He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Dallas on May 29, 1965.
On April 19, 1990, Bishop Fellhauer was named the second bishop for the Diocese of Victoria, at that time he was serving the Diocese of Dallas. He was ordained and installed as bishop on May 28, 1990, at Our Lady of Victory Cathedral.
On April 23, 2015, Pope Francis accepted his resignation.
Bishop Fellhauer's Coat of Arms
The coat of arms of the Diocese of Victoria (shield left) displays a blue field with a silver cross on which is blazoned a green lighthouse with a gold beacon. In chief, the upper division, on the bearer’s right is a gold crescent and on the bearer’s left, a red rose.
The gold crescent designates the geographic area of the Gulf Coast, sometimes called the Golden Crescent or the Crescent Valley, in which the Diocese of Victoria is located. The red rose honors Our Lady of Guadalupe, naming her special patroness of the diocese. In displaying these two charges together, the shield recalls the traditional image of Our Lady, in which she is seen standing on a crescent moon, hereby acknowledging her gentle dominion over the people of the crescent diocese.
The field is blue, the color of sky and water, to speak of peace and unity, qualities already attributed to the people, and herein established for the diocese. The cross points to the rich tradition of faith brought to the region by European settlers who landed at Indianola where the historic lighthouse still stands. The early Germans, Czechs, Polish, Irish and others joined the Mexican people in making faith and love of family life, attributes that abound even today.
Green, the color of hope, designates the lighthouse as a symbol of hope, while the golden beacon of light stands for Jesus, the Light of the World, calling the people to Himself and illuminating their paths through the darkness. Historically, the families of this diocese have produced numerous vocations to the religious and priestly life, including five bishops; the beacon represents this call to the service of Christ in the Church, through religious life and through family life as well. Just as the city of Victoria, the center of the diocese and the episcopal seat, has been called “The Crossroads,” so too the cross can be read as a convergence of paths on which the pilgrim people of God travel to meet Christ, their center.
The coat of arms of Bishop David Fellhauer (shield right) has a field of purple, a color derived in the combination of red and blue, two colors taken from the red shield of the Diocese of Dallas honoring the Sacred Heart, and the blue shield of the Diocese of Victoria honoring the Blessed Mother. In choosing purple, Bishop Fellhauer recalls his years of priestly service in the Diocese of Dallas and anticipates his episcopal service in the protection of Jesus and Mary. In a spiritual sense, the color connotes deep reflection, restraint in judgement, and wisdom in leadership.
In chief, the upper portion of the shield, is a silver label with three pendants taken from Bishop Fellhauer’s maternal family coat of arms denoting eldest son. He is the eldest of his siblings, as were both his father and mother. In base, the bottom part of the shield, the two charges are crossed, in saltire, as a sign of deliberation and balance. The shepherd’s crook stands for the name David, after the Old Testament shepherd King David, and indicates the bishop’s desire to be a just and caring pastor of the people.
Bishop Fellhauer displays the cross in order to proclaim Christ’s call to His followers to walk in His steps and to be disciples in the fullest sense of the term.
The motto, “To witness the charity of Christ,” is derived from Canon 383, #4 of the Church's Code of Canon Law in which the duties of a bishop are identified. In displaying this motto, Bishop Fellhauer embraces his own mission of witnessing to all the charity of Christ and calls on the people of the Diocese of Victoria to join him in that mission. Behind the shield is a gold sword with a hilt in the shape of a cross. Above the shield is the green hat with six tassels on each side denoting the rank of bishop.
Designed by Sr. Mary Peter Tremonte, OP
Heraldic notes by Sr. JoAnn Niehaus, OP