WASHINGTON (November 17, 1998)--The Catholic Bishops of the United States today elected Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston as President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and United States Catholic Conference.
Bishop Fiorenza was elected from a slate of 10 bishops who had accepted the nomination. He was elected on the first ballot with 164 votes, well in excess of the simple majority needed for election. He is the first president of the Conference from a southern or southwestern diocese.
Bishop Fiorenza succeeds Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of Cleveland who will have completed a three-year terms as President at the conclusion of the conference's fall meeting.
The meeting is being held at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, Nov. 16-19
Joseph A. Fiorenza was born in Beaumont, Texas, January 25, 1931. His mother was the child of Italian immigrants; his father emigrated to this country from Sicily at the age of 10.
After studies at St. Mary Seminary, LaPorte, Texas, he was ordained May 29, 1954.
From 1954 to 1973, Bishop Fiorenza held several pastoral assignments in Houston, including administrator of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral and pastor of St. Augustine Church, St. Benedict Church and Assumption Church. He was also professor of medical ethics at Dominican College, Houston.
Bishop Fiorenza was serving as Chancellor of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston when he was named Bishop of San Angelo, September 4, 1979.
He was named Bishop of Galveston-Houston on December 18, 1984.
Bishop Fiorenza was elected Vice President of the NCCB/USCC in 1995 and is a member of the Conference's Administrative Board. He is former Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and has been a member of the Bishops' Committee for Vocations, Black Catholics, Science and Human Values.