New Bishop of Stockton Diocese Announced

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STOCKTON -- Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Myron Cotta to lead Catholics in the Central Valley.

With current Diocese of Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire retiring, the pope's appointment of Cotta might bring a little more solace to Catholics in the region.

"Trying to integrate all of what I’ve been exposed to, to be a benefit here. So, we’ll see how this pans out," Cotta said.

Bishop Cotta grew up on a dairy farm in Merced County and most recently served in the Sacramento Diocese. He hopes his experience will lead more families to peace despite sometimes violent surroundings in places like Stockton.

“Educate people and to avoid that type of lifestyle I guess and there’s alternatives to violence," Cotta said.

Cotta also addressed the ongoing scrutiny of the church, including suspected sex crimes involving priests.

One such case involved a monsignor was accused of sending sexually explicit photos to a parishioner.

“I think the diocese here has done tremendous work in trying to confront that and try to heal that and to reach out to the victims," Cotta told FOX40.

And with more people leaving the faith, Bishop Cotta says he'll lead by example in hopes of attracting more families back to Catholicism.

Cotta will be officially installed on March 15.