Tribute Bishop John Steinbock

FRESNO, Calif.

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The 73-year-old Steinbock died December 5th after a four month battle with lung cancer. He served the Catholic Diocese of Fresno for 19 years.

225 members of the clergy, from as far away as Seattle, processed into St. Anthony's just after 10:30 Tuesday morning.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese presided over the service while the Bishop's close friend and new administrator of the Diocese -- Monsignor Myron Cotta -- gave the eulogy.

Other priests and deacons gathered for the service say Tuesday's funeral was like saying goodbye to a member of their family.

The Bishop's oldest brother, Father Leo Steinbock also participated in the service. His middle brother, Robert, sat in the front pews with his wife and 13 children.

The service was rich with tradition and reverence. But in the spirit of the spontaneity of Bishop Steinbock, the clergy processed out to the tune of "Joy to the World" ... The Bishop's favorite song, no matter what time of year.

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Bishop Steinbock's impact on the Central Valley

The large procession outside Saint Anthony of Padua Church served as a symbolic sign of respect for Bishop Steinbock.

Bishops, monsignors and priests were among hundreds of clergy lining the sidewalk.

Los Angeles Archdiocese Cardinal Roger Mahony presided over the mass as the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church in attendance.

Several dignitaries attended the services including the mayor of Fresno.

United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez said the Bishop was an advocate for farm worker rights and always took time to minister to those who worked in the fields.

"He was someone that was compassionate, he was someone that had certainly the faith but shared the faith with so many of us that often times feel like we are forgotten, that we're not a part of the regular society and he was there for us and he made sure that he knew that we were important in the eyes of god that we were children of god."

Many who attended the services brought their entire family to pay their respects to the Bishop. They say his legacy will live on through the work he accomplished in the Fresno Diocese.

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Bishop Steinbock laid to rest

After the service in northwest Fresno, the Bishop's body was taken across town to his final resting place.

Hundreds attended the burial service for Bishop Steinbock at Saint Peter's Cemetery, southwest of Fresno.

The Bishop was laid to rest with fellow priests, family members, and church members in attendance.

Steinbock was remembered as a humble man who lived his life serving others.

The bishop was buried alongside other priests and Reverend Aloysius Willinger -- the last Bishop of the Monterey-Fresno Diocese.

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