Jesuit seminary director to head Oakland diocese

by Dennis Coday

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Press Release from US Bishops' conference this morning:

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Jesuit Father Michael Barber, 58, a member of the Jesuit Province of California and director of spiritual formation at St. John’s Seminary, Brighton (Boston), Massachusetts, as bishop of Oakland, California.
            The appointment was publicized in Washington, May 3, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
            Bishop-elect Barber was born July 13, 1954, in Salt Lake City. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest for the Society in 1985.
            He holds a bachelor of arts degree in history/philosophy from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington; master of divinity and bachelor of sacred theology degrees from Regis College of the University of Toronto; and a licentiate and doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
            Assignments after ordination included 1985-1987, missionary in Apia, Western Samoa; 1987-1992, student at Gregorian University and assistant professor of theology there (1990-1991); 1992-1998, researcher and tutor at Oxford University; 1998-2001, director, School of Pastoral Leadership, Archdiocese of San Francisco, with residence at St. Agnes Parish; 2002-2010, assistant professor of systematic and moral theology, and spiritual director, St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, California; and 2010-present, director of spiritual formation, St. John’s Seminary.
            He succeeds Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who was named head of the San Francisco Archdiocese, July 27, 2012.
            The Oakland Diocese includes 1,467 square miles and two counties, Alameda and Contra Costa, in California. The diocese has 2,586,396 people, with 399,546, or 15 percent of them, Catholic.

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