This post was originally posted at JacksonGalloway’s Blog and shared with permission.
Tuesday, March 3rd was an historic day for Central Texas.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin saw the ordination of its very first Auxiliary bishop, Most Reverend Daniel Elias Garcia at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock. The current Vicar General, previously pastor of St. Vincent de Paul parish in northwest Austin, has served as a priest for the Diocese of Austin for almost 27 years. Born in Cameron, TX, he earned an Associate of Arts degree from Tyler Junior College before attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, where he received both Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Masters of Divinity degrees. He subsequently earned a Master of Arts in Liturgical Studies at St. John’s School of Theology in Collegeville, MN. Read more about Bishop Danny’s background and apostolic lineage here and here. His blazon and coat of arms bears his chosen motto “Walk humbly with God,” a reference from Micah 6:8.
With over half a million Catholics as of 2014, the Diocese of Austin is the fourth in Texas to receive an auxiliary. It encompasses a land area that stretches north from Austin all the way to Waco and West, TX, south to San Marcos, west to Mason, and east to Bryan-College Station. This area contains 127 parishes across 25 counties. Some 150 priests and 75 deacons were present for the celebration, which was televised locally via live broadcast. The appointment of Austin’s first auxiliary indicates the Vatican’s response to the rapid growth of the Church in Central Texas, and an increasing need to serve the spiritual needs of the expanding spanish-speaking population.
For those interested in the lineage of Church hierarchy, there was no shortage of miters with 20 bishops in attendance, including 3 archbishops (Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, LA, Archbishop Gustavo Gárcia-Siller of San Antonio, and Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston). Diocese of Austin Judicial Vicar Fr. Chris Ferrer read the proclamation of the official appointment from Pope Francis of Bishop Danny as the first Auxiliary Bishop of Austin, on behalf of Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó. As with many episcopal ordinations in Texas these days, the local connections ran deep. While Ordinary, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, serves as principal consecrator, former Austinites Bishop Michael Sis of San Angelo, TX and Archbishop Gregory Aymond (formerly Bishop of Austin) served in the role of co-consecrators. Bishop Sis and Bishop Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi, TX both previously served in Bishop Danny’s current the role of Vicar General of Austin prior to their elevations to the office of Bishop in their respective dioceses. Click here for nice infographic representing this information from Austin Catholic New Media.
Also present among the rank of bishops were recently ordained bishops Michael Olson of Fort Worth and Daniel Flores of Brownsville, who each served as in the formation of many of Austin’s young priests at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas and St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, respectively. Another interesting connection that Bishop Danny himself cited was the resident pastor of St. William, his only seminary classmate present, Fr. Dean Wilhelm.
What exactly is an Auxiliary?
Well, by canon law, only one bishop may serve as ordinary, or chief shepherd, in any diocese. However, there is a provision for dioceses that are large enough to require additional help. Auxiliaries are essentially assistants endowed with the same sacramental faculties who serve under the direction of the ordinary. For practical considerations in the life of a bishop such as confirmations, groundbreakings, dedications of churches, and the like, this can be a wonderful thing. While each of these auxiliaries serves under an ordinary in his diocese, each is also given a titular see, a diocese of which the auxiliary is ordinary but where he does not or cannot serve for various reasons (ie. little or no Catholic population, persecution, etc.). Bishop Danny’s titular see is Capsus, formerly shepherded by Auxiliary Emeritus Bishop Bernard Popp of San Antonio who passed away last year. Read more on the titular see of Capsus here. Of the 15 Texas dioceses, those with auxiliary bishops currently include only Dallas and Galveston-Houston, where this writer’s second cousin, auxiliary Bishop George Sheltz, serves.
Finish reading the original post at JacksonGalloway’s Blog.