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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston

Coordinates: 29°45′02″N 95°22′04″W / 29.75048200°N 95.36781250°W / 29.75048200; -95.36781250
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Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston

Archidiœcesis Galvestoniensis–Houstoniensis
St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, Galveston
Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, Houston
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritorySoutheastern Texas (Counties of Galveston, Harris, Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Grimes, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller)
HeadquartersHouston, Texas
Coordinates29°45′02″N 95°22′04″W / 29.75048200°N 95.36781250°W / 29.75048200; -95.36781250
Area23,257 km2 (8,980 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2019)
1,804,100[1] (27.1%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedMay 4, 1847 (1847-05-04)[2]
CathedralSt. Mary Cathedral Basilica (Galveston)[3]
Co-cathedralCo-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Houston)
Patron saintOur Lady of the Immaculate Conception[4]
Secular priests418
Current leadership
ArchbishopDaniel DiNardo
Auxiliary BishopsItalo Dell’Oro

The Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston (Latin: Archidiœcesis Galvestoniensis–Houstoniensis) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical jurisdiction—an archdiocese—of the Catholic Church in the United States. The archdiocese covers a portion of Southeast Texas, and is the metropolitan see of the ecclesiastical province covering east-Texas. The archdiocese was erected in 2004, having been a diocese since 1959 and the "Diocese of Galveston" since 1847. It is the second metropolitan see in Texas after the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

The mother church of the archdiocese is St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston;[3] the co-cathedral is the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. The patron saint is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

Since 2006, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston is Daniel DiNardo who was also named a cardinal in 2007. The archdiocesan chancery is located in Houston.[5]



The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston encompasses 8,880 square miles (23,000 km2) in southeastern Texas. It includes the cities of Houston, and Galveston, along with the following counties:

Galveston, Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Grimes, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller.

The parishes are grouped into 13 deaneries for administrative purposes: Bay Area, Bluebonnet, Central, Eastern, Galveston Mainland, Northeast, Northern, Northwest, San Jacinto, Southeast, Southern, Southwest, Western.[6]

The ecclesiastical province of Galveston-Houston contains the following suffragan dioceses in south and east Texas:



1756 to 1847


The first Catholic presence in the Galveston area came with the founding of the Spanish Mission Nuestra Señora de la Luz on Galveston Bay in 1756. It was abandoned in 1771.[7] The end of Mexican War of Independence in 1821 put present day Texas under Mexican control.

With the ending of the Texas Revolution in 1836, Mexico ceded control of its Texas province to the Republic of Texas. The first Catholic church in Houston, St. Vincent's Church, opened in 1839.[8] That same year, the Vatican removed Texas from the Mexican Diocese of Linares o Nueva León and created the prefecture apostolic of Texas, covering the entire republic. Pope Gregory XVI named John Timon as the prefect of Texas.[9]

In 1841, Gregory XVI upgraded the prefecture to the Vicariate Apostolic of Texas, naming Jean-Marie Odin as the vicar apostolic.[10] In 1842, Odin opened the first Catholic church in Galveston. During his tenure, the Texan Congress returned several churches that had been secularized by the Mexican Government. Odin opened several schools and invited the Ursuline nuns as the first religious community in Texas to operate them.[11] In December 1845, the Republic of Texas was accepted into the United States as the State of Texas.

1847 to 1862


Pope Pius IX in 1847 elevated the Vicariate Apostolic of Texas to the Diocese of Galveston, designating it a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. St. Mary's Church in Galveston was designated as the cathedral.[3] The pope named Odin as the first bishop of Galveston.[9] In 1850, the Vatican transferred the Diocese of Galveston to the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Odin recruited the Brothers of Mary and Oblates of Mary to operate St. Mary's University at Galveston, which he established in 1854.[11] He also visited remote parts of Texas, and twice traveled to Europe to recruit priests and obtain material help for the diocese.[12] By the end of his tenure, Odin had increased the number of priests to 84 and the number of churches to 50; he has been called the father of the modern Catholic Church in Texas.[13] In 1861, Odin became Archbishop of New Orleans.

