Bishop Armando Ochoa talks with Action News
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In a few days, Bishop Armando Ochoa of El Paso, Texas will visit the Valley as its next Catholic leader.
Bishop Ochoa has known about his appointment to Fresno for two weeks, but the news came completely out of the blue.
Bishop Ochoa: "The Nucio is looking for you, and I'm thinking that's like saying 'the principal is looking for you."
Pope Benedict the sixteenth handpicked Armando Ochoa to serve in Fresno, and he sent his right hand man to break the news.
Bishop Ochoa: "Congratulations the holy father has just named you as the fifth bishop of Fresno."
Bishop Ochoa is warm, friendly, and he loves to talk. He's served in the diocese of El Paso for the last fifteen years, all 26-thousand square miles of it. Almost 650 thousand Catholics live there, most of them Hispanic. When he moves to the diocese of Fresno, he'll preside over a diocese of 36-thousand square miles which includes 88 parishes and 22 schools, and 1.1 million Catholics.
Even though Bishop Ochoa has been in El Paso for 15 years, coming to Fresno is like coming home. He was born and raised in Southern California.
In fact Bishop Ochoa served as a parish priest in the diocese of Los Angeles at the same time Bishop Steinbock was there. Because he respects Bishop Steinbock so much, he says he will take his time moving into the diocese.
Bishop Ochoa: "I think so much of Bishop John. He was so well loved in the diocese. The last thing I want to do is anything artificial to take away from his first anniversary."
Remembrances of Bishop Steinbock always include his prowess on the golf course and his occasional cigar. Bishop Ochoa says his likes and dislikes are a bit different than his former colleagues.
Bishop Ochoa likes to snow ski, and cycle. On his days off he'll ride 40 miles a week. In addition, he's happy to leave some of the west Texas ways behind.
Bishop Ochoa: "After fifteen years, with all do respect, even though I have my Tony Lama boots and my Stetson hat, I'm never getting into country western or whatever they call it."
local, liz harrison
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