Bishop Armando X. Ochoa, D.D.

Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa was born in Oxnard, California, in 1943, the second child to Angel and Mary Ochoa.  He received his education at Santa Clara Elementary and Santa Clara High School, also in Oxnard, and graduated in 1961.  In 1962 he entered St. John’s Seminary College and having graduated, continued his studies at St. John’s Seminary School of Theology.  Bishop Ochoa was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on May 23, 1970, by Cardinal Timothy Manning.  He served as Associate Pastor at St. Alphonsus Church  in East Los Angeles; St. John the Baptist Church in Baldwin Park; and St. Teresa of Avila Church, Los Angeles.  Bishop Ochoa was appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Los Angeles, in December, 1984.  While an Associate Pastor at St. Teresa of Avila, he was named a Monsignor, Chaplain to His Holiness, in 1982.Prior to his Ordination to the Episcopacy, in February, 1987, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Regional Bishop of the San Fernando Pastoral Region, he served as a board member and later as co-director of the Permanent Diaconate Program for the Archdiocese.  He also headed the Secretariat for Ethnic Ministry Services.  Bishop Ochoa also served as a board member for both Don Bosco Technical High School and St. John’s Seminary.  On June 26, 1996, Bishop Ochoa was installed as fifth Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso in Texas.

Bishop Ochoa was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno on February 1, 2012.

Throughout Bishop Ochoa’s Episcopacy, he has held the following USCCB positions: Member of the Sub-Committee on Lay Ministry, Committee on Migration, Sub-Committee on Hispanic Affairs, Committee on Laity, Committee on Vocations, Committee on the Diaconate, Committee on the Millennium/Jubilee Year, Sub-Committee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry, CLINIC Board of Directors and Region XIII Administrative Committee.  Bishop Ochoa has also been a Consultant on the Committee on Migration and Sub-Committee on Hispanic Affairs.  Other National and International responsibilities have included member of the Alta/Baja California Border Bishops Council, United States Delegate to the Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, and member of the Texas Mexico Border Bishops’ Council.


Bishop Ochoa at Conference

October 23, 2018

Some comments from our bishop, Most Rev. Armando Ochoa

Bishop Ochoa was attending a conference of bishops of both Alta (US) and Baja (Mexico) California at Tijuana.

The video is courtesy of Martin Ford of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Love, Justice and Service Are Works of God

October 19, 2018

Monsignior Raymond Dreiling greets attendees at the 2018 Red Mass today, October 19, 2018, at St. John Cathedral in Fresno.   

The annual Eucharist, gathering local judges, attorneys, and others employed in the legal system, was celebrated by Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno. This celebration at the beginning of the judicial session has its roots nearly 800 years ago in France and England.  The term “Red Mass” refers to the tradition of red vestments, red being the liturgial color symbolizing the presence of the Holy Spirit, who inspires love off truth, commitment to justice, and willingness to serve.

Bishop Ochoa at Congress 2018

October 14, 2018

Our bishop, Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa pauses for a discussion with other attendees while checking out what the exhibitors have to offer.

Fresno County Indigent Mass Burial Ceremony

September 13, 2018

More than 100 persons attended the mass burial of indigent persons at Fresno County Cemetery.  From the program:

All Life has purpose and is sacred. This service is to remember those who have died in Fresno County.  These are the homeless, many are the poor who are unable to afford burial, and some are those with no next of kin to claim their remains. All lived among us and are members of our community. Today we respectfully honor them in both life and death with this service.

Among those attending were Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, Fr. Dan Avila, diocesan Vocations Director, and Jim Grant, diocesan Social Justice Director.

