The partnership was announced at a press conference Jan. 7 at Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler.
“We pride ourselves on our commitment to bringing the best patient care and services to East Texas. This has been an integral part of our mission as a faith-based health provider for more than 75 years, and we will continue to realize that vision for East Texas for years to come,” said Lindsey Bradley, President and Chief Executive Officer of TMFHC.
“An alliance with CHRISTUS Health will allow us to build upon the foundation set forth by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth many years ago with a partner that shares our faith-based values and dedication to quality care. We will not only continue to serve the people of East Texas diligently, but grow to expand access to the highest quality healthcare as East Texans have come to expect,” continued Bradley.
Trinity Mother Frances was “founded in the Catholic mission of healthcare in East Texas,” Bradley said. “We’ve been proudly doing that from the very beginning, and we decided that we would be better able to serve an ever broader area of East Texas by seeking out a partner. In the last nine months we’ve been engaged in an organized process to seek out a partner that shares the same culture, the same vision, and that has a reason to want to expand and grow Catholic healthcare in East Texas.”
Bradley said that included “not serving only those who have insurance, but serving the disadvantaged and those who have limited access to healthcare.”
That partner, he said, is CHRISTUS Health, which is “Texas based. They’ve been here in Texas for 150 years. They know Texas.”
CHRISTUS also knows East Texas. The system operates facilities in Texarkana and Atlanta, including the 312-bed CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana, the 50-bed CHRISTUS St. Michael Rehabilitation Hospital in Texarkana, and the 64-bed CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital in Atlanta.
The CHRISTUS system is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and San Antonio. The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth will become the third sponsoring religious congregation of the CHRISTUS system, expanding their healthcare ministry to the areas served by the system.
“We see this as a great opportunity to expand the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” Bradley said.
He stressed that the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth will remain a visible presence at the hospital.
“Our sisters are the embodiment of who we are,” Bradley said. “I hope we get more sisters. But the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth are here, they’ve been here, and they will be here.”
He also said the name so many in East Texas have grown to know and trust will not change.
“Mother Frances Hospital is named for the foundress of our sponsoring congregation,” he said, referring to Blessed Frances Siedliska. “That is a treasured name and it will not change.”
“We are a world-class healthcare organization. And, we are committed to maintaining that standard here, in East Texas. This announcement today is the beginning of the path that will solidify world-class healthcare in East Texas for decades to come,” said Ray Thompson, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics. “We are proactively defining our future, and this is a day of celebration for our two health systems and for the people of East Texas.”
“We are an integrated healthcare system, and a significant portion of that model of care is our trust in physician leadership,” said Steven P. Keuer, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics and President, Trinity Clinic. “We approach actions with the mindset of ‘How will this affect the patient?’ Our goal is to keep the care of our patients as our priority. This combination reflects those values, and it is important for everyone to know that the physicians of this organization were deeply involved in this process from the beginning.”
“Our process of evaluation has given us the opportunity to get to know the people of CHRISTUS Health and their organization on a personal level and to find common ground,” said Scott Smith, Senior Vice President and Institute Chief, Primary Care, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics. “It gives us a sense of comfort, of hope and of pure joy to be making the right decision for us and for East Texas.”
Smith said TMFHC officials “came up with a list of at least 20 ‘must haves’” during the process of searching for a partner. Among those were “maintaining our Catholic-based heritage and our faith-based healing ministry through healthcare.”
CHRISTUS, he said, “met all of them. We felt there was a very strong blend of cultures. Not only are they dedicated to patient-centered care and improving care, they are also dedicated to doing it through the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. So we could not be more pleased with this partnership.”
“When TMFHC joins with CHRISTUS Health system, it will create a combined platform that we believe will provide significant growth opportunities and healthcare options,” said Ernie Sadau, Chief Executive Officer for CHRISTUS Health. “Together we will forge a stronger Catholic healthcare system East Texans will depend on for years to come. We believe that growing our network of facilities in East Texas will give the CHRISTUS-Trinity Mother Frances system more opportunities to expand access to care in the region, as well as continue to improve the quality of care we provide. It will also offer us more opportunities to pursue new models of health care delivery that depend on a strong geographic presence, ensuring that the residents of Tyler and across East Texas continue to have access to high quality healthcare and the latest ways of accessing the care they need.
