Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As your shepherd, I want to personally embrace a Novena of prayer, fasting, almsgiving and mortification in reparation for the sins of shepherds against the flock, Christ's bride the Church.
This special week of prayer will begin on Saturday, September 29, the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the Archangels, and will conclude on Sunday, October 7, the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time and the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of Victory.
During this time, I will be praying for my own personal growth in holiness and for the holiness of all in the Church. I will offer prayer and penance in reparation for the sins of commission and omission committed by bishops, including my own failings.
I am not asking you to enter into this prayer of penance and reparation,that is my responsibility as your shepherd. I do ask you to consider making this a special time to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints for the Church, with the special intention of praying for the priests of the Diocese of Tyler who will be gathering for our annual convocation in a few weeks. Our special prayer during this time is simply this:
St. Michael the Archangel, our defender in battle, by the power of God rally the bishops and priests to protect Christ's flock and combat evil with the Truth and Love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, as you helped strengthen the Apostles before Pentecost, pray that their successors be filled with courage and joy as true witnesses of your Son and pastors to his people. Amen.
Please be assured of my deep gratitude for your ongoing prayers for me, and the local and universal Church. I'm confident that you will continue to be people of deep faith and prayer.
Invoking God's blessing on you through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Archangels, I am
Sincerely in Christ's Name,
Most Rev. Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler