Pope Francis accepts resignation of 75-year-old auxiliary bishop in Texas

Bishop George A. Sheltz Bishop George A. Sheltz. | Courtesy photo.

Pope Francis accepted Tuesday the resignation of 75-year-old Bishop George A. Sheltz, who has served as an auxiliary bishop of Galveston-Houston since 2012.

The Holy See press office announced June 22 that the pope had accepted the resignation that Sheltz was required by canon law to tender after his 75th birthday on April 20.

The move comes a month after the pope appointed a new auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese that serves more than 1.7 million Catholics in 146 parishes across 10 counties in southeastern Texas.

The pope named Fr. Italo Dell’Oro, an Italian-born Somascan priest, as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on May 18.

Galveston-Houston archdiocese is the largest Catholic diocese in Texas and the fifth-largest in the United States.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who has led the archdiocese since 2006, thanked Sheltz for more than 50 years of service as a priest and bishop.

“Today, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of our beloved Auxiliary Bishop George Sheltz who recently turned 75, the mandatory age for retirement for bishops of the Catholic Church,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Bishop Sheltz for his more than 50 years serving the archdiocese as a priest and bishop.”

He continued: “I am grateful for his friendship, counsel, and boundless commitment to the local faithful; his knowledge and love of his home diocese has always been evident in his words and actions.”

“In addition, his calm, insightful manner, and dry sense of humor was invaluable in overseeing the administrative operations of the archdiocese as chancellor.”

DiNardo announced that despite his retirement, Sheltz would continue to serve temporarily as chancellor and moderator of the curia.

“Please join me in thanking Bishop Sheltz for his remarkable service to this local Church. We will continue to pray for him as we wish him a healthy, restful, and rewarding retirement,” he said.

George Arthur Sheltz was born on April 20, 1946, in Houston, Texas. Discerning a vocation to the priesthood at high school, he entered the city’s St. Mary’s Seminary.

After graduating from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and from the seminary with a Masters in Theology, he was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1971.

He served at six parishes in Galveston-Houston archdiocese, receiving the title of Monsignor from Pope John Paul II in 2000.

From 2010, he oversaw administrative operations in the archdiocese as vicar general, chancellor, and moderator of the curia.

Pope Benedict XVI named him an auxiliary bishop on Feb. 21, 2012.

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He chose the episcopal motto “Through Him, With Him, In Him,” from the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass.

Sheltz comes from a family that has served the archdiocese for generations.

His father, Deacon George Sheltz, Sr., was in the first class of permanent deacons ordained for the then Diocese of Galveston-Houston in 1972. (The diocese, established in 1847, was elevated to an archdiocese in 2004.)

His late brother, Fr. Anton Sheltz, was ordained for the diocese in 1976.

His uncle, Msgr. Anton Frank, was the first native Houstonian to be ordained for the diocese in 1933.

When he was appointed bishop, Sheltz said: “This archdiocese has been my home my entire life and it is a joy and privilege to pledge my continued service to the wonderful people of Galveston-Houston who have been my brothers and sisters in faith these many years.”

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