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Bishop John Dolan, Diocese of Phoenix

Pope Francis appoints new bishop for Diocese of Phoenix

Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan of San Diego to become fifth bishop in Diocesan History

PHOENIX –  Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted from pastoral governance of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix and has appointed Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan of San Diego as the fifth Bishop in the 52-year history of the diocese. Bishop Dolan will begin his new assignment in Phoenix in early August 2022, taking over for one of the fastest growing Catholic dioceses in the United States with an estimated 1.1 million Catholic population.

Bishop Dolan, who turned 60 years old earlier this week, is a native of San Diego. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego in April of 2017 where he also served as the vicar general, vicar for clergy and the moderator of the curia. Prior to the appointment in 2017, he served as a priest at various parishes across the Diocese of San Diego for 28 years.

“My heart is filled with joy on this day as Pope Francis appoints me to serve as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix,” said Bishop Dolan. “I cannot begin to express my thanks to God for his goodness to me throughout my life and I enter this new chapter with a renewed commitment to love and serve the Lord and His Church with my whole heart, soul, and strength.

“I am grateful to the Lord who has blessed me with the love of my parents and family, my dear friends, and the many priests, deacons, religious, parishioners, and all with whom I served in the Diocese of San Diego. I am particularly grateful to Cardinal-Designate Robert W. McElroy, bishop of San Diego, and Auxiliary Bishop Ramon Bejarano with whom I have shared a common joy in the Lord. San Diego is blessed to have these men of God.

“Finally, I am truly grateful to God for Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares who have warmly welcomed me to the Diocese of Phoenix. Please pray for all three of us as we journey together on mission in Christ!”

Growing up in San Diego, Bishop Dolan attended local Catholic schools at St. Mary Magdalene parish and University High School, before attending St. Francis Seminary and the University of San Diego, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. He earned a Master’s degree in Divinity and Theology at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.

“I rejoice in the Holy Father’s appointment of Bishop John Dolan as Bishop of Phoenix,” said Cardinal-Designate Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego.  “He is a man of deep faith, pastoral wisdom and enormous energy.  In addition, there is a profound joy in his soul that reflects the grace of God and the wonderful love of his parents and family.  Bishop Dolan has been the pastor of six very diverse parishes within the Diocese of San Diego, and to each he has brought leadership, prayerfulness, collaboration, creativity and unity.  As Vicar for Clergy in our diocese, he has deepened the solidarity of our presbyterate and enhanced the personal well-being of our priests and deacons. The Catholic community of Phoenix is receiving a true shepherd of Jesus Christ as their leader.”

Ordained to the priesthood on July 1, 1989, by Bishop Leo T. Maher, Bishop Dolan began as an associate pastor at St. Michael’s parish in Paradise Hills, Calif., before serving at Santa Sophia in Spring Valley, Calif., St. Rose of Lima in Chula Vista, Calif., St. Mary Star of the Sea in Oceanside, Calif., and at St. Michael’s parish in Poway, Calif., St. John the Evangelist and St. Vincent de Paul parishes in Hillcrest, Calif., and Mission Hills, Calif.  He is the seventh of nine children in his family, born to Catherine and Gerald Dolan.