Most Rev. Rene H. Gracida

Auxiliary Bishop of Miami, Florida (1971-1975); Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida (1975-1983); Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas (1983-1997)

René Henry Gracida (born June 9, 1923) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church who served as bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas from 1983 to 1997. He previously served as bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida (1975–1983) and as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami in Florida (1971–1975).

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 9, 1923, Gracida was the second child of Enrique J. Gracida Carrizosa, a Mexican architect and engineer, and Mathilde Derbes, a fifth-generation French-American Cajun. His great uncle was a vicar general of a diocese in Mexico. As a teenager, René Gracida was fascinated with the Jesuit martyrs portrayed in the novel The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.

During World War II, Gracida flew 32 missions in the US Army Air Corps first as a tail-gunner, then as a flight engineer, in the 303rd Air Expeditionary Group. After the war, he entered the University of Houston, where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree. After graduation, Gracida worked as an architect for several years.

In 1951, Gracida entered the Order of Saint Benedict and became a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Required to chose a religious name, Gracida selected René Goupil, a French Jesuit lay missionary. Gracida professed simple vows in 1953 and solemn vows in 1956. He was ordained a deacon in 1958. During this period, Gracida attended Saint Vincent College and Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe. At Saint Vincent Seminary, he earned a Master of Divinity degree.

Gracida was ordained into the priesthood for the Order of Saint Benedict on May 23, 1959. In 1961, after a dispute over plans for a new residence for the Order, Gracida was incardinated from the Benedictine Order to the Archdiocese of Miami.

On December 6, 1971, Gracida was appointed by Pope Paul VI as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami and titular bishop of Masuccaba. Gracida was consecrated on January 25, 1972 by Cardinal John Dearden, with Archbishop Coleman Carroll and Bishop Paul Tanner serving as co-consecrators.

Pope Paul VI appointed Gracida as the first bishop of the new Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee on October 1, 1975; he was installed on November 6, 1975. In 1978, he was granted a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from St. Leo College in St. Leo, Florida.

On May 19, 1983 Pope John Paul II appointed Gracida as the bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. He was installed on July 11, 1983.

When Gracida reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 for bishops, he submitted his letter of resignation to Pope John Paul II. The pope accepted Gracida’s resignation on April 1, 1997.