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The Diocese of Phoenix welcomed its fifth bishop, John P. Dolan, during a ceremonial Mass on Tuesday at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale. Dolan, 60, was appointed by Pope Francis to replace outgoing Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, who is retiring at 75 as required by the Catholic Church.
“We rejoice today because a new bishop means the work and life of the church will continue,” Olmsted said in a welcome speech for Dolan.
“He has a great love for the people of God, reaching out to all with a shepherd’s care," Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester said. "He’s a good listener who’s open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in the priests and the deacons, the religious and the lay.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey praised Dolan's installation on Twitter.
"Important message of unity, love and service during the installation of Bishop John Dolan, the 5th Bishop of the Phoenix Diocese. Looking forward to continuing to partner in supporting the dignity of every person we serve throughout Arizona," Ducey tweeted.
The Arizona Governor's Office of Youth, Faith, and Family echoed the governor's sentiments. "Thank you to Bishop Thomas Olmstead for 18 years of service in #AZ. We are grateful to continue partnering with the @PhoenixDiocese under Bishop John Dolan's leadership to better serve & support Arizonans across the state," the office said in a tweet.
Dolan officially accepted the appointment following Monsignor Luca Caveada's reading of an apostolic letter by Archbishop Christoph Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S.
“With faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and with the love of God in my heart, I do accept the pastoral care of the people of God in the Diocese of Phoenix, and I resolve to serve faithfully the spiritual needs of this local church,” Dolan said.
He used his first sermon to extoll the benefits and necessity of love and understanding towards each other and said hatred is the source of uncountable tragedies past and present.
“Just look at the war in Ukraine. Or our nation’s political divide. Or our mass shootings. Or the way in which we still treat people of cultures, color, creed or orientation,” he said. "Be good, be love and be blessed.”