Monday, December 6, 2010

Bishop John Steinbock has died

Bishop John Steinbock, The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno has lost his battle with cancer. Bishop Steinbock was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer in August and has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation since.

Bishop John Steinbock presided over the Valley's largest Christian denomination for nearly 20-years. He was the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Fresno -- a diocese of more than half a million Catholics stretching from Merced County in the north to the Inyo town of Bishop on the east side of the Sierra.

The Bishop began his ministry as a 25-year-old priest in East L.A. In an interview with Action News in 2004, Bishop Steinbock said his assignment at the Cathedral of St. Vibiana on skid row was the most impacting of his life.

Bishop Steinbock: "I came to appreciate the simplicity of faith in people's lives... actually that God touched me in a way more than I touched people. That I tried to bring Christ to them... they brought Christ to me very much."

Even as he moved into his role as bishop in the Diocese of Fresno, Steinbock never lost sight of those in need. In 2006 he took a public stand against proposed immigration policies in congress that would have punished church leaders who helped illegal immigrants.

Bishop Steinbock: "We're a Christian nation supposedly... well if we don't love our neighbor as our self and respect the dignity of individual people then we are not being Christian whatsoever."

Over his years as spiritual leader of valley Catholics, the bishop met four different times with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. The Pilgrimage to Rome, called the "ad limina apostolorum" or "to the threshold of the apostles" is required by all bishops every five years.

In his last interview the Bishop reported his biggest challenge was finding space in older churches for the growing catholic population in the diocese. His cancer, he said, was a gift.

Bishop Steinbock: "I started thinking there's a lot of blessing too... having cancer. That may sound awful... I mean, first of all, so many people reached out to me expressing their live and their concern and their prayers for me... you don't realize how many lives you've touched until something like that happens."
Bishop Steinbock will never know just how many lives he touched -- among every denomination.

Press Release


Bishop John T. Steinbock, Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, passed into eternal glory at 3:10 a.m. today. He was surrounded by family, his pastor, and friends. Diocesan funeral arrangements are in preparation. Once they are complete, they will be disseminated on our website, notices to parishes, and various other sources.

The Papal Nuncio has been notified of Bishop John's death. A report of Bishop John's death has also been circulated to His eminence Cardinal Roger Mahony and to the California Bishops.
We ask for prayers for the repose of the soul of Bishop John Steinbock.

No comments: