Rev. Michael Barber named new bishop of Oakland Diocese


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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