1862 to 1892


The second bishop of Galveston was Claude Marie Dubuis, named by Pius IX in 1862.[14] After the end of the American Civil War in 1865, Dubuis established additional parishes, hospitals and schools in the Diocese.[15][16] In 1866, cholera broke out in the diocese. Unable to persuade an American religious congregations to come to Galveston, Dubuis persuaded the Sisters of Divine Providence from Saint-Jean-de-Bassel in France to come instead.

During his tenure as bishop, Dubuis brought almost seventy religious congregations into Texas. On one trip to Europe, he secured the services of the Congregation of the Resurrection to minister to the Polish community in Texas.[17] Dubuis founded the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, which played a significant role in healthcare services in Texas.[18][19] In 1873, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur established the Academy of the Sacred Heart for girls in Waco.[20]

By 1878, Dubuis was in bad health. That same year, Pope Leo XIII named Nicolaus Gallagher of the Diocese of Columbus as the apostolic administrator to operate the diocese. Dubuis left Texas for Europe in 1882 without resigning as bishop, never to return to the United States. Dupuis' refusal to resign prevented the pope from naming a new bishop for Galveston.

In 1882, Leo XIII named Gallagher instead as the Titular Bishop of Canopus. For the next ten years, in an unusual arrangement, Gallagher served as apostolic administrator in Galveston without a diocesan bishop.[21] In 1886, he opened the first Catholic school for African American children in Texas.[22] In 1890, the Vatican erected the Diocese of Dallas, taking territory from the Diocese of Galveston.[9]

1892 to 1959


In 1892, after Dubuis finally resigned as bishop of Galveston, Leo XIII appointed Gallagher as the next bishop. At the beginning of his tenure, the diocese had 30,000 Catholics and 50 parishes.[23] After the 1900 Galveston hurricane devastated the city, Gallagher rebuilt all the destroyed Catholic institutions. Gallagher introduced into the diocese the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the Jesuits, the Basilian Fathers, the Paulist Fathers and the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Dominic. These orders founded churches, schools, and hospitals throughout the diocese.[22] He established St. Mary's Seminary at La Porte in 1901, and Good Shepherd Home for Delinquent Girls at Houston in 1914.[22] Gallagher also erected parishes for Spanish-speaking Catholics in Austin and Houston, and for African-Americans in Houston, Beaumont, and Port Arthur. By the time of Gallagher's death, the diocese had a population of 70,000 Catholics and 120 parishes.[23] Gallagher died in 1918.

Pope Benedict XV named Christopher Byrne from the Archdiocese of Saint Louis as the fourth bishop of Galveston in 1918.[24] He ordained about 130 priests and received several hundred people into religious communities.[25] In 1926, the Vatican transferred the Diocese of Galveston from the Archdiocese of New Orleans to the new Archdiocese of San Antonio. The diocese increased from 70,000 to 200,000 parishioners during Byrne's tenure, and the number of schools from 51 to over 100.[25] In 1936, Byrne helped organize the centennial celebration of Texan independence from Mexico, holding an open-air mass at the San Jacinto Battlefield near Houston.[26] In 1947, the Vatican erected the Diocese of Austin, taking territory from the Diocese of Galveston. That same year, Pope Pius XII named Wendelin Joseph Nold of Dallas coadjutor bishop in Galveston to assist Byrne.[27] When Byrne died in 1950, Nold automatically succeed him as bishop of Galveston.[9]

1959 to 2004


In recognition of the explosive growth of the city of Houston, Nold in 1959 recommended to Pope John XXIII the creation of a co-cathedral in that city. Later that year, Sacred Heart Church in Houston was designated a co-cathedral and the Diocese of Galveston was renamed the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.[28] In September 1961, Nold ordered that all Catholic schools in the diocese be racially integrated.[29] During his tenure, Nold established 47 parishes and 14 missions, as well as several schools.[30] After Nold went blind in 1963, Pope Paul VI named Bishop John Morkovsky from the Diocese of Amarillo as coadjutor bishop.

