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Archbishop Emeritus Fiorenza


Archbishop Emeritus FiorenzaMost Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston                                         
En Espaņol

Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Anthony Fiorenza was born Jan. 25, 1931 in Beaumont, Texas. The son of immigrant Italian parents, he was the second of four children born to Anthony and Grace Fiorenza.

Archbishop Fiorenza graduated from St. Anthony High School in Beaumont on May 29, 1947. He began studies for the priesthood in 1947 and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Galveston-Houston on May 29, 1954.

Following ordination, he served as an assistant pastor in Houston for three years, and then became the professor of Medical Ethics at Dominican College and chaplain of St. Joseph Hospital in Houston. From 1959 to 1967 he was the administrator of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral. He was pastor of several churches from 1967 to 1973, when he was named Chancellor of Galveston-Houston.

Pope John Paul II named him the Bishop of San Angelo on Sept. 4, 1979 and he served in that West Texas diocese until 1985, when he was named the Bishop of Galveston-Houston, a diocese which now has 1.3 million Catholics and is the 12th largest diocese in the United States. He became Galveston-Houston's first Archbishop on Dec. 29, 2004.

Ever committed to serving the people of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop Fiorenza has remained an advocate for social justice issues and a supporter of interfaith collaboration for positive social change across all social and economic borders. With eye to the future and the growth of the Church during his time as ordinary of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Fiorenza became acutely aware of the need for the burgeoning local Church to expand its spiritual home in response to the vastness of the faithful. Archbishop Fiorenza dedicated himself to building the new Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, a sacred space in the heart of downtown Houston where all were welcome to worship. Through his commitment and support of the campaign, the Co-Cathedral opened its doors to the people of Galveston-Houston on April 2, 2008.

Throughout his tenure as shepherd of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop Fiorenza also served the Church on a national level as the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1998-2001). In this responsibility, he served as the chief spokesman for 3,000 active Catholic bishops in the United States. His memberships have included the Bishops' Committees for: Black Catholics; Science and Human Values; Foreign Missions; and Social Development and World Peace. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of: the Catholic Near East Welfare Association; Catholic Relief Services; the University of St. Thomas, Houston; and the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. On a daily basis, Archbishop Fiorenza continues his commitment to the Church in Galveston-Houston and to all our brothers and sisters in the community.