WASHINGTON (August 14, 2007)— Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Robert Joseph Baker as the bishop of Birmingham, Alabama. He succeeds Bishop David E. Foley, who retired May 10, 2005.
The announcement was made in Washington, Aug. 14, by Msgr. Martin Krebs, Chargé d'Affaires of the Vatican nunciature.
Bishop Baker, 63, was ordained in 1970 at his home parish of St. Wendelin in Fostoria, Ohio. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's in divinity from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He received his doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1977 and served on the faculty of St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, before being appointed pastor of the Cathedral of St. Augustine in 1984.
While serving as the Cathedral's pastor he helped to establish a soup kitchen, shelter house and a farm for the homeless and addicted.
He was appointed bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, by Pope John Paul II on July 13, 1999.
He served on the Florida Catholic Conference's Committee on Capital Punishment. He is co-editor of two books, "Welcome the Stranger: Contemporary Ministry in the Church of Florida" (1983) and "Historic Catholic Sites of St. Augustine" (1988), and wrote a pastoral letter in 2005 on "The Redemption of Our Bodies: The Theology of the Body and Its Consequences for Ministry in the Diocese of Charleston."
Bishop David E. Foley was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. He became a bishop in 1986 and was appointed to the Diocese of Birmingham in 1994. He retired in 2005 when he turned 75.
The Diocese of Birmingham was established June 28, 1969. It has a Catholic population of approximately 83,717 out of a total population of approximately 2,877,416.