The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix
The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., July 2, 1973. He was installed as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix December 20, 2003.
Prior to his arrival in Phoenix he served as Bishop of Wichita, Kansas, after being ordained Coadjutor Bishop on April 20, 1999. Before serving in Wichita, he served as the Rector / President of the Pontifical College Josephinum, a Catholic Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.
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.
For 16 years, Bishop Olmsted lived in Rome, Italy, where he obtained a master’s degree in theology, a doctorate in Canon Law, and worked more than nine years in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. During the nine years of serving in the Holy See, he resided at the Pontifical North American College and assisted seminarians with spiritual direction.
Having been reared on a family farm on the Kansas-Nebraska border, he attended a single-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, Colo., from which he graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
Birthday: January 21, 1947
Ordination to the priesthood: July 2, 1973
Ordained a bishop: April 20, 1999
1973-1976: First assignment as a priest: associate pastor, Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln, Nebraska
1976-1979: Doctoral Studies at the Gregorian University, Rome
1979-1988: Assistant at the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, and assistant spiritual director at Pontifical North American College, Rome
1989-1993: Pastor, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Seward, Nebraska
1993-1997: Dean of Personal Formation at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio
1997-1999: Rector/President of the Pontifical College Josephinum
1999-2001: Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas
1999-2007: USCCB Priestly Formation Committee
2000-2003: USCCB Consecrated Life Committee
2001-2003: Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas
2000-2003: Board of Directors, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
2000-2003: USCCB Administrative Committee
2003-Present: Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix
2005-2008: Member, USCCB National Advisory Council
2008-2009: Apostolic Administrator of Diocese of Gallup
2008-2017: Member, USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs
2009-Present: Founding Member, Catholic Association of Latino Leaders
2010-2011: Member, USCCB Missions Committee
2010-2017: Board of Trustees, The Catholic University of America
2011-Present: Episcopal Advisor to the US Conference of Secular Institutes
2011-2015: Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty
2011-2015: First Vice-Chairman, Vox Clara Committee of the Congregation for Divine Worship
2011-Present: Board of Directors, Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership
2011-Present: Board of Trustees, Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary
2011-Present: Board of Directors, Courage
2011-Present: Episcopal Advisory Board, Augustine Institute, Denver
2015-Present: USCCB Pro-Life Committee Member
2015-Present: Board of Governors of the Pontifical North American College
2018-Present: Appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix. Seda Plena.