Bishop's Blog / That's what calendars are for................

By Joseph Strickland
Wednesday, October 03, 2012

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I'm sure you aren't surprised that there is already a change in the calendar I posted.  I am blessed to be able to have mass at St. Mary's Catholic School in Longview next Tuesday, October 9, at 8:00 AM so I will not be able to have mass at the Gorman School Chapel that morning. 

This picture is of the beautiful crucifix that hangs in the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul.  I love this picture especially because it is unique.  Now the backdrop of this crucifix is not the sky but the image of the Risen Christ in stained glass.  The stained glass is beautiful but I'm glad we have this beautiful image of the crucifix with the sky as the backdrop also. 

Speaking of school masses, I really enjoyed celebrating my first mass with the Bishop Gorman School community as bishop elect this morning at 9:45 in the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul that you have read so much about.  The students seemed to enjoy it also since I baptized so many of them and now I am their bishop. 

Today Bishop Corrada left to return to Puerto Rico and I have to admit the reality "sunk a little deeper" that I will soon be the Ordinary and the canonical head of the Diocese of Tyler.  The Church has a tradition that every bishop is canonically attached to a specific diocese.  Auxiliary bishops are assigned what is called a titular see which is usually a surpressed diocese somewhere in the world.  I have to say when I first learned this I was a little taken aback, what do you mean a surpressed diocese.  I have come to learn that it is a beautiful example of the organic reality of the Catholic Church as she moves through history.  Capital cities, governments and even nations come and go; populations centers develop and then recede and the Catholic Church is there through it all.

The United States is such a young nation compared with other nations and the history of the Church. It is hard for us to relate to some of the realities that develop through the march of history.  I feel especially blessed that I have been named to a diocese that is not only very much alive but is poised for tremendous growth in the next twenty-five years.  Even in this country in the north east older diocese face the grim realities of having to close and reconfigure parishes.  Through it all the Church continues to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior. 

What a blessing to be working in a young diocese, in a young nation in the ancient Catholic Church that spans 2000 years of history.  Let us pray together that we may take advantage of these exciting times and joyfully build the Kingdom of God guided by His Word, His Love and His Abundant Grace. 

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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