“On behalf of our sponsoring congregations, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio, our entire board and our 35,000 associates, I’m proud to say that this is truly a milestone event for CHRISTUS Health, but also for Catholic healthcare in East Texas,” Sadau said. “Our missions align – to expand the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Our values align, our cultures align, the charisms of our sponsoring congregations, which are the foundations of who we are and how we deliver healthcare, align. That will allow us to expand healthcare in East Texas so that more and more people can be embraced by God’s healing love. That’s who we are.”
When due diligence is complete and the deal is final, TMFHC will become part of the CHRISTUS Health system. At that time, subject to formal approval by the CHRISTUS Health Board of Directors, four TMF representatives will join the CHRISTUS Health Board, including Lindsey Bradley and Ray Thompson, one representative from the Trinity Clinic, and one sister from the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics include the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital; Mother Frances Hospital Tyler, Jacksonville and Winnsboro; Trinity Mother Frances Rehabilitation Hospital, affiliated with HEALTHSOUTH; Tyler ContinueCARE Hospital, a long-term acute care facility; and Trinity Clinic. Trinity Clinic is the area’s preferred multi-specialty medical group, with more than 330 Physicians and Advanced Practice Providers representing 36 specialties in 31 locations serving East Texas.
CHRISTUS Health is headquartered in Dallas and is comprised of almost 350 services and facilities, including more than 50 hospitals and long-term care facilities, 175 clinics and outpatient centers and dozens of other health ministries and ventures. CHRISTUS services can be found in over 60 cities in Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, Georgia, Mexico, and Chile. The system employs approximately 30,000 Associates and has over 13,500 physicians on facility medical staffs. CHRISTUS Health is listed among the 10 largest Catholic health systems in the U.S.
Mother Frances Hospital has served East Texas for almost 80 years. It was founded in 1937, when Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth came from Chicago to Tyler to open the first modern hospital in the region. The 60-bed municipal facility was scheduled to open on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph. But on March 18, the New London Consolidated School was rocked by a natural gas explosion, and the hospital opened its doors and beds a day early to the wounded streaming in from New London.
In a simple dedication ceremony the next day, Bishop Joseph P. Lynch of Dallas said the hospital had been consecrated by the sufferings of more than 100 explosion victims, and by the compassionate care given them by the sisters and hospital staff. The hospital and the nuns thus became forever entwined in the history of East Texas.
In the decades since, the hospital has expanded and become recognized for excellence in cardiac care, maternity care, Level II trauma, pediatrics, orthopedics and cancer. In 1995, the Mother Frances Regional Health Care Center merged with the Trinity Clinic physician group to form Trinity-Mother Frances Health System. Today, Mother Frances has more than 350 beds and is staffed by 340 physicians.
The CHRISTUS Health System, sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and San Antonio, is comprised of almost 350 services and facilities, including more than 60 hospitals and long-term care facilities, 175 clinics and outpatient centers, and dozens of other health ministries and ventures.
The system employs approximately 30,000 Associates and has more than 9,000 physicians on the medical staffs of its facilities in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Chile and Mexico.s
Laura J. Williams has been named Director of Finance for the Diocese of Tyler, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has announced.
Williams, a native of Houston, brings over 15 years of administrative and financial management experience to the Diocese. She currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Diocese of Beaumont, a position she has held since March of 2008.
“We are very fortunate to be able to bring someone of Laura’s talent and experience to the Diocese of Tyler, said Bishop Strickland. “I am confident that Laura’s leadership in financial matters will be of great benefit to the mission of the Church in East Texas.
Prior to being named CFO of the Beaumont diocese, Williams served as accounting manager, then controller of the southeast Texas diocese which contains 56 parishes and schools. She has also worked in the private sector as an accountant.
“I feel blessed to be able to continue my fiscal ministry in the Diocese of Tyler and I look forward to working with Bishop Strickland, the pastors, bookkeepers, and Chancery departments to ensure the mission of the Diocese endures for many generations, said Williams.
Williams is a graduate of Lamar University. She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant certification.
