Central Valley Catholics to be led by one of own; new Stockton diocese bishop named

A priest born in the Central Valley has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new bishop of the Diocese of Stockton.

Dos Palos native Bishop Myron Cotta was named on Tuesday by the pope to succeed Bishop Stephen Blaire as leader of the diocese, which includes the greater Modesto region. Cotta will be installed on March 15, just six days before his 65th birthday.

Blaire resigned from the post in December when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, according to a press release from the diocese.

Born of Portuguese heritage in the Merced County town of Dos Palos, Cotta "knows the area very well and in turn is well known for his pastoral leadership," according to the release. He has served as Vicar General in the Diocese of Fresno, where he was a priest and most recently was Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Sacramento.

Cotta will be the sixth bishop for the Stockton diocese, which leads more than 300,000 Catholics in churches throughout Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mono, and Alpine counties. Blaire will continue to oversee the diocese leading up to Cotta's March installation.

We'll have more on this breaking story as information becomes available.