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Catholic Voice
  May 18, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
Bishop's Column
Jesús Rojas and Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, in
St. Patrick's parish hall
in Rodeo.

Another hero of the diocese

Most Rev.
Michael C. Barber, SJ

I met a young man who so inspired me I want to add him to my list of "Heroes of the Diocese of Oakland."

We often give the Diocesan Medal of Merit to very deserving and hardworking people who have dedicated years of service to their parish, school or the diocese. This is very well deserved. But I have met a few people who are "heroes" in my book.

One of them I met while I was administering confirmation at St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo on April 23.

At the most important part in the rite, the students process up the main aisle with their sponsors to be anointed with holy chrism by the bishop. As one young man approached, the pastor, Father Larry Young, whispered to me "This is Jesús Rojas. He has leukemia." Jesús stepped right up. I often question the candidates about their choice of confirmation name. I noticed his badge his confirmation name pinned to his vest.

I asked him, "Who was St. John Bosco?"

"He is the patron of youth, Bishop."

I said "Excellent!" I then asked, "What religious order did he found?"

"The Salesians," he responded. I was impressed. Most kids are scared to death when I ask them questions on the altar.

I then asked Jesús, "Where do you go to school?"

"Salesian High" he answered. Not surprising. Salesian College Preparatory in Richmond does an incredible job of spreading the charism of St. John Bosco and his educational philosophy of "Reason, Religion and Kindness" to the students and staff. When I visited there it felt like St. John Bosco was still alive, his spirit so filled the campus.

After Mass I was able to meet and bless Jesús and his family. Here is a young man who for some years has been following Our Lord's command, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow Me." (Luke 9:23)

Jesús Rojas should not have to carry his cross alone. As Pope Francis says, "We are all in this struggle together."

At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His disciples, "Love one another as I have loved you." May I invite all of you who are reading this, my brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Oakland, to join me in accompanying this young man in carrying his cross?

Can we all pray to Our Lord and the Blessed Mother to intercede for him, and if it be His will, to cure him? Would you offer Holy Communions, Masses, rosaries, Divine Mercy chaplets, the lighting of candles in churches and any kind of prayer you like, for Jesús Rojas' benefit?

This young man is one of my heroes. A hero is one who responds to the challenges of life with extraordinary courage, character and faith. In confirmation we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which helps us not only to endure, but to triumph over suffering.

The love of the Lord is eternal. That love begins here on earth through our experience of the love of Christ for us, which we experience through the sacraments of the Church, and from Jesus' disciples. Let's all band together to make Christ's love even more visible to Jesús Rojas and his family.

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