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Pope Francis names new Bishop of Phoenix diocese


Billy Hardiman | Courtesy of Diocese of Phoenix

Zelda Caldwell - published on 06/10/22

Bishop John Dolan will succeed retiring Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

Pope Francis named San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan to take the helm at the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona. Dolan replaces Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who at age 75 is required by canon law to retire.

Bishop Dolan, 60, ordained in 1989, served as vicar general and moderator of the curia. In the Diocese of San Diego he served under newly appointed Cardinal-designate Robert W. McElroy.

“My heart is filled with joy on this day as Pope Francis appoints me to serve as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix,” Bishop Dolan said in a statement. “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.”

“I am particularly grateful to Cardinal-designate Robert W. McElroy, bishop of San Diego, and Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano with whom I have shared a common joy in the Lord,” Bishop Dolan said. “San Diego is blessed to have these men of God.”

He thanked Bishop Olmsted and Phoenix Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares for welcoming him to the Arizona diocese. “Please pray for all three of us as we journey together on mission in Christ!”

In San Diego, Bishop Dolan was known for his support of refugees who fled from Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Migration and the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Retiring Bishop Olmsted, an outspoken opponent of abortion, made national headlines in 2009 when he removed the Catholic status of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix that allowed an abortion to be performed. He has also called for public officials who support abortion to be denied Communion.

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