Introduction for Bishop Robert E. Barron

by Dr. Michael F. McLean
Thomas Aquinas College
Matriculation Ceremony
Convocation 2016


Today I am delighted to welcome back to our campus our regional bishop, the Most Rev. Robert E. Barron. When Bishop Barron’s appointment to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was announced last year, we here at Thomas Aquinas College were hoping that His Excellency would be assigned to the Santa Barbara region. And when that announcement was made, there was great rejoicing all around. For in Bishop Barron we have been given not only a faithful shepherd but also a trusted guide in the Catholic intellectual life. He is, as well, a model for us in how to engage in the work of the New Evangelization, with charity and joy, proposing timeless truths to a world sorely in need.

Bishop Barron is a native of Chicago. He received a master’s degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1982 and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986. Following three years as an associate pastor at a Chicago parish, he went on to earn a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Insitut Catholique de Paris. Bishop Barron then joined the theological faculty of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, where he served as rector from 2012 until his appointment to the episcopate last year. His Excellency has also 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. He is also the author of numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life, and 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.

During his freshman year of high school, Bishop Barron 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.

Like Bishop Barron, many of our alumni priests attribute their vocations, at least in part, to their study of St. Thomas here at the College. Some in this room today may be even now in that process of discernment. This is one of the very reasons for the College’s existence — for the minds and souls of young people to be transformed by the truth, especially as it finds its most complete explication in the writings of the Angelic Doctor. 

Bishop Barron understands well the vital importance of the work you are about to undertake here at the College, and the power this unique education will give you to help transform our culture. 

It is a great honor for me now to introduce to you Bishop Robert Barron