Thursday, March 8, 2012

The New Bishop of the Diocese of Baker

And…the envelope please…(drumroll)…

The new bishop of the Diocese of Baker is…

Fr. Liam Cary, 
currently pastor of St. Mary parish in Eugene, Oregon.

After a thirteen-month vacancy, the Stateside church's longest diocesan opening is finally settled -- at Roman Noon today, the Pope named Fr. Liam Cary, 64, a priest of Portland in Oregon currently serving as a pastor in Eugene, as bishop of Baker...

While Cary would become a priest of Portland, he was actually born in the Baker diocese and entered high-school seminary to study for the priesthood there. After college, however, he left formation to work among migrants and the poor in Chicago, California and Oregon, according to the official bio. He re-entered seminary in 1987 and was ordained a priest in 1992, just after his 45th birthday.

I’ll have more info later.  (See also "Bishop-Elect Liam Cary: More Details")


The VIS statement says:

Vatican City, 8 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Liam Stephen Cary of the clergy of the archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Mary in Eugene, as bishop of Baker (area 173013, population 502,610, Catholics 37,029, priests 60, permanent deacons 12, religious 25), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Prineville, U.S.A. in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1992. Before ordination he spent many years working with poor people and migrants. Since becoming a priest he has worked in pastoral care in a number of parishes and as vicar forane.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned from Google:

Father Liam Cary, previously served as vocation director of the Archdiocese of Portland, and assisted at St. Luke in Woodburn. He served 12 years as the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Medford, and was appointed pastor of St. Mary Parish in Eugene effective July 2011. 

The Catholic Sentinel says that he was born in Portland – not Prineville as the VIS announcement states – in 1947; well, it seems we can at least know he’s an Oregon native! Father Cary was ordained in 1992.

According to the St. Mary website, the Traditional Latin Mass is offered on the second and fourth Sundays of the month there. Perhaps this bodes well for a resurgence of the EF Mass in the Bend area.

Fr. Julian Cassar has some info at his blog, too.

There are some videos of Fr. Cary preaching and teaching here; it appears they are mostly from 2009.

I also found a 2007 interview with him courtesy of the Carmel of Maria Regina (Aquero Foundation) in 2007. Here’s an excerpt where he tells his vocation story:

Q10: If you are willing, can you tell your vocation story?

“I already started with the first part of it. That I am the oldest in my family and when my sister came along, I was three, all of the sudden I lost my parents’ undivided attention and I was very conscious of that. Roughly at that point, we moved to a new place and we became very tied to our pastor. He was at our house all the time and everyone in my family thought he was the greatest person in the world, and he was a very great priest as a matter of fact, he was a very fine priest. And I wanted to take his place, unconsciously, I think I thought this would bring my parents undivided approval forever. So that was good. When I was 14 I entered the seminary and was there for 9 years. I left after a year of college because I wanted a different experience, although I still wanted to be a priest. I just thought it would be wise to have some different life experience. So, I got more than I expected, I got 15 years of it. I came back after 18 years, and then it was with the definite maturity that this is it. I mean can’t put this off any longer or I’ll be on Social Security.”

Was there a defining moment for you, or did you just always have that interior knowledge that you were called to be a priest?

“I always had, by the grace of God, as long as I can remember, even during that 'leave of absence' if you will, saying, 'I’m going to be a priest someday.' I always knew it. But there was a moment, if you want, a 'defining' moment. Yes, there was one in that sense when I finally sought counseling from a different priest and I then went on retreat with the specific intention of deciding. I went to talk to a priest before going on this retreat, and I kind of realized when I drove over to see him, that my decision was already made underneath. It was just a matter of acknowledging that it was made. When I got back, I made the Stations of the Cross and it was one of the most painful I’ve ever made, because I knew I was about to surrender my independence. I was 41 years old at the time, had a life of my own, and my way of doing things. I realized that if I really became a priest it would involve sacrificing my independence, and that was very difficult to contemplate. But then I did it. It has occurred to me in later years that if I had not sacrificed my independence, I never would have learned what it is to be free. Once I followed this call, I found out who I could really be.”

Welcome to Baker, Bishop-elect Liam Stephen Cary!


  1. Dr Jay:

    My wife was amused to hear that I have been reading a Catholic Blog by Dr Jay. “The basketball player?” she asked after I told her.

    I have followed you for quite some time now and have enjoyed your writings. I hope that your new bishop turns out to be all your could desire. But I will confess to reading some of your prior posts lamenting the fact that you had been without a bishop for so long with wry amusement. You see I live in Washington, D.C. where we always have a bishop, but ... oh, well.

    Again my thanks.

  2. He is an awesome, orthodox, and faithful priest. He is an answer to prayer for our diocese!

  3. Brother Juniper: you have my condolences!!! Hopefully, we will see an influx of more bishops like the one Fr. Cary may prove to be. I'm hearing glowing reports about him: orthodox,wise, gentle... I'm praying for him double time!

    Trina: May our prayers strengthen those qualities in him!


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