The Most Reverend Robert J. Baker, S.T.D. was appointed the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham on August 14, 2007 and was installed at the Cathedral of St. Paul on October 2 of that same year. Bishop Baker was born on June 4, 1944 and grew up in Ohio. He was ordained a priest on March 21, 1970 for the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida. Among the many pastoral experiences he had as a priest in Florida were working with university students as a campus chaplain, starting soup kitchens and other initiatives to assist the poor, and helping to bring the Cenacolo Community (a Catholic drug rehab program) to the United States. On July 12, 1999 he was named Bishop of Charleston by Pope John Paul II. On September 29, 1999 he was ordained a bishop. Since coming to Birmingham in 2007, Bishop Baker has built upon the legacy of his predecessors and also started several new initiatives, including bringing the Cenacolo Community to our diocese, overseeing a comprehensive renovation of Camp Tekakwitha, promoting the service of the poor and the pastoral care of immigrants, and planning for a Eucharistic Congress to be held in honor of the Diocese’s 50th anniversary in 2019.
The Cathedral is the Bishop’s “seat” in the diocese: the chair or throne in the left side of the sanctuary, used only by the Bishop, is called a “cathedra”, from which we get the word “Cathedral”. Bishop Baker’s episcopal motto is “Rejoicing in Hope”, and his coat of arms is emblazoned upon his cathedra.