New archdiocese includes Utah

Friday, Jun. 02, 2023
New archdiocese includes Utah + Enlarge
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — Pope Francis has created the Archdiocese of Las Vegas and named the Most Reverend George L. Thomas, Ph.D., as the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Las Vegas.
Bishop Daniel H. Mueggenborg and Bishop Oscar A. Solis will continue to be the bishops of Reno and Salt Lake City, respectively; these dioceses will be part of the Province of Las Vegas. Previously they were part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
An ecclesiastical province consists of a geographical region of an archdiocese, also known as the “metropolitan see,” along with other dioceses that are called “suffragan sees.” The metropolitan archbishop is the head of the archdiocese. Although there is no direct authority over the suffragan dioceses within the province, the metropolitan archbishop can provide assistance to the suffragan sees as permissible by canon law. With the new ecclesiastical province, the Archdiocese of Las Vegas is the metropolitan see, and the Diocese of Reno and the Diocese of Salt Lake City are the suffragan sees.
“Our diocese looks forward to working with Archbishop George Thomas as we advance the Gospel in our region,” Bishop Solis said in a May 30 press release. “I congratulate him on his elevation to archbishop, which is a clear recognition of his excellent and faithful pastoral leadership of the Church. I ask the people of God of our diocese to pray for the new ecclesiastical province of Las Vegas and for Archbishop Thomas as the first Archbishop of Las Vegas: O God, we give you thanks for our new ecclesiastical province. May our ministries make visible the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Graciously bestow your gifts upon Archbishop Thomas, Bishop Mueggenborg and Bishop Solis, that they may preside in the place of Christ, and teach, sanctify and govern us in love. Grant that the faithful may be so united to their shepherds, and gathered together in the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and the Eucharist, be a sign and instrument in the world of the presence of Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.”
At a May 30 press conference in Las Vegas that was attended by Bishop Mueggenborg and Bishop Solis, among others, Archbishop Thomas said that becoming an archdiocese “I think is certainly a mark of approbation and approval from the Holy Father.”
While he very moved by the honor and “I feel very grateful to the Holy See and certainly to Pope Francis, whom I love very deeply, … the honor and the glory belongs to the priests and the lay faithful,” the archbishop said. “It is the people laboring out in the fields and the communities who are really responsible for the dynamism we are experiencing.”
At the press conference, the Most Rev. Gregory W. Gordon, Auxiliary Bishop of Las Vegas, said the creation of the archdiocese was a reflection of the decades of growth in the area, not only in population but in “the number of baptized, the growth in the number of parishes and schools and other apostolates.”
The Las Vegas area has about 850,000 Catholics, with about 35 percent Hispanic/Latino, and 58 languages are spoken in the parishes, Archbishop Thomas said. “Our parishes are very active. Two of our parishes now have 40,000 registered parishioners … and our Masses very often are standing-room only, so there’s a vibrancy out in the community.” 
In his comments at the press conference, Bishop Solis said, “Nothing happens by accident or coincidence in the Church. It is always the movement of the Holy Spirit that inspires priests, religious men and women as well as the laity in order to build a vibrant and dynamic Church, and so I credit all of your efforts, especially the pastoral leadership of Archbishop Thomas, for building this strong Church in the Great Basin, which now includes the cute little Diocese of Salt Lake City,” he said with a smile, drawing laughter from those present.
On June 28, Archbishop Thomas will go to Rome to receive from Pope Francis the pallium, the mark of an archbishop. The apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, will be in Las Vegas Oct. 2 to vest Archbishop Thomas with the pallium and formally establish the Archdiocese of Las Vegas.
To view the press conference, visit

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