Bishop's Blog / My Comments at the June Bishop's Meeting

By Joseph Strickland
Thursday, June 17, 2021

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As we approach Father’s Day and continue to emerge from the pandemic I want to emphasize that our flocks are bruised and traumatized on many fronts. The recent controversy about whether persisting in denial of basic Catholic teaching disqualifies a person from receiving Our Lord in Communion has devastated many faithful Catholics. I realize that discussion of this has been postponed but as spiritual fathers and shepherds I urge us to do all we can in each of our dioceses to emphasize the clear connection between repentance, confession of sins, firm purpose of amendment and worthy reception of Our Lord really present in consecrated bread and wine.

I speak in support of the drafting of a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.  I urge that this document must make the clear connection between the sacrament of Confession and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  We must all strive to repent of our sins and grow in virtue in order to rightly receive Our Lord.  I further urge that we work to develop a culture of Eucharistic Revival immediately, we can’t wait for a document. Refocusing on this greatest gift of our Catholic faith is essential to renewal of every aspect of the Church. We must focus on Our Lord who is truly present in every tabernacle and at every Holy Mass.

Jesus Christ suffered and died for us destroying the power of sin and death in our lives.  We must be willing to suffer as well, take up the cross of our sinfulness and make a firm purpose of amendment of our sinful ways before we approach the Eucharistic altar.  This is true for every person who receives Our Lord at Mass. Prominent persons can’t be held to a different standard. As serious as this is, ultimately these high profile individuals are only a few souls. The bigger issue is what we are teaching our children and the entire flock of the faithful.  Many are confused and missing any connection between repenting of sin and receiving Our Lord.  The Immaculate Virgin Mary is constantly urging us to repent of our sins and seek to live the Gospel more virtuously. In this year of Saint Joseph let us remind our flocks that Mary and Joseph were the first custodians of the Body of Christ. We must be spiritual fathers who echo this beautiful model of Our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph as they urge us to seek an ever deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. As Jesus says in the Gospel according to John “if you love me you will keep my commandments”.

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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