The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was established in 1847 and elevated to Archdiocese in 2004. During that time the counties surrounding Galveston and Houston has experienced significant growth.
It appears the future holds more of the same -- so believes the Church. The Archdiocese covers over 8,000 square miles and ten different counties in Texas. There are a total of 146 parishes, 449 sisters and 452 priests. Currently there are about 1.3 million Catholics in the Archdiocese.
According to an article in the Texas Catholic Herald by Jenny Faber, by the year 2020 the population of the ten counties which make up the Archdioces of Galveston-Houston will be 48 percent larger than it was in 2000. It is anticipated by the Church that these numbers will translate into a rising number of Catholics in its realm.
This is both exciting and challenging. To have the faith alive and active means future generations will have it passed on to them as we have had it passed to us. It also means however, that plans must be in place to meet the needs of the expected growth.
The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan began in March of this year and its aim is to formuate direction and a vision for how to address the needs of Catholics of future generations. Throught this Pastoral Planning Process a path to the future is to be developed.
This year the Archdiocese welcomed 2,490 new Catholics into the Church -- the second largest RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) class in the nation -- and another 1,300 aduts were confirmed this spring. This past August the Archdiocese welcomed its largest class of seminarians since Vatican II.
Faith needs of Catholics in the Galveston-Houston area are very important to Daniel Cardinal DiNardo; the initial analyzed data of the Pastoral Plan has been presented to him and a core team of leaders to help guide them into the next phase of planning.