While coadjutor bishop, Morkovsky in 1964 he founded the diocesan newspaper The Texas Catholic Herald.[31] He established the first diocesan mission in Guatemala City in 1966. That same year, the Vatican erected the Diocese of Beaumont with territory from Galveston-Houston.[9] In 1968, Morkovsky established the Hospital Chaplains Corps at Houston Medical Center.[32] When Nold retired in 1975, Morkovsky automatically became bishop of Galveston-Houston.

During his tenure as bishop, Morkovsky established African American and Mexican American ministries and gave special attention to low-income parishioners and Houston's large Vietnamese community.[33] In 1979, Pope John Paul II elevated the status of St. Mary Cathedral to that of a minor basilica.[34] In 1982, the Vatican erected the Diocese of Victoria, taking more territory from Galveston-Houston.[35] Morkovsky resigned in 1984. The next bishop of Galveston-Houston was Bishop Joseph Fiorenza from the Diocese of San Angelo, named by John Paul II in 1984.

2004 to present


In 2004, John Paul II created the new Ecclesiastical Province of Galveston–Houston and elevated the Diocese of Galveston–Houston to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The pope appointed Fiorenza, bishop of the diocese for 20 years, as the first archbishop of the new archdiocese.[34] Two years later, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Daniel DiNardo from the Diocese of Sioux city as a coadjutor archbishop in Galveston-Houston to assist Fiorenza. When Fiorenza retired later that year, DiNardo automatically became archbishop.

In 2007, Benedict XVI elevated DiNardo to the rank of cardinal. In 2021, DiNardo announced that only certain parishes would be allowed to celebrate the Tridentine mass in the archdiocese. This was in accordance to the apostolic letter Traditionis custodes issued by Pope Francis that same year.[36]

As of 2024, DiNardo is the current archbishop of Galveston-Houston.

Sex abuse


In 2002, then Bishop Fiorenza issued a statement that the diocese would "make the protection and safety of children and young people a top priority".[37]

A 2006 news report by the Houston Press said that Fiorenza had a tendency to accept troubled clergy into the archdiocese. The article also stated that the archdiocese frequently acted to protect itself from public scrutiny, mounting vigorous legal defenses to lawsuits, blaming the victims for their abuse, and obfuscating for the news media.[37]

Agents of Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon raided the headquarters of the archdiocese in November 2018 to seize records of sexual abuses allegations against clergy in the archdiocese.[38]

On January 30, 2019, Archbishop DiNardo released a list of names of 40 priests from the archdiocese with credible allegations of sexual misconduct over the previous 70 years.[39] One name on the list was John Keller. DiNardo was criticized for allowing Keller to offer mass publicly at his parish the morning after the list was released.[40]

In December 2020, Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison. The crimes took place at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe between 1997 and 2001; the victims were an underage boy and girl.[41] One of the victims reported the crimes in 2018 and La Rosa-Lopez was arrested then. In 2019, one of the two victims sued the archdiocese for negligence in their supervision of La Rosa-Lopez.[42]

The archdiocese was sued for $10 million in 2021 by the parents of a girl they said was sexually abused by Phi Nguyen, an archdiocesan priest. Nguyen had allegedly touched the girl inappropriately during a mock confession at Nazareth Academy in Victoria in 2018. In response, the archdiocese noted that police had investigated the incident and filed no charges. The parents had previously filed suit in Victoria County, but it had been dismissed.[43]



Prefects of Texas


John Timon, C.M. (1840–1847)

Vicars Apostolic of Texas


Jean-Marie Odin, C.M. (1841–1847)

Bishops of Galveston

  1. Jean-Marie Odin, C.M. (1847–1861), appointed Archbishop of New Orleans
  2. Claude Marie Dubuis (1862–1892)
  3. Nicolaus Aloysius Gallagher (1892–1918)
  4. Christopher Edward Byrne (1918–1950)
  5. Wendelin Joseph Nold (1950–1959)

(Aloysius Joseph Meyer, C.M. was appointed apostolic administrator in 1881 but it did not take effect. Bishop Gallagher, already listed above, became administrator.)

