Dr. Maria Romo Chavira has been selected as the next chancellor of the Diocese of Phoenix, it was announced Aug. 8.

Dr. Maria Romo Chavira, Chancellor of the Diocese of Phoenix.
Dr. Maria Romo Chavira, Chancellor of the Diocese of Phoenix.

She comes to the position from Mesa Community College, where she was a full-time professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. She taught there for more than 16 years.

Her first day is Aug. 19.

“Through much prayer and discernment I am filled with peace and joy to move where God is leading me at this moment in my life.” she said. “We all have different gifts and I hope to use the gifts I have been given to serve God.”

Dr. Chavira received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, her master’s degree in educational psychology and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Arizona. She is a native Arizonan and fluent in Spanish.

Dr. Chavira is a dame in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and also is a member of Legatus. She has served as the chairman of the board for the Catholic Community Foundation. She and her family are members of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and have three children.

“Maria has a great love for Christ and the Church,” Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said. “She is a wife, a mother and a scholar, and embraces what we call the domestic church — the family.”

The role of the chancellor of the Diocese of Phoenix is to assist the bishop in the oversight of the official archives of the Diocese of Phoenix in accord with Canon Law. The chancellor also assists in planning and is a key member of the administrative leadership staff of the bishop, giving counsel in various ecclesial, communication and business matters.

She will oversee the chancery staff at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, the Propagation of the Faith and Prison Ministry.

The appointment comes more than a month after Sr. Jean Steffes, CSA, announced she would be leaving the post after being elected general superior of the congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes in Fond de Lac, Wis.