Mercy and the Holy Spirit

JSTB

Jake Martin, SJ, will be ordained in June

This past week I had an opportunity to meet with my Jesuit brothers at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. Sitting in a room with 17 men who are about to be ordained priests, I couldn’t help but reminisce on my own experience 30 years ago, when I was waiting to be ordained. These men have spent many years working towards this moment, an achievement that is just as memorable as it is sacred. May God bless them!

Photo courtesy of Rev. Thomas Massaro, SJ

divider bar for blogI also administered Confirmation for a group of students at St. Patrick’s church last week, a celebration I always enjoy. While I was there, I was blessed to meet a young man named Jesus Rojas. Jesus is currently battling leukemia; yet his spirit is so alive. Jesus is such a courageous boy, a warm, loving child who demonstrates all that God wants us to be. God is with him, as he is with us always. I pray the gift of the Holy Spirit will help heal him and carry his family through this difficult time. I have been also requesting prayers for him, so I would really appreciate if you can join me in praying for Jesus.

Photos courtesy of St. Patrick parish

divider bar for blogOn Friday, April 24, we had a National Congress on Divine Mercy at the Cathedral. It was a beautiful devotion arranged by Father Carl Arcosa, with help from the Marians of the Immaculate Order from the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. It was a delight to work with everyone and be a part of such a wonderful event!

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Photos:  Al Pacciorini/The Catholic Voice

divider bar for blogThe following Sunday I went to St. Margaret Mary parish to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. This new order has been serving the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass community of our diocese very faithfully these past 10 years. It was a joyful celebration, and a very well prepared and reverent liturgy. Moreover, the community was vibrant and full of life, and I was very happy to see people from all ages there.

divider bar for blogI enjoy going around meeting parishioners, speaking and answering questions about the work of our diocese at Capital Campaign receptions. I love events like these; being able to connect and engage with the public is one of the many benefits I find in my work. This last week I went to St. Mary’s in Walnut Creek, Our Lady of Good Counsel in San Leandro, and St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley. It is always such a pleasure to meet members of the community and hear about their experiences in the church.

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Visit from Bishop Luke Kim Woon Hoe, Bishop of Chuncheon, South Korea

L-R: Terry Augustine Cho, Fr. Gabriel Kim, Bishop Barber, Bishop Luke Kim, Fr. Thaddeus Kim, Simon Peter Lee

This week, I also had an opportunity to welcome Bishop Luke Kim Woon Hoe, Bishop of Chuncheon, South Korea, for a courtesy visit last weekend. The bishop was in town to administer the sacrament of Confirmation to our two Korean Catholic parishes. We are blessed to have not only one, but two vibrant and growing Korean parishes in our diocese. As you probably remember, their choir was our special featured guest during our Chrism Mass in March, and they rendered an outstanding performance.

divider bar for blogMay the Lord continue blessing you and your loved ones. Please keep me in your prayers.

Installing, confirming and campaigning

Last week I made a quick trip to San Diego for the installation Mass of their new bishop, Most Rev. Robert McElroy, formerly auxiliary bishop of San Francisco.  I was able to see some of my former students who are now priests of the diocese of San Diego.  Here I am with Bishop McElroy.
Bishops Barber and McElroy

Procession, Installation of Bishop McElroy, Diocese of San Diego

Procession, Installation of Bishop Robert McElroy, Diocese of San Diego  Photo:  The Southern Cross

divider bar for blogOn Thursday the 16th I was invited to celebrate Confirmation at Holy Spirit Newman Center in Berkeley.  Great group of young people who responded enthusiastically during the service. There was an atmosphere of joy, respect, reverence, and communion-with-the-Church.

The Paulist Fathers are doing a very good job taking care of the Newman Center and parish, which has been in their care since 1908.  Here’s the “Official Photo” of the Confirmation class:

Holy Spirit officialHere’s the more fun selfie:

Holy Spirit selfiedivider bar for blogFriday, I visited two parishes at opposite ends of the Diocese.  I celebrated morning Mass at St. Michael’s Livermore, followed by a Capital Campaign reception.

