John Louis Morkovsky
John Ludvik Morkovsky (August 16, 1909 – March 24, 1990) was a Czech American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Amarillo (1958–1963) and Bishop of Galveston-Houston (1975–1984).
Early life and education
The seventh of ten children, John Morkovsky was born in Praha, Texas, to Alois and Marie (née Raska) Morkovsky. His father came directly to the United States from Moravia, while his mother was the daughter of Moravian immigrants. He was baptized by Rev. Louis P. Netardus at his parents' home. He attended St. John's Seminary in San Antonio from 1924 until 1930, when he was sent to further his studies in Rome at the College of the Propaganda and the Pontifical Gregorian University.
While in Rome, Morkovsky was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani on December 5, 1933. He later earned his doctorate in theology in 1936. Upon his return to Texas in 1936, Morkovsky served as a curate at St. Michael's Church in Weimar until 1939. He was a curate at St. Anne's Church in San Antonio from 1939 to 1940, and a professor of canon law, Latin and philosophy at St. John's Seminary from 1940 to 1941. He briefly served as pastor of St. Francis de Paula Church and superintendent of Catholic schools in San Antonio.
From 1941 to 1943, Morkovsky attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in education. He then resumed his duties as superintendent in San Antonio, in which capacity he remained until 1956. During that time, he also served as judge of the archdiocesan matrimonial court (1944–56), pastor of St. Leo's Church in San Antonio (1945–54), archdiocesan consultor (1947–56), and pastor of St. Mary Magdalene's Church in San Antonio (1954–56). He was also moderator of the San Antonio Deanery Council of Catholic Women and director of the Legion of Decency, and organized the Federation of Catholic Parents' and Teachers' Clubs in San Antonio.
On December 22, 1955, Morkovsky was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Amarillo and Titular Bishop of Hieron by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on February 22, 1956 from Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, with Bishops Mariano Simon Garriga and Sidney Matthew Metzger serving as co-consecrators. In addition to his duties as auxiliary bishop, he also served as chancellor and vicar general of the Diocese of Amarillo.
Less than two months before his death, Pius XII named Morkovsky the fourth Bishop of Amarillo on August 18, 1958. He remained in Amarillo as the spiritual leader of Catholics in the Texas Panhandle for four years.
On April 16, 1963, Morkovsky was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Galveston-Houston and Titular Bishop of Tigava by the ailing Pope John XXIII. He became Apostolic Administrator of the diocese under Bishop Wendelin Joseph Nold, who suffered from near total blindness. He also attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965. In 1964 he founded the diocesan newspaper The Texas Catholic Herald and hosted the visit of Cardinal Josef Beran. He established the first diocesan mission in Guatemala City in 1966, and the Hospital Chaplains Corps at Houston Medical Center in 1968. From 1970 to 1972, he was the first Catholic bishop to preside over the Texas Conference of Churches.
Morkovsky later succeeded Nold as the sixth Bishop of Galveston-Houston on April 22, 1975. During his tenure, he established African American and Mexican American ministries and gave special attention to low-income parishioners and Houston's large Vietnamese community. The Catholic Church in Texas continued to experience tremendous growth which led to further divisions of the diocese, including the Diocese of Beaumont (1966), Victoria (1982), and Tyler (1987).
Later life and death
After nine years as diocesan bishop, Morkovsky resigned on August 21, 1984. He continued to live in his home on the grounds of St. Mary's Seminary in Houston. At age 80, he died from a stroke in Tacoma, Washington, where he was visiting relatives. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Houston.
- Morkovsky, John Ludvik and David Courtwright. Bishop Morkovsky Oral History, Houston Oral History Project, August 13, 1975.
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston
|Catholic Church titles|
Wendelin Joseph Nold
|Bishop of Galveston-Houston
|Coadjutor Bishop of Galveston-Houston
Laurence Julius FitzSimon
|Bishop of Amarillo
Lawrence Michael De Falco