Houstonian named next auxiliary bishop of Galveston-Houston

February 28, 2012

HOUSTON — Pope Benedict XVI named Houston native Monsignor George A. Sheltz, 65, to be the new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Feb. 21. 

That meant Mardi Gras in the Archdiocese this year was not only marked by Fat Tuesday celebrations, but with joyous reactions to the Vatican's appointment of an auxiliary bishop for the local Church. The Archdiocese has been without an auxiliary bishop since March 2010.

"I am moved and humbled by the news that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has chosen me to serve in this capacity, in a place that has always been my home," Bishop-elect Sheltz said during a press conference at the downtown Chancery on the day of his appointment. "It has been a profound joy to serve as a parish priest in this Archdiocese, where I was born, raised, educated and nurtured in faith. I always wanted to serve simply as a parish priest, and I happily did so for 36 of my 40-plus years of priesthood."

Houston proud
The second oldest child of George and Margaret Sheltz' two sons and one daughter, George Arthur Sheltz was educated at Annunciation Catholic School, St. Thomas High School, the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary's Seminary – all located in Houston. 

Bishop-elect Sheltz – who was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese in 1971 – hails from a family of Houston vocations. His father, Deacon George Sheltz, Sr., was in the first class of permanent deacons ordained for the Galveston-Houston diocese in 1972. His late brother, Anton Sheltz, was ordained a priest for the diocese in 1976. His uncle, Monsignor Anton Frank, was the first native Houstonian ordained for the diocese in 1933. Together, his father, uncle, brother and Bishop-elect Sheltz have given 150 years of ordained ministry to the Archdiocese.

"Bishop-elect Sheltz represents the long history of local priests who have given their lives in selfless service to the Lord," Daniel Cardinal DiNardo said. "I look forward to working with him as my chief collaborator in this growing, diverse Archdiocese."

The newly-named bishop spent 36 years as a priest at Catholic parishes across the Archdiocese: 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 was named a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 2000.

In 2007, he was named Director of Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Since 2010, Bishop-elect Sheltz has been the Archdiocese's Vicar General and Chancellor, overseeing the administrative operations of the largest diocese in Texas and the 12th largest diocese in the United States. 
"It was frightening when the cardinal called me to the Chancery office," Bishop-elect Sheltz said at the press conference. "I told him at 60 years old, most of my classmates were thinking of retirement, and I had a career change. Well — I have a big career change at 65 years old now."

Through Him, With Him, In Him
For his episcopal motto, Bishop-elect Sheltz has selected the phrase, "Through Him, With Him, In Him." By these words from the Eucharistic prayer at Mass, Bishop-elect Sheltz said he wants to proclaim that "as a bishop his ministry will be to do all things through Christ." 
Bishop-elect Sheltz will travel to Rome next month to meet with Pope Benedict XVI, as a member of the U.S. bishops' Region X delegation making an Ad Limina visit to the Vatican.

He will be ordained a bishop on May 2 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston. 

The papal appointment also names Bishop-elect Sheltz as Titular Bishop of Irina. †

Did you know?

  • An auxiliary bishop is an assistant to the arch/bishop of the diocese to which they are assigned.
  • Bishop-elect Sheltz will assist Daniel Cardinal DiNardo in shepherding 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties of the Archdiocese.
  • The Mass of Ordination for Bishop-elect Sheltz will be held April 25 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
    For photos, videos, statements and more information about Bishop-elect Sheltz, visit www.archgh.org/Bishop-Sheltz.

Photo by Louise Kelly/Texas Catholic Herald