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Joseph Fiorenza

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See  Galveston-Houston
Ordination  May 29, 1954
Name  Joseph Fiorenza
Consecration  October 25, 1979
Term ended  February 26, 2006
Predecessor  John Louis Morkovsky
Installed  February 18, 1985
Successor  Daniel DiNardo

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Born  January 25, 1931 (age 84) Beaumont, Texas (1931-01-25)
Other posts  Roman Catholic Diocese of San Angelo

Education  St. Anthony High School

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Joseph Anthony Fiorenza (born January 25, 1931) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He was the seventh Bishop and the first Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, serving from 1985 to 2006. He previously served as Bishop of San Angelo from 1979 to 1984.


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Early life and education

Joseph Fiorenza was born in Beaumont, Texas, the second of four sons of Anthony and Grace (née Galiano) Fiorenza. His father immigrated from Sicily at age 10, while his mother was the daughter of Sicilian immigrants. He attended St. Anthony High School in Beaumont, where he was football team captain and senior class president. He skipped a grade and graduated from high school at age 16 in 1947. He then studied at St. Mary's Seminary in La Porte.


Fiorenza was ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 1954. His first assignment was as assistant pastor of Queen of Peace Church in Houston, where he remained for three years. In 1957, he became professor of medical ethics at Sacred Heart Dominican College and chaplain of St. Joseph Hospital in Houston. He served as administrator of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral from 1959 to 1967. In 1965, he participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches during the Civil Rights Movement.

Fiorenza served as pastor of St. Augustine Church (1967–69) and of St. Benedict the Abbot Church (1969–72), both in Houston. From 1972 to 1973, he was both pastor of Assumption Church and vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. He was named Honorary Prelate of His Holiness by Pope Paul VI on December 5, 1973, and served as diocesan chancellor from 1973 to 1979.


On September 4, 1979, Fiorenza was appointed the fourth Bishop of San Angelo by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 25 from Archbishop Patrick Flores, with Bishops John Louis Morkovsky and John E. McCarthy serving as co-consecrators, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

On December 18, 1984, Fiorenza was named Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston by Pope John Paul II. He was installed as Bishop of Galveston-Houston by Archbishop Patrick Flores in the presence of Archbishop Pio Laghi, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio. The Diocese of Galveston-Houston was elevated to the status of Archdiocese by John Paul II on Dec. 29, 2004, at which point Fiorenza became an Archbishop.

When a wave of allegations of sexual abuse of boys and girls within the Catholic Church was widely reported from 2002, Fiorenza issued a statement proclaiming that the archdiocese would "make the protection and safety of children and young people a top priority", but it has been reported that nothing was done; internal memos from 1996—published in detail by the press—show that abuse was reported but ignored for years. In a 2006 news report Fiorenza was said to have had a tendency to accept troubled clergy into his domains; and the Galveston-Houston archdiocese acted to protect the church from public scrutiny, mounting vigorous legal defenses, blaming the victims, and obfuscating for the news media.

Archbishop Fiorenza submitted his letter of retirement to the Vatican in February 2006 at the customary age of 75 years. The response was received on February 28, 2006, officially granting Fiorenza his retirement and declaring former coadjutor Archbishop Daniel DiNardo the presiding Archbishop of Galveston-Houston.

Appointments and board memberships

  • Member of the Administrative Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1995–present
  • Former member of the Bishops' Committee for Black Catholics
  • Vice-President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops - 1995-1998
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the University of St. Thomas, Houston
  • President of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities
  • President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops - 1998-2001
  • References

    Joseph Fiorenza Wikipedia