WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, 75, and named as his successor Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan of San Diego.
Bishop Olmsted, who has headed the Phoenix Diocese since 2003, is at the age when canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope.
Bishop Dolan, who turned 60 June 8, has been a San Diego auxiliary since 2017. He serves as the diocese’s vicar general, moderator of the curia and vicar for clergy.
The changes were announced June 10 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S.
“My heart is filled with joy on this day as Pope Francis appoints me to serve as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix,” Bishop Dolan said in a statement. “I cannot begin to express my thanks to God for his goodness to me throughout my life and I enter this new chapter with a renewed commitment to love and serve the Lord and his church with my whole heart, soul and strength.”
He thanked God for blessing him with the love of his parents and family, friends, the many priests, deacons, religious and parishioners in the San Diego Diocese, “and all with whom I served.”
“I am particularly grateful to Cardinal-designate Robert W. McElroy, bishop of San Diego, and Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano with whom I have shared a common joy in the Lord,” Bishop Dolan said. “San Diego is blessed to have these men of God.”
He also thanked Bishop Olmsted and Phoenix Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares for warmly welcoming him to the Arizona diocese. “Please pray for all three of us as we journey together on mission in Christ!”
John Patrick Dolan was born June 8, 1962, and is the seventh of nine children in his family, born to Catherine and Gerald Dolan.
Growing up in San Diego, he attended the School of the Madeleine at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in San Diego and graduated from University High School in 1981. He went to St. Francis Seminary and the University of San Diego, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He earned a master’s degree in divinity and theology at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California.
Ordained to the priesthood July 1, 1989, by San Diego Bishop Leo T. Maher, then-Father Dolan’s first assignment was as an associate pastor at St. Michael’s Parish in Paradise Hills, California.
He was the diocesan director of vocations from 1992 to 1994, and then was pastor of parishes in Oceanside, San Diego, Chula Vista and Poway. He was at St. John Parish in San Diego when Pope Francis named him a San Diego auxiliary in 2017. He was ordained a bishop June 8, 2017.
Cardinal-designate McElroy called Bishop Dolan “a man of deep faith, pastoral wisdom and enormous energy,” who has a “a profound joy in his soul that reflects the grace of God and the wonderful love of his parents and family.”
“Bishop Dolan has been the pastor of six very diverse parishes within the Diocese of San Diego, and to each he has brought leadership, prayerfulness, collaboration, creativity and unity,” the prelate added.
“As vicar for clergy in our diocese, he has deepened the solidarity of our presbyterate and enhanced the personal well-being of our priests and deacons,” he added. “The Catholic community of Phoenix is receiving a true shepherd of Jesus Christ as their leader.”