Speculation was rampant following the January 18 appointment of W. Michael Mulvey as the new bishop of Corpus Christi that the vacant Diocese of Austin -- where Mulvey had been serving as administrator -- would also get a new bishop soon.
Looks like that thinking was correct. This morning, Pope Benedict appointed Galveston-Houston Auxiliary Bishop Joe Vasquez the new bishop of Austin.
This shrinks the number of U.S. dioceses without a bishop-ordinary in charge to five:
Ogdensburg, New York -- since April 2009
Springfield, Illinois -- since June 2009
Scranton, Pennsylvania -- since August 2009
La Crosse, Wisconsin -- since November 2009
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania -- also since November 2009
And only four U.S. dioceses have a bishop-ordinary serving past the retirement age of 75: Lafayette in Indiana, Seattle, Spokane and Oklahoma City. (Hat tip, David Cheney)
Once again, these relatively small numbers mean the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, who oversee bishops' appointments, are close to being caught up for now on U.S. appointments. No sitting bishop-ordinaries turn 75 until April, and while it's always possible that new vacancies will be created as other bishops are reappointed and moved from diocese to diocese, it's still exciting to see them make this kind of headway, especially when so many U.S. dioceses are blessed with talented new bishops as a result.