Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza Retires

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has a new archbishop today. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza announced his resignation this morning after 21 years in the position.

In the Catholic tradition, bishops and archbishops are required to resign at the age of 75. Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza turned 75 in January and submitted his request to retire to Pope Benedict and was granted permission to do so just after his 21st anniversary in the position.

"The joy of being able to serve as a priest of the church is the important thing and to be able to -- to bring the saving message of the gospel to people and to -- to do that during times of great sadness and sorrow, but also times of great joy and happiness, that's what makes the life of a priest meaningful."

Taking his place as the overseer of the Catholic faith in this region is Archbishop Daniel DiNardo who has served as Coadjutor Bishop here for the past two years. There are 1.3 million catholics in this diocese and the faith is growing. DiNardo says his first goal is to be a good shepherd.

"Once I say that as a distinctive goal, I obviously have a real important goal in mind and that is: We need more priests."

DiNardo says they have already begun a new initiative to raise up more priests in the faith. DiNardo came to Houston after serving as Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa. Before that, he served in both Pittsburgh and Rome. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is the largest in Texas. It encompasses 10 counties, separated into 150 parishes. Laurie Johnson Houston Public Radio News.

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