Armando Ochoa installed as new Bishop of Fresno

Armando Xavier Ochoa was formally installed as the new Bishop of Fresno at an afternoon Mass on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Among the dignitaries attending the standing-room-only installation Mass at Fresno’s St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church were U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, Cardinal Roger Mahony and San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer. 

The 1100-seat sanctuary at St. Anthony of Padua was filled to capacity, with hundreds outside peering through the church’s windows. The 1:30 p.m. Mass was broadcast live on KNXT Catholic television, which allowed students in many diocesan schools to watch.

Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Ochoa, 68, as the fifth bishop of Fresno on Dec. 1, 2011. Before that he had been Bishop of El Paso, Texas, since 1996. The Fresno diocese, with more than 1 million Catholics, is the 14th largest diocese in the U.S,

Bishop Ochoa was born April 9, 1943, in Oxnard. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provided the following biographical information when his appointment was announced in December 2011:

He studied at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1970.

Bishop Ochoa served in several Los Angeles parishes and was associate director of the Spanish-speaking permanent diaconate for the archdiocese. He was named an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles in 1986, and named bishop of El Paso in 1996.

At the national level, he has served on bishops’ committees on vocations, laity, permanent diaconate, Hispanic affairs and migration.


Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 1:09 AM By charlio
Let those who don’t have the responsibility withhold their criticism. Our Lord had some mysterious purpose for putting His Church under a hierarchical structure, which He succinctly conveyed in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The angels rejoice at the conversion of a lost shepherd more than 999,999 others who seem to be standing (let them see that they don’t fall, 1st Corinthians 10:12). Those of you experts who are prone to lighting up your flames of anger before committing your intentions to prayer, just consider that you couldn’t stand up for 5 minutes under the pressures the Bishops have to shoulder before crumpling like the wicked witch of the west. St. John Vianney said for us to take our concerns to the Blessed Sacrament rather than filling up the newspapers with them. Beware.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 4:53 AM By Paul
What are you basing any of this upon? Seriously, people need to be accountable and they need to do their job. If they don’t others have the right to hold them responsible for that. Even if they are a bishop and they’ve held that office for more than 5 minutes.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 6:27 AM By JLS
charlio, you forgot to quote the verse “go along to get along”.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 8:36 AM By Charles in CenCA
Charles and charlio are in concord (not the town in Contra Costa;-) The saturation of animus in RCC blogdom, some of which I freely admit I have been at times a contributor (God forgive me!) has compelled me to re-examine my own conscience as how to best project and support the gospel of our Lord and advance that agenda as a member of His one true Church. As present at the installation as a musician/singer (my wife was the psalmist) I must say that any preconceptions I may have held regarding our bishop were disspelled at various and repeated moments before and during the Mass. This is not to say nothing that has been reported, discussed, conjured or speculated upon here and elsewhere are not serious issues of concern. But the zeitgeist that seems to thrive malignantly upon rhetorical and righteousness index’s marking who, at the moment, is King of the Mountain, is an accelerant to noxious fire that does not purify or cleanse, but pollutes our hearts, twists our thoughts, forks our tongues. People, this is no Rodney King moment of exasperation. It’s not about folks just getting along. My take is that it is finally time to close ranks among those who profess the Creed of our Church, choosing to live a sanctified and sacramental life in which none of us have any right to throw the first stone, but are also admonished to go forth and sin no more. We, the church militant, will prevail against Satan in God’s time and wisdom. But we should not confuse the unity that must BE in place by mistaking the church militant with “church militias” that treasure territory and turf in order to protect the ramparts of the front gates, while by our egoist reactions we, ourselves, let the enemy slip in unnoticed and dwell WITHIN OUR HOUSE! Do we not have more urgent missions and work than to wag our tongues spreading despair and (sometimes) calumny. Again, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 8:38 AM By Roberta Genini
Among all the serious discussion about whether or not Bishop Ochoa will be a true or false shepherd of our Diocese of Fresno, a more humorous question arises: How in the world could people outside St. Anthony of Padua Church look in through the church’s windowns? All of them are stained glass, translucent but not transparent.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 8:47 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Charlio, you are right. It is easy to criticize anything from the outside looking in. We can sit in the audience and pick up errors by pianists, ballerinas, orchestra conductors, and speakers and choose to criticize or accept the error as part of human frailty in an otherwise superb performance. Serving a child as his or her parent presents hundreds of choices per day to which one can respond in a myriad of ways, some far better than others. Serving as a bishop to a flock of mostly unrelated souls with differing points of view and even different interpretations of the same doctrine must be far more challenging and perhaps even exhausting at times, and there is no sending an uncontrollable member of the flock to his room with no dinner. We expect our bishops to be Christlike at every moment and have little room in our hearts for forgiveness. I know I chafed for years under a recently retired bishop who upset me at the deepest levels, and I know I am still glad he is gone, but I always knew he was doing the best he could considering his own world view, which differs greatly from mine. All of us are aware of popes throughout history who have served us poorly. Even Peter had his failings, as we all know, as a mere human being. Each of us requires forgiveness. When I seek inspiration from a perfect being, I look to Jesus. I see all bishops now and throughout history as mere human beings, not unlike myself. Even saints were once merely our fellow human beings, doing their best. As a rule, the same can be said for bishops.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 10:00 AM By charlio
Like it or not, the Episcopacy has greater dignity than the Laity, by the Lord’s deliberate design. Judas had greater dignity than the disiples who were not Apostles. (Blessed Mary of Agreda wrote that our Lady agonized that he might be saved.) There would have been extreme rejoicing if Judas had been saved. We respect the office, not the man. Don’t like how the Lord arranged it? Take it up with Him. But you’ll waste less time if instead you pray for Bishop Ochoa.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 10:28 AM By Magdalene
Good luck, Fresno.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 12:44 PM By MacDonald
Seems like the faithful of Fresno are happily welcoming their new bishop. What a novel idea — a warm welcome!

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 4:52 PM By Life Lady
Thanks be to God that His Church is continuing and will prevail, even against the gates of Hell. The enemy is everywhere, seeking (seeking, get that) to devour. Whether we give him the means to devour us is our job, as we are called to be faithful followers of Christ. Someone else said it very well, “human beings, we are all just human beings” as even the Pope himself. The only Perfect Person was/IS Christ, and He was crucified. Let us all take up our crosses, as we are called to do, and to carry them in faithful union with Christ. No matter what happens to each of us, we are called to holiness, we are called to strive for it, to work for it, so, no passing judgement on others as the mote in our eye may be larger and uglier than the person we presume to judge. Pray, in every way, for this new bishop as he takes up his cross with this new assignment, and please, PRAY for all our bishops, and the Holy Father, that we may all serve Our Lord faithfully, in the manner that we have been called to serve. Praise be to Jesus Christ, True God and True Man.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 6:06 PM By Traditional Angelo
This day is a mixed one for me. Being from the Fresno Diocese I have the right to be concerned about the future of our Diocese. Our new Bishop is known for being heavy handed, against those faithful to the Church. I hope he reads CalCathDaily and takes into consideration the fact that the Church belongs to Jesus. And that it does not belong to the whims and fancies of liberal dissidents. I have the responsibility of obedience to him, but thank God there is in the Church what is termed “Holy disobedience”. We all have the obligation to obey our Bishops who are in UNION WITH THE HOLY FATHER. With this in mind, I will be very cautious. Perhaps God’s will is that Bishop Ochoa be here in California. As on this site he will hear voices he cannot silence.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 10:08 PM By Traditional Angelo
Charlio, You are correct the Episcopacy is higher than the laity. And it always will be that way. The only thing that worries me is what Saints have stated, “Hell is littered with the skulls of Bishops.” Judas Iscariot was the first Bishop to fall into hell. Today we have some worse than the Iscariot.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 7:33 AM By charlio
Well, technically, only our Lord knows for sure the ultimate disposition of Judas Iscariot’s soul.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 8:01 AM By Larry
Charlio: True, but Our Lord did say, “better for him if he had never been born.” That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 8:16 AM By MIKE
TA, don’t count on a Bishop reading CCD, or his Staff pointing out problems behind the scenes. The Faithful of each Diocese must contact the Bishop directly when there are serious issues that need his attention. If they are not taken care of in a reasonable time frame, contact the US Papal Nuncio and the Vatican. When contacting a Bishop, always use the “CCC 2nd Ed”, “Code of Canon Law”, or GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) for documentation that you are correct. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when appointing Judas Iscariot as an Apostle – to show us that not all Bishops are good and bad Bishops should not be followed. Bishops must be followed when in full accord with the CCC in entirety – so that we may know the difference the Magisterium has wisely given us this great gift of true teaching.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 8:22 AM By Catherine
Thanks Larry, you beat me to it. I too, thought that Our Lord mentioned that technicality when he said, “better for him if he had never been born.”

