Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton; Names Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta as Successor

January 23, 2018 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Stockton, California, and has named Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta as his successor, up until now the Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento. 

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, January 23, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta was born on March 21, 1953 in Dos Palos, California. He attended St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, 1980-1987, receiving a bachelor's degree and master of divinity degree. 

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Fresno, California, on September 12, 1987. Parish assignments included: Parochial vicar, St. Anthony, Atwater (1987-1989); administrator of the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Laton (1989-1992); and pastor of Our Lady of Miracles, Gustine (1994); as well as administrator, Holy Rosary Parish, Hilmar (1994). 

Since 1996, he has served on the board of trustees, priest's retirement board and personnel board. Since 1999, his duties have included vicar general, moderator of the curia, board of consultors, vicar of clergy, director of continuing formation of the clergy, director of the Propagation of the Faith, director of pastoral support of the priests sensitive claims board, member of the diocesan finance council, and supervisor of the safe environment program. 

He was named a chaplain to his holiness (monsignor) in 2002 and a prelate of honor in 2009. Upon the death of Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno on Dec. 5, 2010, Bishop Cotta was elected by the Diocesan College of Consultors as the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Fresno. He served as administrator from Dec. 7, 2010 until Feb. 1, 2012, when Bishop Armando Ochoa assumed leadership of the Diocese of Fresno. 

On January 24, 2014 Pope Francis appointed Cotta as the fifth Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, and he was ordained a bishop on March 25, 2014. 

Bishop Stephen Blaire was born December 22, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo in 1967, where he earned a master's in Theology. He also has graduate degrees in Education and Secondary School Administration. 

He was ordained to the priesthood on April 29, 1967 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 

Assignments after ordination included: associate pastor, St. Luke's Church, 1967-1972; teacher/administrator, Alemany High School, 1972-1976; Vice Principal, Bishop Amat High School, 1976-1977; principal, Bishop Alemany High School, 1977-1986; Moderator of the Curia/Chancellor, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1986-1994; vicar general, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1990-1996. 

On May 31, 1990, he ordained as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Titular Bishop of Lamzella by Cardinal Roger Mahony. On January 19, 1999, he was appointed Bishop of Stockton by Pope John Paul II and was installed as the fifth Bishop of Stockton March 16, 1999 at the Cathedral of the Annunciation. 

As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishops Blaire has served as the chairman of the Pastoral Practices Committee and as a member of the Committee for Ecu-menical and Interreligious Affairs. Bishop Blaire has also served locally as president of the Cali-fornia Catholic Conference. In 2009, he was elected chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development. 

The Diocese of Stockton is comprised of 9,938 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 1,376,940 of which 298,061 or 22 percent, are Catholic. 

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Diocese of Stockton, Diocese of Sacramento


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