It is an honor for a diocese when one of its priests is raised to the episcopate. It speaks not only of the quality of the presbyterate but of the spirit and dynamism of the faith of the people. With the episcopal ordinations of Bishop-elect Douglas Deshotel and Bishop-elect Mark Seitz on April 27 the Diocese of Dallas will have contributed two archbishops and nine bishops to the church in Texas and adjoining states.
Father Joseph Patrick Lynch was the first. He was Vicar General of the Diocese of Dallas when he was appointed to succeed Bishop Edward J. Dunne in 1911 as Third Bishop of Dallas. Bishop Lynch served in that position for 43 years.
Two Dallas priests have become archbishops after serving in smaller dioceses. Father Aloysius Gerken was Bishop of Amarillo for seven years before being named Archbishop of Santa Fe in 1933, a post he held for ten years. Monsignor Michael Jarboe Sheehan was named Bishop of Lubbock in 1983 and served there for ten years before being appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe in 1993, a position he still holds.
Monsignor Wendelin Nold was pastor of Christ the King Church, when he was named co-adjutor Bishop of Galveston in 1948. He succeeded to the See in 1950 and retired in 1975. Monsignor Lawrence Michael De Falco was pastor of St. Patrick Co-Cathedral in Fort Worth when he was named Bishop of Amarillo in 1963, where he served until his death in 1979.
Monsignor Thomas Ambrose Tschoepe was Vicar General and pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral when the Holy Father named him to the Diocese of San Angelo in 1966. He returned home in 1969 as Fifth Bishop of Dallas and retired in 1990, the only native son to serve as ordinary. Monsignor Augustine Wenceslaus Danglmayr was Vicar General when he was named Auxiliary Bishop in 1942 a post he filled until his retirement in 1962.
The two most recent appointments were Father David Eugene Fellhauer, who was Judicial Vicar when he was named Bishop of Victoria in 1990, where he is serving today, and Monsignor Michael Gerard Duca, who was named Bishop of Shereveport by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. He is still in that post.
Our two Bishops-elect will join a distinguished group of predecessors when they are ordained next week. Like those who have gone before, they too bring honor to our diocese.