Auxiliary Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Los Angeles was named by Pope Francis as Bishop of Salt Lake City, making him the first Filipino-American and first Asian clergyman to head a Catholic diocese in the United States.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Bishop Solis, 63 years old, will fill a more than 20-month vacancy in Salt Lake City, after the previous bishop, John Charles Wester was transferred to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico in April 2015. Bishop Solis will be the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City in Utah.

Bishop Solis, a native of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Cabanatuan on April 28, 1979. From 1979 to 1984, he held significant positions in the Cabanatuan Diocese, including serving as rector of the diocesan high school and college seminary, vocation director, a professor, and on the diocesan priests' council.

In 2003, Bishop Solis became the first Filipino to be appointed as bishop in the United States when he was made an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Pope John Paul II. His episcopal ordination on February 10, 2004 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels marked the first time a bishop has been ordained at the Cathedral.

With his appointment to the Salt Lake City Diocese, Bishop Solis once again made history as the first Filipino to lead a large congregation of American Catholics. According to the Catholic News Service, he will serve a diocese of 300,000 Catholics spanning the entire state of Utah.

Bishop Solis called the appointment "a recognition of the diversity of the Church in America and the universality of the Church."

"It is a tremendous blessing and a responsibility and a privilege to be of service to the local Church in the United States of America, coming from the Philippines," said Bishop Solis.

Bishop Solis will be officially installed as Salt Lake City's Bishop in a ceremony at the Cathedral of the Madeline on March 07. END

Source: Republic of Philippines Department Of Foreign Affairs