| Getting around: St. Columba Church
Father Aidan McAleenan, left, and Bishop Barber bless the crosses.
Father Aidan McAleenan, pastor of St. Columba Church in Oakland said he texted the new bishop: "Would you please come and say weekday Mass on June 19?" The parishioners, usually about 20 in number, gather for coffee and conversation, after Mass.
The homily at these weekday Masses, Father McAleenan said, is something of a dialog between celebrant and the faithful. "Four or five of them will always have something to say," said the pastor.
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, offered a reflection on the day's readings and "people chimed in on what they thought the readings were about," Father McAleenan said. In the Prayers of the Faithful, one parishioner asked for prayers for a loved one who had been shot the night before.
As the Mass neared its conclusion, Father McAleenan said, it occurred to him that no bishop has ever come out to St. Columba and blessed the crosses in front of the church — one is placed for each homicide victim in the city. He told the gathering that they would sing "Praise God," to the tune of "Amazing Grace" and process out of the church, where the bishop would "bless the crosses and pray that we don't have 131 crosses."
With the bishop in his vestments and the pastor in his alb, they processed out the door to San Pablo Avenue. "He was really gracious," Father McAleenan said of the bishop. "I was very moved." For a church that, in Father McAleenan's words, "ministers to our community," and that offers itself to "be a blessing and witness to Oakland," the bishop's blessing was nourishment for the journey.
The pastor recalled the wails and cries of a woman who had lost two sons to violence and came to a Dec. 31 prayer service to receive the crosses bearing their names. "How do you respond to that?"
For the record, the bishop stayed for about an hour at the hospitality event, at which community members talked about why they are parishioners at St. Columba. "We had cookies and doughnuts," said the pastor. "We have a Health Cabinet, so fruits and vegetables were available."
Getting around: St. Joseph Basilica
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, presided at Confirmation at St. Joseph's Basilica in Alameda the morning of June 8.
Getting around: St. John Vianney School
Students at St. John Vianney School in Rancho Cordova, receiving the news that one of their alumni had been named bishop of Oakland, gathered to offer their congratulations in a photo.
COURTESY St. John Vianney School
Getting around: Danville
Left, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, right, and Rev. Brandon E. Macadaeg, both newly ordained in their respective roles as bishop and priest, joined with about 90 of their fellow priests at the annual priests' picnic, celebrated this year at a private home in Danville on June 17. Below, Msgr. Ray Breton talks with Bishop Barber at the picnic.
St. Joan of Arc
Less than a week after his ordination and installation as bishop of Oakland, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, was making parish visits. On May 30, he traveled to St. Joan of Arc Parish in San Ramon — St. Joan's feast day — for the blessing of a new portrait of St. Joan inside the church. Pictured outside the church in front of the statue of St. Joan, from left: Rev. Ian Mendoza, parochial vicar at Christ the King Parish, Pleasant Hill; Rev. Raymond Zielezienski, St. Joan pastor; Bishop Barber; Rev. Jayson Landeza, St. Joan parochial vicar.
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