Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth

Coordinates: 32°45′26.5″N 97°19′59.5″W / 32.757361°N 97.333194°W / 32.757361; -97.333194
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Diocese of Fort Worth

Diœcesis Arcis-Vorthensis
St. Patrick Cathedral
Coat of arms
Country United States
Territory28 counties of North Central Texas
Ecclesiastical provinceSan Antonio
Area23,950 sq mi (62,000 km2)
- Total
- Catholics

Increase 3,260,246
Increase 1,101,236 (33.8%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedAugust 9, 1969
CathedralSt. Patrick Cathedral
Patron saintSt. Patrick
Secular priests155
Current leadership
BishopMichael F. Olson
Metropolitan ArchbishopGustavo Garcia-Siller
Archbishop of San Antonio

The Diocese of Fort Worth (Latin: Diœcesis Arcis-Vorthensis) is a Latin Church diocese of the Catholic Church in North Texas in the United States. It is a suffragan diocese of the metropolitan Archdiocese of San Antonio.

The Diocese of Fort Worth was erected on August 9, 1969. As of 2023, the bishop is Michael Fors Olson.


The Diocese of Fort Worth contains the following counties with a total area of 23,950 mi2:

Archer, Baylor, Bosque, Clay, Comanche, Cooke, Denton, Eastland, Erath, Foard, Hardeman, Hill, Hood, Jack, Johnson, Knox, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Tarrant, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young.

As of 2023, the diocese had a Catholic population exceeding 1,200,000 in 92 parishes, served by 132 priests, 106 deacons, and 48 sisters.[1]


Name changes[edit]

The Fort Worth area has been under several different Catholic jurisdictions since 1841:

  • Prefecture Apostolic of Texas (1841 to 1847)
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Texas (1847 to 1874)
  • Diocese of Galveston (1874 to 1890)
  • Diocese of Dallas (1890 to 1953)
  • Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth (1953 to 1969)
  • Diocese of Fort Worth (1969 to present)

1847 to 1890[edit]

During the 1860s, the Diocese of Galveston would periodically send priests to visit the small, but growing, town of Fort Worth. In 1870, Reverend Vincent Perrier of the Society of Mary started visiting Fort Worth twice a year. By 1875, the population growth of Fort Worth had persuaded Bishop Claude Dubuis of Galveston to send Perrier and another priest to the town every month.[1]

After 1875, Irish Catholics workers started arriving in Fort Worth to work on the railroads, prompting the diocese to send a resident priest there. He established St. Stanislaus Kostka, the first Catholic Church in Fort Worth.[1] The first Catholic school opened in Denton in 1874.

In 1879, Father Thomas Loughrey, pastor of St. Stanislaus, opened a boys' school at the church. Weatherford had its first Catholic school in 1880. In 1885, the Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur established Saint Ignatius Academy in Fort Worth and Xavier Academy in Denison.[1] St. Joseph's Infirmary opened in 1885 in Fort Worth.[2]

1890 to 1969[edit]

In 1892, the new St. Patrick's Church in Fort Worth was dedicated by Bishop Thomas Brennan of Dallas.[1] The following Catholic schools opened during this time period:

  • Gainesville (1892)
  • Muenster (1890 and 1895)
  • Pilot Point (1893)
  • Cleburne (1896)

In 1910, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur opened Our Lady of Victory College in Fort Worth. [3]In 1953 Pope Pius XII renamed the Diocese of Dallas as the Diocese of Dallas–Fort Worth, and elevated Saint Patrick's Church in Fort Worth to a co-cathedral.[4]

Postcard of St. Joseph's Infirmary, 1913
Firemen in front of St Joseph Infirmary

1969 to 2000[edit]

On August 22, 1969, Pope Paul VI suppressed the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth, erecting the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Diocese of Dallas.[4] He named Auxiliary Bishop John Cassata of Dallas-Fort Worth as the first bishop of Fort Worth.[5] When Cassata became bishop, the Catholic population of the new diocese was 67,000. Cassata retired in 1981.

The second bishop of Fort Worth was Reverend Joseph P. Delaney of the Diocese of Brownsville, appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1981.[6] In 1985, St. Patrick Cathedral, St. Ignatius Church and the St. Ignatius rectory were added to the National Register of Historic Places. By 1986, the Catholic population of the diocese had grown to 120,000. The diocese had 14 primary schools, three secondary schools, the Cassata Learning Center and a new Catholic Center.

2000 to present[edit]

In May 2005, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois as coadjutor bishop in Fort Worth to assist Delaney. However, one day before Vann's consecration, Delaney died in his sleep. The next day, July 13, Vann was consecrated as bishop instead of coadjutor bishop. Seven years later Vann was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Orange in 2012.[7]

As of 2023, the bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth is Michael Fors Olson, named by Pope Francis in 2013.[8]

In June 2018, Olson ordered Reverend Richard Kirkham to resign his post as pastor of St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church in Prosper. The diocese said that Kirkham did not follow proper procedures in reporting sexual misconduct. During a private conversation at a bar in 2017 with a priest from the Diocese of Dallas, Kirkham alleged the priest told him he was having a sexual relationship with a married woman. After the meeting, Kirkham wrote the priest a letter saying that he needed to end the affair. The letter described the alleged affair in graphic sexual detail. The priest then took Kirkham's letter to his bishop, who investigated the allegation. The investigation found no evidence of an improper relationship. The Diocese of Fort Worth announced the action against Kirkham because he failed to report his allegations directly to diocese authorities.[9] Kirkham sued the diocese then dropped the suit in 2020.

