My Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Tyler,

This week, I will gather with my fellow Bishops from across the United States for our Spring General Assembly. As part of this meeting, the Bishops will offer a Mass of Prayer and Penance for survivors of sexual abuse within the Church. The Mass is being held in response to a call from Pope Francis for all episcopal conferences across the world to have a Day of Prayer and Penance for victims of sexual abuse within the Church. The Mass will be held June 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

In this month of the Sacred Heart, we remember that abuse of minors is not only a crime, it is a grave sin that deeply wounds the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I ask you to join the Bishops in prayer and penance for the many people who have suffered from abuse within the Church. While all abuse is wrong, we must acknowledge that abuse within the Church family is an evil that we must recognize and strive to prevent from happening in the future.

I also ask that each parish and mission make part of their honoring of the Sacred Heart remembering the individuals and families in our country and around the world scarred by clerical sexual abuse of minors. I also request that parishioners be asked to include this intention in their personal prayers on this Feast.

I would like to thank all those that have made the Diocese of Tyler a much safer place for minors and indeed for all people. Our efforts since 2002 have been fruitful, and we must continue these efforts to foster an even safer environment in the Church and in our society.

Our Ethics and Integrity program remains an essential effort in the mission of protecting the sacred dignity of every human person. Please remember that the Church remains committed to helping in a special way all those abused by clergy or other Church personnel. Anyone who has been abused by clergy, religious or lay people ministering in the name of the Church is asked to please contact the Promoter of Justice, or 903.266.2159.

Finally, I realize that many people who have been abused did not suffer the abuse from Church personnel. On Saturday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul in Tyler,  I will be offering a special Mass for all victims of abuse.

Yours in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Most Rev. Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler