Bishop John P. Dolan Appoints New Leadership Roles at Diocesan Pastoral Center

PHOENIX (Nov. 7, 2022) – Bishop John P. Dolan, who was installed as the new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix on August 2, announced two new key leadership roles at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. The new appointments include Fr. John R. Muir as moderator of the curia and vicar general and Dr. Maria Chavira to serve as vice-moderator of the curia, in addition to her current role as chancellor. Fr. Muir, who will replace Fr. Fred Adamson in both roles, assumes his new duties on Jan. 1, 2023, while Dr. Chavira’s new title is effective immediately.

“Fr. Muir holds the esteem of the faithful in this diocese and will be a blessing to me, the Diocesan Pastoral Center, and the Diocese of Phoenix,” said Bishop Dolan. “I am equally grateful to Dr. Chavira for her outstanding leadership, and I look forward to her future service as chancellor and vice-moderator of the curia.”

Fr. Muir has been the pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale since 2015 and has also led the Diocese of Phoenix’s Office of Worship for the past two years. He played an instrumental role in the liturgical planning of Bishop Dolan’s Installation Mass in August. A native of South Burlington, Vt., he moved with his family to Arizona in 1989 and later graduated from Arcadia High School where he was a multi-sport athlete and musician.

Bishop John P. Dolan (center) has appointed Fr. John R. Muir (far right) as vicar general and moderator of the curia and Dr. Maria Chavira (left) as vice-moderator of the curia in addition to her current role as chancellor. They are pictured here with Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix, and outgoing vicar general and moderator of the curia, Fr. Fred Adamson.

After attending Regis University and St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, and Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, Fr. Muir was ordained a priest in 2007. He has served in various roles at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Phoenix (2008-2010), Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix (2008-2011), All Saints Newman Center in Tempe (2010-2013), St. Rose Philippine Duchesne in Anthem (2013-2015), Good Shepherd Mission in New River, and St. Michael Mission in Gila Bend.

“I am grateful to Bishop Dolan for his invitation to serve in these new roles and delighted to say yes to him,” said Fr. Muir. ”The love of Jesus in the Church is the gift everyone needs, and I am energized by any chance to help each one of us to abide in that love.”

Dr. Chavira, who earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from The University of Arizona, is believed to be the first woman to be named a vice-moderator of the curia.  She has served the Diocese of Phoenix as the chancellor for the past nine years, being appointed by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in 2013 and becoming one of the first Latina women in the Catholic Church to serve in that role.

“Bishop Dolan is encouraging us to live out the universal call to holiness emphasized by our Holy Father and proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council,” Dr. Chavira shared in a statement to The Catholic Sun. “In the last three months, he has reminded us of our baptismal identity as priest, prophet and king. I pray that the Lord may continue to guide me as I serve in a new leadership role to bring others to Christ and help them live their baptismal call alongside Bishop Dolan and Fr. Muir.”

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Fr. Fred Adamson will remain active in ministry at the Diocesan Pastoral Center through February, at which point he will take a six month sabbatical – in part to care for ailing parents – before returning to a yet-to-be-determined parish assignment in the Diocese of Phoenix.

“Fr. Adamson has served this diocese in many capacities over the last 19 years and has faithfully assisted Bishop Olmsted and me in the governance of our Diocese as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia,” added Bishop Dolan. “In my first three months as the bishop, I have come to appreciate Father Adamson’s attention to detail, and his tenacity in seeing projects fulfilled, all while maintaining a prayerful love for his priestly ministry. I ask you to please pray for Fr. Adamson, Fr. Muir, and Dr. Chavira during this time of transition.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix consists of 94 parishes, 23 missions, 29 elementary schools, seven high schools, three universities, and one seminary, and is one of the fastest growing dioceses in the United States, with an increase of over 300,000 Catholics in the past 10-years alone.  The Diocese of Phoenix is comprised of Mohave, Coconino (except Navajo Indian Reservation), Yavapai, and Maricopa Counties, and the Gila Indian Reservation in the State of Arizona for a total of 43,967 square miles.