Pope appoints new bishop for Fresno Diocese

FRESNO, Calif.

The Texas town has many similarities to the Central Valley and local priests and parishioners seem excited to see how Ochoa leads the Roman Catholics here.

In the same diocese he has led for 15 years, /*Bishop Armando Ochoa*/ said he has bittersweet feelings about leaving Texas for California.

"It's really with a sad heart that I take this new responsibility," said Ochoa. "This has been my home, and more than just my home. It's been my family for the last 15 years."

Local Catholics learned of the new appointment at noon on the Roman Catholic Diocese Channel 49.

Msgr. Myron Cotta said, "And let us be reminded as we being this joyful season of advent let us give praise and thanks to god for the appointment of Armando Ochoa, the new bishop of the diocese of Fresno, and our shepherd."

A local priest, familiar with Ochoa says he will be a great fit for the catholic community- especially considering his past experience and passion for people.

/*Father Mike Lastiri*/ said, "He'll be a spokesperson for social justice, for Hispanics and for all groups, but has a special love for those undocumented immigrants who so often come to our churches and he understands them well."

Ochoa replaces /*Bishop John Steinbock*/. Steinbock passed away a year ago. Some local parishioners are very pleased about Ochoa's background and strengths.

"Especially in this area because we have such a large Hispanic community," said Francie Manzanares. "It seems to me that because he's coming from Texas and also born in California that he has knowledge and will bring some expertise into those areas."

Ochoa was good friends with Steinbeck. He said his death is still fresh on his mind and he knows he has big shoes to fill. Ochoa will come to Fresno next week for two days to get familiar with staff and priests. He will take over the leadership role within the next few months.

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