Wichita Bishop Named to Head Phoenix Diocese

Thomas Olmsted a Former Rector of Josephinum

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PHOENIX, Arizona, NOV. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II named Wichita Bishop Thomas Olmsted as leader of the Phoenix Diocese, the Vatican Information Service reported.

Bishop Olmsted, 56, has been serving in Wichita, Kansas, since Feb. 18, 1999, first as coadjutor and then as bishop of the diocese.

The appointment fills the vacancy left by the resignation of Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien in June. He stepped down two days after being arrested on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal traffic accident. His trial is expected to begin in January.

Born in Oketo, Kansas, on Jan. 21, 1947, Thomas Olmsted was sent to Rome in 1969 to complete his priestly formation at the North American College and to study theology at the Gregorian University. He received his degree in canon law from the Gregorian in 1981.

On July 2, 1973, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.

In 1993 he took the post of dean of formation at the Josephinum Pontifical College in Columbus, Ohio, and, in April 1996, he was appointed president and rector of that seminary. He has been ordinary of Wichita since October 2001.

Bishop Olmsted has been a member of the U.S. episcopate’s Administrative Committee and its Committee on Consecrated Life, and a consultant of the Committee on Priestly Formation.

The Phoenix Diocese has 478,000 Catholics in a population of 3.6 million. There are 304 priests, 203 permanent deacons, and 338 religious serving the community.

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