BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Catholics in the city of Birmingham now have a new bishop.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis named Bishop Steven J. Raica as the fifth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham. Raica is currently the bishop of Gaylord, michigan and will succeed bishop Robert J. Baker, who has served Birmingham since October 2007 and will now carry the title of bishop emeritus.
Raica was born on Nov. 8, 1942 in Munising, Michigan. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Michigan State University, he went on to attend St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, where he received a master of divinity degree. He also earned a master of arts degree in religious studies from the University of Detroit.
In 1978, Raica was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lansing. After his ordination, he served as the parochial vicar for Holy Redeemer Parish in Burton, Michigan and St. Pius X Parish in Flint, Michigan until 1984.
In 1988, Raica began studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning a licentiate and a doctorate in canon law. After completing his studies, he returned to Michigan in 1991 and became pastor of St. Mary Parish in Charlotte, Michigan until 1993. From 1995 to 1997, Raica served as pastor of St. Ann parish in Bellevue, Michigan. In 1997, he was made chancellor of the diocese of Lansing, a position he held until 1999.
Shortly after becoming chancellor of the diocese, Raica was named as an honorary prelate of his holiness with the title of monsignor in 1998 by Pope John Paul II. A year later, he began a six-year term as superior of Casa Santa Maria in Rome, which is the graduate studies house of the Pontifical North American College. During this time in Rome, Raica also served as a spiritual director and adjunct faculty member at the PNAC.
In 2005, Raica returned to Lansing and was asked to serve as diocesan chancellor, a position he held for nine years. On June 27, 2014, Pope Francis appointed Raica as bishop of Gaylord.
Raica’s Mass of Installation will take place June 23.