The Holy Father’s appointment of two new auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Dallas is an indication of the unprecedented growth of the Catholic Church in Texas and the Southwest. In the last two decades the number of Catholics in the nine counties that comprise the Diocese has increased by more than one million.
In the State of Texas the Catholic population has nearly doubled since 1990, from 3,522,096 to 6,718,136. In just the past ten years the Church in Texas has been divided into two provinces, with the mother diocese of Galveston-Houston being raised to an Archdiocese and further honored by the appointment of Archbishop Daniel DiNardo as the first Cardinal in the Southwest.
Today’s announcement brings to five the number of new Episcopal appointments made in Texas in the past year. In addition to our new auxiliary bishops, new ordinaries have been named for Austin, Corpus Christi and Brownsville. The face of the Church in Texas is changing.
This growth is due not only to immigration from both the North and the South, but to the large number of converts to the Faith. More than 3,000 new Catholics will be received into the Church in the Diocese this Easter.
Of course such a dramatic increase demands a parallel increase in priests, deacons, religious men and women, lay ministers and parishes. We are rising to the challenge. We have the largest number of seminarians in our two diocesan seminaries that we have had in a number of years. Thanks to the School of Ministry at the University of Dallas, an increasing number of professional lay ministers are being formed, and thousands of parishioners volunteer to assist in the many ministries and programs in our parishes.
But we cannot rest. With God’s help, we must work diligently to create a new Catholic Culture sharing a common vision, committed to the Gospel and dedicated to witnessing to the Church as the continuing saving presence of Jesus in the world today.