Afterward, the pastor, Fr. Van Dinh, showed me the ceiling of the parish hall, which is collapsing inward.  St. Michael’s is going to use their return on the Campaign to make necessary repairs to the historic hall.

divider bar for blogI then went from Livermore to St. Anthony’s in Oakley.  Arriving at the parish hall for a lunch Campaign reception, I found the pastor, Fr. Ken Sales, in the kitchen, personally making a “Maja Blanca” dessert.  Fr. Ken takes our Lord’s words “Feed my lambs” seriously.  He even made an extra dessert for the bishop to take home.  Here he is with Deacon Alan Layden, putting last minute touches on the cake.

St. Anthony dessert

St. Anthony campaign reception

St. Anthony Campaign Reception

Giving me a tour of the grounds before our reception, Fr. Ken showed me where the parish would like to build an Adoration Chapel with the proceeds of the Campaign.  I am sure God will bless this undertaking.

 

 

 

divider bar for blogOn Saturday morning at the Cathedral I confirmed over 125 young people from St. Paul’s in San Pablo, St. Monica’s in Moraga, and St. Ignatius in Antioch.  Again, it’s thrilling to see the Cathedral filled with young people and their families, celebrating such a special day in their lives. I spoke to the congregation about Jordan Spieth, the 21 year old golfer who just won the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.  The young man is so impressive, not only for his golfing abilities, but for his humility and care for his younger sister, who has autism.  And he is a graduate of Catholic grammar and high schools.  You can listen to my homily here:

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Photos:  James Scolamieri

divider bar for blogThat evening I celebrated a Vigil Mass at Santa Maria parish in Orinda, followed by a Campaign Reception in the parish hall.  They have a special choir at Santa Maria, composed not only of adults, but of children and teenagers.  One outstanding young fellow came to church literally right off the baseball diamond.  Jack sings in the choir with his sister and mom.

divider bar for blogOn Sunday morning I was back in Livermore, this time to visit the newer parish, St. Charles Borromeo.  I celebrated the 11:30 Mass and administered Confirmation.  Fr. Mark Wiesner, the pastor, is very tech-savvy.  He live-streams Mass on the internet every Sunday.  During his remarks at Mass, he mentioned how St. Charles’ Easter Vigil Mass had the second most hits on YouTube for an Easter Vigil after the Holy Father’s Mass in the Vatican. I would have gotten a haircut if I’d known he was going to broadcast my Confirmation all over the world.

I almost drove right by the parish.  The outside of St. Charles church looks like a Chinese restaurant.  The inside looks like a gym (the original purpose for the building).  Yet the liturgy was very beautiful.  There was enthusiastic participation at the Mass, especially from the Confirmation candidates.

Fr. Mark has done a great job here as pastor.  You can watch all or parts of the Mass here:

.  Here are the young people that were confirmed.

St. Charles Borromeo Confirmation 2015 GroupAbove Photos from St. Charles:  Clare Kalantar

Saints Patrick and Joseph, and some campaigning

Last week’s activities began on St. Patrick’s Day with an early Mass at St. Patrick’s School in Rodeo. I visited the classrooms as the students arrived at 7:30 a.m.  There was a lot of buzz in the air, as everyone was dressed for St. Patrick.  Some kids even had green hair. I found very happy children, yet reverent and focused during the morning prayer-assembly and later at Mass.  They also have a full kindergarten, as well as preschool, and what looked like pre-pre-preschool . . .  for babies!

Just like when visiting Santa, babies cry when visiting the Bishop!

Just like when visiting Santa, babies cry when visiting the Bishop!

divider bar for blogLater on St. Patrick’s Day we held the funeral Mass for Father Seamus Genovese. There was a very impressive turnout of parishioners and friends, as well as diocesan priests.  Fr. Seamus was my neighbor . . . just a twenty minute walk across the top of Lake Merritt.  He always had a drink and a place ready at the table for guests who dropped in for dinner.  May he rest in peace!

Genovese,Seamus D resizeddivider bar for blogOn the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, when many people are having “a wee dram of the dew” or at least an Irish Coffee, a couple hundred parishioners of St. Joan of Arc parish in San Ramon came to hear me give a talk on “Discernment of Spirits, according to St. Ignatius Loyola.”  This is a method to discover God’s will in one’s life through following the influence of good spirits and recognizing the deceits of evil spirits.  We had a lively discussion. I was glad to see a van full of teenagers attending, as St. Ignatius’s method is particularly helpful in deciding which of many paths to follow in life.

