In 1972 the Diocese of Galveston-Houston celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding. To honor the occasion, the diocese published a book, “Changing Times The Story of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in Commemoration of its Founding.” The book, written by Robert C. Giles and published by Bishop John L. Morkovsky, tells the history of the diocese within the perspective of the history of the State of Texas. Bishop Wendolin Nold and Bishop John L. Morkovsky each contributed a forward for the book.

The anniversary book proudly lists all the active priests in the diocese in 1972. And 21 of those men were subsequently named in 2019 by the Archdiocese of Galveston as being credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. 

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Photo Credit: Siobhan Fleming, PhD

The 125th Anniversary of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston

Where Were The Credibly Accused in '72?

Archival documents and directories show that in 1972, the men who would be named in 2019 as credibly accused were assigned to parishes across the city, country and globe-there are no apparent geographic preferences or patterns. The parishes to which they were assigned are distributed across the city and across socioeconomic lines.

 

Click the image below to view a google map showing the parish, university, seminary, city or country where the 42 priests on the 2019 credibly accused list were in 1972. Click the icons for names of the clergy and parish. Zoom in and out for more assignments.

Google Maps Diocesan Assignments 1972 created by Siobhan Fleming, PhD 

The 1972 Diocese Galveston-Houston

The anniversary book recounts in the biography of Bishop Nold that, "darkness covered him September 8, 1962," meaning he lost his sight. Not many people remember that the diocese had not one, but two Bishops from 1963 to 1975. In 1963, Bishop Morkovsky, ordinary of the Diocese of Amarillo, was installed as apostolic administrator and coadjutor of Galveston-Houston with the right of succession to Bishop Nold. However, Nold did not retire until 1975.

The practice of having a coadjutor bishop is not uncommon. In fact, Bishop Nold himself was consecrated coadjutor Bishop of Galveston in 1948 during Bishop Byrne’s reign. But Nold’s tenure as coadjutor lasted only two years until Bishop Byrne died in April 1950 whereas Morkovsky and Nold worked side-by-side for 12 years.

Bishop Wendelen J. Nold
Bishop John L. Morkovsky

Photo Credit: Siobhan Fleming, PhD

Photo Credit: Siobhan Fleming, PhD

Milestones

In addition to describing the Bishops of Galveston-Houston, the book also notes milestone events like the 1966 visit of Cardinal Josef Beran from Prague, Czechoslovakia who blessed St. Mary’s Seminary and henceforth had the library there named after him.

Another milestone noted was the the ordination of the first African-American in 1968, Rev. Clifton Ransom, who was featured with a photo of his ordination (Fr. Ransom subsequently left the priesthood in 1974ish and married).

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Cardinal Josef Beran, Prague, Czechoslovakia

The book features very few photos of pastors at their assigned church – Rev. Christopher Martin was one shown outside the church to which he had been assigned for more than 30 years: Holy Cross in Bay City (Fr. Martin would be included on the 2019 list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing children).

Photo Credit: Siobhan Fleming, PhD

Photo Credit: Siobhan Fleming, PhD

Active priests in 1972. 

The list of credibly accused clergy includes 40 names with an additional two who are under investigation. Seventeen of those priests and four who were seminarians in 1972 were active at Houston parishes.

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1972 Roster with Arrows.png
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Photo Credit: Siobhan Fleming, PhD

1972 Roster with Arrows.png

Photo Credit: Siobhan Fleming, PhD

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