Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted installed Dr. Maria Romo Chavira as the new chancellor of the Diocese of Phoenix Aug. 20 during a Mass celebrated at the Diocesan Pastoral Center chapel.

Chavira made a profession of faith and a pledge of obedience to the Church before being installed as chancellor. Bishop Olmsted said it was fitting that a chancellor be installed during the celebration of the Eucharist, which he called “a sign that God is with us.”

Through the oath of fidelity, Chavira “dedicates herself to her participation in the mission of the Church,” he said. While it’s a challenging position, he’s confident in Chavira, whom he described as a “disciple” because she dedicates “her life to the Church.”

“No troubles will come that are too strong for the love of God and His Church,” the bishop said.

Family and friends surrounded Chavira during a reception after the installation.

“Follow God’s will — if you do that, you don’t have to worry about anything,” Chavira said, quoting wisdom spoken by her parents. “I’m happy to have God use my gifts as He wills to further the Kingdom of God.”

Chavira was a full-time professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Mesa Community College for more than 16 years. She 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 an Arizona native and fluent in Spanish.

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.

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 came 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.