RELIGION: DiNardo’s appointment reflects the increasing number of Catholics in the state. By Nicole Winfield THE ASSOCIATED PRESS VATICAN CITY – Texas is getting its first Roman Catholic cardinal – a nod to the influx of faithful from Mexico and Central America. There are about 7 million Roman Catholics in Texas, about 1.3 million of whom live in the Galveston-Houston archdiocese.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo’s appointment was to some degree unexpected, but Vatican watchers say it shows Pope Benedict XVI clearly understands where the American church is growing – and who is behind the growth. “It says something about Texas and how wonderful Texas is in the terms of the growth of our Catholic faith,” DiNardo, leader of the Galveston-Houston archdiocese, told reporters in Houston on Wednesday. DiNardo was among 23 new cardinals appointed Wednesday by Benedict, who tapped Vatican officials, academics, diplomats and archbishops from five continents. Eighteen of the new cardinals are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave; five others, including the patriarch of Baghdad, were named in recognition of their service to the church. The appointments of DiNardo and another American bring the number of U.S. cardinals to 17 – second only to Italy – and increases the American contingent’s clout in any conclave to elect a future pontiff. Benedict said he would give them all their red hats at a Vatican ceremony Nov. 24.