Fr. Robert Barron Named Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles

by on July 21, 2015



For information contact:
Fr. Thomas A. Baima

MUNDELEIN, ILLINOIS (July 21, 2015): His Holiness, Pope Francis, today named the Very Reverend Robert Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and currently Rector/President of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles.

“Mundelein Seminary rejoices that our Rector has been called to serve the Church as a bishop,” said Fr. James Presta, Vice Rector for Administration, and a classmate of Bishop-Elect Barron. “The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is gaining a wonderful priest, a great scholar of faith and culture and one of the best preachers in the Church today.”

“Bishop-Elect Barron took to heart the call for a “new evangelization” first issued by Pope Paul VI and repeated by Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis. His vision of an evangelical Catholicism is one of intentional discipleship and engagement with the world. An astute student of faith and culture, Bishop-Elect Barron views the currents of culture through the lens of the papal encyclicals. This allows him to call on culture to follow the direction of the seeds of the Word already present within it. Catholicism, is at its best when it brings the best out of culture.” said Fr. Thomas A. Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs.

Bishop-Elect Barron attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park and Benet Academy in Lisle. From there he entered the Archdiocesan seminary system. After two years, he was awarded the prestigious Theodore Basselin Scholarship at the Catholic University of America (CUA). The Basselin Scholars focus on advanced philosophical studies and public speaking. He received the M.A. from the School of Philosophy at CUA. He matriculated to Mundelein Seminary of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake where he received S.T.B, M.Div. and S.T.L. degrees. Robert Barron was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986.

Father Barron served as associate pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross Parish in Park Ridge. He then was assigned to advanced studies at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He received the doctorate in 1992 for a dissertation on Paul Tillich. He then joined the faculty of Mundelein Seminary, eventually rising to the rank of full professor of dogmatic (systematic) theology. His academic career has included visiting professorships at the University of Notre Dame and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He was visiting scholar-in-residence twice at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was awarded the Francis Cardinal George Chair in Faith and Culture at Mundelein Seminary. This research professorship allowed him the freedom to launch Word on Fire, a Catholic evangelistic ministry.

In 2012, he was appointed Rector/President of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. During his years as rector he presided over a revision of the seminary curriculum with a new integration of human and spiritual formation with academic studies and pastoral training. Father Barron stressed that the priests of the future must become excellent preachers and pastors who engage those outside their parish. Mundelein Seminary experienced a thirty percent growth in enrollment during his tenure as rector. He led the efforts to restore the historic Chapel of the Immaculate Conception to its original glory, created the new Pope Saint John Paul II Chapel, with nineteen stained glass windows of witnesses to the new evangelization. The windows feature, both ancient and contemporary saints and blesseds. Father Barron raised the funds to endow three academic chairs.

He is the author of twelve books, the most recent being Exploring Catholic Theology: Essays on God, Liturgy and Evangelization; Seeds of the Word and 2 Samuel . During this time, he remained active in his Word on Fire ministry, becoming internationally known as the creator and host of two documentary film series: Catholicism, the New Evangelization and Catholicism: Pivotal Players. Additionally, Word on Fire has published six other film and study programs.

He is the recipient of many awards including honorary doctorates from Lewis University and Providence College. He also received the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin As Those Who Serve Award from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake.