Originally printed in the Fall 2014 issue of the Chronicle, a publication of Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Our school was greatly blessed last year when Fr. Brian Barker joined the Cascia Community and the Campus Ministry team. His enthusiasm, friendliness, and musical talent were always uplifting as he went about his duties as teacher, Chaplain, and music minister. This school year, Fr. Brian is taking on the additional role of Director of Augustinian Mission to assist with school administration and advancement. Being a high-energy individual, he still finds time for daily workouts, mission work, parish work, and baseball.
Fr. Brian was ordained in 1994 for the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois where he served as a parish priest and pastor until he joined the Augustinian Order in 2012. At Cascia Hall, Fr. Brian jumped right in, making a big difference from the start, especially in the way he organized the students in music ministry. The school masses and prayer services became livelier and more spirit-filled, resulting in more congregational participation from faculty and students alike.
As Director of Augustinian Mission, Fr. Brian will be called on more often to represent the school at religious services and events, both on and off campus. He is also looking forward to leading Cascia Hall in the Cross Catholic Outreach, "Box of Joy" program, a new diocesan-wide effort to provide Christmas gifts for poor children in developing countries. "I believe it's important to help those in need, both near and far away," said Fr. Brian. He and fellow campus ministers, Adam Stoermer and Bonnie Leighty, are dreaming of ways to rebuild the Augustinian Youth Ministry (AYM). "Thirty students joined the club this year," said Fr. Brian. "We are hoping to go on mission trips and get involved in other service projects, both locally and regionally."
In his spare time, Fr. Brian likes to help out with Sunday Masses in local parishes. "Having been a parish priest, I know how hard they work," he said. "I enjoy reconnecting to parish life and giving the pastors a break." For the last ten years, he and fellow musician, Fr. Benedykt Pazdan, have raised more than $60,000 for various missions by traveling extensively to perform at different parishes and schools. They have produced four CD's, and all proceeds from sales benefit the missions. Fr. Brian "loves" baseball. During one of his recent concerts in New Mexico, he met an umpire with a major league team who gave him a season pass to all the major league games. "I have had the pleasure of watching a lot of baseball this year," he said happily.
In all that he does, Fr. Brian strives to espouse the Augustinian Core Values of Truth, Unity and Love. "I try to help the students and others realize how relevant Augustine's words are for us today," said Fr. Brian. "Even though he lived in the 4th and 5th centuries, his words still ring true."