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placeholder September 22, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, met with families after the SPRED Mass.
All: josÉ luis aguirre/The Catholic Voice

Bishop celebrates Mass for SPRED community

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, gave people examples of crosses.

More than 200 members of the Special Religious Education Community attended the 10 a.m. Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the Light celebrated by Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ.

At the beginning of Mass, the bishop acknowledged their presence, offering "a very special welcome today to our SPRED community of the Diocese of Oakland. What an honor and privilege it is to have you with us."

Friends, their families and catechists filled the right side of the cathedral. Some friends and catechists led the responsorial hymn through the use of sacred gestures, lifting their outstretched arms toward the heavens.

The bishop delivered his homily standing on the right side of the altar, facing the SPRED group. In describing the use of incense in the Mass, he said, "That incense is given only to things and people that are holy." He said the incense was given to the figure of Jesus behind the altar, to the Gospel, to the gifts of bread and wine and "to you, the holy people of God."

On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the bishop showed the people examples of crosses. "The lesson of the cross is that it looks like love," he said. "You can never say, 'Nobody loves me' because when you see a cross, His arms are outstretched for you."

"If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you have to carry your cross," the bishop said.

"Each one of us has a cross to bear given to us by Christ," he said. "When we take up our cross and carry this, we love Him back."

The bishop ended his homily with a message to the SPRED community, in a familiar form to friends and catechists: "Jesus says to you today: When times are hard and difficult I am there with you. Listen to me and follow my ways. I came to bring you everlasting life."

The bishop gave Communion to the SPRED community on the right side of the cathedral.

At the end of Mass, he told the SPRED community, "I know you have a special connection with Jesus." He asked them to close their eyes and ask the Lord: "Jesus, please help the bishop."

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