The following comes from an Oct. 6 story by Michele Jurich in the Catholic Voice, the Oakland diocese paper.
You can get to know a lot about Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, by tagging along on a visit to schools. Students in each classroom at Wood Rose Academy in Concord had prepared questions for the bishop’s Sept. 4 visit. Here are some of the questions and answers to questions posed by students ranging from kindergartners to eighth-graders.
What special gifts did God give you?
My Mom and my Dad. I had a good mom and dad. They’ve died now. I pray they’re in heaven. They lived their whole lives to take care of me and my brothers.
What’s your favorite holiday?
Christmas. Nothing beats the birth of Jesus.
What’s your favorite food?
It’s a tie: Anything chocolate, barbecue potato chips and cherry pie.
What’s your favorite virtue?
Jesus said charity is the greatest. It’s also the hardest. Charity and love are the same word, expressed differently. Mercy is a favorite of mine; I took the word mercy and put it on my coat of arms. When love comes into contact with suffering, it changes into mercy.
What color is your car?
What’s your schedule like on a typical day?
My alarm clock goes off at 5:45 in the morning. I listen to the news before I get out of bed. I get up and get cleaned up. I have a private chapel. The bishop has the privilege that it’s in my room I have a private chapel. I go there to pray. Just me and Our Lord. It has a nice window next to the altar that looks out on Lake Merritt. I can see the sun come up. That’s how I pray for my diocese, for all my schools and prayers. After I say my prayers and my Divine Office, I say Mass on my altar unless I have a public Mass. Usually in Latin. I’m trying to keep up my Latin; if you don’t use a foreign language, you lose it. Then I have breakfast: Cheerios, glass of orange juice, sometimes a banana and coffee.
Then I go to my office and Father Alex (Castillo), he’s my secretary, comes in and says, “This is what your schedule is today.” (Monday, I had lunch with the visiting archbishop of Fiji.)
More meetings in the afternoon. Most evenings, I go to parishes and we have fundraising receptions. We’re trying to raise the money to pay the bill on our new cathedral. We owe a lot of money. If you get a spare million, I’d be grateful if you’d share.
Do you like being bishop?
The pope asked me to be the bishop. St. John Bosco said the desires of the pope are commands. The pope asks you to do this, you say, “Yes, Sir.” The pope is the head of the church on Earth, he represents Christ on earth and he picks the bishops all over the world. If the pope asks you to do it, I take that as a command from Our Lord. When I became a priest, I took a vow of obedience.
Did you ever have a vision or revelation inspired from God?
Not in the way you might be thinking. Not like Joan of Arc, who heard voices. I don’t hear voices. When I pray asking God to help me solve a problem, I’ll get an idea I don’t think is from me.
What are you favorite sports teams?
I have to be loyal to my diocese. I support the Oakland teams, the As and the Raiders.
What’s your favorite Bible story?
My favorite Bible story is about Joseph in the Old Testament….
Do you like to sing?
Sometimes, if no one’s around. Like at my house when I go in the stairs, it makes an echo. If someone comes by and says, “Is that you, Bishop?” I say, “Oh, no, no.” Sometimes I sing in church, when we have the Mass. I need to have a singing teacher rehearse me before a big feast, like Christmas and Easter.
What do you do for fun?
A fun thing for me is coming to your school. I like to celebrate Mass, especially Christmas and Easter, with a full choir and trumpeter, and when I’m giving Confirmation.
What’s the hardest thing to do?
Fundraising; asking people to give money to the church. We have to pay the bills: build churches, build schools. The bishop has to go around and ask people to help us.
To read the original story, click here.
I once had a 5th grade class think about what a typical (non-weekend) day the pastor of the parish normally experienced. They had to break down each hour of the day and write what the pastor was doing and why.
Some of their responses were hilarious. For the most part, it seems the pastor slept a lot, ate a lot and said Mass a lot and these were the reasons they rarely saw him.
I think I have a pretty good idea how our pastor’s typical day might go:
Open the church
Say early morning mass because the retired priest who usually does it, is sick
Stop by the office. The secretary again tells him the computer is on its last legs and really needs to be replaced.
Return a parishioner’s call. He complains about the heating/cooling/lighting or sound system not working.
Call and think me for the proposal for the school but can I find a way to cut the price per person just a bit more.
A homeless person shows up at the rectory door and wants Father to hear his confession…….and give him $20.
Conduct a funeral. For a long time parishioner.
Meet with the building and grounds guy and the elevator mechanic and get told the part it needs has to be fabricated and everyone will have to use the stairs till it comes in
Realizes he forgot to eat lunch and slaps together a tuna sandwich in the rectory.
Give a talk to the 8th grade religion class
Go over the financial statement with the bookkeeper.
See a couple for pre-marital counseling.
Go to a rubber chicken dinner (not catered by me!) only because the bishop expects him to..
Lock up the church.
Really – we all need to appreciate our priests much more!
“We’re trying to raise the money to pay the bill on our new cathedral. We owe a lot of money. If you get a spare million, I’d be grateful if you’d share…”
I know the Bishop inherited the project from a predecessor and the glass Cathedral is a big hit with the Church Architecture & Aesthetic Crowd (often bigger donors) – but the Cost has come at the loss of so much Treasure that could be used to improve the Catholic Schools and Lower / Erase Tuition for the Faithful.
I have not heard an update on the supposed John Paul II High School alleged to be built some time (after the shiny Cathedral is paid for), but then one need remember just who goes there – Catholic Children, and what are they when compared to really neat buildings.
There are Catholic Grade schools struggling to help the Many, who would be able to see the magnificent glass Cathedral – if they had playground equipment to climb up upon.
The SAFE Program has finally started showing some positive fruits after the nightmare scandal of Homosex Ephebophile Abuse conducted by a small but powerful group of infiltrators and their enablers / apologists.
But the Losses- in Harm to Lives, Diversion of Resources, and the Credibility of a ‘leadership’ all too often more concerned with covering up scandals than making them right – will be a Long Time Recovering.
I Urge the Bishop – Look to the Young, and let our Time & Treasure Nurture Them – as opposed to the “Professional Catholic” apparatchiks who collect donations on Sunday and spend the rest of the week supporting the Anti-Catholic / Demicrat Scams of the Abomination.
As a teacher, I wish the same thing. I have seen an inner city school close for lack of attention and it’s unforgivable because it could and should have worked.
I guess it boils down to what any given bishop feels is most important: a modern edifice that reflects sunlight or small faces reflecting the knowledge and Faith that should be theirs.
We should all appreciate our priests, I am friends with one who brought me back to the Church, and I see him as my spiritual Father and Father confessor. I think showing appreciation in ways such as treating them to dinner now and again shows them how much care for them. Good and faithful priest serve us and the Church, show them you really care.