By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. there was a triple knock on the door of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Who was knocking?
It turned out to be the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Dallas, the Most Rev. Edward J. Burns, recently of the rainy slopes of Juneau, Alaska, now seeking to bring a new spirit of renewal to Texas.
I watched him as he smiled to hear the beautiful singing of the Union Choir of Holy Cross and the A Cappella Choir of Bishop Lynch High School. He seemed to be extremely delighted to have such a glorious cathedral and such liturgical talent.
In his sermon that night, he opted that he was intent on bringing interior renovation to the souls entrusted to him. In his installation sermon the next day, he indicated that this is the beginning of a “new chapter” in the history of the diocese.
My thoughts reached back into my own history of the Dallas bishops who have influenced my life. The first was Bishop Joseph Patrick Lynch. He came down to Tyler and confirmed us eighth-graders at St. Gregory School in 1947. Later, in 1951, he OK’d the decision of vocation director Father Joseph Erbrick to send me to St. John’s Seminary in San Antonio.
It was from there in 1952 that all the Dallas seminarians were bussed to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to witness the coming of Bishop Thomas K. Gorman to be the co-coadjutor bishop who would assist Bishop Lynch and take over when he was called to his heavenly desserts. During the preparations for the installation ceremony, the other seminarians pointed out Thomas Ambrose Tschoepe who was chancellor at that time, but who later would become bishop of San Angelo before being called back as the third ordinary bishop of Dallas.
Back in 1952, the rectory of the cathedral played an important part in the formation of newly ordained priests as they were often assigned there as assistant pastors. The chancery was in the rectory and the young priests could observe the workings of the various offices there. They also could come to the kitchen and get good motherly advice from Tiny, the cook.
As Bishop Gorman had been editor of the newspaper The Tidings in Los Angeles, he was quick to hire Gordon O’Neill to re-activate The Texas Catholic newspaper. The chancery was also moved to Kidwell Street in the Lakewood section of Dallas to accommodate the added space requirements of the newspaper. Real people like Mitch Unis, Catherine Reitz and David Dozier ran the business.
The diocese continued its growth under Bishop Tschoepe and the chancery office moved to a building on Lemmon Avenue. There the humble and unassuming bishop lived in an apartment on the top floor and daily would be found sweeping out the garage on the ground level. He also enjoyed going to the various offices where his visits were relaxed and entertaining. The cathedral’s patroness became Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Chapter four in my list of bishops is Bishop Charles Grahmann. We had been students together at St. John’s Seminary in San Antonio. He influenced me on the football field by his ferocious blocking. This he had learned in the rural setting of Halletsville, where he grew up as a tough farm boy. He had and has a great love for the Hispanic community with which he delighted to join in their quests for recognition and justice. It was during Bishop Grahmann’s tenure that the chancery moved around the corner to the Turtle Creek area.
Next in line was the eminent personality, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell. Coming from Washington, D.C., Bishop Farrell got right to work with sifting out the financial and social needs of the diocese. The chancery became the pastoral center and many dedicated people came to serve the needs of the growing Catholic population. As a reward for his energetic labor, Bishop Farrell was transferred to the Vatican and became Cardinal Farrell.
And now the sixth chapter of my ongoing story is live-streaming from the cathedral. Scaffolds surround the bricks of the church to give them new beauty. Inside the cathedral, the souls of Catholics are being challenged to renew the presence of Jesus in their hearts, in their families, in their parishes and in their world.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.