Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas

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Diocese of Dallas

Diœcesis Dallasensis
Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe 01.jpg
Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Coat of Arms Diocese of Dallas, TX.svg
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritoryCollin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, and Rockwall Counties
Ecclesiastical provinceProvince of San Antonio
Area7,523 sq mi (19,480 km2)
- Catholics

955,298 (27.5%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJuly 15, 1890
CathedralCathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Patron saintSacred Heart[1]
Current leadership
BishopEdward J. Burns
Metropolitan ArchbishopGustavo Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S.
Archbishop of San Antonio
Auxiliary BishopsJ. Gregory Kelly
Bishops emeritusKevin Joseph Farrell
Diocese of Dallas in Texas.jpg

The Diocese of Dallas (Latin: Diœcesis Dallasensis) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical jurisdiction or diocese of the Catholic Church in Texas. It was founded on July 15, 1890, by Pope Leo XIII. The diocese's cathedral is the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. As of May 2008, the diocese had more than one million Catholics in 80 parishes served by 208 priests, 160 deacons, 142 sisters, and seven brothers.[2] Its territory comprises nine counties in North Texas: Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, and Rockwall. The diocese is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. On December 13, 2016, Pope Francis nominated Juneau Bishop Edward J. Burns to serve as the new bishop of the Diocese of Dallas.[3]


The Catholic history of Dallas began long before the formal creation of the diocese. The city of Dallas was settled by people from Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana, as well as foreign immigrants and African-Americans.[4] The Catholic population, however, was not considerable: as late as 1868 there was only one Catholic family living in the area. The members of this family were ministered to by priests from an Irish Catholic settlement, St. Paul, in Collin County. A certain Father Joseph Martinere, later a domestic prelate and vicar general of the diocese, often made journeys of over hundreds of miles through swamp and forest to reach the area.[4]

The diocese was erected on July 15, 1890, out of the northern and northwestern portions of the Diocese of Galveston.[5][6] Its first bishop was Thomas Francis Brennan, an Irishman who served in the diocese for two years before being removed to Rome.[4] By 1892 the Catholic population of the diocese had grown to 15,000, and there were 30 priests.[4] Catholicism in the area continued to grow because of immigration, as Catholics came to the area from the northern states, and by 1908 there were 83 priests serving an estimated Catholic population of 60,000.[4][5]

The diocese's second bishop, Edward Dunne, was an Irish immigrant to the United States. He was bishop from 1894 until his death in 1910. It was under his episcopacy that the diocese constructed its cathedral, which the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia called "admittedly the finest in the South-Western States".[4] Dunne also opened several educational institutions, including Holy Trinity College (later renamed the University of Dallas).[7] He established St. Paul Sanitarium (later known as St. Paul Medical Center[8] before being demolished)[9] in Dallas and St. Anthony's Sanitarium, which was the first hospital in Amarillo.[10] During his sixteen years as bishop, the number of churches increased from twenty-eight to ninety, and the Catholic population tripled in size.[10]

Joseph Lynch was the third bishop of the diocese. His 43 years, from 1911 to 1954, as bishop comprise the longest term of any bishop in the United States.[7] Though Bishop Lynch's episcopal career saw the foundation of 108 Catholic parishes, it also saw the Diocese of Dallas lose territory with the creation of the Dioceses of El Paso, Amarillo, and Austin.[7] On October 20, 1953 the name of the diocese was changed to the Diocese of Dallas–Fort Worth. The diocese would return to its former name with the creation of the Diocese of Fort Worth on August 9, 1969.[6]

The episcopal career of Thomas Gorman (1954–1969) saw the revival of the Texas Catholic newspaper, which had been suspended since 1894. There were twenty-five parochial schools constructed in his fifteen years as bishop, as well as twenty new parishes.[7] The following period of the next bishop, Thomas Tschoepe, saw the diocese lose territory to the Diocese of Tyler in 1989, but further growth was marked under the next bishop, Charles Victor Grahmann, as the Catholic population of the diocese expanded from 200,000 to nearly a million between 1990 and 2007. The Diocese of Dallas was not untouched by the scandal of Catholic sex abuse cases, as a jury awarded $120 million from the diocese to victims in a 1997 case implicating Rudy Kos, a priest of the diocese who has since been laicised.

