Skip to main content

August 2022 Roving Reporter Report

August 19, 2022

Diocese of Phoenix

In January of this year, Bishop Thomas Olmsted turned 75 and since he had attained the mandatory age of retirement for bishops, he sent a letter to Pope Francis asking him to accept his letter of retirement. It was not until July that we heard that his letter was accepted and that we were getting a new bishop (Aux. Bishop John Dolan of San Diego) to take his place with an installation Mass on August 2nd.

Bishop Olmsted was the Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix since December 2003. Over the years, he visited each of the eleven Missions that Native American Ministry serve. He has been very supportive of the ministry and always felt at home when visiting them. He never missed a Kateri Feast Day, no matter which mission had the honor that year to host the celebration. He was there. He developed a great love for the communities. His last official Mass as the Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix was celebrated on July 31st at our San Lucy Mission in Gila Bend, AZ where he also did Confirmations and First Communions that Sunday. Because of his great love and admiration for the Native Americans, it was no surprise to us that he desired to serve them as his final Mass as acting Bishop.

San Lucy Mission is part of the Tohona O’odham Nation and is the only mission we have in Gila Bend, which is about 75 miles southeast of Phoenix. This is a very poor community and they felt extremely blessed that the Bishop was going to come out to their little Mission that Sunday. It was a very short notice and they went out of their way to decorate the church and provide a reception afterwards for bishop to attend.

The Diocese of Phoenix is extremely blessed to have had Bishop Thomas Olmsted as our Shepherd for so many years. We are anxious to have our new Bishop visit our Missions, as well, and we pray that he, too, will build a strong connection with our Native American communities.