Bishop Michael Barber
Bishop Barber Has Bold Plan for Inner City School
On Sept. 13 Oakland's Bishop Speaks at Catholics@Work
Introducing His Plan for a new Cristo Rey High School
Oakland Bishop Michael Barber will be the opening speaker for the 2016-17 Catholics@Work breakfast speaker series, on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the Crow Canyon Country Club, and he will discuss his plan for a new inner-city Catholic high school in the diocese, among other subjects.
In early August Bishop Barber announced he hopes to open a Cristo Rey high school that will serve populations too poor to afford existing schools.
Looking at Catholic education in the diocese, Bishop Barber said, "I could see our Catholic schools in our most prosperous neighborhoods were doing fine," citing the vitality of De La Salle and Carondelet high schools in Concord.
But in inner-city Oakland, he sees a huge need. "Kids in those neighborhoods can't afford tuition to attend Catholic school," he said.
Average Catholic high school tuition is about $17,000, which is half an average inner city family’s total annual income of $35,000.
The Cristo Rey model uses a work-study structure, which both helps fund the school and gives students motivating real-life work experience. Students work one day a week in a job at a partnering firm, helping to pay part of the cost of their education. Cristo Rey has been a resounding success in 32 cities since it began just 20 years ago in Chicago.
Named Oakland’s bishop three years ago while he was teaching at Boston’s St. John’s Seminary, Bishop Barber has been an energetic and enthusiastic shepherd for the East Bay’ half-a-million Catholics, visiting all the parishes and working to revitalize the diocesan ministries. In his “spare time” he also serves as a chaplain in the Navy.
Bishop Barber has spoken to Catholics@Work before, receiving an enthusiastic response for his candid and direct responses to questions. His Sept. 13 appearance is sure to draw a full house.
Put this Catholics@Work breakfast on your calendar for Sept, 13, and register now.
Diana Nagy, president of Catholics@Work said, “This idea is unique in Catholic High School Education.”
In thinking about the Cristo Rey model Nagy recalls Spanish philosopher, George Santayana’s observation that, “The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas. This model does it! “Don’t miss Bishop Barber and his plan for introducing this model into the Oakland Diocese on September 13. And do invite your family and friends to come. All are welcome”