The Most Rev. Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, presiding
The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Fourth Bishop of Phoenix
The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 2, 1973, and served as the associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ for three years. He then studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in canon law. He remained in Rome for the following nine years, serving as Assistant at the Secretariat of State at the Holy See and providing spiritual direction for the American seminarians at the Pontifical North American College.
Upon returning to the United States, he was made Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Seward, Nebraska. He was then assigned to the Pontifical College Josephinum seminary in Columbus, Ohio, first as Dean of Personal Formation and then as Rector/President.
In 1999, Pope St. John Paul II selected him to be Coadjutor Bishop of Wichita, Kansas, and in 2001 he succeeded Bishop Eugene Gerber as the eighth Bishop of Wichita. Just two years later he was appointed Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, where he has remained ever since.
Since 1974, Bishop Olmsted has been a member of the Jesus Caritas fraternity of priests, and thus has been deeply influenced by the witness and wisdom of Charles de Foucauld and by the prayers and encouragement of many brother priests..
Bishop Olmsted has served in many capacities in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including as a member of the Committees on Priestly Formation, Consecrated Life, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs, and Religious Liberty. He is also a member of the boards of numerous organizations including the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership, Courage, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL). In addition, he is a trustee of Denver’s Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary and a member of the Episcopal Advisory Board of the Augustine Institute, also in Denver.
Bishop Olmsted was raised on a family farm on the Kansas-Nebraska border and attended a one-room grade school near Oketo, Kansas, and a small rural high school in Summerfield, Kansas. His first contact with Catholic schools came when he entered St. Thomas Seminary College in Denver, from which he graduated in 1969.