Bishop William Russell Houck

Bishop Houck
Bishop William Russell Houck

1984-2003
Born: June 26, 1926
Ordained a Priest for Mobile: May 19, 1951
Ordained a Bishop: May 27, 1979
Installed: June 6, 1984
Retired: Jan. 3, 2003
Died: March 9, 2016
Episcopal Motto: Proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord

Houck shield002Bishop Houck’s tenure included increased focus on lay ministry and lay leadership. He served as chair of the US bishop’s Committee on Evangelization and was instrumental in the publication of Go and Make Disciples: A National Strategy for Catholic Evangelization. Bishop Houck’s administration also featured interfaith and ecumenical initiatives, including Whispering Pines Hospice for AIDS patients.

In 1987, the Diocese celebrated its sesquicentennial. The following year, St. Mary in Natchez was named a basilica by now Saint John Paul II.

In 2001, Bishop Houck celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Prior to his retirement in 2003, he was appointed President of Catholic Extension in 2001 and served in that capacity for over five years.