René Henry Gracida

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
René Henry Gracida
Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi
Church Catholic Church
Archdiocese Galveston-Houston
Diocese Corpus Christi
Appointed May 19, 1983
Installed June 11, 1983
Term ended April 1, 1997
Predecessor Thomas Joseph Drury
Successor Roberto González Nieves
Ordination May 23, 1959
Consecration January 25, 1972
by John Francis Dearden, Coleman Carroll, and Paul Francis Tanner
Personal details
Born (1923-06-09) June 9, 1923 (age 95)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Previous post Titular Bishop of Masuccaba
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Motto Abyssus abyssum invocat
Styles of
René Henry Gracida
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

René Henry Gracida (born June 9, 1923) served as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami (1971–1975), the first Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee (1975–1983) and Bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi (1983–1997). As auxiliary bishop of Miami he had the honorific Titular Bishop of Masuccaba (1971–1975).


Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Gracida was the second child of Enrique J. Gracida Carrizosa, an architect and engineer of Mexican descent, and Mathilde Derbes, a fifth-generation French-American.[1] He was a tail-gunner in the 303rd Hell's Angels in World War II. After the war he attended Rice University, the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and the University of Houston, where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture. He later attended St. Vincent College and St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. At St. Vincent Seminary, he earned a Masters of Divinity. In 1978 he was granted a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from St. Leo College.

Gracida was ordained a priest on May 23, 1959, when he was 36 years old. In 1971 he was appointed by Pope Paul VI as Auxiliary Bishop of Miami and was consecrated on January 25, 1972 as Titular Bishop of Masuccaba by Cardinal John Francis Dearden of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Coleman Carroll of the Archdiocese of Miami, and Bishop Paul Francis Tanner of the Diocese of St. Augustine. He was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee on October 1, 1975 and installed on November 6, 1975. On May 19, 1983 Pope John Paul II appointed him as the bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, where he remained until his resignation at 73, earlier than the mandatory resignation age of 75, was accepted by the same Pope on April 1, 1997. On September 25, 2017, Gracida posted on his blog and publicly signed a "Filial Correction" of Pope Francis, being the first canonically regular bishop of the Catholic Church to sign the document.

See also[edit]


  • Diocese of Corpus Christi bio
  • Gracida Marks Anniversary of Consecration, Stances on abortion, divorce are hallmarks of his 25-year tenure; Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) - January 25, 1997
  • Bishop in Waiting: Gonzalez Will Aid Gracida Till He Retires, Bishop plans to remain with diocese until 1998; Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) - May 17, 1995
  • Civic Leaders Say They'll Miss Working With Bishop Gracida;Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) - April 1, 1997
  • Bishop Appeals To Flock, Gracida seeks support in broadcast message * The bishop's message was broadcast on denominational radio, TV. He said he will fight to leave the diocese free of legal burdens.; Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) - May 23, 1996
  • Sources: Other Bishops Complained, Suit against Gracida tied to unhappiness over funding * Attorney General's Office won't identify complainants. The state and Bishop Gracida have sued each other.; Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) - May 11, 1996
  • State sues bishop over foundation; Houston Chronicle - May 10, 1996
  • Local bishop leads GOP in prayer, Gracida has said Catholics shouldn't support John Kerry; Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) - September 2, 2004
  • Bishops Have Long Been Concerned About Kennedy Funds, Papers Show; Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) - August 18, 1996
  • Outspoken Florida Bishop Transferred To Texas; Miami Herald, The (FL) - June 12, 1983
  • Bishop Gracida's threat on abortion out of place; Austin American-Statesman - July 15, 1990
  • Sex case against priest creates turmoil, mystery;Houston Chronicle - April 24, 1995
  • Bishop countersues Morales over fund-raising allegations AG says foundation funnels money to Catholics; The Dallas Morning News - May 11, 1996
  • Religion or politics? Abortion places bishop, Catholics in moral, legal dilemma; Austin American-Statesman - July 31, 1990
  • Texas Bishop Issues Second Excommunication; Washington Post - July 1, 1990
  • Bishop Excommunicates Woman Over Abortion Corpus Christi Cleric Issues Rare Decree;Washington Post - June 30, 1990
  • Christian Protest Is Making Waves With Advertisers; Miami Herald, The (FL) - April 21, 1989
  • Family' Amendment Loses In Vote; Washington Post - January 20, 1991

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Thomas Joseph Drury
Bishop of Corpus Christi
Succeeded by
Roberto González Nieves
Preceded by
First Bishop
Bishop of Pensacola–Tallahassee
Succeeded by
Joseph Keith Symons
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami
Succeeded by