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Pope Accepts Resignation of Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa; Coadjutor Bishop Vasa Succeeds Him

June 30, 2011

WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Daniel F. Walsh, 73, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in California.  Bishop Robert F. Vasa, 60, up until now coadjutor bishop of the same diocese, succeeds him as bishop of Santa Rosa.

The appointment was publicized June 30, by Msgr. Jean-Francois Lantheaume, chargé d’affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington.

Robert Francis Vasa was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on May 7, 1951. He studied for the priesthood at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado, and Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln on May 22, 1976. In 1995 Pope John Paul II named him a “Prelate of Honor” with the title of “Monsignor.” He was appointed bishop of Baker, Oregon, November 19, 1999. On January 24, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as coadjutor bishop of Santa Rosa.

Bishop Vasa holds a master of divinity degree from Holy Trinity Seminary and a licentiate in canon law from the Gregorian University in Rome.

At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Vasa is a member of the Catholic Home Missions Subcommittee and also serves on the Task Force on Health Care.

Bishop Walsh was born in San Francisco, October 2, 1937. He was named auxiliary bishop of San Francisco in 1981 and bishop of Reno-Las Vegas in 1987. In 1995, Pope John Paul II erected two new dioceses: the Diocese of Las Vegas and the Diocese of Reno. Bishop Walsh was named to head the Diocese of Las Vegas. On April 11, 2000, he was appointed bishop of Santa Rosa.

The Diocese of Santa Rosa in California includes 11,711 square miles. It has a population of 909,361 people, of whom 169,567, or 18.6 percent, are Catholic.

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