Most Reverend Bishop Barber
The Most Reverend Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ
The Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, SJ, was ordained to the episcopate and installed as the fifth Bishop of Oakland on May 25, 2013 in the Cathedral of Christ the Light. Bishop Barber has deep roots in the East Bay. His father, Adlai Barber, was born in Oakland and his mother, Dolores, in San Francisco. Bishop Barber himself was born in 1954 in Salt Lake City, Utah, during a temporary job assignment for his father. As a child the bishop lived in San Francisco, Novato and Sacramento, graduating from St. Pius X Preparatory School in Galt. He has fond memories of holidays spent with relatives in Oakland, San Leandro and Castro Valley, and of teaching at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park.
Bishop Barber entered the seminary of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) 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.
After being ordained a priest in San Francisco in 1985, Bishop Barber continued his studies in Rome and at Oxford University. In 1991 he became a commissioned officer in the United States 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 many other assignments.
Locally, Bishop Barber has been Director of the School of Pastoral Leadership in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. From 2002-10 he taught at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park and was Director of Spiritual Formation there. Immediately prior to his appointment as Bishop of Oakland, he served as Director of Spiritual Formation at St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston.
In addition to his native English, the bishop speaks Italian, French, Samoan and liturgical Spanish.