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Pope Appoints New Bishop for Oakland Diocese

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Bay City News — Pope Francis today appointed the Rev. Michael Barber to be the next bishop of the Diocese of Oakland.

The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. (avrene/Flickr)

The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. (avrene/Flickr)

Barber, 59, currently is the director of spiritual formation at St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston, a post he has held since 2010.

Barber, who will be ordained to the episcopate and installed as bishop at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland on May 25, will succeed Salvatore Cordileone, who became the archbishop of San Francisco on Oct. 4.

Archbishop Alex Brunett has been acting as apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Oakland since that time and will continue to lead the diocese until Barber is installed.

Diocese of Oakland officials said Barber has deep roots in the Bay Area because his father, Adlai Barber, was born in Oakland and his mother, Dolores, was born in San Francisco, although Barber was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1954.

Barber lived in San Francisco, Novato and Sacramento as a child, graduating from St. Pius X Preparatory School in Galt, church officials said.

Barber entered the seminary of the Society of Jesus, a Jesuit institution, in 1973. He received his undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University in Washington and graduate degrees in theology from Regis College at the University of Toronto and the Gregorian University in Rome.

Barber was ordained as a priest in San Francisco in 1985 and then continued his studies in Rome and at Oxford University. In 1991, he became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and achieved the rank of captain in 2012.

He has served as Group Chaplain for the Marine Aircraft Group, as Deputy Division Chaplain for the 4th Marine Division and Deputy Force Chaplain for Reserve Affairs for Marine Forces Pacific, among other assignments.

Locally, Barber has been director of the School of Pastoral Leadership in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

From 2002 to 2010, he taught at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park and was director of spiritual formation there.

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Category: Oakland, Religion

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  • Chris

    Do, please, consider an interview of the Bishop-designate. Intelligent questions, thoughtful answers, can help introduce the new Bishop to the listeners of KQED, and this would surely be a public service. I seem to remember that when the previous bishop of Oakland was moved across the bay, you invited him to appear on Forum, and he accepted the invitation. Of course, you would need a careful call screener, for the Catholic Church teaches some things which many locals don’t like, and the risk of losing a professional demeanor and tone in the program can be minimized by a vigilant call screener.