Bishop Emeritus Blaire of Stockton, Calif., advocated for social justice

August 1, 2019

Bishop Emeritus Stephen E. Blaire of the Diocese of Stockton, Calif., died June 18 at his retirement residence at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Modesto, Calif. He was 77 years old. He had served as Stockton's bishop from 1999 until his retirement in 2018.

Bishop Emeritus BlaireIn his retirement, he helped to create the Whole Person Care Initiative, an effort launched last year in California to help transform the way society cares for chronically and terminally ill people.

"He was passionate in promoting the dignity of human life and ensuring social justice for all," said an obituary from the Stockton diocese. "He constantly assisted the church in speaking out for the rights of immigrants, those in need of health care, inner city education and much more."

Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, immediate past president and chief executive officer of CHA, said, "Bishop Blaire was always so kind and caring, he looked for the good in everyone and always wanted to help in any way he could."

Stephen Blaire was born in Los Angeles, the 12th of 14 children. He earned a bachelor of art in scholastic philosophy and a master's in secondary school administration from St. John's College and Seminary in Camarillo, Calif. After his ordination, he was an associate pastor at a church in California.

In 1972 he began his 14-year career in education — he was a teacher, administrator or principal at several Catholic elementary and high schools in California. In 1986, he became moderator of the curia and chancellor of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles before being appointed auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles in 1990. From 1995 to 1999, he was regional bishop of Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region.

Pope John Paul II appointed him Stockton bishop in 1999.

Bishop Blaire chaired or served on United States Conference of Catholic Bishops committees on domestic justice, human development, pastoral practices and ecumenical and interreligious affairs. Within the California Catholic Conference, he chaired committees on legislation and public policy, and environmental stewardship.


Copyright © 2019 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.