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Our Bishop

Bishop Steven J. Lopes

His Excellency Steven J. Lopes is the first bishop of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter and pastor to all its members and clergy in the United States and Canada. 

Steven Joseph Lopes was born in 1975 in Fremont, Calif. to Barbara Jane and (the late) Dr. José de Oliveira Lopes. His father was Portuguese and his mother is Polish. José emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1960s and became an American citizen in 1970. Barbara Jane was born and raised in Detroit, where much of her family still resides.


The only child to two educators – his father taught languages and history at the university level, and his mother taught in Catholic schools for 47 years — Bishop Lopes was formed and educated by Catholic schools in the Golden State: St. Pius School (Redwood City, Calif.); St. Edward School (Newark, Calif.); and Moreau Catholic High School (Hayward, Calf.).

In high school, he began to discern the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood. He continued his discernment during his studies at the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco, where he majored in theology and minored in philosophy and German.


With the encouragement of his family, he entered St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif. for one year, then completed his seminary education at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.  

He studied philosophy and liturgy at the University of Innsbruck. He then earned three degrees – including a doctorate – in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he has also served as an adjunct faculty member. 

On June 23, 2001, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of San Francisco by Cardinal William J. Levada (then Archbishop Levada).

As a priest of the Archdiocese, he served as an associate pastor at two parishes: St. Patrick Catholic Church in San Francisco and St. Anselm Catholic Church in Ross, Calif. 

In 2005, he was named an official of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for promoting and preserving Catholic teaching. For seven of his 10-plus years at the Vatican, he served as secretary to the Cardinal Prefect. He was named a monsignor in 2010. 

Pope Francis named him the Bishop of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter on Nov. 24, 2015. He succeeded Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson as leader of the Ordinariate on Feb. 2, 2016. 

For his motto, Bishop Lopes selected the Latin phrase, “Magna Opera Domini,” or in English, “Great are the works of the Lord.” By these words, the new bishop expresses his awe of God’s grace in drawing His people to the fullness of Eucharistic communion.  

Bishop Lopes is a chaplain to the Order of Malta and remains deeply committed to the Order's service to the sick and the poor.

As a bishop, he is a full member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Ever committed to serving the people of the Ordinariate, his mission as bishop is dedicated to:

  • Inviting new disciples into a life-giving relationship with Christ;

  • Nurturing reverence and beauty in liturgy, so that the Ordinariate’s tradition of worship deepens the faith and authentic discipleship of all the faithful;

  • Modeling ecumenism, fostering the unity of the Church that our Lord prayed for (John 17:21); 

  • Serving in evangelical charity by caring for those in need.

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