History of the Catholic Church in Austin, TX

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, TX (The Latin name of the diocese is Dioecesis Austiniensis) includes 127 churches, parishes, or Catholic communities, in 25 counties near Austin in Central Texas. Its largest metropolitan areas are Austin, Bryan – College Station, the Killeen – Temple – Fort Hood area and Waco. The Austin diocese stretches from West, Texas, (slightly north of Waco) in the north to San Marcos in the south to Mason in the west to the Bryan – College Station area in the east. Austin is the largest and most populated diocese, with the most churches, for many miles in all directions.

History of the Diocese of Austin
The diocese of Austin was founded on November 15, 1947. It is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. It was announced on January 26, 2010 that Joe S. Vazquez, previously auxiliary bishop and Vicar General/Chancellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston would be installed as bishop for the Diocese of Austin, to oversee all the churches in Austin. More recently, on January 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Rev. Daniel E. Garcia as the first auxiliary bishop in the history of the Diocese of Austin. Before becoming auxiliary bishop of Austin, Fr. Daniel Garcia was serving as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.

Complete list of Austin bishops and their terms of service in the Diocese of Austin:
Louis Joseph Reicher (29 Nov 1947 Appointed – 15 Nov 1971 Retired)
Vincent Madeley Harris (15 Nov 1971 Succeeded – 25 Feb 1985 Resigned)
John E. McCarthy (19 Dec 1985 Appointed – 2 Jan 2001 Retired)
Gregory Michael Aymond (2 Jan 2001 Succeeded – 12 Jun 2009 Appointed, Archbishop of New Orleans, Louisiana)
Joe S. Vasquez (26 January 2010 Appointed – present)

Territories of the Diocese of Austin include the counties of Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Brazos, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Coryell, Falls, Hamilton, Hays, Lampasas, Lee, Limestone, Llano, Mason, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Robertson, San Saba, Travis, Washington, and Williamson Counties and the part of Fayette County north of the Colorado River. Most of these are very close to the city of Austin and its many churches.

Modern Statistics – Post-Concililar Catholic Church in Austin
The modern-day Diocese of Austin estimates over 530,000 Catholics live in the diocese (2014 estimate). There are 220 priests (189 active, 31 retired), 212 permanent deacons (168 active, 44 retired), approximately 46 brothers and 102 sisters serving in the diocese of Austin. These numbers are sharply lower than the numbers of priests, deacons, and religious in Austin before the Novus Ordo Mass was instituted in the wake of the Vatican 2 council. Many churches have lower attendance than they did in 1965, which is in line with the national figures.

How many Catholic Churches near Austin, TX?
There is no exact number available, but given that the Diocese of Austin has 189 active priests, there must be over 100 churches in the Austin metro area.

Traditional Catholic Churches near Austin, TX
There are no independent Latin Mass chapels in Austin, and even the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) doesn’t like Austin for some reason: they only offer Mass in a hotel room twice a month — and that’s how it’s been for 15 or more years, so one can’t favorably dismiss it as, “give them a chance; they’re just starting out”. Apparently the SSPX has no intention of ever developing or growing the St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Austin, TX. Fortunately, Catholics in Austin, TX now have a much better option: St. Dominic’s Chapel outside Marion, TX. It’s only a little over an hour from Austin. And unlike other churches in the area, St. Dominic’s offers only the Tridentine Mass, every single Sunday, in a dedicated building!

The state of the Latin Mass community within the city limits of Austin is pretty dismal. There are no permanent Traditional Catholic churches or Tridentine Mass chapels located in the city of Austin itself. Austin does have a diocese-approved Indult Mass, but they share a church building with a regular Novus Ordo parish. The priest who says the Mass is Novus Ordo, and during communion you might receive a host from a previous Novus Ordo Mass.

Should a Catholic attend the Traditional Latin Mass at Diocese of Austin-approved churches, like the (Novus Ordo) Cathedral in Austin?
Do you believe the Novus Ordo Mass is valid? If not, you will be concerned about receiving unconsecrated hosts during Holy Communion, if you are given communion from a previous Novus Ordo Mass. But if you do believe the Novus Ordo is valid, then you should be concerned about stepping on any consecrated Particles from previous Novus Ordo Masses. Communion in the Hand is quite an abuse, and it does result in countless consecrated Particles ending up on the floor, to be trodden upon by men. So whether or not you believe the Novus Ordo Mass is valid, you should have a serious problem going to a Latin Mass said in a church where the Novus Ordo is also said.

The Good News – there is now a permanent, Traditional Latin Mass chapel 1 hour away for Austin residents

Fortunately, St. Dominic’s Chapel is well within driving distance, offering the Latin Mass in a dedicated chapel just 1 hour away from Austin (according to Google Maps). If you’ve been looking for Traditional Catholic churches near Austin, TX, your search is over! You can take I-35, or the new 130 Toll Road from Austin to Seguin, depending on your preferences, traffic, etc.

The Cathedral for the Diocese of Austin is St. Mary’s Cathedral, located in Austin. The current bishop of Austin is Joe S. Vasquez.


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