SAN BERNARDINO–Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, announced early Monday morning that Pope Francis has named Bishop Alberto Rojas as the Coadjutor Bishop of San Bernardino.
Bishop Rojas, 54, will work alongside Diocesan Bishop Gerald Barnes until his retirement and then become the third Ordinary Bishop in the 41-year history of the Diocese of San Bernardino. Per Church law, Bishop Barnes will submit his letter of resignation to Pope Francis on his 75th birthday – June 22, 2020.
Bishop Rojas was introduced to the media and local diocesan leaders at a morning news conference held at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in San Bernardino.
I will bring with me my trust in God and a humility at the responsibility He has given me,” Bishop Rojas said in his remarks. “I will have much to learn from the people of this Diocese and I pledge to open myself to what you have to share.”
Bishop Barnes called the announcement of Bishop Rojas an “historic day” in the life of the Diocese. He expressed hope that Bishop Rojas’ time as Coadjutor will serve to familiarize him with the vast and populous Diocese of San Bernardino, the nation’s fifth largest, covering 27,000 square miles across two counties.
“I asked the Vatican to send us a Coadjutor Bishop so that he would have a chance to get to know the Diocese, and the Diocese would have a chance to get to know him,” Bishop Barnes said before introducing Bishop Rojas at the press conference. “I know my time here as Auxiliary Bishop was extremely helpful in preparing me to be the Ordinary Bishop. I wanted the same for our Coadjutor Bishop.”
Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago offered words congratulations to the Diocese and praised Bishop Rojas’ pastoral gifts.
"Bishop Alberto Rojas is beloved here in Chicago. As we congratulate him on his appointment to San Bernardino, we do so with hearts full of gratitude for all he has done. He will be missed. Soon the faithful, religious and clergy of San Bernardino will come to love and respect this holy and intelligent man, as we do here in Chicago. I am confident he will build on the good work of Bishop Barnes, a dedicated pastor who is one of the most respected bishops in our country."
Bishop Rojas was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and emigrated to the United States in 1993 to complete his seminary formation at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. He was ordained a priest in 1997, working in parish ministry and then as a teacher at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. He was ordained a bishop in 2011, serving Episcopal Vicar in Vicariate III and then Vicariate I. He has fulfilled a number of key assignments on national committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) including Hispanic Affairs, Liturgy, Catholic Home Missions and, most recently, as lead bishop for Region VII of the V Encuentro, a reflection and dialogue of the U.S. Church on the growing prominence of Hispanics in the Church.
Bishop Rojas said he would like to focus his ministry as Coadjutor Bishop initially in such areas as outreach to the poor, youth and young adult ministry, vocations and Catholic schools.
“Bishop Barnes has told me that the greatest treasure of the Diocese of San Bernardino is the faithful spirit of the people here,“ he said during Monday’s press conference. “As I prepare for this new chapter in my ministry as a bishop, I really couldn’t ask for more than that.”
Bishop Rojas was to stay in Diocese until Dec. 3 before returning to Chicago. He is expected to begin his ministry as Coadjutor Bishop and relocate to the Diocese of San Bernardino in February.
Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4giqIe8kx-M&feature=youtu.be to watch the press conference