Pope Benedict appoints local priest as Bishop of Baker Diocese

Pope Benedict appoints local priest as Bishop of Baker Diocese
By Portland Archdiocese

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Father Liam Cary, Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Eugene, to be the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Baker, OR. Archbishop John G. Vlazny, who is leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, greeted the appointment stating:

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed Father Liam Cary, one of Portland’s finest priests, as bishop of Baker. For me, the appointment is bittersweet. The gain for the diocese of Baker and the college of bishops is apparent. At the same time, the loss for the clergy and people of the Archdiocese of Portland is significant. As they say, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Lord.”

Last spring I asked Fr. Cary to leave Sacred Heart Church in Medford where he had served as pastor for more than 12 years and to assume the pastorate of St. Mary’s Church in Eugene. His response was characteristic of his apostolic heart, “I shall go and serve wherever you send me.” It’s not surprising that he would respond in the same way to the Holy Father when asked to assume the office of chief shepherd of the church of Eastern Oregon.

Through the ministry of Bishop Cary, the people of Baker will be wisely taught and truly blessed. From my experience I am confident that Bishop Cary will humbly and lovingly do his part. He understands that church leadership is a ministry of service. Bishops are ordained to teach, sanctify and govern their people. In welcoming Bishop Cary, the clergy and people of Baker must renew their own commitment as good stewards of the church’s evangelizing mission and pledge their own loving support of him as their new shepherd. This marriage, admittedly was made in the Vatican, but I have a hunch that it was first made in heaven!

God bless you Bishop Liam! You are a good man, disciple and priest. I have no doubt that you will be an excellent bishop, a devoted servant of God’s people, a brother, friend and neighbor whom the archbishop of Portland will treasure. Ad multos annos!

Father Liam Cary was born in Portland on August 21, 1947. Born to Dr. John F. and Patricia Cary, he was raised in Prineville. He graduated from Mount Angel Seminary High School in 1965, and he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Mount Angel Seminary in 1969. He then attended St. Patrick Seminary from 1969 – 1970.

Liam’s work experience between 1970 and 1988 included three years in Chicago as a VISTA volunteer in a legal assistance office. He later spent a summer in Mexico studying Spanish and then worked six months at clinic sponsored by the United Farm Workers in Salinas, CA. In the early 1980’s he began working with St. Vincent de Paul in Eugene. Upon moving back to Eugene, he was involved in his parish of St. Mary in Eugene. His parish connection throughout the 1980’s rekindled his desire to become a priest.

In 1988, Liam Cary continued his studies for ordination at the North American College in Rome. He attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome earning a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1992. He was ordained a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland by Archbishop William J. Levada on September 5, 1992.

Reverend Cary’s pastoral assignments have included St. Joseph Parish in Salem as Parochial Vicar, Archdiocesan Director of Vocations and Faith Formation from 1994 until July 1999. While serving as Vocation Director, he also served as Chaplain at St. Mary of the Valley in Beaverton, in residence at St. John Parish in Milwaukie and St. Rose Parish in Portland, gave weekend assistance at St. Anne in Portland and St. Luke Parish in Woodburn. In December 1998, Father Cary was appointed Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Medford serving there until 2011. In July of 2011 he was appointed Pastor at St. Mary Parish in Eugene.

Father Cary is the third priest from the Archdiocese of Portland to be named Bishop of the Baker Diocese. Bishop Charles J. O’Reilly was appointed the first Bishop of Baker in 1903. At the time of his appointment he was Pastor at Immaculate Heart Parish in Portland. Bishop Francis Lepzig was appointed the fourth Bishop of Baker in 1950. He was serving at St. Mary Parish in Eugene at the time of his appointment.

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