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 1:50 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
charlio, 1:09 AM, “Those of you experts who are prone to lighting up your flames of anger before committing your intentions to prayer”. How do you know that we don’t first commit our intentions to DEEP prayer? God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 1:59 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Charlio and Charles in CenCA, I think you really would have been critical of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church. Here is what she once stated: “”We’ve Had Enough Of Exhortations To Be Silent! Cry Out With A Hundred Thousand Tongues. I See That The World Is Rotten Because Of Silence.” I hope you get the point! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 2:10 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
As one who has many orthodox priest friends in the Diocese of Fresno, and one knew Fr. Ochoa before Mahony worked to get him made a Bishop, I am very concerned for those priest friends, and yes I pray for the Bishop and those priest especially, but all his priests as well. Some of you want to imply that criticism excludes prayer. Boy that would be news to many of the Saints of God, especially St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 6:25 PM By k
Mr. fisher, I have tried very hard to find the source of that quote. I can’t find it in The Dialogue or any other writing. Do you know where the qote comes from?

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 6:36 PM By Charles in CenCA
Kenneth, I have nothing but the utmost respect for you based upon your posts. But please do not construe what I’ve said above as an exhortaton to complciity and silence towards sin. There is NOTHING in my post that proposes that insensitivity. There is everything in my post that proposes discretion and an avoidance to rush to judgment. Please retract your association of my comments as divirgent to the Doctor of the Church. Thank you.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:44 PM By Janek
And Father Rodriguez remains a Holy priest, please pray for Father, loyal to Rome and The Traditional Latin Mass. You are not alone Father Rodriguez we will pray for you!!

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:12 PM By JLS
Why is it held that bishops are always doing the best they can to serve God and the problems are due to their weakness, which would be overcome if only enough people prayed for them?

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:14 PM By JLS
Hey, Mike, I like that post; you’re starting to figure stuff out on your own instead of parroting materials that you do not understand … which seems to be one of the banes of some Catholic educational traditions.

Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2012 9:12 AM By Fr. Angel Sotelo
It is interesting that Ochoa was unheard of until his fight with Fr. Rodriguez and now everyone seems so assured of his heterodoxy, and feeling sorry for Fresno priests. The worse problems are actually caused not by bishops who usually leave us alone unless we go looking to pick a fight but gossipy lay faithful eager to goad priests into conflicts like spectators at a cage fight. Please pray, seriously, especially for the younger orthodox priests to have prudence and common sense without which they do more damage than good.

Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2012 12:47 PM By Traditional Angelo
Fr. Angel Sotelo, In the past good priests in the Fresno Diocese have remained silent in obedience to their Bishops. The laity likewise remained silent because of the tradition that the Bishop is head of the Diocese. In the past the only Priests and Laity that did not and will not remain silent are the liberal ones. Do you remember how they destroyed Bishop Joseph Madera? As a priest of this Diocese I’m sure your well aware of how the liberals forced Bishop Steinbock to do their bidding. Well we the laity at least will no longer be mere spectators, we are and will continue to jump in to the “cage fight”, until God and his Church prevails. Fr. Sotelo with all due respect, this is not a worldly battle its a spiritual one and we the laity must be shown all due respect as the people of God. We take our cue from St. Catherine of Sienna Doctor of the Church who succesfuly blasted Bishops, Cardinals and even the Pope, which she did for love of God.

Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2012 6:55 PM By Fr. Angel Sotelo
Angelo: I know the good priests in this diocese; they are my close friends. I don’t know of even one who feels forced into silence or hindered in their ministry. B. Madera’s departure was from financial difficulties, not liberal priests. And B. Steinbock was not forced to do anyone’s bidding. I considered him my friend, and I can assure you, he was nobody’s lacky or pansy. Precisely because this is a spiritual battle, it must be fought with those spiritual arms which are essential to the Catholic spirituality: charity, humility, quiet and assuming service, and the love of enemies so they are converted by our example, not our blows to their head or their reputations.

