Pope Francis named Bishop Alberto Rojas, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as the coadjutor bishop of San Bernardino, the nation’s fifth largest diocese, on Dec. 2. “We congratulate Bishop Alberto Rojas on his appointment to San Bernardino with hearts full of gratitude for all he has done for the Archdiocese of Chicago,” said Cardinal Cupich. “We will miss this beloved shepherd and know the people of San Bernardino will soon come to appreciate the blessing his appointment will be for their diocese. I am particularly pleased that he will serve with and learn from Bishop Barnes, an outstanding pastor and one of our nation’s most respected bishops.” Bishop Rojas said he is looking forward to the new assignment. “I am grateful to the Holy Father for this appointment and the opportunities it brings to serve God’s people in the Diocese of San Bernardino,” said Bishop Rojas. “I look forward to learning about the diocese from Bishop Barnes as coadjutor and assisting him in this moment of transition. “I will be forever grateful to the Archdiocese of Chicago for being my first local mother church who welcomed me with open arms from the beginning,” added Bishop Rojas “Many thanks to my three great shepherds and spiritual fathers: Cardinal Bernardin, Cardinal George and now, Cardinal Cupich. Thank you to my brother bishops and priests, deacons, religious sisters, vicariate teams, pastoral center employees and all the wonderful people at the parishes. Please keep me in your prayers as I will do for you. Peace and blessings to all.” Bishop Rojas is expected to begin his ministry as coadjutor bishop and relocate to the Diocese of San Bernardino in February 2020. A Mass of welcome is planned for Feb. 24. Bishop Rojas was born Jan. 5, 1965, in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and is the sixth of eight children of the late Fidel Rojas and Maria Cruz Garcia. He entered minor seminary in Mexico at age 13, but, after starting at the major seminary, he asked to take time away to experience working life, taking entry level jobs and earning a living for a time as a clerk in an accountant’s office. After about a year, he heard about Casa Jesus, a (now closed) house of discernment for Hispanic men in the Archdiocese of Chicago, from a seminarian friend who had a sister in Chicago. He called on a Friday afternoon in June; the rector said he’d call back on Monday to let him know if he was accepted. He was in Chicago by August. He was the first man to be ordained both priest and bishop by the late Cardinal George. His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Gregory the Great Parish, 5545 N. Paulina St. He then served as associate pastor of St. Ita, 5500 N. Broadway. Five years after being ordained a priest, he returned to Mundelein as director of Hispanic ministry. He served on the seminary faculty from 2002 to 2010. He was being assigned to serve as pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, 2735 S. Kolin Ave., in Little Village. He was named a bishop on June 13, 2011. After being ordained in August 2011, he served as episcopal vicar for Vicariate III. In September 2018, he became episcopal vicar of Vicariate I. Bishop Rojas has fulfilled a number of key assignments on national committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Hispanic Affairs, Liturgy, Catholic Home Missions and, most recently, as lead bishop for Region VII of the V Encuentro, a reflection and dialogue of the U.S. church on the growing prominence of Hispanics in the church. The Diocese of San Bernardino was founded July 14, 1978, and comprises San Bernardino and Riverside counties. It has 91 parishes, seven missions and five chapels in its territory, and it is considered a home mission diocese; its cathedral is Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral in San Bernardino. The San Bernardino Diocese has over 1.7 million Catholics out of a total population of over 4.5 million.