Catholic University of America Theological College bestows 2023 Alumnus Lifetime Service Award on Bishop Olson
WASHINGTON, DC — Bishop Michael Olson received the Catholic University of America Theological College 2023 Alumnus Lifetime Service Award on October 4 in Washington, D.C.
Father Gladstone “Bud” Stevens, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, and rector of the national seminary of the Catholic University of America, presented Bishop Olson with a plaque “in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding priestly service as an educator, formator, rector, and champion of ecumenical dialogue and health care ethics.”
Presenting the award to Bishop Olson is “one of the highest blessings I’ve had in this role, to bestow this honor on behalf of the Theological College community,” said Fr. Stevens.
Bishop Olson, according to Fr. Stevens, “exemplifies a man of energy with a great pastoral heart. He communicates the truth of the Gospel with love and credibility.”
The award ceremony was the culmination of Alumni Day at Theological College, which included a Mass celebrated by Bishop Olson at the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Five priests from the Diocese of Fort Worth who graduated from Theological College accompanied Bishop Olson to Alumni Day, including Father Samuel Maul, pastoral administrator of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Arlington.
Fr. Maul said that Bishop Olson is a “wonderful choice” for the distinction because he models the values essential for seminarians to “preach the Word, direct, and shepherd” their future flocks after their priestly ordination.
The Diocese of Fort Worth currently has six seminarians studying at Theological College, and Bishop Olson regularly visits them. Fr. Stevens, Theological College rector, observed, “Bishop Olson recognizes the seminarians not just as seminarians, but as his future coworkers in the vineyard. For him, it's never too early to build that kind of relationship with these men who, if God wills, will work with him and the people of God in Fort Worth.”
As an undergraduate seminarian, Bishop Olson was the recipient of the Theodore Basselin Fellowship in philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in 1988 and 1989.
The three-year Basselin Scholarship is given to seminarians after two years of undergraduate studies in philosophy who demonstrate personal maturity and above-average potential for academic success.
After earning his philosophy degrees from the Catholic University of America, Bishop Olson earned an M.A.T.S. and M.Div. from the University of Saint Thomas in Houston in May 1994, followed by graduate studies at the Center for Health Care Ethics as a Presidential Fellow at Saint Louis University. He obtained his doctorate in moral theology at the Academia Alfonsiana in Rome with a concentration in bioethics.
Bishop Olson was ordained as a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth on June 3, 1994, and he was ordained and installed on January 29, 2014, as the fourth Bishop of Fort Worth.
Since his appointment as bishop, he has served on several committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops including the Committee on International Peace and Justice; Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations; Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People; and the Committee of Doctrine, chair of the Subcommittee on Health Care Issues.
He has been a member of the faculty at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Houston; lectured at University of Saint Thomas School of Theology and University of Dallas; and served as rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving.
The Theological College also cited Bishop Olson’s participation as a regular panelist on the ecumenical television show, “American Religious Town Hall.”