In the Diocese of Tyler, Williams will be responsible for the overall financial management of the Diocese’s 81 institutions (parishes, missions and schools), including budgeting, financial reporting, investments, analysis and internal controls.
The Code of Canon Law, the system of laws and principles which governs the Church, calls on each diocesan bishop to appoint a finance officer who is “truly expert in financial affairs and absolutely distinguished for honesty.
Williams and her husband Michael live in Frankston. She will begin her new position in Tyler on January 4.
Bishop Strickland added, “Personally and on behalf of the Diocese, I also wish to offer a heartfelt word of thanks to Doug Cordell who has served as our interim finance coordinator over these past few months. The entire Diocese benefited from Doug’s sound management of our goods during a period of transition, and for this he has our sincere gratitude.
Parishes in the Diocese of Tyler have scheduled Advent and Christmas events and liturgies. To see what your parish has scheduled, see your bulletin or the Catholic East Texas roundup of events here.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland’s pastoral reflection on mercy is available on the diocesan website. The reflection is addressed to the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Tyler and offers Bishop Strickland’s thoughts on the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, which will run until November. The reflection is presented in English and Spanish. Read the reflection here.
The Texas Catholic bishops have issued a Statement on Syrian Refugees and Security. The statement can be read on the diocesan website here.
A training day for all interested in participating in the Texas Catholic Conference’s Advocacy Day will be held Feb. 28, 9 a.m.-noon, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler. Father Nolan Lowry, pastor of St. Edward Church in Athens, and Jeff Patterson of the TCC will present the session. The TCC Advocacy Day is a bi-annual rally at the Texas State Capitol hosted by the Texas bishops to promote the Church’s values of life, justice, charity, and religious freedom to members of the 84th Texas Legislature. The bishops and participants will address a broad range of diverse issues including abortion facilities regulation, advance directives reform, school choice tax credit scholarships, payday lending and Medicaid expansion. This year’s Advocacy Day is March 24 and will begin with the Texas bishops and participants joining together in a rally at 11:30 a.m. on the south steps of the Capitol. A barbecue lunch will be served on the lawn.
The Daughters of Divine Hope will offer an 11:30 a.m. Mass Dec. 14 for clergy celebrating birthdays and ordination anniversaries in those months, and for deceased clergy. The Mass will be celebrated in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and lunch will follow in the Cathedral Center. Other Masses will be celebrated Jan. 14, Feb. 8, March 14, April 11, May 9 and June 13.
Families Anonymous, a support group for those affected by a loved one’s addiction, alcoholism or other destructive behaviors, meets the second Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the parish hall at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Frankston. The group is the only FA chapter in East Texas, and is open to anyone who has known the despair of a loved one’s addiction. Meetings follow the 12-step model, and the anonymity of members is paramount. For information, contact Rick at 817-994-8248 or Kathy at 817-319-9843.
Catholic counseling services are now available in the Diocese of Tyler. Simone Key, MA, LPC-I, is on staff at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to provide faith-based family, marriage, individual and group counseling. Initial phone consultations are free, and services are provided on a sliding fee scale. For information, call 214-640-0651.
Catholic East Texas, the diocesan magazine, is online! Share the link to our full-color publication with family and friends. The magazine is an evangelical publication designed to implement Bishop Strickland’s vision for sharing the beauty of Catholic teaching, history, culture, spirituality and liturgy in a way that makes our ancient faith attractive to both Catholics and non-Catholics in Northeast Texas. Every article, column and review in the magazine is written by the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Tyler. Access the magazine online here.
St. Edward Church. We need donations for a 4-year-old girl who needs warm clothes. Long sleeve shirts and pants, size 4T; shoes, size 9; coat, size small. Please drop oﬀ donations to the church office.
Necesitamos donaciones para una pequeña niña. Madre soltera con una niña de 4 años que necesita ropa calientita. Blusas de manga larga & pantalones, 4T; zapatos, 9; abrigo, sm. Favor de traer su donación a la oficina de la iglesia.
Due to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration on Dec. 12, the 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Masses on that Saturday will be cancelled. Please join us in honoring Our Lady. Bishop Strickland will be officiating a bilingual Mass at 3:30 p.m. at the Cain Center.
