Bishop's Blog / A Note to the Flock

By Joseph Strickland
Friday, June 12, 2020

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A Note to the Flock

June 12, 2020

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

As the repercussions of Mr. George Floyd’s tragic and unjust death begin to subside I wanted to take a moment to reflect more deeply with you. My hope is that we can all ask ourselves how our Catholic faith, our life with Jesus Christ as our Lord, calls us to respond.

Our first response to any situation we encounter should be prayer. I know that as you read this many of you may groan inwardly and even may experience some anger. Just pray? Of course we don’t “just pray” but as believers we should always “first pray”. As men and women who know and love God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit this should be our immediate instinct when we encounter any major challenge in our lives. We should always take it to prayer.

Specifically as Catholics we should take the turmoil surrounding Mr. Floyd’s death to prayer before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and to His Blessed Mother by praying the rosary. If these practices are already part of your daily prayer life please simply make Mr. Floyd and your proper response to his unjust death your prayer intention. Pray your holy hour, offer your daily rosary, attend Mass or have a Mass prayed by your pastor for this intention.

Take action regarding the inspirations that come from your prayers to guard the sanctity of life and promote greater justice for all.

The second major response I would encourage with regard to this present turmoil is to learn from it. Our broken society tends to react emotionally and irresponsibly rather than in a measured and constructive manner. We are all swept up in this emotion in countless ways and we can all forget to respond as those who know that God is with us. Instead let us learn the lessons we should from the unjust taking of Mr. Floyd’s life.

There are multiple lessons that we have learned that can’t all be mentioned here but I mention a few for illustration. We learn once again that life is sacred and when it is taken unjustly that evil act has serious repercussions beyond the tragedy of the death of a child of God. We learn that the media often distorts these situations and causes more harm than good. We learn that leaders of Church and state get caught up in these moments and often speak and act in ways that create further injustice and assign blame irresponsibly. One of the major reasons we should make prayer our first response is that it pulls us away from heated emotion and guides us to God’s will.

Finally, we should all ask ourselves what our personal response should be to Mr. Floyd’s death. What should I do? This involves a good examination of conscience for each of us. The actions we may be inspired to take will likely be numerous and we must discern what will be most effective. Here we need to focus on how we need to change our lives in order to move our world away from these injustices. What should I change in my life?

The taking of the life of Mr. George Floyd before his natural death will not be the last injustice we encounter in this nation. Let us continue to pray for him, his family, and for all who have been harmed. Let us learn the lessons this tragic situation teaches us. Finally, let us change what needs to change in our lives. These basic steps will help us today and in the future to live more fully as disciples of Jesus, as Catholics, and as children of God.

God bless you,


Joseph Strickland

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland was named the fourth bishop of Tyler in September of 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to being named bishop, he served a number of roles in the diocese, including vicar general, judicial vicar, and pastor of the Cathedral parish. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1985.
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