The man at the helm of the Fresno Catholic Diocese

FRESNO, Calif.

While an extensive search is underway for his replacement, the diocese elected an administrator, Monsignor Myron Cotta to run things in the meantime.

58-year-old Monsignor Myron Cotta took over the day to day operations of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno in mid-December.

Since then, he's been in charge of not only the administrative side of running the diocese, but is spiritual leader for the parishes and its priests.

The Monsignor jokes, "With all this, your prayer life improves a lot (laugh)."

Monsignor Cotta grew up as the son of dairy farmers in Dos Palos. He's Portuguese, which makes for a different leadership style in the chancery office.

He says the bishop was more reserved, Monsignor Cotta is more demonstrative. He says it was a good blend when he was the bishop's vicar general, or the bishop's right-hand man.

"He would put everything back into perspective like in a snap of the fingers in a word or two ... okay Cotta ... back off ... calm down ... whatever," said Monsignor Cotta.

It's that counsel from the bishop that has helped Monsignor Cotta move through his days as Diocesean Administrator. His biggest challenge he says, is just maintaining the status quo until a new bishop is appointed. And that new bishop, could even be Monsignor Cotta.

The Monsignor said, "I guess that's a possibility in that whole process. Again maybe for some of those reasons, because of being a vicar general and knowing what's going on versus someone coming in and not knowing a lot."

The process of selecting a new bishop for the diocese could take up to a year.

In the meantime, Monsignor Cotta has his work cut out for him.

"I think it's keeping centered is the challenge, knowing where my strength comes from, and staying focused."

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