Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted retires

The XCP chapel is a landmark for faith and a showcase of community. Xavier is honored to attend Mass officiated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted on January 21, 2022, his 75th birthday.

Kali Riddell

The XCP chapel is a landmark for faith and a showcase of community. Xavier is honored to attend Mass officiated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted on January 21, 2022, his 75th birthday.

Kali Riddell, Multimedia Editor

At Xavier, a massive part of the community is faith. When people walk into the original building at Xavier, Fitzgerald Hall, they can see the words, “Be it known to all who enter here, That Christ is the reason for this school.”

On January 21, 2022, Bishop Olmsted will turn 75. Xavier College Preparatory is honored to have the bishop officiate Mass on that very day. It is then that the community will know if he is the former bishop, or still the bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. 

“I am not really sure what to think about it but every stage in my life the Lord has surprised me with good things. I never dreamed I would be bishop in Phoenix. I never dreamed I would be bishop in Wichita before that. I trust that God knows what he is doing so I am looking forward to whatever he has in mind,” Olmsted said.

Every bishop when they turn 75 must turn in retirement forms to the pope. The pope can either deny or accept these papers. If he denies these papers, some bishops may not retire for a year or two. If the pope accepts these papers, the bishop retires soon thereafter. 

Olmsted was ordained to priesthood on July 2, 1973. His first job as a priest was in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Father Nathaniel Glenn said, “I am sad that Bishop Olmsted may retire but I am excited for the future of the Diocese of Phoenix.”

Olmsted became a bishop on April 20, 1999. Prior to coming to the Diocese of Phoenix, he was the bishop in Wichita, Kansas. He became the bishop in Phoenix on December 20, 2003. 

“Each of the places I have worked is very special to me. The one I remember the most is from the first three years of me being a priest. It was exciting, fresh and new. Because of that, the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, Nebraska will have a special place in my heart,” Olmsted said.

Brianne Sanford, theology teacher, said, “He truly has transformed this diocese. He does not take anything for granted and is very clear about the Catholic teachings. I am so sad that he may leave.”

The only way for the Catholic Church to grow is to include opportunities for youth members. In Phoenix, there are many schools that offer Catholic teachings and opportunities, and Xavier is one of them. Olmsted stresses the importance of youth groups and a Catholic education which are ways he has changed this diocese for the better.

“I think that our young people are very important in the Church now. Right now you have a role in the Church that is very important. As a Catholic high school, you are able to approach your education in a complete way. You do not leave God out. That is a great blessing,” Olmsted said.

Knowing God is important for Olmsted. From the most recent All Saints Day Mass, Olmsted quoted from 1 John 2:3, “The way we may be sure that we know Him is to keep His commandments. Whoever says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”