Meet the 5th Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix

Here is the prepared text for Bishop Dolan’s remarks on his appointment as the 5th Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix.

June 10, 2022

At this new chapter in my life and ministry, I am filled with deep gratitude that the Lord, who has been by my side, remains faithful to me as I begin my service to the people of God here in the Diocese of Phoenix. .

En este nuevo capítulo de mi vida y ministerio, estoy lleno de profunda gratitud, porque el Señor que ha estado a mi lado permanece fiel a mí al comenzar mi servicio al pueblo de Dios aquí en la Diocese de Phoenix.

Deseo dar las gracias al Obispo Olmsted y al Obispo Nevares, que me han demostrado un cálido y cariñosa bienvenida.

I would like to thank Monsignor Olmsted and Monsignor Nevares who gave me a warm and affectionate welcome.

Last night Bishop Olmsted and I enjoyed a bond of prayer and fellowship, and I quickly came to admire and respect your Bishop as a true disciple and son of the Church. I was especially moved when we shared our vocation stories and how we were each led by loving and faithful families in the life of priestly ministry. I look forward to deepening my closeness and my love for your two bishops.

Last Sunday, the day of Pentecost, I received a call from Archbishop Christoph Pierre, our papal nuncio in Washington, DC, who told me that Pope Francis wanted to appoint us to this wonderful part of the vineyard of the Lord. On this Feast of Pentecost, I said “Yes”, and now, relying on the breath and the strength of the Holy Spirit, I ask Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Diocese of Phoenix, to m to help keep saying “Yes”. to the Lord as your new bishop.

I give glory to God for my parents, Cathy and Jerry, who celebrate their 72 years of marriage next Sunday. May they continue to enjoy the sweetness of living together. I am also grateful to the Lord for each of my eight brothers and sisters, some of whom are in the hands of God, others who continue to reside in San Diego and another who lives here in this diocese. They continue to inspire me and offer me both prayerful and moral support.

The long list of my friends, neighbors, teachers and mentors is too long to even attempt to acknowledge here. Many of them are priests, bishops and nuns who taught me to be a priest, pastor and bishop. I am indebted to each of them.

The people of the Diocese of San Diego will always have a place in my heart. As a native of San Diego and resident there for 60 years of my life, I will now have to make some adjustments.

I grew up in the heart of San Diego, a few miles from Pacific Beach, where I spent long summer days surfing and boogie boarding – my dermatologist can attest to that. My childhood home was in the Mission Bay area and in a community called Tecolote Canyon. Located between my home parish of St. Mary Magdalene and the Catholic University of San Diego, it has become an ideal place for many Catholic families to live. In fact, Tecolote Canyon was often referred to as “Catholic Gultch.”

There, in this neighborhood, I celebrated all my sacraments and offered my first mass as a priest. I attended the school of the Madeleine, formed by the marvelous sisters of Saint-François, province of Philadelphia. Then I went to Catholic high school—University of San Diego High School—then St. Francis Seminary and the University of San Diego. My only time away from San Diego was in Menlo Park, California at St. Patrick’s Seminary, where I received both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts.

I was ordained a priest by Bishop Leo Maher and have served in various positions, mostly parish related, throughout my ministry for the past 33 years, the last five years as Auxiliary Bishop in San Diego .

I can thank Archbishop Robert McElroy for placing me in the roles of Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for the Clergy. It was in these roles, and as a bishop, that I discovered a ministry of diocesan governance in the life of the Church. I appreciate his leadership and offer my prayers for him; especially now that he is preparing to serve His Holiness as a cardinal and senior collaborator.

I’m really lucky to be here in Phoenix. Been here several times and enjoyed places like Sedona, Grand Canyon, Lake Havasu and Dolan Springs, a gateway to another view of the Grand Canyon.

However, beyond the beauty of the landscapes, as I see this ever-growing Church, I am inspired by your cross-cultural way of life, your ecumenical spirit, your vast array of elementary schools, high schools and colleges, your service to the poor through Catholic and St. Vincent de Paul charities, the various spiritual movements and organizations like Cursillo, the Legion of Mary, fraternal organizations like the Knights of Peter Claver, Columbus, Malta and the Holy Sepulchre, your training programs for deacons and priests, and catechesis programs for youth, young adults and adults. The list continues. Truly, the Church here is alive, and much of that is due to Bishop Olmsted, Bishop Nevares, this vibrant Curia, the clergy and various leaders in this Diocese. Monsignor Olmsted, truly, your diocese should be proud.

To the men and women religious, deacons and wives, priests, lay faithful and bishops of Phoenix, I pledge my sincere love and prayer as we journey together to proclaim the Good News of Jesus, our Lord and Shepherd, Brother and Friend, who promises us the joys of his peaceful kingdom here and in the life to come.

My motto as bishop is “Abide in my love”. It is the command of Jesus, which promises joy and, of course, complete joy. I am convinced that as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, I will have joy as long as I remain in his love. So please pray for me.

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