The next bishop of Dallas was Kevin Farrell, who was appointed on March 6, 2007, and installed on May 1, 2007.[7] In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI named J. Douglas Deshotel and Mark J. Seitz as auxiliary bishops of the Diocese of Dallas. They were consecrated on April 27, 2010, by Bishop Farrell, who was assisted by Bishop Emeritus Charles Grahmann and Michael Duca, Bishop of Shreveport.[11] Deshotel later became the Bishop of Lafayette in Louisiana[12] while Seitz became the Bishop of El Paso.[13] Gregory Kelly became the next auxiliary bishop in 2016.[14] Later in 2016, Bishop Farrell was named the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.[15] His move to the Vatican left the diocese without a bishop until Pope Francis named Diocese of Juneau Bishop Edward J. Burns as the new bishop.

In April 2020, it was revealed that Oscar Mora, a Colombian priest accused of abuse who was suspended from the his native nation's Catholic Archdiocese of Villavicencio, had taken up ministry in the Diocese of Dallas.[16] The Diocese of Dallas removed Mora from ministry after being informed by the Archdiocese of Villavicencio about the allegations against him.[16]


The lists of bishops, coadjutor bishops, and auxiliary bishops and their terms of service, followed by other priests of this diocese who became bishops:

Bishops of Dallas[edit]

  1. Thomas Francis Brennan (1890–1892)
  2. Edward Joseph Dunne (1893–1910)
  3. Joseph Patrick Lynch (1911–1954)
  4. Thomas Kiely Gorman (1954–1969)
  5. Thomas Ambrose Tschoepe (1969–1990)
  6. Charles Victor Grahmann (1990–2007)
  7. Kevin Farrell (2007–2016), appointed Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life (elevated to Cardinal in 2016)
  8. Edward James Burns (2017–present)

Coadjutor Bishops[edit]

Auxiliary Bishops[edit]

Other priests of this diocese who became Bishops[edit]

Coat of arms[edit]

The diocese's coat of arms has a red field in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is the diocese's patronal feast.[17] The diagonal white band represents the Trinity River located within the diocese (the placement of the band, from top left to bottom right, somewhat resembles the northwest–southeast direction the river takes through the state). The fleurs-de-lis within the band are in honor of Pope Leo XIII (who was Pope when the diocese was established) and are taken from his coat of arms. The fleur-de-lis is repeated three times to represent the Holy Trinity. The solitary star represents Dallas and also pays tribute to Texas' nickname, "The Lone Star State". The two swords honor St. Paul, who is the patron saint of the first Catholic settlement in Northeast Texas.

The formal heraldic blazon for the coat of arms is: Gules, on a fess per bend wavy argent three fleurs-de-lis azure; in the sinister chief two crossed swords argent, in the dexter base a molet argent.[18]


High schools
Independent Catholic high schools and schools with high school sections

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas".
  2. ^ "Statistics". Diocese of Dallas. 2008. Archived from the original on May 18, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  3. ^ "Pope appoints new Dallas bishop".
  4. ^ a b c d e f Enright, M. Augustine (1913). "Dallas" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  5. ^ a b O'Shea, John (1912). "Texas". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Cheney, David M. (February 20, 2011). "Diocese of Dallas". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Former Bishops". Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas. Archived from the original on May 18, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  8. ^ "SPHistTimeline" (PDF). Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  9. ^ "The End of St. Paul Medical Center". Discovering the Southwest Metroplex. 2015-12-16. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  10. ^ a b Ogilvie, Mary H. "Dunne, Edward Joseph (1848–1910)". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  11. ^ "Pope Names Vicar General, Pastor As Auxiliary Bishops For Dallas". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Media Relations. March 11, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  12. ^ Gunn, Billy. "Diocese of Lafayette announces new bishop: the Most Rev. J. Douglas Deshotel". The Advocate. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  13. ^ LAKANA (2015-01-10). "Pope names Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Mark J. Seitz to head Catholic Diocese of El Paso". KVIA. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  14. ^ "Dallas Priest Ordained Bishop For Catholic Diocese". 11 February 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  15. ^ Roxas, Gabriel (11 September 2016). "Dallas Catholics Say Goodbye To Bishop Kevin Farrell". Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  16. ^ a b[bare URL]
  17. ^ "The Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Dallas". Diocese of Dallas. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  18. ^ "The Coat of Arms of the Most Reverend Kevin J. Farrell, D.D., Bishop of Dallas". Diocese of Dallas. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  19. ^ "Schools - Catholic Diocese of Dallas". Retrieved 2016-12-16.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°46′57″N 96°47′51″W / 32.78250°N 96.79750°W / 32.78250; -96.79750