On August 24 some 102 freshmen from across the United States and abroad — the Class of 2019 — will mark the beginning of their four years of study at Thomas Aquinas College. To welcome the students at the formal start of the 2015-16 academic year, the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, will offer the Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit and preside over the matriculation ceremony.
Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 2, 1973, Bishop Olmsted earned a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome. For nine years he served as Assistant at the Secretariat of State at the Holy See and provided spiritual direction for the American seminarians at the Pontifical North American College. He has also served 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 diocese’ eighth Bishop. Just two years later he was appointed Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, where he has remained ever since. 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.
“We are honored that Bishop Olmsted would come join us as we begin the new academic year and receive our new students,” says Dean Brian T. Kelly. “We look forward to welcoming him on campus, to listening to his homily and matriculation remarks, and to beginning another year in our project of faithful Catholic liberal education.”