In June 2021, six seminarians were ordained priests by Olson at Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Arlington. This was the largest ordination class of priests in diocese history.[10]

In early 2022, Olson demanded the resignation of Christopher Plumlee, CEO of Catholic Charities Fort Worth. The agency had planned a Women's Empow[her]ment Summit in Hurst in late April. Olson ordered its cancellation, saying that it went against Catholic teaching. He also complained that the event had no male speakers and that Olson himself had not been invited to speak. Olson then ordered Plumlee to leave his position, citing "obstinate defiance" of Olson's authority as bishop.[11][12]

Sex abuse[edit]

The Diocese of Fort Worth paid a $1.4 million settlement in 2005 to a man who claimed to have been raped as a child during the early 1990s by Reverend Thomas Teczar, a diocesan priest in Ranger.[13] Teczar left the Diocese of Worcester in the early 1980s after being removed from ministry there for exhibiting attraction to adolescent boys. The plaintiff had argued that Bishop Delaney showed negligence by allowing him to serve in Fort Worth despite his record in Massachusetts. After being tried and convicted on rape charges in Eastland, Texas, Teczar was sentenced to 50 years in state prison.[14] He was laicized by the Vatican in 2011.[15]

Jason Montgomery, a Washington State man, sued the diocese and Bishop Olson for $1 million in 2015, alleging he was sexually assaulted by Reverend John Sutton in the 1990s at Notre Dame Middle-High School in Wichita Falls, Texas.[16] Montgomery later claimed that the school principal, Ron Staley, also abused him. Olson and a volunteer flew to Seattle to meet with Montgomery and his mother at a Starbucks cafe. Montgomery later found out the volunteer was an undercover Fort Worth policeman. In its investigation, the diocese found no proof that the alleged crimes ever happened. A court dismissed the lawsuit in 2017.[17][18]

In 2018, the Diocese of Fort Worth published a list of 17 clergy from the diocese with credible accusations of sexual abuse of minors since the 1960s.[19]


Bishops of Fort Worth[edit]

  1. John Joseph Cassata (1969–1980)
  2. Joseph Patrick Delaney (1981–2005)
  3. Kevin William Vann (2005–2012), appointed Bishop of Orange
  4. Michael Fors Olson (2014–present)

Coadjutor bishop[edit]

Kevin William Vann (2005). He was appointed coadjutor bishop, but Bishop Delaney died the day before his consecration. Vann was thus consecrated as bishop.

Other diocesan priests who became bishop[edit]

Stephen Jay Berg, appointed Bishop of Pueblo in 2014



St. Patrick Cathedral – Fort Worth



As of 2023, the Diocese of Fort Worth had 15 elementary schools and three high schools. It also operates ministries at five institutions of higher learning. The total enrollment was approximately 3,900.[20][21]

University and college communities[edit]

High schools[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Diocese History". Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  2. ^ Association, Texas State Historical. "St. Joseph Hospital". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  3. ^ Association, Texas State Historical. "Our Lady of Victory College". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  4. ^ a b "Dallas (Diocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  5. ^ "Bishop John Joseph Cassata [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  6. ^ "Bishop Joseph Patrick Delaney [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  7. ^ "Bishop Kevin William Vann [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  8. ^ "Bishop Michael Fors Olson [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  9. ^ Yeomans • •, Meredith. "Prosper Priest Resigns After Writing Racy Letter About Another Priest's Alleged Affair". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  10. ^ Kurkowski-Gillen, Joan (May 24, 2021). "Bishop Olson ordains six men to priesthood, largest class in diocesan history". North Texas Catholic. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  11. ^ "Texas Catholic Charities CEO removed after planning women's empowerment summit". Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  12. ^ "Black CEO of Catholic Charities Fort Worth ousted by Bishop Michael Olson". Black Catholic Messenger. 2022-07-14. Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  13. ^ "Fort Worth Diocese agrees to pay $1.4 million in abuse case". Plainview Herald. 2005-04-02. Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  14. ^ "Priest gets 50 years on sex abuse charges". Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  15. ^ "Teczar laicized by Pope". The Catholic Free Press, Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester. Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  16. ^ "Lawsuit Claims Sexual Abuse In Fort Worth Catholic Diocese". Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  17. ^ Kowalick, Claire. "Lawsuit dismissed against late priest, former Notre Dame principal". Times Record News. Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  18. ^ Martyn, Amy. "Fort Worth Diocese Interrogated Sex Abuse Victim and His Mother in a Starbucks: Lawsuit". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  19. ^ Burk, Jarred (2018-10-10). "Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth releases names of alleged sexual abusers in the church, some with ties to Texoma". Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  20. ^ "School Finder". Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  21. ^ "Annual Report 2021-2022" (PDF). DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH CATHOLIC SCHOOLS. Retrieved October 11, 2023.

External links[edit]

32°45′26.5″N 97°19′59.5″W / 32.757361°N 97.333194°W / 32.757361; -97.333194