Bishop Alberto Rojas named coadjutor to Diocese of San Bernardino

By Chicago Catholic
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Bishop Alberto Rojas named coadjutor to Diocese of San Bernardino

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, 2019.
Newly ordained Bishop Rojas blesses Bishop Andrew Peter Wypych at the close of their ordination Mass. Cardinal George presided as consecrator during the Liturgy of Episcopal Ordination of Most Rev. Andrew Wypych and Most Rev. Alberto Rojas as bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago at Holy Name Cathedral on Aug. 10, 2011. (Jon L Hendricks/ChicagoCatholic)
Bishop Rojas plays the guitar and serenades Our Lady of Guadalupe during a Mass to celebrate a new image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was donated to Centro Espiritual Caminoy y Esperanza in St. Anne, Illinois, on Dec. 10, 2011. Members of the group escorted the image in a caravan of over 35 cars from Chicago. They made several stops to pray along the way. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas incenses the altar during the opening Mass as Catholics from the Chicago Archdiocese participate in the annual "antorcha Guadalupana, Guadalupe torch run, on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Dec. 11, 2012. More than 100,000 people participate in this overnight celebration honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine north of Chicago. (Karen Callaway,/ChicagoCatholic)
Bishop Rojas prepares to lift the monstrance during benediction at a candlelight vigil near the Albany Medical Surgical Center (Family Planning Associates), in Chicago to launch the 40 Days for Life Prayer Campaign on Sept. 26, 2012. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas washes the feet of teens during St. Agnes of Bohemia's "Pascua Juvenil" on Holy Thursday April 5, 2012. The three-day event was held at the Blessed Sacrament Youth Center, 3600 W. Cermak Road, in Little Village. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas joins participants in song during a Christmastime "posada" through the streets of Chicago Dec. 19, 2014. Catholic advocates for immigrants held the traditional re-enactment of Mary and Joseph's search for shelter as a time to give thanks for administrative relief and pray for reforms in the U.S. immigration system. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas celebrated Mother’s Day with a special Mass for Expectant Mothers at St. Joseph Parish, 4821 S. Hermitage Ave., on May 11, 2014. At the Mass, Bishop Rojas gave a special blessing to all mothers. A silk rose and medal of St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers, were given to all those awaiting the birth of a child. (Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas presided at a Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion liturgy for those preparing to enter the church at Holy Name Cathedral on March 12, 2017. Participants were called forth during this ceremony and would later receive the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation during the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday). (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich shares a light-hearted moment with Bishop Rojas prior to a Mass to honor Our Lady of Charity at St. Ita Church, 1220 W. Catalpa, on Sept. 8, 2017. Our Lady of Charity, also known as Our Lady of El Cobre, is often referred to as the patroness of Cuba. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas was the main celebrant for the closing Mass of a youth rally held before the March for Life at St. Ignatius College Prep on Jan. 15, 2017. The Mass was celebrated inside Holy Family Church on Roosevelt Road. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas was the main celebrant for a group of 18 who were instituted rites of Lectorate and Acolyte as part of the Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, 3721 W. 62nd St., on Aug. 23, 2019. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Rojas receives the gifts during a Mass at St. Hubert Parish in Hoffman Estates to give thanks for altar servers who serve in parishes in Vicariate 1 on Feb. 10, 2019. Over 100 altar servers attended the Mass and a pizza party afterwards. (Karen Callaway/ Chicago Catholic)

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.


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