Bishop Vasa to Santa Rosa

“My 11 years in the Diocese of Baker have been a grace and blessing for me, and while I have experienced a number of challenges in the diocese, I can say that I have never regretted saying ‘yes’ the first time the apostolic nuncio contacted me.”

The Most Rev. Robert Francis Vasa, 59, Catholic bishop of the Baker Diocese, will become coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in Northern California on March 4. Eventually, Vasa will succeed Bishop Daniel Walsh, 73, who requested the help of a coadjutor bishop. Catholic bishops submit their resignations at age 75. When Walsh resigns, Vasa will become bishop.

The announcement was made today, Jan. 24, by the papal nuncio in Washington, D.C. The Diocese of Baker, with its headquarters in Bend, includes about 40,000 Catholics.

Vasa has been bishop of Baker since 2000. He’s known as a defender of orthodox Catholic teaching, which some consider under attack from within and outside of the church. He required lay ministers within the Baker Diocese to sign an oath of fidelity. In February 2010, he endedCatholic sponsorship of St. Charles Medical Center in Bend because doctors there performed tubal ligations, a sterilization procedure, on women.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Baker said an apostolic administrator will be named while the church searches for a bishop to take Vasa’s place.

— Nancy Haught, OregonLive.com

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