Speakers included:

  • Margaret Mims, Fresno County Sheriff
  • Rev. James C. Pappas
  • Chaplain Terry Rommereim, Veterans Administration
  • Anne-Marie Hinojosa, American Indian Culture
  • Imam Ali M. Umar, Islamic Chaplain
  • Rabbi Rick Winer, Temple Beth Israel
  • Fr. Paul Keller, CMF, St. Paul Catholic Newman Center
  • Katie Hymans, Unitarian-Univeralist Church of Fresno
  • Dr. Venu Gopal, Hindu Temple
  • Rev. Charles R. Spencer, Riverdale Assembly of God Church
  • Chaplain Bill Hale, Senior Chaplain, Fresno Coumty Seriff-Coroner’s Office

Music was offered by the Fresno Pacific University Chamber Choir, Dr. Bethany Lynn Alvey, Director

Mensaje Del Reverendísimo Armando X. Ochoa, Obispo De La Diócesis De Fresno

August 17, 2018

15 de agosto de 2018
Las últimas noticias del escándalo creado por el Cardenal McCarrick, los resultados incomprensibles del Gran Jurado de Pennsylvania involucrando a seis diócesis, y la inmoralidad sistemática intolerable que sostuvo el abuso de innumerables niños exige una respuesta. Estoy de acuerdo que el episcopado debe responder esta llamada de acción de una manera práctica que esté arraigada con los principios de nuestra fe como cristianos católico. Espero la oportunidad de abordar esta grave y perjudicial realidad que nos ensombrece, junto con mis hermanos obispos.

Me mantengo firme en mi convicción que todo el clero debe vivir su vida como un ministro ordenado con integridad. Como obispo, he aceptado completamente mi responsabilidad de tratar cualquier asunto serio que a sabiendas ponga en riesgo a cualquiera de las almas confiadas a mi cuidado pastoral y continuaré haciéndolo.

Una de mis mayores preocupaciones es la cultura del secreto que existe en muchas diócesis entre el clero, e incluso entre algunas personas laicas que sienten que necesitan proteger la Iglesia a todo costo. Esto debe ser abordado con más eficacia. Permanecer en silencio y abandonar a las víctimas cuando más necesitan a su comunidad de fe es indefensible.

Yo sé que esta ola de escándalo masivo está lastimando a mucha gente. Les animo a ver esto como una señal de que Dios está purificando a la Iglesia. Haré todo lo que pueda para cooperar con este proceso de sanación y trabajar para restaurar la confianza. Les animo a continuar con sus buenas obras y no distraerse de las necesidades de los pobre, débiles y vulnerable en medio de nosotros. Debemos trabajar juntos, mientras nos ocupamos de las necesidades cotidianas de las personas a las que servimos.

Durante la primera semana de septiembre, la Diócesis de Fresno se someterá a nuestra auditoría anual del Ambiente Seguro (Safe Environment audit). Espero compartir los resultados con ustedes. Mientras tanto, le pido al clero, religiosos/as y líderes laicos en mi diócesis que sean sensibles con aquellos que están experimentando una crisis de fe como resultado de esta monumental traición a la confianza. Juntos podemos sanar e edificar una Iglesia que vive fielmente su llamado a ser discípulos de esperanza. ¡Que Dios los bendiga y les dé paz!

Statement from The Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno

August 15, 2018

The breaking news of the scandal created by Cardinal McCarrick; the incomprehensible findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury involving six dioceses; and the exposed intolerable systemic immorality that sustained the abuse of countless children demands a response. I agree that it is the episcopate that must answer this call to action in a practical way that is rooted in the tenets of our faith as Catholic Christians. I look forward to the opportunity to address this grievous and detrimental reality that is overshadowing us, along with my brother bishops.I stand firm in my conviction that all clergy must live out their lives as ordained ministers with integrity. As bishop, I have fully accepted my responsibility to address any serious matter that knowingly puts at risk any of the souls entrusted to my pastoral care and will continue to do so.

One of my greatest concerns is the culture of secrecy that exists in many dioceses among the clergy and even among some of the laity who feel that they need to protect the Church at all costs. This must be addressed more effectively. To remain silent and abandon victims when they need their faith community the most is indefensible.

I know that this massive wave of scandal is hurting many people. I encourage you to see this as a sign that God is purifying the Church. I will do all that I can to cooperate with this healing process and to work towards restoring trust. I encourage you to continue your good works and not be distracted away from the needs of the poor, weak and vulnerable in our midst. We must work through this together, while taking care of the day to day needs of the people we serve.

