Thousands expected for Bishop Steinbock's funeral

FRESNO, Calif.

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Plans are underway to accommodate Catholic cardinals, bishops, and priests from all over California.

The visitation and viewing for Bishop John Steinbock will take place Monday at St. John's Cathedral in downtown Fresno. But because the diocese is expecting thousands to turn out for the bishop's funeral, St. Anthony of Padua church in northwest Fresno was chosen for the service. The sanctuary seats more than 1300, its nearby parish hall can hold another 1500.

Father Patrick McCormick of St. Patrick's parish in Merced is the master of ceremonies for the funeral. He says more than 300 priests from all over the state plan to take part.

Father McCormick said, "You're going to see a lot of priests coming from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who are classmates of his when he was in the seminary with him and worked with him, part of his history, he was the 1st president of the council of priests from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles."

The bishop spent his early priesthood in Los Angeles, but was also the Archbishop of Orange, and the Bishop of Santa Rosa before coming to Fresno. Father Patrick says Bishop Steinbock was loved by priests and lay people alike.

Father McCormick said, "He was really a people's bishop. You know, he was very down to earth, he was a holy man, but he really took part in people's lives, he wasn't an individual who was separate from the ordinary life, he was really a part of everyone's life."

The process to name a new bishop could take up to 18 months. Recommendations come from a council of bishops, the names of three finalists are sent to the pope, who then chooses the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

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