Posted Thursday, February 09, 2012 9:06 PM By MacDonald
Posted Friday, January 14, 2011 7:17 AM By Central Valley “Any parish to be fortunate to have Fr. Sotelo as pastor is truly blessed. Seminarians in the diocese should be assigned to Fr. Sotelo so they will see what it is to be a priest. Missing from this article is how much Fr. Sotelo has offered to the traditional Catholics in the diocese. Although I was critical of the past bishop and some of the clergy in the Fresno diocese, Fr. Angel is a standout. As the diocese awaits a new bishop, Fr. Sotelo would be one of my few choices to come from within the diocese. A fine man and a fine priest. I am very forunate to have had him come into my life.” Posted Friday, January 14, 2011 4:09 AM By Angelo “Fr. Angel Sotelo has a great devotion to the Tridentine Mass. He has an excellant voice for saying or chanting the traditional Latin Mass. I wonder if he has scheduled Masses according to the Old Rite.”

Posted Thursday, February 09, 2012 9:49 PM By Traditional Angelo
Fr. Angel Sotelo, I happen to know of certain Priests who were and are not happy with the going on’s in the Fresno Diocese. I have first hand knowledge of a priest who was extremely discouraged by “how he has been treated by this Diocese.” He is Traditional, and the liberal priests made his life impossible. Fr. Sotelo, I who am a layman know of many of the problems priest face with the liberals. Fr. Sotelo are you being truly honest with us? Or are you writing in this manner in the hopes that Bishop Ochoa may show us mercy? If Bishop Ochoa deprives us of our God given rights as Catholics, then he must be opposed. A certain Saint said, “Sometimes a slap on the face is better than a few kind words.” If Bishop Ochoa is going to treat us Traditionalists badly, then we have the God given right to seek the assistance of Rome. We will not settle for stale Bread and salt water!

Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 5:32 PM By Fr. Angel Sotelo
Angelo: Having been in charge of six parishes and various missions, I know what it is like to be the newly installed leader, and already pre-judged and rejected and unwelcome by some people merely based on hearsay and their skewed impressions. I also know that you cannot believe every complaint and whine that comes from disgruntled faithful or even priests for that matter. This is why I have posted what I have posted about Bishop Ochoa. My counsel is that the faithful of the Diocese of Fresno recall the words of Our Lord to his first bishops, “He who listens to you, listens to me.” I ask that they therefore treat the new bishop of Fresno as the successor of the Apostles that he is, with the deference, warmth, and collaboration which good Catholics are known for in dealing with their shepherd. The traditional and faithful priests I know have found the new bishop to be gracious, warm, and kind, and find many of these rumors about him to be ungracious, cold, and uncharitable. Quite frankly, we are deeply ashamed and embarassed when this talk originates from Catholics who fancy themselves to be loyal and traditional. Need I be more honest and blunt? Why don’t we give him a chance before we start slinging the darts and sounding the four bell alarm?

Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 6:23 PM By JLS
The Pope himself has called the bishops to become holy; this means that the laity and the clergy are obligated to help in this sacred mission. Can’t do that without rocking the episcopal rowboats to the point they choose to board the Barque of St Peter, or go down in a typhoon of their own doing.

Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 6:47 PM By Traditional Angelo
JLS, Sad that in 45 years it has come to this. You put it very well! Lets pray for our salvation and that of our many erring Bishops, especially those who cower and throw the decisions of their office to the winds of compromise.

Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 7:00 PM By k
The Pope asked the bishops to pray the Divine Office, adore the Blessed Sacrament and pray the Rosary to become holy.

Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 7:14 PM By JLS
Why would a bishop let criticism order his steps? Any Catholic, especially a bishop, should welcome criticism, even of the harshest kind. He is not a bishop to live a life of comfort but to show us all how to keep sailing in the stormiest of seas. Great if he can calm the storms, but lets see him at least make the effort. Reality says his first moves will be administrative, despite the call by the Vatican Cardinal to abandon administrative work and be a bishop.

Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 10:00 PM By JLS
What I mean by “why should a bishop let criticism order his steps?” is: why would a bishop act on vanity rather than Christlike? If a bishop can be provoked by faithful Catholics, then what good is such a bishop? It is not the work of the laity to shepherd the bishops but the other way around. We do not protect God, but God protects us.

Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 10:14 PM By JLS
“gracious, warm, and kind”: Absolutely the marks of episcopacy and holiness … while abortion, sodomy, pedophilia, and contraception rage in society. Yep, was it Jesus said to His apostles, “Go into the world demonstrating the social skills of graciousness, warmth and kindness; be a mother to all nations”.

Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 2:31 PM By Traditional Angelo
Fr. Angel Sotelo, I understand what you are saying and I have every intention of waiting to see where Bishop Ochoa leads us. We must all realize times have changed. Please understand the faithful as well. The Fresno Diocese has led us Catholics in the past through a spiritual nightmare. I and many others can no longer bear how Catholics have been so misled. The vast majority of clergy and lay leaders are extremely liberal. This is no longer acceptable. Just a few examples of what we can’t bear anymore; On a parish sponsered retreat the retreat master claimed that we cannot pray to the saints in a low or inaudible voice or the Saints cannot hear us. We must literaly shout out our prayers to them. Now we have Catholics audibly shouting out to the saints. Also these same retreat masters have convinced gullible Catholics that it is a mortal sin not to give 10% of their income to the parish. For Baptisms some parishes no longer ask for a donation, an upfront fee is applicable. No pay-no Baptism. So there are those of us who rightly ask. In what direction will the New Bishop lead us? Someone rightfully said it is for the Bishop to lead us and not for us to lead him. Today we have the right to ask, Where will he lead us? As I stated, times have changed.

Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 3:23 PM By Fr. Angel Sotelo
JLS: I was not writing a doctrinal tome on the scriptural and theological marks of the episcopacy. When I called Bishop Ochoa gracious, warm, and kind, it was simply to state that he has not given any priest or layman reason for rejecting him or even criticizing him. While you are looking for theological precision to describe the episcopacy, look up St. Leo the Great. He told the clergy that when they have bad manners, their preaching is always ignored and therefore always useless, regardless of its eloquence and orthodoxy.

Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 5:07 PM By JLS
But he has, Fr. Sotelo, which is why we’re doing so. Also, manners are subjective. I’d have to see what Leo the Great actually said and study the context, because the way you’ve phrased it contradicts my experience with conveying the truth. There is an entire genre of European literature and theater called “Manners”, and it often manifests in some of the greatest comedy in history. Manners for manners’ sake is perhaps one of the foundations of the XXth century’s theater of the absurd. The first Pope was a man of crude manners; he told this to Jesus, yet Jesus chose him anyway. St Paul discusses the evils about “men pleasers” … which to me means those who develop manners affectations, which is so glaringly common in a big part of the clergy, especially the episcopacy as to make one reel in aggravation when seeing it. A bishop who cannot take a few rude hits is not much of a shepherd. If God is with a bishop, then why would the bishop insist on being treated with kid gloves? If God is with the bishop, it will become obvious no matter how much flack is thrown at him. Look at Bl John Paul II, at how he rose above the difficulties presented to him: He rose above Nazi and Communist death progroms … now compare that to some bishop trying to rise above the pogroms of sodomites … let us get real here, Fr. Sotelo. If God is with Bishop Sotelo, then he certainly does not need to worry about being criticized by faithful Catholics, no matter how crudely. He needs to move people to stop abortion, stop contraception, stop sodomy, etc. Does a baby being aborted care about whether good manners are prevailing down at the chancery offices?

Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 5:35 PM By JLS
Angelo, even animals can hear our thoughts before we even know we’re thinking them … so in this light the retreat master was saying that the hearing of saints is not as keen as that of animals? Maybe there are some serious and faithful monasteries “out there” somewhere which you could get to from time to time. The ones near big cities seem to be geared up a bit too angst-wise for me. I have the background to hang in the desert solo when need be, or in small group at times … even then in such desolate places you run into people sometimes. It of course is also necessary to be prepared and understand how to go there, and come back safely. I guess if more people knew it, then more would do it; so there is a benefit that they don’t. Yet, there are some small monasteries, not always Roman Catholic though that might provide safe solitude for a day or a few days for a penitent or weekend mystic.

Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012 1:40 AM By Traditional Angelo
JLS, What is your point? When I was angered by what this retreat master said to those in attendance. It was because he led them into error. A Saint in heaven no longer has his human way of hearing, as his ears are in the grave turning to dust. To verbaly shout out to the Saints in order for them to hear us is ludicrous, and theologicaly erroneous. Again would you please clarify your point, I’m sure you are trying to tell me something, but I just don’t get it.

Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012 8:56 AM By JLS
Angelo, there is a communications between Heaven and earth. Saints can hear our prayers, and we can hear theirs. The retreat master you describe is a con artist evidenced by his call for more money and his slurring of how Heaven and earth interact. He evidently has everything to do with earth and nothing to do with Heaven. On the other point of manners … trivial in my view; God can see the gold in a ton of dirt.