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Photos: Dominique Ghekiere-Mintz

divider bar for blogLast week I continued my Capital Campaign parish visitations with visits to Holy Spirit Fremont, and Good Shepherd, Pittsburg.

Holy Spirit student presentation
A large group of students from Holy Spirit School came to the evening reception and presented me with a Pledge for $2,500!  That’s a lot of sacrificial Twinkies.  As I go around the diocese, it is heartening to see children from many of our schools participating in our campaign to Reclaim Christ’s Mission Together. Thank you, Holy Spirit students.

 

 

Pic 1 Bishop at Church of the Good Shepard In Pittsburg the parish has already achieved 25% of their goal, and I was touched by the number of people who approached me after our presentation to increase their pledges. Thank you for your love and generosity, Good Shepherd!

 

divider bar for blogHearts of loveOn St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, I was invited to St. Joseph’s Grammar School and St. Joseph’s High School in Alameda. We celebrated two Masses in the Basilica, one for each school. We could have had only one Mass, together, in the gym . . . but using the historic church is so much more conducive to prayer.  The elementary school students sang a song at the end of Mass, complete with sword and shield, and hearts of love.

St. Josephs second gradeWhen I visited the Second Grade, the children presented me with a spiritual bouquet. Each “flower” represented a Hail Mary that the kids prayed, complete with a special intention. They read off their intentions. One of them said “We pray that Bishop Barber will be the best bishop in the whole world!”  I think that role has already been filled by Pope Francis.  But what a nice prayer.  I’ll try and live up to that prayer.

St. Joseph high school groupThese St. Joe’s High School students gave me a full tour of the campus.  With 415 students, the school has a close community spirit. It is one of the very few remaining “parish high schools’ on the West Coast.

Fr. George Alengadan and his vicar, Fr. Thi, invited us for lunch — together with the members of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council.  We took advantage of Father’s hospitality to have our monthly Council meeting. Thanks, Fr. George!

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Photos:  Marylea Battaglia

On Saturday I went to St. Mary’s Church in Walnut Creek to confirm 88 young people.  Many family members and friends had to stand throughout the Mass, as the church was filled to overflowing.  One young fellow, Ian Mannix, Seventh Grader at St. Mary’s School, waited patiently in the parking lot for some time, protecting my parking place.  Thank you, Ian!parking spotdivider bar for blogBp with Hermana GlendaOn Saturday evening, our Hispanic Ministries division of the Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization sponsored a concert in Christ the Light Cathedral featuring Hermana Glenda, a nun from Spain.  Meeting her beforehand, Sister Glenda told me that although she has a degree in Scripture from the Jesuit Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, God has called her to teach scripture through singing. She does this quite well, as concert-goers were led not only to listen to her music, but to pray.  The event raised about half the funds needed to support the annual diocesan Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage, Procession and Mass.  Since meeting her, I’ve been listening to Hermana Glenda for free on Pandora.

divider bar for blogOn Sunday March 22, we had two celebrations, which when taken together, express the unity-in-diversity of our diocese:

St Margaret Mary servers

St. Margaret Mary altar servers and Rev. Rafal Duda

In the morning I celebrated Mass and Confirmation at St. Margaret Mary’s parish in Oakland for 15 students.  The Mass and Confirmation rite were in Latin, celebrated in accord with the post-Vatican 2 “Novus Ordo” Missal.  The students responded to the renewal of their baptismal promises with a loud “Credo!”  (“I believe”).   St. Margaret Mary’s is known for celebrating weekly and daily Mass with both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite.  Since the group was small, I was able to quiz the kids about who they chose as their confirmation saint-names and why.  A good number spoke to a packed church about the inspiration they drew from their new patrons.

On Sunday afternoon, I was invited by the Oakland Catholic Worker community to celebrate Mass in commemoration of the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero, which took place on March 24, 1980. This year was particularly special, as the Holy Father has just approved the Beatification of Archbishop Romero, which will take place in El Salvador on May 23rd.  So many people attended, we had to have the Mass outside, under tents.  Everything was in Spanish.