During the first week of September our Diocese will be undergoing our annual Safe Environment audit. I look forward to sharing the results with you. In the meantime, I ask all clergy, religious and lay leaders in my Diocese to be sensitive to those who are experiencing a crisis of faith as a result of this monumental betrayal of trust. Together, we can heal and build a Church that faithfully lives out its call to be disciples of hope. May God bless you and give you peace.

Bishop Ochoa Proposes Restorative Justice During a Priest’s Sentencing Hearing

August 9, 2018

Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, on August 8 spoke at the sentencing hearing for Rev Ignacio Villafan.  Fr. Villafan was senteced to five years probation.

To The Most Honorable Judge Gary Peden

Your Honor,

I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to personally address the Court in the wake of the conviction of Rev. Ignacio Villafan, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.  The impact of the crime committed is multifaceted.  The breach of fiduciary responsibility of a pastor is more than just a monetary matter, it also carries with it a betrayal of a faith-based component where parishioners offer their financial support as a spiritual sacrifice intended to support the missionary activity of the church. Therefore, this criminality is twofold, legal and relational.

I feel that it is most important that Fr. Villafan accepts responsibility for his actions and the scandal that it has created.  Once trust is broken, it is very difficult for it to be restored, yet not impossible.  The first step must be acknowledgement of responsibility with an expressed commitment to make restitution that is consistently put into action.  In light of the extenuating circumstances of this case, I agree with the Court that the family of Fr. Villafan needs to accept some measure of responsibility as well, since the evidence of this case has shown they were at least ancillary beneficiaries.

Another dimension of this issue involves Fr. Villafan’s responsibility to his fellow priests of the Diocese. My expectation is that he also acknowledges his wrongdoing to the clergy and not assume a “victim’s identity” as if he was somehow abandoned to circumstances beyond his control.  Rather, I expect him to become a strong advocate for pastoral accountability in regards to the responsibilities that come with good stewardship in conformity with the law and our diocesan policies and procedures.

Fr. Villafan’s current status is the same as the day he was arrested on December 31, 2014.  He is on paid administrative leave from all priestly duties pending the outcome of these proceedings.  For a priest, being out of ministry for this extended period of time, along with the personal social impact it entails, has no doubt been very debilitating and may be considered sufficient.

However, in regards to sentencing, I respectfully request that Your Honor consider the steps of restorative justice in lieu of incarceration so that the faith community can heal, while Rev. Villafan works diligently to pay restitution with diocesan oversight – a requirement that will likely take him many, many years to accomplish.  In addition, return to active ministry under direct supervision with no access to funds would also benefit those who are in need of pastoral care in a diocese that is experiencing a scarcity in the number of its clergy.

Again, I thank you for this opportunity to address the Court and your consideration of this request.


A note on the Catholic understanding of restorative justice.  In the words of the Catholic Bishops of California:

Restorative justice is a response to crime and violence that shifts the focus from punishment to “responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration.” It holds offenders accountable even as it opens paths to healing, especially with victims. And it addresses the needs of everyone impacted by crime: victims, offenders, families, communities, and those working in the criminal justice system.

The practices of restorative justice are centuries old. They were present in the days of the early church and reflect the most basic tenets of Catholic Social Teaching.

Crime violates persons and relationships, creating obligations to meet the needs of those harmed. It is a recongntion that punishing an offender is simply not enough. The needs of everyone affected must be addressed.

Groundbreaking for new Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Clovis – Friday, June 22, 2018

June 23, 2018

Statement On The Executive Order Regarding The Separation Of Families In Immigration Detention (Eng/Esp)

June 20, 2018

20 de junio, 2018


D.D.  Bishop of Fresno




The Diocese of Fresno is encouraged by the Trump Administration’s reversal of policy regarding the separation of families and unification of children with their parents while under federal immigration detention. We urge the Administration and Congress to work together toward immediate legislation that will usher in comprehensive and fair immigration reform that protects human rights, family unity, security, and lawful protection of the nation’s borders.

