In the space of just four decades, the church in Southern California's "Inland Empire" based in San Bernardino has grown at a nearly unparalleled rate: today, the two-county diocese's 1.8 million Catholics comprise a fold as large as Brooklyn (just slightly smaller than Boston) – all told, the US' fifth-largest outpost, now some seven times its size at its founding in 1978.
And now, for just the third time in its history, San Bernardino is under new management... well, it will be soon – at Roman Noon, in a surprise pick, the Pope named Bishop Alberto Rojas (above), the 54 year-old auxiliary of Chicago, as coadjutor to Bishop Gerald Barnes. The Mexican-born choice, who came to the US as a seminarian before his ordination in 1997, will succeed Barnes at the mammoth see's helm shortly after the veteran incumbent – who's led the diocese since 1996 – reaches the retirement age of 75 next June.
Culmination - Transition - Plan - East - LA-born
The culmination of a two-year transition plan charted by the East LA-born Barnes, his succession has fallen to the only active Hispanic auxiliary in any of the nation's three largest dioceses. In...
Wake Up To Breaking News!