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Past State Chaplains

by Terrie Vacek

~ State Chaplains of Texas ~

First State Chaplain, 1917 - 1919, Most Reverend H. Kane S.S.J., Bishop, San Antonio Diocese



Second State Chaplain, 1919 - 1921
Reverend Msgr. Dean Robert M. Nolan
Fort Worth Diocese

He was interested in all forms of education, did mission work, founded Our Lady of Victory Academy (later named Monsignor Robert M. Nolan High School, Fort Worth.)




Third State Chaplain, 1921 - 1926
Reverend Msgr. James Martin Kirwin
Msgr. Kirwin was known as “Fr. Galveston”
Galveston-Houston Diocese

Between 1915-1918, Msgr. Kirwin served as the Chaplain for the Fourth United States Infantry, the Texas National Guard, the United States and Spanish War Veterans Association, active duty in World War I, and he also served as chairman of the Four-Minute Men and the American Red Cross.




Fourth State Chaplain, 1926 - 1931
Reverend Msgr. Joseph Burke, C.S.C.
Austin Diocese

(Msgr. Burke was appointed State Chaplain at the death of Reverend James M. Kirwin, January 1926)




Fifth State Chaplain, 1931 - 1935
Most Reverend Rudolph A. Gerken
Archbishop, Amarillo

(Recorded in the 1931 convention minutes as Guerkin)




Sixth State Chaplain, 1935 - 1941
Most Reverend Arthur Jerome Drossaerts
Bishop, San Antonio Diocese




Seventh State Chaplain, 1940- 1941
Most Reverend Christopher E. Byrne
Archbishop, Galveston-Houston Diocese

(Appointed Interim State Chaplain upon Bishop Drossaerts death)




Eighth State Chaplain, 1941 - 1960
Reverend Msgr. Frederick O. Beck
Victoria Diocese


The Past is our Prologue . . . 1960

“As everyone who appreciates fine music knows, the overture is only part of the concert. And in their symphony of service to others, the Catholic Daughters’ first 50 years in Texas may be likened to the overture – the exciting, stirring, opening passages of music that herald the major movements to come. Viewed in another way, this Golden Anniversary (subordinate courts) is neither the end of one era nor the beginning of another, but merely a bridge across the present that is anchored in both the past and the future.

Spiritually as well as physically and financially, the work of the past continues through the present and cannot help being projected on into the future. Illustrations of this theme may be found in the work of every Court.

Many courts now sponsor Junior Catholic Daughters of America and also Juniorettes who are earning and practicing unity and charity into womanhood.
Leaving out the physical aspects of the many buildings the Catholic Daughters have helped construct through donations, it may be pointed out that the sponsoring of Juniors who in turn will sponsor others later, and the continuing prayers for vocations, are typically examples of how the original work of a half-century ago is being perpetuated.

Thus, does the past become merely the prologue.”

Reverend Msgr. Frederick O. Beck, State Chaplain



Ninth State Chaplain, 1960 - 1976
Reverend Msgr. Julius A. Petru
Victoria Diocese


“The Catholic Daughters are always the right arm of the Church and you should continue your Unity and Charity.”

Reverend Msgr. Julius A. Petru



Tenth State Chaplain, 1976 - 1984
Most Reverend A. Thomas Tschoepe
Bishop, Dallas Diocese


“Gratitude is the secret of CDA working together for the love of God and country while assisting the needy, handicapped, and underprivileged throughout the world.”

Most Reverend A. Thomas Tschoepe



Eleventh State Chaplain, 1984 - 1990
Most Reverend Bernard J. Ganter
Bishop, Beaumont


“These are important times as you discuss your plans and programs for the future, as the Church needs your presence and leadership.”

Most Reverend Bernard J. Ganter



Twelfth State Chaplain, 1990 - 1994
Most Reverend Michael D. Pfeifer
Bishop, San Angelo Diocese


"You are one in the Lord, one united in service, and a powerful witness to His Church.”

Most Reverend Michael D. Pfeifer



Thirteenth State Chaplain, 1994 - 1998
Most Reverend James A. Tamayo
Bishop, Laredo Diocese


“We are people called to live in the light of Christ. What a wonderful blessing to know as Catholics, that whenever we embark on a new project or experience in life, we can be confident that we are led by the Spirit of God.

