By Bishop Kevin J. Farrell
Publisher of The Texas Catholic
On July 15, 1890, 125 years ago, Pope Leo XIII erected the Diocese of Dallas. Because of the July heat and the absence of so many on vacations, birthday celebrations are postponed until the fall and winter. A number of festivities are planned to celebrate the event. Every pastor will set a date to observe the Quasquicentennial in their parish. A diocesan 125th Anniversary observance will take place Sunday, October 3 at Cathedral Guadalupe. More details on these events will be forthcoming in The Texas Catholic and online at www.cathdal.org/125.
However, the July 15 anniversary date will not pass unobserved. Prologue to the Future, an eBook history of the Diocese of Dallas, has been released at www.cathdal.org/prologue. It is comprehensive and features many photographs, and may be downloaded to your computer or tablet. I hope you will read and enjoy this interesting, chronological history of our diocese.
I was asked to write an introduction to Prologue to the Future. It seems appropriate to first release it in this blog to mark the anniversary of Pope Leo’s bull that brought this great diocese into being.
Every story has a pre-story. Any one moment is but a point on the continuum of time. When Pope Leo XIII declared July 15, 1890, as the moment the Diocese of Dallas would come into being, that event, like all events, was the culmination of a succession of occurrences. When a diocese is erected, it does not establish a new church; rather it establishes a formal ministerial structure for a church that already exists.
In the northernmost reaches of Texas that would become the Diocese of Dallas, from the Piney Woods to the Chihuahua Desert, the Church arrived with the first Catholic. For where there is even one Catholic, there is the Church. We know not where or when the Catholic continuum began that came to fruition with Pope Leo’s Bull, but we do know that, like the mustard seed, it was destined for prodigious growth.
We stand at the convergence of what has been and what will be in the continuum that is the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. As we mark our 125th anniversary, we celebrate the faith of our Catholic forbearers who nurtured the mustard seed that has become the diocese. We are tomorrow’s forbearers. We are those into whose hands God has placed the future of our faith and our children. Let us not be found wanting.
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell is the seventh bishop of Dallas. Read his blog at bishopkevinfarrell.org/blog.