La Diócesis de Fresno se siente alentada por la reversión de la política de la Administración Trump con respecto a la separación de las familias y la unificación de los niños con sus padres mientras están bajo detención federal de inmigración. Exhortamos a la Administración y al Congreso a que trabajen juntos hacia una legislación inmediata que marque el comienzo de una reforma migratoria integral y justa que proteja los derechos humanos, la unidad familiar, la seguridad y la protección legal de las fronteras de la nación.

Bishop Statement (Spanish)

Bishop Statement (English)

Executive Orders Statement.(Spanish)

Executive Orders Statement (English)



Mensaje De Pascua | Easter Message

April 1, 2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday begins the Easter Triduum of the Lord’s passion and death (Good Friday), burial (Holy Saturday), and resurrection (Easter Sunday). These days are unique in the Church’s calendar year and are of great importance in the spiritual and pastoral life of the church. Again, the Easter Triduum is the most solemn celebration in the liturgical year when we commemorate the paschal mystery of Christ in which we participate through Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. And so it is that the solemnity of Easter has the same kind of dominance in the liturgical year that Sunday has in the week.

The renewal of the baptismal promises on Easter Vigil and in all the Masses on Easter Sunday officially ends our Lenten observance. The lighted candles in our hands and the sprinkling rite with the Easter Water bring to mind the most significant moment in our lives: our baptism when God claimed us as his sons and daughters.

My prayer for you is that the joy of the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ will flow over the next fifty days of the Easter Season until Pentecost Sunday and beyond. These days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation in the liturgy as one feast day, or as it is also known, the “great Sunday.” The resuming of the chanting of the Alleluia before the proclamation of the Gospel and the placement of the lighted paschal candle near the Ambo, keep alive the solemn and memorable celebration of the Easter Vigil. The Scripture readings and the prefaces in the Mass, remind us that the risen Christ is always present among us and that we can recognize him in the proclaimed word and in the breaking of the bread that is the Eucharist. May we all share this reality with all we meet. In the Risen Lord,

Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa, D.D. Bishop, Diocese of Fresno

Queridos amigos en Cristo,

La Misa vespertina de la Cena del Señor en el Jueves Santo comienza con el Triduo Pascual de la pasión y muerte del Señor (Viernes Santo), entierro (Sábado Santo) y resurrección (Domingo de Pascua). Estos días son únicos en el calendario anual de la Iglesia, y son de gran importancia en la vida espiritual y pastoral
de la Iglesia. El Triduo Pascual es la celebración más solemne en el año litúrgico cuando conmemoramos el misterio Pascual de Cristo, en el cual participamos a través del bautismo y la Santa Eucaristía. Y así es que la solemnidad de la Pascual tiene el mismo dominio en el año litúrgico que el domingo tiene en la semana.

La renovación de las promesas del bautismo en la Vigilia Pascual y en todas las misas del Domingo de Pascua, oficialmente finaliza nuestra observancia cuaresmal. Las velas encendidas en nuestras manos y el rito de la aspersión con el Agua Pascual nos recuerdan el momento más significativo de nuestras vidas: nuestro bautismo, cuando Dios nos reclamó como sus hijos e hijas.

Mis oraciones por ustedes es que la alegría de la resurrección de nuestro Señor Jesucristo fluirá durante los cincuenta días de la temporada de Pascua hasta el Domingo de Pentecostés. Estos días, desde el Domingo de Pascua hasta Pentecostés son celebrados con regocijo en la liturgia como un solo día de fiesta, o como también se le conoce como el “gran domingo.” La reanudación del canto del Aleluya antes
de la proclamación del Evangelio y la colocación de la vela pascual encendida cerca del Ambo, mantiene viva la solemne y memorable celebración de la Vigilia Pascual. Las lecturas de las Escrituras y los prefacios de la Misa nos recuerdan que el Cristo resucitado siempre está presente entre nosotros, y que podemos reconocerlo en la palabra proclamada y en la fracción del pan que es la Eucaristía. Que todos compartamos esta realidad con todos los que nos encontramos.

En el Señor Resucitado,
Reverendísimo Armando X. Ochoa, D.D. Obispo, Diócesis de Fresno