The Catholic Diocese of Birmingham will introduce South Carolina BIshop Robert J. Baker as its new bishop-elect this morning in a press conference at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Paul's Cathedral Life Center.
Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Baker, 63, to fill the job in Alabama, where the diocese includes EWTN, the global Catholic satellite network founded by Mother Angelica.
Baker, a native of Ohio, has close ties to EWTN. He recently was co-author of the book, "When Did We See You, Lord?" with EWTN personality the Rev. Benedict J. Groeschel.
Baker attended the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, and was ordained a priest March 21, 1970, for the Diocese of St. Augustine. From 1970 to 1972, his first assignment was as assistant pastor at St. Paul's Parish, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., where he also taught at Bishop Kenny High School. From 1972 to 1975, he studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, where he received a degree in dogmatic theology. From 1975 to 1999, he served as spiritual director of college seminarians at the Pontifical College Josephinum, pastor of the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, and pastor of Christ the King Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
He also directed the Catholic Student Parish at the University of Florida in Gainesville and taught sacramental theology at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla. On Sept. 29, 1999, he was ordained and installed as the bishop of the Diocese of Charleston. He is currently chairman of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Stewardship.
He co-wrote, with Tony Sands, "Cacique: A Novel of Florida's Heroic Mission History." His latest book, "The Questioner's Prayer," was released in April 2007 by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Co.