Bishop Joseph Strickland presented the annual Bishop Charles E. Herzig Humanitarian Award to Dr. Virgil Gonzalez of Tyler during Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler on Sunday, September 10th. This year, the Diocese of Tyler welcomed Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio, SJ, third bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, for the Bishop Herzig Award celebration.

Dr. Gonzalez, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, was recognized for his outstanding work in sharing the mercy and love of Christ in the medical community of East Texas for 60 years.

The award is named in honor of Bishop Charles Herzig who led the diocese from its creation in 1987 until his death in 1991. The award recognizes individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions within the Diocese of Tyler in seeking to promote human welfare. Those who receive the award demonstrate a great charitable love for the people of God and possess a life in the Church marked by actions that have enabled individuals or families to receive basic human care. 

Bishop Herzig died on Sept. 7, 1991, and the award is annually presented on the Sunday nearest this day. Herzig was ordained a priest in 1955 and served in the Diocese of San Antonio until being named Bishop of Tyler by Pope St. John Paul II.

Previous recipients of the award include:
2022 – Glee Emmite (Paris)
2021 – Catholic Charities – Diocese of Tyler
2020 – Medical Professionals of CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital
2019 – Feed My Lambs Soup Kitchen Volunteers and St. Veronica’s Compassionate Sewers
2018 – Maria Crossman (Tyler)
2017 – Tom Mittler (Longview) and St. Vincent de Paul Society (Tyler)
2016 – George Cronin (Tyler) and Louis Owen (+ Tyler).
2015 – Father Harold Paulsen (+ Palestine) and Dan and Kelly Jackman (Tyler)
2014 – Margie Bengie and Carolyn Richbourg (+ Tyler)
2013 – Casimira Chavez, Conradita Sanchez, and Joe Keenan (+ Malakoff)
2012 – Daisy Black
2011 – Zeno Bachmer
2010 – Connie Shipp
2009 – Ann Rice
2008 – Mary Germany
2007 – Shawn Pickett (Tyler)