Discover the Diocese of Galveston-Houston

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (Latin: Archidioecesis Galvestoniensis Houstoniensis) encompasses 8,880 square miles (23,000 km2) of ten counties in the southeastern area of TexasGalvestonHarrisAustinBrazoriaFort BendGrimes;MontgomerySan JacintoWalker; and Waller.
The chancery of the archdiocese is located in Downtown Houston. The archdiocese's original cathedral church is St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston  with a co-cathedral, the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, located in Downtown Houston. The co-cathedral is used for all major archdiocesan liturgies.
The archdiocesan history began with the erection of the prefecture apostolic of Texas in 1839, thus making Galveston the "Mother Church of Texas". The prefecture was elevated to a vicariate apostolic on July 10, 1841. On May 4, 1847, the vicariate became theDiocese of Galveston in the Province of New Orleans and St. Mary Cathedral Basilica was designated the cathedral.
In 1926, the then-diocese was placed in the newly created Province of San Antonio.
After the devastating Galveston Hurricane of 1900Houston began to expand after the Port of Houston was completed. At the request of Wendelin J. Nold, fifth bishop of Galveston, Pope John XXIII authorised the construction of a co-cathedral of convenience in Houston, and on July 25, 1959, the name of the diocese was changed to the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. Sacred Heart, a parish church located in downtown Houston, was named the co-cathedral of the diocese. This change made Houston an episcopal see city, and permitted fullepiscopal ceremonies to be held in both Galveston and Houston.
In 1979 Pope John Paul II  recognized the importance the diocese's cathedral played in the development of Texas and the western United States and elevated the status of St. Mary Cathedral by naming it a minor basilica .
By the end of the 20th century, the diocese had become one of the largest in the United States with its episcopal see cities becoming internationally important. Recognizing this, in December 2004, Pope John Paul II created the new Ecclesiastical Province of Galveston-Houston and elevated the See of Galveston-Houston to a metropolitan seeBishop Joseph Fiorenza, who had led the diocese for 20 years, became the first Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and Bishop Daniel DiNardo became Coadjutor Archbishop.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston oversees the following suffragan dioceses: AustinBeaumontBrownsvilleCorpus ChristiTyler, and Victoria in Texas.
Within the archdiocese, many famous landmarks are contained. Most prominent is St. Mary Cathedral Basilica, the mother church of Texas, and one of the few buildings and the only church to survive the 1900 Galveston Storm. Other landmarks include the 1887Bishop's Palace, the former 1912 Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, and Annunciation Church, one of the oldest churches in Texas.[7


Cardinal Daniel DiNardo became Archbishop of Galveston-Houston on February 28, 2006, upon Pope Benedict XVI's acceptance ofJoseph Fiorenza's retirement.
On October 17, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI designated Archbishop DiNardo a cardinal. He was elevated in a consistory ceremony in Romeon November 24, 2007, becoming the first cardinal representing a diocese from the American South. As of 2013 the auxiliary bishop wasGeorge A. Sheltz.
The following are the former and current ordinaries of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston:

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is composed of a blue fielded shield on which is displayed a scattering of silver and white roses and topped with a helm in the form of a golden bishop's mitre.
The roses are used to represent the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her title of the Mystical Rose, titular of the cathedral-basilica in the see city of Galveston. The red cross stands for the Faith, with a square center that contains a single silver star to represent Texas, the “Lone Star State."


Approximately 1.3 million Catholics live within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (equaling 21.4% of the total population), making the archdiocese the largest in the state of Texas and the eleventh largest in the United States. The archdiocese's 150 parishes are served by approximately 447 priests (200 diocesan, 206 religious, and 41 other) and 378 permanent deacons.


As of 2010 the Catholic school network of the archdiocese is the largest private school network in the State of Texas. As of that year the archdiocese had 59 schools, with about 18,000 students enrolled. Enrollment had declined somewhat in 2010 but had remained stable. Sister Kevina Keating said that the decline was due to the 2008–2012 global recession. As of 2010, 87% of the archdiocese's students are Catholic.


The history of the Catholic Church in Texas began with the arrival of Spanish explorers and missionaries in the 16th Century. Missions throughout Texas and the southwest were established by Franciscan friars for the care of souls. Following the Texas War of Independence in 1836, Catholics found themselves cut off from Church authorities in Mexico and appealed to Rome for assistance. In response to these appeals, Pope Gregory XVI designated Texas as an Apostolic Prefecture in 1839 with Father John Timon, C.M. as Prefect Apostolic. Father Jean Marie Odin, C.M., was named the Vice Prefect.

When Father Odin arrived in Texas in 1840, there were five parishes for the entire state serving 12,000 Catholics. Soon settlers from the United States, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland and all other parts of Europe came to Texas. In 1842, Pope Gregory XVI raised the Prefecture of Texas to the level of a Vicariate Apostolic and Father Odin was ordained a bishop to care for the Vicariate. Five years later in 1847, Pope Pius IX created the Diocese of Galveston with The Right Reverend Jean Marie Odin, C.M. as the first bishop. The diocese was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of her Immaculate Conception and St. Mary's Church in Galveston was named as the Cathedral.

