Discover the Diocese of Dallas

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas (LatinDioecesis Dallasensis) is a Roman Catholicdiocese in Texas. It was founded on July 15, 1890 by Pope Leo XIII. The diocese's cathedral is the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

As of May 2008, the Diocese has more than one million Catholics in 80 parishes served by 208 priests, 160 deacons, 142 sisters, and seven brothers. The diocese's territory comprises nine counties in North Texas: Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, and Rockwall. The diocese is a suffragan diocese of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio.


The Catholic history of Dallas began long before the formal creation of the diocese. The city of Dallas was settled by people from Kentucky,Illinois, and Indiana, as well as foreign immigrants and African-Americans. The Catholic population, however, was not considerable: as late as 1868 there was only one Catholic family living in the area. The members of this family were ministered to by priests from an Irish Catholic settlement, St. Paul in Collin County. A certain Father Joseph Martinere, later a domestic prelate and vicar general of the diocese, often made journeys of over hundreds of miles through swamp and forest to reach the area.

The diocese was erected on July 15, 1890 out of the northern and north-western portions of theDiocese of Galveston. Its first bishop wasThomas Francis Brennan, an Irishman who served in the diocese for two years before being removed to Rome. By 1892 the Catholic population of the diocese had grown to 15,000, and there were 30 priests. Catholicism in the area continued to grow because of immigration, as Catholics came to the area from the northern states, and by 1908 there were 83 priests serving an estimated Catholic population of 60,000.

The diocese's second bishop, Edward Dunne, was an Irish immigrant to the United States. He was bishop from 1894 until his death in 1910. It was under his episcopacy that the diocese constructed its cathedral, which the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia called "admittedly the finest in the South-Western States". Dunne also opened several educational institutions, including Holy Trinity College (later renamed the University of Dallas). He established St. Paul Sanitarium (now St. Paul Medical Center) in Dallas, and St. Anthony's Sanitarium, which was the first hospital in Amarillo. During his sixteen years as bishop, the number of churches increased from twenty-eight to ninety, and the Catholic population tripled in size.

Joseph Lynch was the third bishop of the diocese. His 43 years, from 1911 to 1954, as bishops comprise the longest term of any bishop in the United States. Though Bishop Lynch's episcopal career saw the foundation of 108 Catholic parishes, it also saw the Diocese of Dallas lose territory with the creation of the Dioceses of El PasoAmarillo, andAustin. Reflecting some of these changes in territory, on October 20, 1953 the name of the diocese was changed to the Diocese of Dallas–Fort Worth. (The diocese would return to its former name with the creation of the Diocese of Fort Worth on August 9, 1969.)

The episcopal career of Thomas Gorman (1954–1969) saw the revival of the Texas Catholic newspaper, which had been suspended since 1894. There were twenty-five parochial schools constructed in his fifteen years as bishop, as well as twenty new parishes. Bishop Tschoepe's years saw the diocese lose territory to the Diocese of Tyler in 1989, but further growth was marked under bishop Charles Victor Grahmann, as the Catholic population of the diocese expanded from 200,000 to nearly a million between 1990 and 2007. The Diocese of Dallas was not untouched by the scandal of Catholic sex abuse cases, as a jury awarded $120 million from the diocese to victims in a 1997 case implicating Rudy Kos, a priest of the diocese who has since been laicised.

The current bishop of Dallas, Kevin Farrell, was appointed on March 6, 2007 and was installed on May 1, 2007. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI named J. Douglas Deshotel and Mark J. Seitz as auxiliary bishops of the Diocese of Dallas. They were consecrated on April 27, 2010, by Bishop Farrell, who was assisted by Bishop Emeritus Charles Grahmann, and Michael Duca, Bishop of Shreveport.



The past bishops of the diocese include:

  1. Thomas Francis Brennan (1890–1892)
  2. Edward Joseph Dunne (1893–1910)
  3. Joseph Patrick Lynch (1911–1954)
  4. Thomas Kiely Gorman (1954–1969)
  5. Thomas Ambrose Tschoepe (1969–1990)
  6. Charles Victor Grahmann (1990–2007)
  7. Kevin Farrell (1 May 2007–present)

Auxiliary Bishops

Coat of arms

The diocese's coat of arms has a red field in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The diagonal white band represents the Trinity Riverlocated within the diocese (the placement of the band, from top left to bottom right, somewhat resembles the northwest-southeast direction the river takes through the state). The fleurs-de-lis within the band are in honor of Pope Leo XIII (who was Pope when the diocese was established) and are taken from his coat of arms. The fleur-de-lis is repeated three times to represent the Holy Trinity. The solitary star represents Dallas, and also pays tribute to Texas' nickname "The Lone Star State". The two swords honor St. Paul, who is the patron saint of the first Catholic settlement in Northeast Texas.

The formal heraldic blazon for the coat of arms is: Fules, on a fess per bend wavy argent three fleurs-de-lis azure; in the sinister chief two crossed swords argent, in the dexter base a molet argent.


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