Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston

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Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston
Archidioecesis Galvestoniensis–Houstoniensis
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston.svg
Country United States
Territory Counties of Galveston, Harris, Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Grimes, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller
Ecclesiastical province Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston
Metropolitan Southeastern Texas
Coordinates 29°45′33″N 95°21′38″W / 29.75917°N 95.36056°W / 29.75917; -95.36056Coordinates: 29°45′33″N 95°21′38″W / 29.75917°N 95.36056°W / 29.75917; -95.36056
Area 23,257 km2 (8,980 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
1,181,398[1] (18.9%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established May 4, 1847[2]
Cathedral St. Mary Cathedral Basilica (Galveston)[2]
Co-cathedral Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Houston)
Patron saint Mary, the Immaculate Conception
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Archbishop Cardinal Daniel DiNardo
Auxiliary Bishops George A. Sheltz
Emeritus Bishops Joseph Fiorenza
Vincent M. Rizzotto
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas.jpg
St. Mary Cathedral Basilica, Galveston
Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, Houston

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston (Latin: Archidioecesis Galvestoniensis–Houstoniensis) encompasses 8,880 square miles (23,000 km2) of ten counties in the southeastern area of Texas: Galveston, Harris, Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Grimes, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller.

The chancery of the archdiocese is located in Downtown Houston.[3] The archdiocese's original cathedral church is St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston,[2] with a co-cathedral, the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, located in Downtown Houston. The co-cathedral is used for all major archdiocesan liturgies.


The archdiocesan history began with the erection of the prefecture apostolic of Texas in 1839, thus making Galveston the "Mother Church of Texas". The prefecture was elevated to a vicariate apostolic on July 10, 1841. On May 4, 1847, the vicariate became the Diocese of Galveston in the Province of New Orleans and St. Mary Cathedral Basilica was designated the cathedral.[4]

In 1926, the then-diocese was placed in the newly created Province of San Antonio.

After the devastating Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Houston began to expand after the Port of Houston was completed. At the request of Wendelin J. Nold, fifth bishop of Galveston, Pope John XXIII authorised the construction of a co-cathedral of convenience in Houston, and on July 25, 1959, the name of the diocese was changed to the Diocese of Galveston–Houston. Sacred Heart, a parish church located in downtown Houston, was named the co-cathedral of the diocese. This change made Houston an episcopal see city, and permitted full episcopal ceremonies to be held in both Galveston and Houston.[5]

In 1979 Pope John Paul II recognized the importance the diocese's cathedral played in the development of Texas and the western United States and elevated the status of St. Mary Cathedral by naming it a minor basilica.[5]

By the end of the 20th century, the diocese had become one of the largest in the United States with its episcopal see cities becoming internationally important. Recognizing this, in December 2004, Pope John Paul II created the new Ecclesiastical Province of Galveston–Houston and elevated the See of Galveston–Houston to a metropolitan see. Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, who had led the diocese for 20 years, became the first Archbishop of Galveston–Houston, and Bishop Daniel DiNardo became Coadjutor Archbishop.[6]

The Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston oversees the following suffragan dioceses: Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Tyler and Victoria in Texas.

Within the archdiocese, many famous landmarks are contained. Most prominent is St. Mary Cathedral Basilica, the mother church of Texas, and one of the few buildings and the only church to survive the 1900 Galveston Storm. Other landmarks include the 1887 Bishop's Palace, the former 1912 Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, and Annunciation Church, one of the oldest churches in Texas.[7]


Archbishop Daniel DiNardo became Archbishop of Galveston–Houston on February 28, 2006, upon Pope Benedict XVI's acceptance of Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza's retirement.

On October 17, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI designated Archbishop DiNardo a cardinal. He was elevated in a consistory ceremony in Rome on November 24, 2007, becoming the first cardinal representing a diocese from the American South. As of 2013 the auxiliary bishop was George A. Sheltz.

The following are the former and current ordinaries of the Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston:

  • Prefecture Apostolic of Texas
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Texas
  • Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston (elevated to archdiocese in 2004)

Coat of arms[edit]

Coat of Arms as displayed on St. Mary Cathedral Basilica

The coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston is composed of a blue fielded shield on which is displayed a scattering of silver and white roses and topped with a helm in the form of a golden bishop's mitre.

The roses are used to represent the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her title of the Mystical Rose, titular of the cathedral-basilica in the see city of Galveston. The red cross stands for the Faith, with a square center that contains a single silver star to represent Texas, the “Lone Star State."[8]


Approximately 1.3 million Catholics live within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston (equaling 21.4% of the total population), making the archdiocese the largest in the state of Texas and the eleventh largest in the United States. The archdiocese's 150 parishes are served by approximately 447 priests (200 diocesan, 206 religious, and 41 other) and 378 permanent deacons.[9]


As of 2010 the Catholic school network of the archdiocese is the largest private school network in the State of Texas. As of that year the archdiocese had 59 schools, with about 18,000 students enrolled. Enrollment had declined somewhat in 2010 but had remained stable. Sister Kevina Keating said that the decline was due to the 2008–2012 global recession. As of 2010, 87% of the archdiocese's students are Catholic.[10]

See: List of schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston

Significant structures[edit]

Province of Galveston–Houston[edit]

Ecclesiastical Province of Galveston–Houston

See List of the Catholic bishops of the United States

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Catholic Hierarchy page
  2. ^ a b c Archdiocese Cathedral History
  3. ^ "Contact Us." Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston. Retrieved on February 27, 2011. "1700 San Jacinto Houston, TX 77002."
  4. ^ St. Mary Cathedral Basilica Website
  5. ^ a b History of St. Mary's Cathedral
  6. ^ Houston Chronicle Dec. 30, 2004
  7. ^ Annunciation Parish Page Archdiocese of Galveston Houston
  8. ^ Coat of Arms of Archdiocese and the Bishops
  9. ^ "Statistics". Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  10. ^ Kever, Jeannie. "Schools seeking help find a beacon of hope." Houston Chronicle. November 19, 2010. Retrieved on November 20, 2010.

External links[edit]