Bishops of Galveston–Houston

  1. Wendelin Joseph Nold (1959–1975)
  2. John Louis Morkovsky (1975–1984)
  3. Joseph Fiorenza (1984–2004)

Archbishops of Galveston–Houston

  1. Joseph Fiorenza (2004–2006)
  2. Daniel DiNardo (2006–present)

Coadjutor bishops


Auxiliary bishops


Other diocesan priests who became bishops


Coat of arms

Coat of Arms as displayed on St. Mary Cathedral Basilica

The coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston has a blue shield that contains the following elements:

  • Silver and white roses, representing Mary, mother of Jesus, in her title as the Mystical Rose
  • A red cross, representing the Catholic faith
  • A silver star, representing Texas as the Lone Star State
  • A bishop's mitre on the top[44]



As of 1990, there were 646,000 Catholics in the diocese. By 2005, this population had risen to 1.3 million. It was broken down into:

  • 40% Hispanic or Latino
  • 30% non-Hispanic white
  • 19% black
  • 7% Asian
  • 4% miscellaneous racial identities.[45]

As of 2011, approximately 1.7 million Catholics lived within the archdiocese, equaling 26% of the total population. It was the largest archdiocese in Texas and the fifth largest in the United States. The archdiocese had 146 parishes served by approximately 435 priests (193 diocesan, 195 religious, and 47 other) and 411 permanent deacons.[2]

Parishes and churches




As of 2018, the archdiocesan school system was the largest private school system in Texas. The system had 59 schools, with an enrollment of approximately 19,500 students.[2]

In 2005, the school system had 17,000 students prior to Hurricane Katrina; the hurricane meant that an additional 1,700 attended Houston-area Catholic schools.[46] From 2005 to 2012 total enrollment was consistently around 18,000. Several new schools were established at the time.[47] In 2012, the schoold system operated 13 in central Houston; that year they had 2,000 students, with about 66% of the students being Catholic.[48] The growth in Houston's Catholic school system contrasted with Catholic schooling systems in many other parts of the United States, which faced steep enrollment declines.[47]

Sarah "Sally" Wilson Landram served as the superintendent of schools from 2004 to 2007.[46]

Landmark structures


The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston contains many landmark structures. The most prominent structure is St. Mary Cathedral Basilica, the mother church of Texas. It was one of the few buildings and the only church to survive the 1900 Galveston Storm. Other landmarks in the archdiocese include:

  • 1887 Bishop's Palace in Galveston
  • former 1912 Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston
  • Annunciation Church in Houston, one of the oldest churches in Texas.[49]

