.- The Vatican announced this morning that Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Bishop Robert J. Baker, currently the bishop of Charleston, South Carolina to head the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.
The Diocese of Birmingham will introduce Bishop Baker as its new bishop-elect this morning in a press conference at 10:30 a.m. at St. Paul's Cathedral Life Center.
The diocese has been without a bishop since 2005 when Bishop David Foley retired but remained on as the diocesan administrator until now. One institution that makes the diocese stand out is EWTN, the global Catholic satellite network founded by Mother Angelica.
Bishop Baker, a native of Ohio, is aware of the potential impact of EWTN and has co-authored the book, "When Did We See You, Lord?" with EWTN personality the Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel.
The newly appointed bishop wrote in a letter to the faithful of South Carolina that he is grateful for his time there and that it is hard for him to leave. “How blessed I have been these past eight years as your bishop, working closely together with all of you to build up the kingdom of Christ here in South Carolina. [I]t is not easy for me to say good-bye, especially to people who have helped me learn to be a bishop, first-hand.”
Bishop Baker will remain administrator of the Diocese of Charleston until he is installed as Bishop of Birmingham in the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham at 3 p.m. Tuesday, October 2, 2007.
Bishop Baker's full statement can be found on the Diocese of Charleston’s Web site at www.catholic-doc.org .