Retired Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz

 

Most Reverend George A. Sheltz
Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston           


George Arthur Sheltz was born April 20, 1946 in Houston, Texas to (the late) George and Margaret Sheltz. The second oldest of three children, he was raised in Houston and educated entirely in the Bayou City, attending Annunciation Catholic School in downtown Houston, St. Thomas High School, the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary's Seminary.

During high school, he began to consider the possibility of studying for the priesthood for the then-Diocese of Galveston-Houston. With the encouragement of the Basilian Fathers at St. Thomas High School, he entered St. Mary's Seminary. He graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and from the seminary with a Master's in Theology. On May 15, 1971, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Galveston-Houston by Bishop John Morkovsky. 

As a priest of the Archdiocese, he has served at six parishes: Assumption Church; Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral; St. Vincent de Paul Church; Christ the Redeemer Church; Prince of Peace Church; and St. Anthony of Padua Church. He served as Dean of the San Jacinto Deanery and Episcopal Vicar of the Northern Vicariate while a parish priest. In 2000, Pope John Paul II named him a prelate of honor, with the title of Monsignor.

In 2007, he was named Secretariat Director for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services. Since 2010, Bishop Sheltz has served as Vicar General, Chancellor and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, overseeing the administrative operations of the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 5th largest in the United States. On Feb. 21, 2012, he was named an auxiliary bishop of Galveston-Houston by Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis accepted his resignation on June 22, 2021, at the age of 75.

Bishop Sheltz comes from a family of Houston vocations. His father, Deacon George Sheltz, Sr., was in the first class of permanent deacons ordained for the diocese in 1972. His late brother, Anton Sheltz, was ordained a priest for the then-Diocese of Galveston-Houston in 1976. His uncle, Monsignor Anton Frank, was the first native Houstonian ordained for the diocese in 1933.

For his motto, Bishop Sheltz uses the phrase, "Through Him, With Him, In Him." By these words from the Eucharistic prayer during Mass, Bishop Sheltz proclaims that as a bishop his ministry is to do all things through Christ, the Word sent into the world to proclaim God's love for all humanity.

Born
April 20, 1946 in Houston, Texas

Parents
Deacon George and Margaret (Frank) Sheltz, Sr.

Education

  • Annunciation Catholic School (Graduation 1959)
  • St. Thomas High School (Graduation 1963)
  • B.A. Philosophy, University of St. Thomas
  • M. Th. Theology, St. Mary Seminary

Date of Ordination
May 15, 1971 - Houston, TX

Assignments/Appointments

  • 1971 - Parochial Vicar, Assumption Parish, Houston 
  • 1973 - Parochial Vicar, Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, Houston
  • 1976 - Parochial Vicar, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Houston
  • 1980 - Founding Pastor, Christ the Redeemer Parish, Houston
  • 1990 - Pastor, Prince of Peace Parish, Houston
  • 1991 -Dean of San Jacinto Deanery
  • 1997 - Episcopal Vicar of Northern Vicariate
  • 1999 - Pastor, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, The Woodlands
  • 2007 - Secretariat Director for Clergy Formation & Chaplaincy Services
  • 2010 - Vicar General, Chancellor, Moderator of the Curia
  • 2012 - Named Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston
  • 2021 - Resignation accepted by Pope Francis

Councils/Committees

  • Member, Archdiocesan Building Commission (2003)
  • Member, Cardinal's Cabinet (2007)
  • Member, College of Consultors (1999)
  • Member, Presbyteral Council (1973, 2007)
  • Member, Priests' Personnel Board/Committee (1994, 2007)
  • Priest Representative, St. Mary Seminary Board (1997-2007)

Organizations

  • Knights of Columbus, 4th Degree Knight
    Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Knight

Blazon

Agrent, a cross throughout Gules, the quarter to chief dexter Azure, charged with a star of the first and in the quarter to chief sinister an eagle's head of the second.

Significance

The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop's coat of arms, is composed of a shield, which is the central and most important part of the design; a scroll with a motto; and the external ornamentation. The design is described (blazoned) as if the description is being given by the bearer with the shield being worn on the left arm. Thus, it must be remembered, where it applies, as the device is viewed from the front that the terms sinister and dexter are reversed.

By heraldic tradition the personal arms of the bishop who is appointed to the episcopacy without territorial jurisdiction, such as an auxiliary bishop, covers the entire shield on the design.

Bishop Sheltz' arms are composed, basically, of a silver (white) field on which is displayed a red cross throughout. This configuration is known as a "Cross of Saint George," and it is used here for the Bishop to honor his Baptismal patron. The Cross of Saint George is "differenced" by changing the quarter to the upper left (chief dexter) to be a blue field with a single silver (white) star to honor the Bishop's home of Texas, "The Lone Star State," and by adding a red Eagle's head to the upper right (chief sinister) to honor St. Thomas High School, which had had such a significant impact on the bishop's life.

For his motto, His Excellency Bishop Sheltz has selected the phrase, "Through Him – with Him – In Him," from the Great Doxology of the Holy Mass. By its use, His Excellency expresses that as a Christian all that we have, all that we do and all that we are is from, in and through Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

The achievement in completed by the external ornamentation which are a gold (yellow) processional cross, that is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, called a "galero," with its six tassels in three rows on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop, by instruction of The Holy See, of March 31, 1969.

This explanation was contributed by Deacon Paul J. Sullivan of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, who was the original designer of Bishop Sheltz' Coat of Arms.

Understanding ecclesiastical heraldry

By Catherine Viola, Texas Catholic Herald

HOUSTON — Heraldry may seem like an outdated practice, evoking images of castles, knights and ladies. 

The coat of arms was first developed and used in medieval times as a way of identifying families, individuals or clerics. In many ways, a coat of arms is like an intricate logo, used to help brand a person or family and give some insight to who they are and where they came from. 

Historic family shields contained many images including swords, animals, stars, shapes, plants and other symbols.

Ecclesiastical heraldry serves a similar purpose. It’s a quick way to identify bishops and cardinals. 
 

Around the shield

There are several decorative elements around the shield itself that comprise the coat of arms. These items include the ecclastical hat, cross, tassles and motto. 

The use of an ecclastical hat on a coat of arms probably originated with the red hats worn by cardinals as vestments starting in 1245.

Catholic cardinals have red hats and tassles atop their shields while bishops have green hats. 

The number of tassles is another indicator of rank or hierarchy. Bishops have six tassles, archbishops have 10 tassles and cardinals have 15. 

A cross is incorporated as well to identify bishops as Christian leaders and as imitators of Christ. 

A motto, usually of the bishop or cardinal’s choosing, is included on a ribbon under the shield. This is a statement chosen by the bishop that speaks strongly to his beliefs.

The shield

The shield itself is the heart of the coat of arms. These are unique to each bishop and usually include symbols which “tell the story” of that individual. 

Symbols vary greatly with each individual but may speak to his interests, background or former service. 

Bishop Sheltz’ shield is a good example of this. The design elements on his shield echo his status as a native Texan and Houstonian and reflect his Catholic education and upbringing.