Pope Francis has named Monsignor Michael F. Olson as the new bishop of Fort Worth, Texas, setting the priest on the path to become the second youngest bishop to head a diocese in the U.S.
“I am very humbled and deeply moved by Pope Francis' appointment of me to serve as the Bishop of Fort Worth,” he said. “In a very special way, I am delighted to return home to the Diocese of Fort Worth to serve the priests, deacons, religious and all of the faithful as their bishop.”
Msgr. Olson, 47, is the current rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in the Dallas suburb of Irving. The seminary is associated with the University of Dallas.
Bishop-designate Olson addressed a Nov. 19 press conference in Fort Worth, stressing how important the priesthood is to him.
“I love being a priest, since my ordination,” he said. “I’m consoled that being a bishop means experiencing the fullness of the priesthood.”
He reflected that he prefers to think that a bishop is given to a diocese, not given a diocese. “I’m being given to you, in this new way,” he said, pledging to use his ministry “for the good of all.”
He also stressed care for the souls of priests as “very necessary and important and essential” for his ministry.
The Diocese of Fort Worth has about 710,000 Catholics in 90 parishes across 28 counties, whose total population is over 3.3 million.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., announced the appointment Tuesday. The bishop-to-be will succeed Bishop Kevin Vann, whom Pope Benedict XVI appointed bishop of Orange, Calif. in September 2012.
Bishop-designate Olson is an Illinois native, born in Park Ridge to Ronald G. and Janice Fetzer Olson on June 29, 1966, the Diocese of Fort Worth reports. He has three sisters. He was raised in Des Plaines, Illinois and received a high school diploma from Quigley Preparatory Seminary North in 1984.
He was originally a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago, but transferred to Fort Worth after his family relocated there.
Bishop-designate Olson was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Fort Worth in June 1994 before serving as parochial vicar at St. Michael Parish in Bedford until 1997.
He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in the late 1980s. He did doctoral work at the St. Louis University Center for Health Care Ethics from 1997 to 2001 and has served on an ethics committee for the University of Texas Medical Center.
The bishop-designate holds a doctorate in moral theology from Rome’s Academia Alfonsiana.
He has been a formation advisor at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston and was pastor of Fort Worth’s St. Peter the Apostle Parish from 2006 to 2008. Additionally, he was vicar general of the Fort Worth diocese under Bishop Vann and has been rector of Holy Trinity Seminary since 2008. Pope Benedict XVI named him a monsignor in May 2010.
Bishop-designate Olson’s installation will take place January 29 at a 2 p.m. Mass in the Forth Worth Convention Center. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio will ordain him to the episcopacy.
After Bishop-designate Olson’s ordination, Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico will still be the youngest bishop leading a U.S. diocese. Both men were classmates at St. Mary Seminary in Houston.