SAN ANTONIO -

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed San Antonio Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu as the next bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces.

Cantu was introduced Thursday at a press conference in Las Cruces and will replace Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, who is retiring.  The date for Cantu's installation has not been determined, and it is not known when his successor will be named.

Cantu has served in the Archdiocese of San Antonio as auxiliary bishop since his ordination by Archbishop José Gomez on June 2, 2008.

Houston-born and the son of Mexican immigrants, Cantu earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Dallas and a Masters in Divinity and Masters in Theological Studies from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. 

In the national bishops' conference, he currently serves on the committees on Catholic Education, International Justice and Peace, and Protection of Children and Young People, and on the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.

Upon hearing of the announcement, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller praised Bishop Cantú’s dedication and work ethic.

“The Diocese of Las Cruces indeed will be blessed by his uncommon leadership and unique ability to build bridges between people, inspiring thoughtful relationships built on respectful dialogue in a spirit of unity and faith," the archbishop said.  "He is a man of profound wisdom and keen intelligence who has shared those gifts with us in many ways.”