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At the request of the Salvadoran Catholic community of our diocese, we will arrange a special Mass in our Cathedral in honor of the Blessed Oscar Romero (date TBA).  I am very proud and pleased at the spiritual and corporal works of mercy offered by the Catholic Worker communities (Oakland and Berkeley) in our diocese.  They quietly and faithfully house immigrants and refugees, shelter those who are in trouble, and consistently feed the poor.  All this service is given with love for Christ and the Church, as exemplified in the life of their founder, Dorothy Day.   I await with hope the day she will likewise be beatified by the Church.

Photos: Raúl Ayrala/The Catholic Voice-El Heraldo Católico

Catholic Schools Week 2015 and More

Last Sunday (January 25) I began the observance of Catholic Schools Week with a Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Fremont.  I had recently dedicated the new church in December, but this was the first time I could see it in daylight, and appreciate the stained glass windows.  The students provided the choir and music for the Mass, under the direction of Sister Janice, O.P., the principal.  In my homily I told the students how much Catholic education had done for me in my life.  Here I am with the Student Council.

BishopStudentCouncildivider bar for blogOn the same Sunday afternoon I celebrated a Confirmation Mass in Spanish in the Cathedral for 36 candidates.  Even though I often have five Confirmation Masses on a weekend, I never get tired of them.  It is thrilling to me to see the joy on the faces of the newly confirmed, as they glory in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  (Si se habla español, se puede escuchar a la homilía aqui – Homily.)

Photos: Raul Ayrala/The Catholic Voice

divider bar for blogOn Wednesday we continued the celebration of Catholic Schools Week with Mass for all 800 students, and staff, of Carondelet High School in Concord. It was my first visit to the school.  The young women were exceptional in their respect and reverence during the Mass.  I could see how carefully their campus minister had prepared the servers and readers, and the wonderful music, for the Holy Mass.  Since it was the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of education, I spoke to the girls about the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom, and how the difference was portrayed in one of my favorite shows, Downton Abbey, and the film The Imitation Game.  The faculty and staff of Carondelet are doing an excellent job of forming young women to be friends and disciples of Jesus Christ. Here’s a selfie with a few of the Carondelet students.

Carondelet

 

 

 

 

 

divider bar for blogLater on Wednesday I traveled to St. Patrick’s Seminary to deliver a talk during Compline (Night Prayer Service) for the Order of Malta.  I spoke to them about Pope Francis’ devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.  I have never heard of that particular devotion in the USA (it originated in Bavaria, Germany).  Here’s a photo of the painting of Mary taking the knots out of a Bavarian marriage ribbon.  The story goes that a couple who had been considering divorce went to a Jesuit priest for counseling. They brought him the ribbon which had been used to join their hands in the German custom during their nuptial Mass. The priest prayed to Mary to help them, and as he untied the last knot in the ribbon, it suddenly glowed white. They took it as a sign from Our Lady, and the couple stayed together.  Archbishop Broglio brought a copy of the painting from Germany to Argentina, and the devotion spread. May Our Lady, Undoer of Knots help us undo the knots in our lives.Mary

divider bar for blogOn Thursday I visited the School of the Madeleine in Berkeley and celebrated Mass for them.  The Fifth Grade designed a virtual cathedral on their class computer which they delighted in showing me.  They also designed a ship and named it the USS Barber.  I told the teacher to give them each an A+!

Madeleinedivider bar for blogI then went over to the UC Berkeley campus to do something I’ve wanted to do ever since becoming bishop. I wanted to stand with the Catholic students in Sproul Plaza, heart of the campus, and witness to the Catholic faith.  St. Paul himself preached in the central marketplace of Athens on behalf of Jesus.  Our “Catholics at Cal” regularly set up a table, hand out brochures with Mass times, give holy cards, and most importantly, present a friendly and welcoming face on behalf of Christ and His Church. I am so proud of these students, and their Paulist chaplains who support them.  It was fun!

Sprouldivider bar for blogOn Friday I was invited to a reception to meet the new mayor of Oakland, the Hon. Libby Schaaf.  Fr. Jay Matthews, our new Rector of the Cathedral, accompanied me.  Leaders of all faith groups in Oakland were invited. The mayor is very personable and told us of some of her priorities: affordable housing, reconciliation in the community, improvement in education – especially for Pre-K children.  It was also one of the first opportunities I had to meet representatives of so many churches and faiths in Oakland. It was a very positive and hope-filled evening.

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