As the Archdiocese of San Antonio prepares to receive a new shepherd, the Vatican announced today that the Archdiocese, which provincially oversees more dioceses than any other in the world, will now be split in two.
According to the Church’s Code of Canon Law, “Neighboring particular churches [or diocese] are to be brought together into ecclesiastical province”. The Archdiocese of San Antonio currently oversees all 15 of those dioceses in the state of Texas, making it the largest ecclesiastical province in the world. This changes with the Vatican’s announcement today, however, as the Church elevates the diocese of Galveston-Houston to a metropolitan Archdiocese thus shouldering some of the load.
While this change will not alter the current diocesan borders, it will make Texas the only U.S. state beside California to have two provinces within it. Currently, Houston is the largest city in the nation, which isn’t the center of an Archdiocese. It is also the 4th largest city in the nation and Texas’ oldest Catholic diocese.
Dioceses which will now fall under the jurisdiction of the new Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, include Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Tyler and Victoria in Texas.
With this announcement, Pope John Paul II now elevates Bishop Joseph Anthony Fiorenza to Archbishop of the 1,006,425-member Archdiocese and likewise elevates Bishop Daniel Nicholas Dinardo to coadjutor of the new Archdiocese.