The Diocese of Galveston, which encompassed the entire state of Texas, was ministered to by Bishop Odin and ten priests. Bishop Odin continued to serve the Diocese of Galveston until 1861, when he was named Archbishop of New Orleans. He was succeeded by the Right Reverend Claude Marie Dubuis, who like Bishop Odin was a native of France. Bishop Dubuis saw the diocese through the turmoil of the Civil War years. Following the war, additional parishes, hospitals and schools were established throughout the diocese. In 1874, the Diocese of Galveston was split when the western half of the State of Texas was established as the Diocese of San Antonio. This first division was a sign of the growth of the Church in Texas.

Upon Bishop Dubuis' retirement to France in 1881 due to poor health, the Right Reverend Nicholas A. Gallagher became the Apostolic Administrator and later the third Bishop of Galveston. Under his guidance, the diocese continued to grow and additional priests and religious were invited to serve in the area. At the time of his death in 1918, there were over 70,000 Catholics and 120 parishes.

Succeeding Bishop Gallagher was Bishop Christopher Byrne who served as bishop for 32 years. During his episcopacy, the Diocese of Austin was created and Houston began to grow dramatically. The number of churches in Houston grew from eight to twenty-eight and the number of Catholics in the diocese increased from 70,000 to 250,000.

Bishop Byrne was followed by the Most Reverend Wendelin J. Nold, the first native Texan to be bishop of the diocese. Throughout Bishop Nold's administration, he stressed Catholic education. Catholic High schools were built as well as new facilities for St. Mary's Seminary, which was founded in La Porte in 1901. In 1959, the diocese was re-designated as the "Diocese of Galveston-Houston" and Sacred Heart Church in Houston was named the Co-Cathedral. This change reflected the growth of the Houston area. With the re-designation of the diocese, a new chancery building was built in Houston and the administrative offices were transferred there in 1963.

Due to progressive blindness, Bishop Nold was prompted to resign from the administration of the diocese. Bishop John L. Morkovsky, Bishop of Amarillo, was named as a Coadjutor Bishop and Apostolic Administrator of the diocese in 1963. Upon Bishop Nold's retirement in 1975, Bishop Morkovsky, who had seen the diocese through the changes of Vatican II, succeeded him as the sixth bishop of the Diocese. Texas continued to experience tremendous growth which led to further divisions of the diocese, including the Dioceses of Beaumont (1966), Victoria (1982) and Tyler (1987). Bishop Morkovsky served the diocese until he retired in 1985, when he was succeeded by Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop of San Angelo.

Bishop Fiorenza, the first native of the diocese to serve as the diocesan Bishop, shepherded over 1,200,000 Catholics. The Diocese of San Antonio, created from the original Diocese of Galveston in 1874, was created an Archdiocese in 1926. By 2004, there were fifteen dioceses in Texas, making the Texas province the largest in the world. On December 29, 2004, Pope John Paul II created a second archdiocese in Texas, raising the Diocese of Galveston-Houston to the status of a Metropolitan Archdiocese. Archbishop Fiorenza was named the first Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and Bishop Daniel DiNardo the Coadjutor Archbishop.

Archbishop DiNardo became ordinary of the Archdiocese upon Archbishop Fiorenza's retirement in 2006.Pope Benedict XVI elevated Archbishop DiNardo to the position of Cardinal on Nov. 24, 2007. Previous auxiliary bishops have been Bishop John McCarthy, the late Bishop Enrique San Pedro, S.J., and Bishops Curtis J. Guillory, S.V.D., James Tamayo and Vincent M. Rizzotto and Joe S. Vasquez.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo is the metropolitan archbishop of Galveston-Houston and pastor to its 1.3 million Catholics (and over 4 million non-Catholics) and 440 priests in 146 parishes and 60 schools spread over 8,880 square miles. His seats are St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston and the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. 

Born in Steubenville, Ohio, and raised with three siblings in Castle Shannon near Pittsburgh, Cardinal DiNardo attended St. Anne grade school and the Jesuit-run Bishop’s Latin school before enrolling in St. Paul Seminary and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He received his master’s degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and degrees of Sacred Theology from both the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Patristic Institute Augustinianum in Rome.

He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Pittsburgh on July 16, 1977 and served as parish pastor, seminary professor, spiritual director, and in the chancery. From 1984 to 1991, he worked in Rome as a staff member for the Congregation for Bishops, as director of Villa Stritch (the house for American clergy), and as adjunct professor at the Pontifical North American College. In 1991 he returned to Pittsburgh, serving as pastor to several parishes and again in the chancery.

He was appointed coadjutor bishop of Sioux City, Iowa and ordained there as a bishop in October 1997. As his Episcopal motto he adopted: Ave Crux Spes Unica, meaning “Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope.” He succeeded retiring Bishop Lawrence Donald Soens of Sioux City in November of 1998.

He was named coadjutor bishop (later coadjutor archbishop) of Galveston-Houston in January 2004 and succeeded Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza on February 28, 2006. On June 29, 2006, he received the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in November of 2006 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. As a member of the Sacred College, he served as a Cardinal-Elector in the Papal Conclave of 2013, which saw the election of Pope Francis to the See of Peter. In November of the same year, he was elected by his brother bishops as the Vice-President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for a three-year term. He is a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and is on the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.


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