In 1947, the Catholic leaders of the San Antonio, Galveston and Dallas Dioceses voted to surrender counties within their Ecclesiastical jurisdiction to create the Diocese of Austin. This move led to the raising of St. Mary Church in Austin to a Cathedral Church and the selection of Louis J. Reicher, the Prothonotary Apostolic and Chancellor of the Diocese of Galveston, as the first Bishop of the Austin Diocese. The new diocese included parishes, missions, stations, chapels, schools, hospitals and St. Edward's University.
Soon after his installation, Bishop Reicher began construction projects for the diocese. In all, he would build or remodel about 260 buildings. He also helped organize the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, strongly endorsed the Cursillo movement, and established the Diocesan Committee on Human Rights during his 23-year tenure. Reicher's successor, Bishop Vincent Harris, focused on atrtracting Mexican Americans to religious vocations and worked with social justice issues, all while the diocese ordained record numbers during his 14-year tenure.
Since the 1980s, major focuses of the diocese have included social ministry, missions and formation laity. The diocese has aided non-Catholics as well through its hospitals, healthcare and daycare centers, and other health facilities. Catholic schools in the diocese have also educated thousands of students. By 2008, the Diocese of Austin included 125 parishes in 25 counties. Today, it continues to provide for the spiritual needs of area Catholics, as well as to the educational, health and social needs of residents throughout Central Texas.(2008)
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