After nearly six difficult months, the Diocese of Gallup began the New Year with a new bishop to shepherd the local church.
The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, the newly appointed apostolic administrator of the Gallup Diocese, celebrated his first two public Masses in Gallup’s Sacred Heart Cathedral during well-attended services on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. He was greeted with applause when introduced, and many parishioners lined up to greet him after the services.
On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Olmsted, who is also the bishop of the Phoenix Diocese, to temporarily serve as the bishop of Gallup until either Donald E. Pelotte can return to his duties as bishop or until Pelotte’s successor is appointed and installed. Church authorities have granted Pelotte a one-year medical leave to allow him to try to recover from the serious injuries he sustained in his home on July 23, 2007.
Olmsted tied examples from the weekend’s scripture readings to the Diocese of Gallup’s troubles since Pelotte was injured. Using the story of the Epiphany — the discovery of the Christ Child by the three wise men who followed the star in the East — Olmsted drew parallels to darkness and light, confusion and illumination, disappointment and hope, fear and faith.
Both Pelotte and the Church “have faced months of painful unknowns,” admitted Olmsted. But just as Christians believe Christ is the “light of the world,” Olmsted said God brings light into the darkness of circumstances. With a reference to Romans 8:28, Olmsted reminded his audience that God can make all things — including painful and confusing things, illness, disappointment, and even wrong things — to work for good for those who love God.
Regarding concerns about what may happen in the Diocese of Gallup in 2008, Olmsted also reminded the parishioners that “Christ is with us” and that “his light shines forth and pierces the darkness.” Repeating a scriptural reference he cited in his press conference on Thursday, Olmsted quoted the apostle Paul, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Olmsted also asked his audience to continue to love Pelotte and to pray for him. Pelotte’s recovery was remembered in prayer in the general intercessions of the weekend Masses, something Olmsted has instructed the diocese’s priests to include in all services. However, as the acting bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, Olmsted’s name is now the bishop’s name being remembered in the Eucharistic Prayer in all the Masses celebrated across the diocese.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Cleaning up messes
...please pray for Bishop Thomas Olmstead of the Diocese of Phoenix who has also been given administrative oversight of the Gallup Diocese. What a mess! You will remember Bishop Pelotte was seriously injured under some rather suspicious circumstances which have not been clarified. From the Independent