Helena bishop transferring to Las Vegas, plans to be a “listening bishop”

HELENA – Bishop George Thomas announced today that he will be moving to Las Vegas at the beginning of May, 2018. He will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Helena until May 15th.

The diocese college of consultants, which is comprised of local priests, will then have 8 days to appoint a diocesan administrator to serve until a new bishop is selected by Pope Francis.

On Wednesday Pope Francis named Bishop Thomas as Bishop of Las Vegas after serving the Diocese of Helena for over a decade.

The Las Vegas Diocese is nearly 15 times the size of Helena, and Bishop Thomas says that he plans to be a “listening bishop” when he first gets there. “The people and the priests carry a lot of wisdom,” says Bishop Thomas.

During his recent visit to Las Vegas Bishop Thomas says that he saw a town with a broken heart after the mass shooting in October.

Bishop Thomas added that there are a lot of social needs in the area that he hopes to help address.

“Francis has preached and taught on the medicine of mercy, and I just so believe that we should be a church that dispenses mercy and forgiveness with careless abandon,” says Bishop Thomas.

Bishop Thomas says that it will be hard to say goodbye to Montana, but he is proud of where the catholic community and Carrol College is at right now.

Thomas is excited for a new bishop to come in and believes the community will be seen as great gifts.

While serving the Helena Diocese Bishop Thomas oversaw the lawsuit and settlement of sexual abuse accusations of children during the time period of the 1930’s until the 1970’s.

Bishop Thomas says that he plans to continue the commitment of openness and compassion from the church while in Nevada.

“If you’re going to have the confidence of the people and credibility amount the parishioners they need to know what I know,” says Bishop Thomas, “Transparency sometimes mean that all the sadness and laundry is out handing on the line for everybody to see but at the end of the day that’s the only way to establish trust.”

Bishop Thomas was the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Helena and will serve as the 3rd Bishop of Las Vegas.

HELENA – Bishop George Leo Thomas of Helena has been named by Pope Francis as the new bishop of Las Vegas.

Bishop Thomas will be installed as Bishop of Las Vegas on May 15, 2018 after serving as bishop of Helena for nearly 14 years.

George Leo Thomas was born in Anaconda and raised in nearby Butte. A graduate of Carroll College, Thomas was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Seattle in 1976.

As the bishop of Helena Bishop Thomas dedicated three new churches and ordained 18 permanent deacons and 14 priests for the Diocese of Helena.

Bishop Thomas also oversaw the lawsuit and settlement of sexual abuse accusations of children during the time period of the 1930’s until the 1970’s.

In addition to serving on numerous boards and committees in the Diocese of Helena and as Chancellor of Carroll College, Bishop Thomas is also an honorary member of the Blackfeet Nation.

“It is difficult to leave Montana,” Bishop Thomas said. “But, Pope Francis requests that each Bishop possess a generous missionary spirit. In light of the Holy Father’s request and with humble thanks for the confidence he places in me, I joyfully accept this appointment.”

The current bishop of Las Vegas Bishop Joseph A. Pepe is retiring after serving in that position for nearly 17 years.

The Diocese of Helena is expected to release more information about a replacement later this week.