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Official Portrait

Welcoming Bishop
Michael C. Barber, SJ

California a large
influence in Barber
family history

Journey to Oakland

Decree appointing
Bishop Barber

Your new bishop,
my brother, Michael,
'did time' at
San Quentin

Welcome to this
local church

Homily for the
ordination of the fifth
bishop of Oakland

Reflection: Lessons remembered, and
lived: Be merciful
and pure of heart

Getting around

'A ministry
of service,
of availability and
of vulnerability'

Bishop, and a
naval officer

A pair of
Navy chaplains

Bishop Barber's
photo album

A lifetime of
spiritual influences
formed Bishop
Barber's path

First classroom visit:
St. Agnes School,
fourth grade

Sister Mary Jude,
a teacher who made
a difference

A hello in their
native language

Why people
came out

Description of
Bishop Barber's
personal coat of arms, episcopal symbols

Parts of a bishop's
coat of arms

high school boys paths intersect
during careers

Bishops of the
Diocese of Oakland

Bishop selection
process is thorough,
strictly confidential

What the Church teaches about

New focus on
Jesuits' role within
the church

What the pope
is looking for
in new bishops

What you might
not know about
Bishop Barber

The bishop at the
cathedral, 2008

By the numbers:
Michael C. Barber, SJ

In This Issue:

Rev. John Paul

placeholder July 15, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
A lifetime of spiritual influences
formed Bishop Barber's path

On his spiritual roots
"I was baptized at Mission Dolores in the original font where all the Indians were baptized. That means a lot to me. 1776 was the founding of the mission. That's where I count my spiritual roots. (I was baptized by) Father John Cummins. He was the assistant pastor. I looked it up. He was there at the same time as Father Warren Holleran, who is my friend and still teaching at St. Patrick's. After I said yes to this, I'm seeing all these confluences of my life pointing to Oakland."

— Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

On his school days at Our Lady of Loretto School, Novato
"I was taught by the Ursuline nuns of Santa Rosa. That's where I was struck by the beauty, the mystery, the attractiveness of the Catholic faith, through the stories of the nuns. They gave holy cards as prizes. A nun even gave me a statue, I got first place in catechism."

— Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

On St. John Vianney School in Rancho Cordova
"The priest who had the biggest influence on me in my whole childhood is Msgr. Richard C. Dwyer. He's deceased now. He was one of the few American priests there; they were 90 percent Irish. Msgr. Dwyer was a man's man. He was personally very wealthy. His family owned the delta shipping lines and he gave up a life of wealth to enter the seminary. When I say he was a man's man: He went on safari in Africa, he owned a ranch up in Jackson that had livestock and horses. He was an experienced horseman. It was unbelievable what this guy could do. He smoked unfiltered Camel cigarettes in his cassock. He was very kind but very strong. We had that reverential fear of him as boys in serving we'd want everything right."

— Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

On the Jesuit novice's rite of passage, picking grapes in Los Gatos
"We were shipped up there every September. We picked the grapes. We lived at the Sacred Heart Novitiate. We loved it. It was eight hours of hard manual labor every day. Some of us were city boys — we mowed the lawn, you helped your dad build a fence — but I'd never done that. We got all sticky with the grape juice. We couldn't do it now, but they put our whole class, all 25 guys, in the back of the truck, wearing our denim, and drive up into the fields — it's all against the law now. We'd pick the grapes. It's where we got to know each other. The first hour you'd pick the grapes in silence, while you prayed. While you picked the grapes, you'd do your meditation. They'd blow a whistle and then you could talk the rest of the day. We took our lunch there, sitting on the vines with views of the Bay Area."

— Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

On deciding where to study theology
"I was asked, 'Where do you want to study theology?' 'Berkeley, Boston, Rome.' I was sent to Toronto. That always happens in the Jesuits: They give you three choices and send you somewhere that's not on the list. So I went from Truk to Toronto. The superior said, 'I know that place and I think it will be the right place for you.' I got there, and he was right. He knew more than me."

— Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

On his loyalty to his fellow military chaplains
"Bishop Barber and I were in the Naval Reserves Middle East Forces Religious chaplain unit at the same time. He was called up to provide chaplain services to the Marines in Bahrain and Kuwait. I provided spiritual support to the members stationed in Alameda and families of service members called up. Chaplain Barber attended my first profession 2001 and my retirement from the Navy in 2005. He's a dignified man, well-spoken, honorable and brave."

— Sister Donna Maria Moses, OP

On how a Gonzaga graduate navigates Saint Mary's territory
"The first half sit on one side, the second half sit on the other side. I love Saint Mary's; I love the Christian Brothers. Whenever I go up to Mont La Salle (the Christian Brothers' retreat and conference center in Napa) and visit them, they've always saved some of the special brandy under the counter that Brother Timothy used to make. I'm proud of Gonzaga, the Jesuits sent me there, I had a great time. Their team's doing very well. But Saint Mary's is now my home team.

— Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

When asked if he, like his predecessor, has taken a stand on political issues
"Before I say anything about politics or get involved there, I'd like to study up on the issues, confer not just the church officials but with the people in the pews, hear their experience of living the Christian and Catholic life, so that when I speak or teach, I can speak clearly, but also with love and compassion, and take their experience on board. It's listen first, speak second."

— Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

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