Fr. Danny Garcia, the vicar general of the Diocese of Austin and the former longtime pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in north Austin has been named by Pope Francis as the first auxiliary bishop of Austin!
UPDATE: More about Bishop-Elect Garcia can be found in the Diocesan announcement. Bishop-Elect Garcia will be ordained on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.
Twice in our diocese’s history, we’ve had a coadjutor bishop, which is an auxiliary bishop with “right of succession”, meaning that the coadjutor bishop would automatically become the bishop upon death, retirement, or reassignment of the current bishop. Coadjutors are typically appointment when the bishop is either ill or nearing retirement to allow for a smooth transition.
In this case, Bishop-Elect Garcia has been named as an auxiliary which suggests that the Holy See acknowledges the growth in the Austin area and the pastoral needs of the diocese are enough to merit additional episcopal help!
What will an auxiliary bishop do? In short, it depends. In some larger dioceses, like the Archdiocese of Boston, there are number of auxiliary bishops that each “lead” a vicariate, or segment, of the diocese. In others, like the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, the currently-one auxiliary serves as the vicar general in a structure similar to what we have in Austin.
In Austin, most likely, the administration of the diocese would change little with Bishop-Elect Garcia already serving as the vicar general. Day-to-day, we in the pews will see the pastoral duties—parish visits, diocesan celebrations, confirmations, and the like—divided between Bishop Vasquez and Bishop-Elect Garcia.
Congrats to Bishop-Elect Garcia and all of our prayers are with him!
Rev. Fr. Daniel Elias Garcia as auxiliary of Austin (area 57,424, population 2,902,992, Catholics 536,183, priests 218, permanent deacons 207, religious 201), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Cameron, Texas, U.S.A. in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a Master of Divinity from the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, and a Master’s degree in liturgical studies from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of the “St. Vincent de Paul” parish in Austin and dean of the “Austin North Deanery”. He is currently a member of the presbyteral council, diocesan consultor, member of the Priests’ Personnel Board, and vicar general and moderator of the Curia.
See Bishop-Elect Danny Garcia’s full curriculum vitae at AustinDiocese.org