Facebook Twitter Contact Safe Environment Intranet for Staff and Parishes The Cathedral of Christ the Light

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools


Bishop of Oakland

You are here: Home / Diocese / Bishop of Oakland

Bishop of Oakland

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ


Bishop Barber photo

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.

Video of the Mass of Ordination

Bishop Barber's Coat of Arms

Bp. Barber Coat of Arms lo-res


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.


1968-72—St. Pius X Prepatory School, Galt

1972-73/1975-76—Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

1976-78—Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

1982-85—Regis College, University of Toronto

1987-92—Gregorian University, Rome

1992-93—University of Oxford, England (Visiting Scholar)

Academic Degrees

1978—B.A., History and Philosophy (Gonzaga University)

1985—M.Div., S.T.B., cum laude (Regis College, University of Toronto)

1989—S.T.L., magna cum laude, Systematic Theology (Gregorian University)


1973—Entered the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Novitiate, Santa Barbara

1985—Ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John R. Quinn, St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco

1991—Commissioned LTJG, US Naval Reserve (USNR), Naples, Italy

1992—Promoted to rank of Lieutenant, USNR

2000—Promoted to rank of Lieutenant Commander, USNR

2005—Invested as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre

2005—Promoted to rank of Commander, USNR

2007—Invested as a Magistral Chaplain of the Order of Malta

2012—Promoted to rank of Captain, USNR

Ministry and Teaching Positions

1977-78—Teacher, Gonzaga Preparatory School, Spokane

1978-81—Teacher, Loyola High School, Los Angeles

1981-82—Teacher, Xavier High School, Caroline Islands, Micronesia

1985-87—Pastor, Falealupo Parish, Western Samoa, Polynesia

1990-91—Asst. Professor, Gregorian University

1991-92—Reserve Chaplain, US Naval Hospital, Naples, Italy

1993-97—Reserve Chaplain, London

1994-96—Theology tutor, University of Oxford

1996—Instructor, University of London

1998-2001—Director, School of Pastoral Leadership, Archdiocese of San Francisco

1998-2002—Reserve Chaplain, Marine Expeditionary Force 220, Alameda

2001-10—Chaplain, San Francisco Chapter of “Legatus” (Catholic Professional Society)

2002-10—Asst. Professor and Director of Spiritual Formation, St. Patrick’s Seminary and University, Menlo Park

Jan.-Aug. 2003—Group Chaplain, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Air Wing.  Active Duty, deployed to Middle East (Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom)

2003-08—Regimental Chaplain, 23rd Marines 4th MARDIV, San Bruno

2004-10—San Quentin State Prison ministerial volunteer

2006-10—Chaplain, Order of Malta (San Jose)

May-July 2008—Command Chaplain, aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis

June-Aug. 2009—Catholic Chaplain, aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln

2008-11—Deputy Division Chaplain, 4th Marine Division, New Orleans

2010-13—Director of Spiritual Formation, St. John’s Seminary, Archdiocese of Boston

June-Aug. 2011—Command Chaplain, US Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

2011-Present—Deputy Force Chaplain for Reserve Affairs, US Marine Corps Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, Hawaii

Awards and Honors

Knight of the Holy Sepulchre

Magistral Chaplain of the Order of Malta

Meritorious Service Medal (with one Gold Star)

Navy Commendation Medal (with one Gold Star)

Navy Achievement Medal


Preceded by Bishop Floyd L. Begin, Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone.

Filed under: