Corpus Christi Cathedral History

When the Diocese of Galveston was divided into the Diocese of San Antonio and the Vicariate Apostolic of Brownsville in 1874, the Rt. Rev; Dominic Manucy, a native of Alabama, was appointed the first Vicar Apostolic of Brownsville. It was during his administration that the old St Patrick's Cathedral was built.

On March 23, 1912, Our Holy Father Pius X, through the Congregation of the Consistory, elevated the Apostolic Vicariate of Brownsville to the rank of a diocese with the city of Corpus Christi as the Diocesan See, and the humble St Patrick's Church was raised to the dignity of a Cathedral. Bishop Paul Nussbaum C.P., was consecrated the first Bishop of the new Diocese. He arrived in Corpus Christi Sunday afternoon, June 8, 1913, and received a real southern welcome from the people of the parish and of the city at large.

In January, 1920, Bishop Nussbaum left Corpus Christi for Rome on his Ad Limina visit to the Holy See. On March 20, Father Timothy Fitzpatrick, C.P., whom the Bishop had left in the capacity of Vicar General, received a letter from Rome stating that the Holy Father had accepted Bishop Nussbaum's resignation of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The news came as a shock to the clergy, the Sisters, and the laity who did not suspect, when their Bishop left, that he would never return.

Following the resignation of Bishop Nussbaum, Monsignor E. B. Ledvina, Secretary-general of the Catholic Church Extension Society was appointed by The Holy Father Pope Benedict XV to the Diocese of Corpus Christi. He was consecrated on June 14, 1921, and solemnly enthroned in St Patrick's Cathedral on July 12, 1921.

During the summer of 1936, Monsignor Mariano S. Garriga, pastor of St Cecilia's Church in San Antonio, received word that our Holy Father Pius XII had elevated him to the dignity of Bishop, to act as coadjutor of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, with the right of succession to Bishop Ledvina who was, at that time in ill health. Laboring with wonderful success in many capacities in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Monsignor Garriga's talents and capabilities attracted the attention of his fellow co-workers, and those who have the power to reward the zeal and devotedness such as was displayed by this apostolic pastor. Hence, his promotion by the Holy Father to the office of domestic Prelate in 1935, and to that of Bishop the following year. Monsignor Garriga was consecrated in San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, by the Most Rev. Archbishop Drossaerts, on September 21, 1936, and arrived in Corpus Christi on September 29. At 9 o'clock the following morning His Excellency celebrated his first Solemn Pontifical Mass coram ordinario, in St Patrick's Cathedral. Corpus Christi is especially proud of having a Bishop who has the distinction of being the first native Texan chosen for elevation to the ranks of the Hierarchy.

 

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