bishop of Bishop Barber, who succeeds him in Oakland. Bishop Barber was installed with his brother, Jesuit Father Stephen Barber, at his side. Another brother, Kevin Barber, served as a reader.

“People have asked me, ‘what is your vision as bishop?’ I would like to do for Oakland what Pope Francis is doing for the whole church,” Bishop Barber said.

“My vision is this: The priests take care of the people. The bishop takes care of the priests. And we all take care of the poor, and the sick and the suffering.”

He offered greetings to Gov. Jerry Brown, who had trained three and a half years as a Jesuit, before becoming governor of California, twice, and mayor of Oakland.

“Governor, I’m honored that you are here today, because on this day, only here in Oakland, in the state of California, in the United States of America, do you have a Jesuit bishop, to go with a Jesuit pope and a Jesuit governor.”

Bishop Barber’s career as a priest focused on education, with assignments including assistant professor of theology at Gregorian University in Rome; researcher and tutor at Oxford University in England; director of the School of Pastoral Leadership in the Archdiocese of San Francisco; assistant professor of systematic and moral theology and spiritual director at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, Calif.; and director of spiritual formation at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass.

Bishop Barber said that until three weeks ago it never entered his mind that he would be bishop of Oakland.

In his initial nervousness, he said he recalled that Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the previous apostolic nuncio, had told a priest who was nervous about being made a bishop: The Lord himself is going to be bishop of your diocese. You’re only going to help him.

“That’s what I’d like to do,” he said. “I’m helping our Lord here be the bishop of this diocese. I know I’m unworthy, but I do know one other thing: That for all eternity, in the mind of God, to be bishop of Oakland has been my vocation. With God’s help, and your prayers, and the love of Mother Mary, I intend to fulfill it.” [Catholic San Francisco]

Below is video of Bishop Barber’s remarks at the end of his episcopal ordination Mass in Oakland.


Recent News

February 15, 2017 — Fr. Cedric Prakash, SJ, of Jesuit Refugee Service, has seen the refugee crisis firsthand.

February 14, 2017 — Jesuits.org is sharing the following quotation attributed to Jesuit Father Joseph P. Whelan (d.1994) to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

February 10, 2017 — On January 27, student groups from Jesuit schools and other Catholic schools from across the country attended a Jesuit Mass for Life in Washington, D.C.

February 10, 2017 — On the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, pray for the end of the use of child soldiers.

February 8, 2017 — The Jesuits' Central American Province, the Provincial Committee for the Social Apostolate, and the Jesuit Migration Network of Central America express their concern about recent U.S. immigration measures.

February 7, 2016 — Brophy College Preparatory in has named Adria Renke as its 11th president since the founding of the school in 1928.


view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 2/20/17

America 2/6/17

America 1/23/17



Sioux Spiritual Center
The Sioux Spiritual Center, nestled amid the hills of western South Dakota, is the heart of the Diocese of Rapid City’s efforts to develop native clergy and leadership on the reservations.