Suffragan dioceses

Ecclesiastical Province of Galveston–Houston

See also



  1. ^ "Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston". Catholic Hierarchy. January 1, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Statistics". Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston. 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "History". Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  4. ^ "Priests of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston". Priests of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. November 12, 2022. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  5. ^ "Chancery Locations". Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston. Retrieved March 23, 2016. 1700 San Jacinto Houston, TX 77002
  6. ^ "Parish-Based Support Groups - JUNE 2016" (PDF). ARCHDIOCESE OF GALVESTON-HOUSTON. Family Life Transitions.
  7. ^ "Mission Nuestra Señora de la Luz - Spanish Missions/Misiones Españolas (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2023.
  8. ^ Carroll, Jill. "Family, history tied to church's project" (). Houston Chronicle. May 24, 2012. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Galveston-Houston (Archdiocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  10. ^ "Archbishop Jean Marie (John Mary) Odin, C.M." Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  11. ^ a b Meehan, Thomas. "Galveston." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. November 22, 2017
  12. ^ Clarke, Richard Henry (1888). "Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States".
  13. ^ "Odin, Jean Marie (1800-1870)". Texas State Historical Association.
  14. ^ "Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  15. ^ "History of the Archdiocese". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Archived from the original on November 10, 2003. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  16. ^ Sister M. Anatolie C.S.J to Archbishop Odin, CM. September 24, 1865; University of Notre Dame Archives
  17. ^ Baker, T. Lindsay. The First Polish Americans: Silesian Settlements in Texas, Texas A&M University Press, 1996 ISBN 9780890967256
  18. ^ Neal, Allison Ward. "Founders of two Catholic health systems celebrate", South Texas Catholic, October 20, 2016
  19. ^ McDonough IWBS, Kathleen. "Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word", South Texas Catholic, August 1, 2012
  20. ^ Hunt, Geoff. "Academy of the Sacred Heart", Waco History
  21. ^ "Bishop Nicholas Aloysius Gallagher [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  22. ^ a b c "Gallagher, Nicholas Aloysius". The Handbook of Texas Online.
  23. ^ a b "History of the Archdiocese". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Archived from the original on November 10, 2003.
  24. ^ "BISHOP C.E. BYRNE DIES IN GALVESTON; Head of Roman Catholic Diocese Since 1918, Ordained in St. Louis in 1891, Was 82". The New York Times. April 2, 1950. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "BYRNE, CHRISTOPHER EDWARD (1867-1950)". Texas States Historical Association.
  26. ^ "TSHA | Byrne, Christopher Edward". www.tshaonline.org. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  27. ^ "Bishop Wendelin Joseph Nold". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.[self-published source]
  28. ^ "St. Marys". users.aol.com. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  29. ^ "NOLD, WENDELIN J. (1900-1981)". Handbook of Texas Online.
  30. ^ "NOLD, WENDELIN J. (1900-1981)". Handbook of Texas Online.
  31. ^ "MORKOVSKY, JOHN LUDVIK (1909–1990)". Handbook of Texas Online.
  32. ^ "Bishop John L. Morkovsky, S.T.D." Assumption Seminary.[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ "MORKOVSKY, JOHN LUDVIK (1909–1990)". Handbook of Texas Online.
  34. ^ a b Vara, Richard; Dooley, Tara (March 29, 2008). "St. Mary Cathedral Basilica is the cradle of Texas' Catholicism". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  35. ^ "History of the Archdiocese". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Archived from the original on November 10, 2003. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  36. ^ CNA. "Traditional Latin Masses to end in some parishes in Texas". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  37. ^ a b Craig Malisow (August 17, 2006). "Parish Predators". Houston Press. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  38. ^ "Police raid "secret archives" of Houston archdiocese in sex abuse probe". www.cbsnews.com. November 28, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  39. ^ Hensley, Nicole (January 30, 2019). "Archdiocese releases list of 'credibly accused' priests in Houston region". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  40. ^ Merchant, Nomaan (February 2, 2019). "Top US cardinal let priest accused of sexual abuse lead Mass". Religion News Service. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  41. ^ "Former Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez heading to prison for child indecency". ABC13 Houston. December 16, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  42. ^ Team, HPM Digital (April 10, 2019). "Man Sues Accused Conroe Priest For Allegedly Exposing Himself During Confession – Houston Public Media". www.houstonpublicmedia.org. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  43. ^ "Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston hit with $10M lawsuit over alleged sex abuse by priest". ABC13 Houston. July 23, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  44. ^ "Coat of Arms". Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  45. ^ Dooley, Tara (June 26, 2005). "Catholic archdiocese seeing membership boom". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  46. ^ a b Abram. Lynwood (July 8, 2007). "'Sally' Landram, 72, superintendent of Catholic schools". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2020. She died of lung cancer on June 28, two days before her scheduled retirement.
  47. ^ a b Rhor, Monica (August 15, 2012). "Houston Catholic school enrollment strong and growing". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  48. ^ Shellnutt, Kate (January 19, 2012). "$5 million gift funds inner-city Catholic schools in Houston". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  49. ^ "History". Annunciation Catholic Church. Retrieved March 22, 2016.