TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The Toledo Catholic Diocese has a new leader.
On Tuesday Pope Francis named the Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas as the eighth Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo. Bishop Thomas has been serving as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since his Episcopal Ordination on July 26, 2006.
He fills the office left vacant by the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, who was installed as the Archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut in December 2013. Since that time the Toledo Diocese has been under the direction of the Reverend Charles Ritter, serving as Diocesan Administrator.
Bishop Thomas will be installed as Bishop of Toledo at a Mass to be celebrated on October 22, 2014, 2 p.m. at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Boulevard, Toledo.
"I and the entire diocese are delighted to welcome Bishop Thomas. We ask for God's blessings for him and for the people of the Diocese of Toledo as he assumes the office of chief shepherd of this local church. We priests especially look forward to getting to know him and working with him as his collaborators in ministry throughout our diocese," Father Ritter said in a statement.
Bishop Thomas just learned of his appointment 12 days ago and he says it was a whirl wind.
"Of course you are shocked when you get news like this which is utterly unexpected and it was completely out of the blue," said Bishop Thomas. "But every bishop knows in a sense he is a missionary so the holy father can call us to do anything and go anywhere at anytime and any place so he has chosen for me to come to this place its a great gift."
He is still learning the challenges that face our diocese but says he does plan to reach out to all 124 parishes across the 19 counties that the diocese covers.
"I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of traveling," said Bishop Thomas. "The priests have told me to expect to put 2,500 miles on my car in a year. So I have to get ready for that but because I am the Sheppard of the flock, I want to know the flock so, I would like very much to get to see the parishes, meet the people, I don't know how that will look but, I certainly want to do that outreach and be present to them."
After Bishop Thomas was introduced in the Press Conference he made several stops across Toledo. Bishop Thomas visited Helping Hands of St. Louis where he served lunch to the needy and meant many of the volunteers.
"I felt important shaking his hand," said soup kitchen volunteer Kim Majerowski. "It's interesting meeting someone like that."
He then headed over to Central Catholic where he spoke with a select group of students.
"It's an honor," said Central Catholic student Alex Nester. "It's definitely an honor, I mean we watched his press conference and I was just so excited."
He also visited the Monastery and the Ursaline Center.
It has been eight months since Bishop Leonard Blair left Toledo and even though Bishop Thomas has been named bishop, Father Charles Ritter will be overseeing the day to day administrative duties of the diocese until the installation.
Bishop Thomas was born in Philadelphia, ordained into the priesthood and then studied in Rome. In 2006 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia. He speaks English, Italian, and Spanish.
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