Dairy farm to the episcopate: Stockton gets a new bishop

Dairy farm to the episcopate: Stockton gets a new bishop

Dairy farm to the episcopate: Stockton gets a new bishop

Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Myron J. Cotta of Sacramento, Calif., to succeed Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif. On Jan. 23, the pope accepted the resignation of Blaire, who is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. Cotta is pictured in a 2014 photo. (Credit: CNS photo/Diocese of Sacramento.)

On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta, who grew up on a dairy farm and has until now served as an auxiliary bishop in Sacramento, has been tapped to take the reins in the Diocese of Stockton.

ROME – On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta, who grew up on a dairy farm and has until now served as an auxiliary bishop in Sacramento, has been tapped to take the reins in the Diocese of Stockton.

In a Jan. 23 communique, the Vatican announced that Cotta will be taking over for Bishop Stephen Blaire, who has passed the age of 75, when bishops are required to submit letters of resignation to the pope.

Born March 21, 1953, in Dos Palos, California, Cotto grew up on a dairy farm in Merced County and attended public school, graduating from Dos Palos High, according to a biography on the Sacramento diocese’s website.

After graduation, Cotta obtained an associate’s degree from West Hills Junior College in 1973. He entered St. John’s College Seminary in Camarillo in 1980 to finish his undergraduate studies. From there, he entered major seminary where he finished his theological education and received a Master’s degree in Divinity.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fresno in 1987. After his ordination, Cotta carried out several pastoral assignments, including St. Anthony parish in Atwater; the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Laton; and the Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles in Gustine.

In July 1999 he was named vicar general for the diocese of Fresno, and since that time has also served as Moderator of the Curia, Vicar for Clergy, Director of Continuing Education of the Clergy, supervisor of the Safe Environment Program and director of the office for the Propagation of the Faith.

Cotta was named “Chaplain to His Holiness” in 2002, and “Prelate of Honor” in 2009, receiving the title “Monsignor.”

He served as diocesan administrator for Fresno from 2010-2012 after the death of the late Bishop John Steinbock. In 2014 Cotta was named auxiliary bishop of Sacramento. He was ordained March 25, 2014.

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cotta serves as part of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs. In addition to English, he also speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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