Pope Francis appoints Jesuit to head Oakland diocese

Pope Francis today appointed Jesuit Fr. Michael Barber as the next bishop of Oakland.  The appointment marks the first time Francis has dipped into his own order for an episcopal appointment.

Bishop-elect Barber succeeds Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, who was appointed to San Francisco in July 2012. Archbishop Alex J. Brunett, archbishop-emeritus of Seattle, has been serving as the apostolic administrator since last October.

At the moment of his appointment, Bishop-elect Barber was serving as the director of spiritual formation at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton in the Archdiocese of Boston.

According to Vatican radio, Barber was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 13, 1954. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973, after having attended Saint Pius X Preparatory School at Galt, Calif.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history at Gonzaga University in 1978, completed his theological studies at Regis College at the University of Toronto in 1985, and obtained an ecclesiastical license in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1989.

He was ordained to the priesthood for the Jesuits in 1985 and made his final vows in 2005.

His previous pastoral assignments have included: missionary work in Western Samoa; assistant professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University; tutor and chaplain at the University of Oxford and bursar of the Campion Hall Jesuit Community; director of the School of Pastoral Leadership of the Archdiocese of San Francisco; professor and spiritual father at Saint Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park; and chaplain to the U.S. Navy Reserve.

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