Retired US Bishop Stephen E. Blaire has died after a prolonged illness.
Bishop Blaire died aged 77 at his retirement residence at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Modesto on 18th June.
The much-loved former Bishop of Stockton was recalled by many both in California and across the country as a churchman who lived by a simple code: “We are here to serve, and to do it with a touch of class.”
When he was installed as Stockton’s fifth bishop on 19th January 1999, he told the standing-room-only congregation, “Jesus said, ‘Remain in my love’. These words, which were spoken by Jesus to his disciples, are spoken to each and every one of us.”
He said Jesus’ words express “the most central and profound truth of our faith. That we are loved by God, and we are called to love one another as God has loved us.” He linked the sharing of that love to service. “We are committed to service in the world, to serve the kingdom of God in the world,” he said.
A native of Los Angeles and ordained a priest in 1967, Bishop Blaire retired in January 2018. Before being named to head the six-county Stockton Diocese, he had been an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles for nine years.
Picture: Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., listens to a speaker on 18th February 2017 at the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements in Modesto, Calif. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski).