Saints who’ve had an impact on the Diocese of Phoenix

Bishop Edward A. McCarthy presents the quintennial ad limina report to St. Paul VI in this undated photo. (CATHOLIC SUN file photo)

St. Paul VI

Feast Day: May 29

Giovanni Battista Montini was born in Concesio, Brescia, Sept. 26, 1897 and ordained a priest May 29, 1920. In 1923 he was appointed attaché at the Apostolic Nunciature in Warsaw and a year later returned and began serving in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican. During his service to the Holy See — under the Pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII — he also taught the history of papal diplomacy at the Lateran University, before becoming substitute of the Secretariat of State in 1937.

During World War II, he engaged in aiding refugees and Jews, also overseeing the Vatican Information Office. In 1954 he was appointed Archbishop of Milan, where he employed new methods of evangelization in order to address the issues of immigration, materialism and Marxist ideology.

In the midst of the Second Vatican Council, he was elected pope June 21, 1963, taking the name Paul VI. The new pope began the practice of Apostolic Journeys beginning with the Holy Land, where his historic meeting with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras took place. He was also the first pope to visit the United States, addressing the United Nations in New York City in 1965.

Among his encyclicals is “Humanae Vitae,” which reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on sex, marriage and artificial contraception.

As a transitional deacon, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted proclaimed the Gospel for Pope Paul’s Christmas Midnight Mass in 1972. He later had a personal audience with the saintly pontiff moments before his priestly ordination.

“He really believed that the Church was Catholic, that it was universal, that it was intended to embrace every culture, language, people, way of life, and that we all needed to be attentive to the Spirit moving us to embrace this larger view of the Church that it’s Catholic and universal. That’s why I think one of his last exhortations was an evangelization,” Bishop Olmsted told The Catholic Sun in an interview prior to Paul VI’s canonization.

After a brief illness, he died Oct. 19, 1978. Pope Francis beatified him in 2014 and canonized him in 2018. His feast day marks the anniversary of his priestly ordination.

The official document from St. Paul VI formally appointing Bishop Edward A. McCarthy as the first bishop of Phoenix in 1969. (CATHOLIC SUN file photo)

Impact on the Diocese of Phoenix

With rapid growth in Maricopa County, many priests and laity wanted to explore the possibility of creating a new diocese. After a 1968 visit by the apostolic nuncio, St. Paul VI’s creation of the new Diocese of Phoenix was announced Sept. 3, 1969, with the diocese officially launched Dec. 2 of that year with the installation of Bishop Edward A. McCarthy as its first bishop.