The Diocese of Helena will be without a bishop for a little while.
Helena's Most Rev. George Leo Thomas was named the Bishop of Las Vegas on Feb. 28 by Pope Francis. He will be installed on May 15, succeeding Bishop Joseph A. Pepe, who is retiring.
Thomas has served the Diocese of Helena for the past 14 years.
Thomas was born in Anaconda, raised in Butte and graduated from Carroll College. Ordained in Seattle, he received two master's degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
"It is difficult to leave Montana 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," Thomas is quoted as saying in a press release from the Diocese.
Thomas was in Las Vegas Wednesday and unavailable for comment.
Plans for a replacement in Helena will come from the Vatican, and the timeline is unknown.