Past Bishops of the Diocese of Phoenix

Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien - Third Bishop of Phoenix (1982-2003)

Ordained a priest: May 7, 1961
Ordained a bishop: January 6, 1982
Installed as bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix: January 18, 1982
Retired: June 18, 2003

Most Reverend Thomas Joseph O'Brien (born November 29, 1935) served as bishop of Phoenix from 1982 to 2003.

Fr. O'Brien was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and attended St. Meinrad Seminary. Feeling a call to the priesthood from an early age, he was ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, on May 7, 1961. He then served as an associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Douglas.

Fr. O'Brien was later transferred to the Diocese of Phoenix in 1964, as an associate pastor at St. Theresa Church and later at St. Gregory Church. He was named pastor of St. Catherine Church in Phoenix in 1979, and also served as vicar general for the diocese.

On November 9, 1981, Fr. O'Brien was appointed the third bishop of Phoenix by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on January 6, 1982 from John Paul II himself, with Archbishops Eduardo Martínez Somalo and Lucas Moreira Neves, OP, serving as co-consecrators, in Rome. He was formally installed as bishop of Phoenix on the following January 18, and selected as his episcopal motto, "To Build Up the Body of Christ."

During his tenure, Bishop O'Brien earned a reputation as a successful fundraiser, builder of schools, and advocate for the poor. He was also instrumental in persuading John Paul II and Mother Teresa to make their respective visits to Phoenix in 1987 and 1989. Within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he formerly chaired the Committee on Marriage and Family.

Bishop James S. Rausch - Second Bishop of Phoenix (1977 - 1981)

Ordained a priest: June 2, 1956
Ordained a bishop: April 26, 1973
Installed as bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix: March 22, 1977

Most Rev. James S. Rausch (September 4, 1928-May 18, 1981) was the second bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix.

Born in Albany, Minnesota, Rausch was ordained a priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Cloud, Minnesota. On March 5, 1973, Pope Paul VI appointed Rausch auxiliary bishop of the St. Cloud Diocese and he was ordained bishop on April 16, 1973. On June 17, 1977, Rausch was appointed bishop of the Phoenix Diocese serving until his death.

Bishop Edward A. McCarthy - First Bishop of Phoenix (1969 - 1976)

Ordained a priest: May 29, 1943
Ordained a bishop: June 15, 1965
Installed as bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix: December 2, 1969

Most Reverend Edward Anthony McCarthy (April 10, 1918 - June 7, 2005) was the first bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, leading the newly established diocese from its creation on Dec. 2, 1969, until the summer of 1976.

Fr. McCarthy was appointed auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati by Pope Paul VI on April 21, 1965. He was consecrated two months later on June 15, 1965, with Cincinnati Archbishop Karl Joseph Alter serving as Principal Consecrator.

After four years as an auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati, Bishop McCarthy was appointed the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of Phoenix on August 25, 1969. He was installed as Bishop of Phoenix on December 2 of that year.

On September 17, 1976, Bishop McCarthy was appointed the coadjutor archbishop of Miami due to the failing health of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll. Upon Archbishop Carroll's death on July 26, 1977, Bishop McCarthy succeeded him as the second archbishop of Miami.

In 1993, Archbishop McCarthy submitted his resignation at the mandatory retirement age of 75. He became officially retired on November 3, 1994. Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy died in his sleep on June 7, 2005 at the age of 87.