WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Edward W. Clark of Los Angeles, who is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope.

Clark was appointed an auxiliary bishop by St. John Paul II in January 2001, and he was ordained to the episcopacy by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles in March 2001. He was assigned to Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region, where he currently serves.

He has served the Los Angeles Archdiocese for almost 50 years. A native of Minneapolis, he was ordained a priest of the archdiocese in 1972.

His resignation was announced in Washington Feb. 15 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez congratulated Clark on his retirement, noting that as a bishop, “he has served Jesus Christ and the faithful of Los Angeles with zeal, dedication and love” for more than 20 years.

“As the auxiliary bishop entrusted to the archdiocese’s largest and most diverse pastoral region, he will be remembered as a shepherd who was always close to the people he served, especially those who were poor and living on the margins,” the archbishop said in a statement.

Clark’s “lasting legacy,” he added, “includes his strong work against the scourge of racism and discrimination against African Americans and his commitment to building up the bonds of mutual trust and respect with our Native American brothers and sisters.”

Raised in Minnesota, Idaho and California’s Orange County, the future priest and bishop attended local schools in Los Angeles and graduated from St. John’s Seminary College in 1968.

After his priestly ordination, Clark served as an associate pastor at two California parishes, St. James Parish in Redondo Beach and St. Joseph Parish in Pomona. He received a master’s degree in religion from St. John’s Seminary in 1972 and a master’s degree in education from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles in 1983.

The archdiocese’s Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region, which Clark has headed as auxiliary bishop, covers nearly 9,000 square miles and encompasses 120 cities in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

It includes four deaneries and has 77 parishes, 12 high schools, 48 elementary schools, two hospitals and four parochial missions. The region is home to over 1 million Catholics.

With approximately 5 million Catholics, the Los Angeles Archdiocese is the largest archdiocese in the United States.