The following comes from an August 18 press release from Thomas Aquinas College:

The Most Reverend Robert E. Barron will offer the opening Mass of the Holy Spirit at Thomas Aquinas College on Monday, August 22, 2016, in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. He will also preside at the matriculation ceremony following at 10:30 a.m. in St. Joseph Commons. The auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Santa Barbara pastoral region, Bishop Barron will join President Michael F. McLean in greeting each of the college’s 102 new freshman, and then address the students as they prepare to begin a new academic year.

Says President McLean, “While Bishop Barron is known around the world for his award-winning documentary series Catholicism, he is first and foremost a faithful shepherd of souls and a trusted guide in the Catholic intellectual life. We very much look forward to having him with us on Convocation Day.”

Due to steadily rising retention rates, enrollment this year is the highest it has ever been at the 4-year, Catholic school — 389 students. Says Dean Brian Kelly, “We are delighted to be able to consistently attract young people from across the country who are so well-suited to our unique program of Catholic liberal education. It will be a great joy to welcome the new freshman class and our returning students to campus.”

Bishop Robert E. Barron

The Most Reverend Robert E. Barron is the Episcopal Vicar of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region, one of the five Pastoral Regions in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He was appointed Titular Bishop of Macriana of Mauritania and Auxiliary Bishop in 2015.

Bishop Barron is a native of Chicago. During his freshman year of high school, he discovered the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, which inspired in him a love of philosophy and theology and led eventually to his decision to devote his entire life to God as a priest.

Bishop Barron received a master’s degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1982. After his ordination to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986, he served for three years as associate pastor at St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Park Ridge, Illinois. In 1992 he earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris. He then joined the theological faculty of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, where served as rector from 2012 until his appointment to the episcopate in 2015. His Excellency has additionally served as a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame (2002) and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (2007), as well as Scholar in Residence at the Pontifical North American College (2007 and 2010).

Bishop Barron is the founder of Word on Fire, a media ministry, and is the host of its award-winning documentary series Catholicism. His Word on Fire website has reached nearly 4 million viewers, and his weekly YouTube videos have garnered more than 9 million views. In light of his pioneering work in evangelization through new media, Francis Cardinal George, the late Archbishop of Chicago, described Bishop Barron as “one of the Church’s best messengers.”

The author of numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life, Bishop Barron lectures extensively across the United States and abroad. In addition, he is a frequent commentator on faith and culture for The Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel, Our Sunday Visitor, the Catholic Herald (London), and The Catholic New World.

About Thomas Aquinas College

Thomas Aquinas College is a four-year, Catholic liberal arts college with a fully-integrated curriculum composed of the Great Books, the seminal works in the major disciplines by the great thinkers who have helped shape Western civilization. There are no textbooks, no lectures and no electives. Instead, under the guidance of faculty members and using only the Socratic method of dialogue in classes of no more than 20, students read and discuss the original works of authors such as Euclid, Dante, Galileo, Descartes, the American Founding Fathers, Adam Smith, Shakespeare, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Aristotle, Plato, St. Augustine, and of course, St. Thomas Aquinas. Graduates consistently excel in the many world-class institutions at which they pursue graduate degrees in fields such as law, medicine, business, theology and education. They have distinguished themselves serving as lawyers, doctors, business owners, priests, military service men and women, educators, journalists and college presidents.