Debido a la celebración de nuestra Señora de Guadalupe el Sábado, 12 de Dic., las misas de ese Sábado de 4:30 p.m. y 6:00 p.m. serán canceladas. Acompáñenos para honrar a nuestra Madre. El Obispo Strickland o ciara una misa bilingüe en el Cain Center a las 3:30 p.m.
The parish Advent penance service will be Dec. 15, 6-8 p.m.
Father Lowry’s formation class, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ, is given every Thursday in English from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the parish hall. Everyone is invited.
La clase de formación de fe del P. Lowry, “El Evangelio de Jesucristo, es cada Miércoles en español de 6:30 p.m. a 7:30 p.m. en el salon parroquial. Todos están invitados.
Youth Night will be Dec. 15, with Mass at 6 p.m., posada at 7 p.m. and pastorela at 8 p.m.
Bible study is every Thursday at 2 p.m. in the parish hall.
With the holidays nearing, please remember those in our community who are in need and give generously to the food pantry. Place your non-perishable goods in the basket in the church hall.
The Athens Community Service of Thanksgiving will be Nov. 18 at 12:15 p.m.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church. The celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will begin at 8 a.m. with the singing of las mañanitas, followed by a bilingual Mass at 9 a.m., snacks and traditional dances at 10 a.m., the rosary at 6:30 p.m. and convivium at 7 p.m.
St. Leo the Great Church. We need volunteers each Sunday to bring donuts or other treats to welcome visitors and encourage hospitality after Mass each Sunday. See Anita for details.
For devoted service – Knights of Columbus from the Diocese of Tyler presented Father Denzil Vithanage, chaplain of St. Mary Catholic Campus Ministry at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, and the university’s KC Council 10790 with a reproduction of an image of the Immaculate Conception from a stained glass window in Notre Dame de Quebec in Quebec City. The order presented the icon to Father Denzil and Council 10790 “as a token of Father Denzil’s dedication to the Knights of Columbus and in recognition of “the great work (Council 10790) has been doing over the past five years, according to Bill Elliott, Master of the Knights’ Third Texas District. Photo courtesy of Father Denzil Vithanage, St. Mary Catholic Campus Ministry
St. Charles Borromeo Church. The parish Advent penance service will be Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Bilingual priests will be present for confessions in English and Spanish.
All are invited to join in singing Christmas carols at the Frankston Nursing Home Dec. 19 at 10:30 a.m. The Ladies of St. Charles will host their annual Christmas party for the residents at the same time. Come help bring a little Christmas cheer to the residents.
It is time to purchase poinsettias to be placed in the Church Sanctuary during the Christmas season. Order forms are available in the vestibule. Make checks payable to LOSC. The deadline for placing orders is Dec. 23.
The parish is launching a Liturgy Study Group on the Year of Mercy. We will use a bible reading and an excerpt from homilies by Pope Francis as the focus of our discussion to enhance our awareness of the Year of Mercy. Day/time and frequency will be determined by the group. If you are interested, please contact Gail Eubank at 903-876-7319 or Sandy Nichols at 903-876-2936.
Immaculate Conception Church. The parish will hold its Christmas Fish Fry Dinner Jan. 7, 5-6:30 p.m., followed by a “Where We Are as a Parish meeting for all parishioners at 7 p.m.
Holy Family Church. The Knights Of Columbus Christmas Party is Dec.13 at the Holy Family Life Center. Social 5:30-6 p.m., dinner 6:30-7 p.m., dance 7-9 p.m. “Mr C will provide the music. Please bring an appetizer to share. BYOB, sodas will be provided. Please bring an unwrapped toy for the Toys For Tots. Invite your friends to come and enjoy a nice evening. Tickets are $30. For tickets and information, call Patrick Quenneville at 903-521-8333.
Posada will be Dec. Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. at the annex.
Christmas caroling at the Lindale Nursing Home Dec. 19 at 4 p.m.
The Friendship, Faith & Fun Middle School Retreat will be Feb. 20-21, 2016. All 6-8th-graders & youth workers are invited. The retreat will be at The Pines Catholic Camp near Big Sandy, TX.
