By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Bishop Thomas was born in 1950 and raised in the state of Montana. He graduated from Christian Brothers High School, Butte, in 1968. After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in literature in 1972, he entered the Archdiocese of Seattle ’s St. Thomas Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1976.
Father Thomas served as Associate Pastor at Holy Family Parish in Kirkland and St. James Cathedral in Seattle, WA then as parish administrator at Sacred Heart Parish in Bellevue and Holy Innocents Mission in Duvall. Father Thomas also provided chaplaincy services to a County Jail and Seattle City Jail, and for 10 years served as chairman of the Board of Directors for Catholic Community Services.
In 1983, Father Thomas earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Community Mental Health, followed by a Doctorate in Philosophy in 1986. He was appointed Chancellor and Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Seattle in 1987. He held the latter post until after his appointment by Pope John Paul II as Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle in 1999. In 2004 he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Helena, WA also by Pope John Paul II.