.- Pope Benedict XVI’s March 7 appointment of Fr. Liam Stephen Cary as the new bishop of Oregon’s Baker diocese was warmly received by Catholic bishops in the region.
Archbishop John G. Vlazny of Portland, presently on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, praised the news and called Fr. Cary “one of Portland’s finest priests.”
“For me, the appointment is bittersweet. The gain for the Diocese of Baker and the college of bishops is apparent. At the same time, the loss for the clergy and people of the Archdiocese of Portland is significant,” the bishop said in a March 8 statement. “As they say, ‘the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Lord.’”
“Through the ministry of Bishop Cary, the people of Baker will be wisely taught and truly blessed. From my experience I am confident that Bishop Cary will humbly and lovingly do his part.”
Bishop-designate Cary was born in Portland on Aug. 21, 1947 and was raised in the central Oregon city of Prineville. He graduated from Mount Angel Seminary High School in 1965 and received a degree in philosophy from Mount Angel Seminary four years later. He attended St. Patrick Seminary from 1969 to 1970.
After leaving seminary on his own decision, he took many positions in service to those in need. He volunteered in a legal assistance office in Chicago for three years and at a legal clinic sponsored by the United Farm Workers in Salinas, Calif.
He began working with St. Vincent de Paul Society in Eugene, Oregon, and his involvement in St. Mary’s Catholic Church there rekindled his desire to become a priest, the Archdiocese of Portland said.
The bishop-designate resumed studies for ordination in 1988 at the North American College of Rome. He attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and earned a licentiate in sacred theology in 1992.
Archbishop William J. Levada, the then-Archbishop of Portland who now heads the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ordained Cary to the priesthood in 1992.
The priest has served in several pastoral assignments and as the director of vocations. Since July of 2011 he has been pastor of Eugene’s St. Mary Parish. In addition to English, he knows Spanish, Italian and Latin.
Archbishop Vlazny said Bishop-designate Cary understands church leadership is a “ministry of service.”
“God bless you Bishop Liam! You are a good man, disciple and priest. I have no doubt that you will be an excellent bishop, a devoted servant of God’s people, a brother, friend and neighbor whom the archbishop of Portland will treasure.”
Emeritus Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., who was the Diocese of Baker’s apostolic administrator, said the diocese welcomes the new bishop “with profound joy and gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI.”
“He will find vibrant communities of faith in this diocese even in the more remote rural parishes where parishioners live out their faith in remarkable ways,” Bishop Skylstad said March 8.
He asked Catholics to remember their future bishop in their prayers as he prepares for his new duties.
The bishop-to-be will be the third priest from the Archdiocese of Portland to be named Bishop of Baker.
The Diocese of Baker has about 34,000 Catholics in a population of over 526,000. Its previous bishop, Robert Vasa, is now coadjutor of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in California.