Auxiliary Bishop George Arthur Sheltz introduced himself to us with the telling of the very interesting story of his life. His path to the priesthood began when he was a student at Annunciation school. When he was in the 8 th grade a man, who said he was from the Serra Club, came to test the altar servers responses to the prayers of the Mass. This was when everything was in Latin. Because his uncle, Monsignor Anton Frank, was the pastor at Annunciation church, the man from the Serra Club, after the testing, came with all sorts of papers to prove that George Sheltz had really won the honor of Altar Boy of the Year. He was excited and proud to win this award, and said that this honor was an extra seed planted in his life.
Bishop Sheltz attended St. Thomas High School, and with the encouragement of the Basilian fathers, he entered St. Mary's Seminary. He always wanted to be a priest, not a teacher, so he decided not to join the Basilian Congregation, preferring to serve in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. He was ordained a priest on May 15, 1971. Bishop Sheltz, as a priest served six parishes: Assumption Church; Sacred heart Co-Cathedral; St. Vincent de Paul Church; Christ the Redeemer Church; Prince of Peace Church; and St. Anthony of Padua Church. In 2007 he was named Secretariat Director for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services. On February 21, 2012, Pope Benedict named him auxiliary bishop of Galveston-Houston.
Bishhop Sheltz's father had been praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life all his life, so while in the seminary he suggested to his father that he consider becoming a deacon. This brought results and at one time George, his brother Anton, and father were all in St. Mary's Seminary at the same time. George was one year ahead of his father in his studies. It was a great privilege and joy to see his father as a deacon.
The diocese now has 1.3 million members, and if you count the non-committed members, the real number is 1.5 million. That amounts to one priest for every four or five thousand parishioners. Years ago it was one priest for every two thousand parishioners. This is why we need more vocations. Deacons help in many ways, but cannot perform all of the duties of a priest.
There are now one hundred seminarians in St. Mary's. However this is for thirteen dioceses. Fifty of these seminarians are for the Diocese of Galveston-Houston. We have to make this number one hundred. Bishop Sheltz asked us to pray for us to do the work the Lord has challenged us to do.