Grouped as Region X along with the three bishops of the Oklahoma City province (OKC, Tulsa and Little Rock), the Lone Star bench -- 15 dioceses in all, now split between two provinces of their own -- begins its week of meetings with the Roman Curia on Wednesday. Yet even as the thread of vitality and ongoing emergence is found through practically the entire final third of the pilgrimage -- the booming dioceses of California and Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Utah, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas are all still on tap before the visit wraps in mid-May -- more than any other visitors this time around, odds are the Texans will be welcomed at the Vatican as the darlings of the American church.
A quick look at the stats lays out the backdrop: since the last ad limina, Catholics -- their presence increased nearly 60 percent since 1990 -- have eclipsed Evangelicals to become the state's largest religious group. In a matter of years, three of its dioceses have erupted to comprise more than a million members, each reflecting five-or-sixfold expansions over the last three decades. On a 25 percent growth in general population since 2000, the Dallas-Fort Worth "metroplex" is now home to nearly 2 million of the faithful in what's just become the nation's fourth-largest metropolitan area. Along the border, a majority of Brownsville's 1.1 million Catholics are younger than 25; out East, rural Tyler's taken to ordaining more priests than New York, and in the capital, Austin's church of half a million -- projected to double within a decade -- is perhaps the Stateside church's most energetic outpost, boasting the nation's most celebrated Catholic campus ministry, to boot.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Huge Growth of Catholicism in Texas
Rocco Palmo wrote about it recently and he gives St. Mary's a nice plug. Here is a snip: