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Catholic community welcomes new Bishop

On March 15, Myron Cotta was installed as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Stockton, which oversees the majority of the 209 area, but his connection with the region goes back to his childhood in Dos Palos.

Bishop Cotta, 65, was born of Portuguese heritage in Dos Palos and grew up on a dairy farm. He attended public and Catholic schools in Dos Palos and graduated from Dos Palos High School. He later attended West Hills Junior College and entered St. John’s College Seminary in Camarillo, Calif., in 1980 to finish his undergraduate studies and continued at the major seminary, where he finished his theological studies and received his master’s degree in divinity. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Fresno on Sept. 12, 1987.

His parish assignments included: St. Anthony, Atwater; the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Laton; and the Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles, Gustine. From July 1999 until his appointment to the Diocese of Sacramento, he served the Diocese of Fresno as vicar general, moderator of the curia, vicar for clergy, director of continuing education of the clergy, supervisor of the Safe Environment Program and director of the Propagation of the Faith. He was named Chaplain to His Holiness on March 23, 2002 and Prelate of Honor in January 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.

“As a native son of the Central Valley he knows the area very well and in turn is well known for his pastoral leadership,” said Diocese of Stockton spokesman Joseph Dondero in a news release.

He served as Vicar General in the Diocese of Fresno where he was a priest and most recently served as Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Sacramento.

In his statement, Bishop Cotta thanked Pope Francis for his appointment. “It is humbling and an honor to be called by God to this ministry of service to the church, in particular to the Diocese of Stockton. As I prepare to leave the Diocese of Sacramento, I thank God for the call to the episcopacy and for the many blessings that I have experienced over 30 years of ordained priesthood among God’s people within the Central Valley of California.

“I thank God for the opportunity to have served and shared the ministry of auxiliary bishop under Bishop Jaime Soto, along with the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Sacramento. This experience has significantly contributed to my ongoing pastoral formation.

“I now look forward to this transition and to work with the Pastoral Center Team and Staff, here, in Stockton.”