Pope Francis names Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted as Apostolic Administrator of the Byzantine Eparchy of Phoenix

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Pope Francis has appointed Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted as the apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix. He will reman bishop of the diocese. Bishop Olmstead is pictured in a 2016 photo. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, as the Apostolic Administrator Sede Plena of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic eparchy of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted will also retain his current Office as Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix.

The announcement was publicized in Washington on August 1, 2018 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Olmsted has served as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix since December 20, 2003.

Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, Bishop Olmsted served as Bishop of Wichita, Kansas from 2001-2003, after being ordained Coadjutor Bishop on April 20, 1999. Before serving in Wichita, he served as the Rector and President of the Pontifical College Josephinum, a Catholic Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. Since 1974, Bishop Olmsted has been a member of the Jesus Caritas ­fraternity of priests. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., July 2, 1973.

For 16 years, Bishop Olmsted lived in Rome, Italy, where he obtained a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1981) and worked more than nine years as an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1979 to 1988. During his time in Rome, he was also an assistant spiritual director at the Pontifical North American College.

Bishop Olmsted is currently a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix (formerly known as the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys) is the Catholic eparchy (diocese) governing most Byzantine Ruthenian Catholics in the Western United States. The Eparchy’s territorial jurisdiction consists of thirteen Western States. Currently, Holy Protection Eparchy of Phoenix has 19 parishes and one mission under its canonical jurisdiction.

The diocese of Phoenix, Arizona comprises 43,967 square miles. It has a total population of 4,734,036 people of which 1,188,243 or 25 percent, are Catholic.

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