May 30, 2023 (LAS VEGAS) – Pope Francis has created the Archdiocese of Las Vegas and named the Most Reverend George Leo Thomas, Ph.D., as the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Las Vegas.
“28 years ago, Las Vegas became a Diocese, and now on May 30 an Archdiocese. This speaks to the tremendous growth and vibrancy of the local faith and the commitment of the women and men that serve in leadership including our priests. This really is a remarkable legacy and moment in Las Vegas, and for the Catholic Church as a whole,” commented Archbishop Thomas. “With our Diocese being elevated to an Archdiocese, Pope Francis has discerned the need for a new Ecclesiastical Province in the Western United States. I am deeply honored and humbled by this significant recognition by the Pope.”
“Being created an Archdiocese by Pope Francis at this moment in Las Vegas history certainly reflects the Holy Father’s confidence in the spiritual leadership of this Church under Archbishop Thomas these past five years,” remarked Bishop Gregory W. Gordon, Auxiliary Bishop of Las Vegas. “Las Vegas has grown in many ways since we first became a Diocese in 1995, in population, and in size. But there has also been spiritual growth, in the number of the baptized, an increase of vocations for our Archdiocese and religious life, and we continue to build new parishes and continue to welcome men to the priesthood. Our new Archdiocesan status reflects that growth.”
An Ecclesiastical Province consists of a geographical region of an Archdiocese, also known as the, “Metropolitan See,” along with other Dioceses which are called “Suffragan Sees.” The Metropolitan Archbishop is the head of the Archdiocese and, although there is not direct authority over the Suffragan Dioceses within the province, he can provide assistance to the Suffragan Sees as permissible in canon law (Church 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.
On June 29, 2023, in Rome, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Archbishop Thomas will receive a special liturgical vestment blessed by Pope Francis, called the pallium. The pallium is a woolen vestment worn on the shoulders by Archbishops and represents those in the Archbishop’s pastoral care. It symbolizes sheep being carried on the shoulders of the shepherd. A pilgrim group from Las Vegas will travel to Rome for this special Papal Mass and witness the reception of the pallium by Archbishop Thomas. For those unable to travel to Rome, Catholic News Media outlets will be broadcasting this special Mass. Details regarding the Papal Mass in Rome will be relayed in a future release.
On October 2, 2023, Feast of The Holy Guardian Angels, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States (Ambassador of the Holy See), Archbishop Christophe Pierre will be in Las Vegas to vest Archbishop Thomas with the pallium, during a special Investiture Mass at the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer. More details will follow regarding this special Mass.