Our Feature Articles:
The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield, the central and most important part of the design, a scroll with a motto, and the external ornamentation. By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese are joined with the arms of his jurisdiction, seen in the left side of the design. These arms are composed of a blue field, to honor the most Blessed Virgin Mary, on which is displayed a castellated fort in silver (white). Above the fort is a green trefoil (also known as a shamrock), to honor Saint Patrick, the titular of the Cathedral-Church.
John Joseph Cassata, the first bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, was born in Galveston, on Nov. 8, 1908, the son of Vincent and Anna (Pizzitola) Cassata, both natives of Sicily, Italy. When he died in Houston on Sept. 8, 1989, from complications of heart surgery at the age of 80, he was eulogized as a “wonderful” priest and bishop, as a loyal, generous friend, and as a devoted brother to his six siblings.
The second bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Joseph Patrick Delaney, was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on Aug. 29, 1934. The eldest of five children born to Joseph and Jane Delaney, he was part of a devout, close-knit, and loving Irish family.
Bishop Kevin William Vann was born May 10, 1951 in Springfield, Illinois, the oldest of six children born to William M. Vann, Jr., and Theresa Jones Vann. A graduate of Springfield’s St. Agnes Catholic School and of Griffin Catholic High School, he attended Springfield College and earned a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Millikan University in Decatur, Illinois.
In 1890 the Catholic population of the area of the Brazos and Trinity rivers had grown large enough that Pope Leo XIII established the Diocese of Dallas. As early as 1870 Claude Marie Dubuis, the second bishop of Galveston (the diocese that encompassed all of Texas at the time), had begun sending Father Vincent Perrier twice a year to visit Fort Worth. At that time several Catholic families were meeting in the Carrico home. Fort Worth’s first parish church was a frame structure built at 1212 Throckmorton Street and called St. Stanislaus Church. It stood until 1907. The cornerstone of St. Patrick Church, which eventually became St. Patrick Cathedral, was laid in 1888; the church was built just north of St. Stanislaus and dedicated in 1892. When Dallas was made a diocese the region that eventually became the Diocese of Fort Worth had seven parishes: in Fort Worth, Cleburne, Gainesville, Henrietta, Hillsboro, Muenster, and Weatherford.