You are setting forth on a new road, a journey led by God. Each of you have the opportunity to bring Christ’s light into your corner of the world. Your words and deeds light the way for others to follow as you faithfully follow Jesus Christ. We walk together following His lead, united in respect, charity and service to the church and the community. Be assured of my prayers for each member in every court throughout our state.”

Most Reverend James A. Tamayo



Fourteenth State Chaplain, 1998 - 2000
Most Reverend David Eugene Fellhauer
Bishop, Victoria Diocese


“As Catholic Daughters, you are recognized as women who have achieved a certain maturity of faith; who have personally experienced, the kind of relationship with Jesus to which we are all called, persons of prayer, and engage in loving service to one another and community. Thank you for participating in such a visible and vital way in the mission of our Church.”

Most Reverend David Eugene Fellhauer



Fifteenth State Chaplain, 2000 - 2002
Most Reverend James A. Tamayo
Bishop, Laredo Diocese


“It has been my esteemed pleasure to serve the Texas membership in three terms working with State Regents Eunice Perusic, 1994-1996; Amy Rueda, 1996-1998; and Duchess Collins, 2000-2002. Over this six year period, I experienced the many ways Catholic Daughters have been a positive and valued ministry to the Church.

I appreciate and applaud the selfless service you have given for so many years. The faithful hard work of volunteers who demonstrate the love and light of Christ within hundreds of service projects is both inspiring and encouraging.”

Most Reverend James A. Tamayo



Sixteenth State Chaplain, 2002 - 2005
Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond
Bishop, Austin Diocese


“Your commitment to Christ and our Church enables us to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God as we bring His peace and mission to others. It is truly a gift and a testimony that together in faith, we can live as Jesus has asked.”

Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond



Seventeenth State Chaplain, 2005 - 2007
Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa
Bishop, El Paso Diocese


“Concentrate on the word “Catholic” for it reminds us that ours is a universal, world-wide Church embracing everyone. May your journey in the Catholic Daughters be a time of grace for you, your loved ones, and those you serve.”

Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa



Eighteenth State Chaplain, 2007 - 2015
Reverend Donald R. Ruppert
Victoria Diocese


“As Catholic Daughters, we mold our lives into the image of Christ by living the virtues of His mother Mary. Her great faith and trust in God is what we should strive most to imitate. Mary’s patience and compassion are two qualities much needed in our world today.”

Reverend Donald Ruppert



Nineteenth State Chaplain, 2015 - 2017
Reverend Robert D. Dunn
Corpus Christi Diocese


“May the Lord renew in you a deep joy knowing that God is constantly showing himself to us through the people and circumstances of our lives. We are encouraged to open our minds and hearts to receive a renewed outcome of His unconditional and eternal love in the here and now, of the ultimate dignity of all human beings, with greater strength, and refreshed joy through the great gift of God himself.”

Reverend Robert D. Dunn



Texas State Clergy Consultant

1998 - 2007
Reverend Donald Ruppert
East Bernard, Victoria Diocese




National Clergy Consultant
from Texas

2008 - 2010
Reverend Donald Ruppert
East Bernard, Victoria Diocese




Texas State JCDA Chaplains

1948 - 1954
Retired Reverend Msgr. Daniel P. O’Connell
Galveston-Houston Diocese


1954 - 1958
Reverend Jerome J. Stryk
San Antonio Diocese


1958 - 1983
Reverend John A. Brennan
Wichita Falls




1983 - 2017
Reverend Msgr. John Carl Peters
Victoria Diocese




National Chaplains
from Texas

1983 - 1990
Most Reverend Charles Victor Grahmann
Bishop, Victoria Diocese


“The Catholic Daughters are a powerful force for good in the Catholic Church. I congratulate you and thank you for your role in the life of the Church in Texas.”

Most Reverend Charles Victor Grahmann



2008 - 2010
Most Reverend David E. Fellhauer
Bishop, Victoria Diocese


“My chaplain seat has given me the opportunity to express my admiration to you. There is work to do, time for prayer and liturgy, and an opportunity to renew enthusiasm as one who is in the company of so many dedicated Catholic Daughters.”

Most Reverend David Eugene Fellhauer