Pope Francis appoints successor to Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

Jun 10, 2022, 9:01 AM | Updated: 1:10 pm
San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan holds up a text...
Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan of San Diego was appointed on June 10, 2022, to lead the Phoenix diocese. (Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego Photo)
(Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego Photo)

PHOENIX – Pope Francis on Friday appointed a successor to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted as leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

The Holy See announced that San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan will take over for Olmsted, who has been Phoenix’s bishop since December 2003.

“I cannot begin to express my thanks to God for his goodness to me throughout my life, and I enter this new chapter with a renewed commitment to love and serve the Lord and His Church with my whole heart, soul and strength,” Dolan said in a press release.

Olmsted submitted a request to retire earlier this year on Jan. 21, his 75th birthday, in accordance with Canon Law.

“I am truly grateful to God for Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares, who have warmly welcomed me to the Diocese of Phoenix,” Dolan said.

Dolan will become the fifth person to serve in the role of Phoenix bishop, which Pope Paul VI established in 1969, when he takes over in early August.

Dolan, 60, was ordained a priest in San Diego, where he was born, in July 1989 and has been auxiliary bishop of that diocese since April 2017. He also has been serving as San Diego’s moderator of the curia, vicar general and vicar for clergy.

He is a member of the Committee on Migration and the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

During an introductory news conference, Dolan said he will strive to be open when it comes to investigations of sex abuse.

He said he has not yet caught up on the status of abuse claims in the Phoenix diocese.

“I honestly don’t know what has occurred here. But yes, the goal here obviously is to be as transparent as we know — not as possible but as we know, what we know,” Dolan said.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, urged Dolan to live up to Catholic officials’ previous promises of transparency.

“We hope that Bishop-elect Dolan will make the protection of children and the vulnerable his highest priority and we suggest immediate steps he can take when he is formally installed as bishop,” the group said in a statement.

The Diocese of Phoenix serves more than 1.1 million Catholics across 43,967 square miles in Maricopa, Mohave, Coconino and Yavapai counties and the Gila Indian Reservation.

The diocese consists of 94 parishes, 23 missions, 29 elementary schools, seven high schools, three universities and one seminary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Pope Francis appoints successor to Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted