LUBBOCK, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF
LUBBOCK, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF. The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock was instituted by Pope John Paul II on June 17, 1983, and Michael Jarboe Sheehan was made its first bishop. The diocese was carved from the dioceses of Amarillo and San Angelo and includes twenty-five counties covering 23,382 square miles. Twenty counties came from the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo, five from San Angelo. On the High Plains the Catholic population is widely distributed; long distances make the term "mission diocese" apposite. The Catholic population in 1991 was 51,846; 80 percent were of Hispanic origin. The diocese's cathedral is Christ the King in Lubbock. The Kenedy East Foundation of Corpus Christi awarded the diocese numerous grants that funded the building of the Catholic Center, religious-education buildings, and school and church improvements. In 1991 serving in the thirty-six parishes and twenty-seven missions were thirty-nine priests, both diocesan and religious, and twenty-five deacons. Forty-two religious sisters ministered in parishes and schools, in a hospital, on the Texas Tech University campus, and at the Catholic Center's offices of Renew and Christian Formation; St. Mary of the Plains Hospital, operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, California, treated 56,396 people in 1991. Catholic Family Services, which offers a broad range of social and economic services to the needy, helped over 28,000 persons in 1991. Approximately 600 elementary children are instructed in parochial schools, and 10,422 elementary and high school students attend weekly religious-education classes. The Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, Catholic Youth organizations, and numerous other lay organizations share in the work of identifying and serving the needs of the people. The South Plains Catholic, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Lubbock, is published biweekly. On June 1, 1994, Placido Rodriguez, C.M.S., became bishop of the diocese after Bishop Sheehan had been transferred to Santa Fe, New Mexico.