The Diocese of Amarillo is wide-open spaces in the northernmost section of the Texas Panhandle, squeezed between New Mexico and Oklahoma. Small towns dot this mostly barren land of scrub, brush and cactus. Oil and cattle ranching are major industries; big farms produce wheat and cotton; and trees grow sideways in the brutal wind. The local culture is one of simplicity bordering on poverty. In the more remote rural communities, many parishes have fewer than 100 families, and Catholics may travel 40 miles each way to attend Mass and receive the sacraments. The priests often face even a tougher challenge. Because ten of the 35 parishes and all 13 missions lack resident pastors, priests “circuit-ride” from one place to another each weekend to offer Mass for the people. Some mission churches are not churches at all, but storefronts equipped with an altar and a scattering of pews. Seventy-five percent of rural Catholics in the Diocese of Amarillo are Hispanic, about half of whom live at or below the poverty level.
The Diocese of Amarillo has:
- 41,692 Catholics (11 percent of total population)
- 47 parishes and missions (23 without resident pastor)
- 24 active priests
PO Box 5644 |
Amarillo, TX 79117-5644
t. 806.383.2243 |