Catholics Closing up Shop on Galveston Island

Galveston is the mother church of Texas Catholicism. The entire state was once included within the Diocese of Galveston, erected in 1847 by Pope Pius IX. The Great Storm was devastating to the island, but it remained an important city until the ship channel diverted port traffic to Houston. The diocese moved its chancery to Houston, and in 1959 it became the Diocese of Galveston-Houston (it was elevated to an archdiocese in 2004). Other institutions followed, with the closure of the Catholic orphanage, then the hospital, then the high school. Now, in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike, there will be more closures. The Archdiocese has announced that all island parishes may be merged, with St. Patrick’s the sole parish on the island.