Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And Austin Makes Three

And in just six weeks, the "Texas triangle" has completed itself.

Seven months after B16 transferred Austin's fourth bishop back to his hometown after a decade of exponential growth and a staggering spike in vitality, this morning the pontiff named Auxiliary Bishop Joe Vasquez of Galveston-Houston to the boomtown church in Texas' capital, home to some 50 seminarians and a Catholic population of 500,000 that's more than double what it was two decades ago... and, indeed, is projected to double again in size over the next 15 to 20 years.

The first Hispanic prelate tapped to lead the 25-county Central Texas diocese -- and as bishop of the capital, become the church's lead public presence in state government -- the 52 year-old pick will be installed on 8 March at a location still to be determined.

With the move, the 1.5 million-member Houston church loses its lone active auxiliary; a native of West Texas' San Angelo diocese, Vasquez was named an H-Town bishop in 2002, serving since as the lead administrator of the South's largest diocese.

Today's appointment follows early December's homecoming selection of Detroit auxiliary Daniel Flores for the million-member diocese of Brownsville (where the 48 year-old Downstate native will be installed next week) and last week's pick of Austin's administrator, Msgr Michael Mulvey, as bishop of Corpus Christi.

More as the morning moves along.

PHOTO: Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston/Diocese of Austin