St. Mary Church. John Michael Talbot will lead a retreat Feb. 8-9, beginning at 7 p.m. each evening, in the church. Talbot is a Catholic singer-songwriter, guitarist, author, television presenter and founder of a monastic community known as the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. There is no cost for admission, though offerings to support his ministry are welcome. The church is at 2108 Ridgewood in Longview. For information, contact the church at 903-757-5855.
St. Matthew Church. The Altar Society Christmas Party will be Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. Please bring a $10 gift for a ‘Chinese’ gift exchange.
On Friday, December 18th, we will start decorating for Christmas at 10:00 am. As many hands as possible will be greatly appreciated to help unload and unwrap poinsettias.
We will honor and celebrate Christmas with all of our seniors (65+) Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Please bring your friends of any faith. Dinner will be provided. Come hungry.
Knights of Columbus Food Baskets set up will be Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. at St. Mary’s Parish Center. Boxing and delivery will be Dec.19 at 9:30 a.m. If you would like to make a monetary donation, or for more info, please contact John Hanisee. 903-297-4693.
Do you want your children to be in the Christmas play to sing and dance? They will love it! We will stage this play Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. and celebrate Christmas with all our children in the faith Formation program. Please contact Freeda at the faith formation office as early as possible.
All are invited to learn more about how we can serve the poor in our area on Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. in the Library (Faith Formation Center.) Holly Fuller of Longview Partners in Prevention and Lyndell McAllister of Bridges Out of Poverty will speak on service and the heart of volunteering. All who are interested in serving with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are encouraged to attend.
The Dominican Laity of Lufkin invites parishioners from both parishes to join them in praying the Liturgy of the Hours (Vespers) each Wednesday and Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. in Saint Andrew’s Chapel. In so doing we honor God’s command to “pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:1).
St. Andrew Church. On Saturday, Dec. 12, the Youth Group will provide babysitting at the Education Building for children through 5th grade from 10a.m.-3 p.m. Parents are welcome to drop off kids and get a jump start on Christmas shopping or enjoy a quiet afternoon. A Christmas movie, food, crafts, games, and lots of fun will be planned for the kids. Please register your children at the church office. A $10 donation per child is requested. All donations will go towards the 2016 World Youth Day fund.
The St. Andrew Charity will provide Christmas assistance for parish families in need. If your family has a need, please visit the parish office and fill out a form. You will be contacted by a St. Andrew Charity member.
Come join us on Sunday mornings, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, for an adult education class on reading and interpreting the Sacred Scriptures. The two-week course will introduce you to a helpful approach to reading and understanding the message of the Bible and it will familiarize you with common pitfalls to avoid. The classes will be in the Parish Hall. Coffee and donuts will be served at 8:30 a.m., with the class beginning at 8:45 a.m. and concluding at 9:45 a.m. Bring your Bible and Catechism.
The parish Advent penance service will be Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Several priests will be available for confessions.
The altar server appreciation banquet for servers and their parents will be Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. in the parish hall.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. The parish Advent penance service is Dec. 13, 4-6 p.m.
How would you like to WIN a new 29″ mountain bike for either you or some lucky kid? The pastor won it at the city’s National Night Out, and now it could be yours. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. The drawing will be Dec. 20 at 2 p.m.
Monthly meetings of the Men’s Club are Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in the Seton Center. You never know what the men will come up with, but you can be sure that it will be fun. All men of the parish are cordially invited to join this rowdy group.
Bible study is held on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (Spanish).
For the least of these – Volunteers delivered packages of new winter coats, shoes and socks which the Mary Queen of Heaven Outreach donated to 26 needy children in the Malakoff Elementary School Dec. 4. This is the ninth year the Malakoff church has participated in this Outreach program. Volunteers participating were Sally Keenan, Pat Rummel, Kathy Martin and Sam Messina. Photo courtesy of Sam Messina, Mary Queen of Heaven Church
Mary Queen of Heaven Church. The church will hold an Irish Eyes of Texas Gala fundraiser Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at Athens Country Club. The evening will feature music by The Young Wolfe Tones, an Irish band, and a traditional Irish short rib dinner with dessert. Live and silent auctions will feature two round-trip American Airlines tickets to Rome, a four-night stay at a Hill Country Resort and a dinner for eight cooked by “Chef Father Morgan White. Sponsorships and group tables are available. For information, contact Steve Fowler at 214-704-5233, or see the parish website. All proceeds will benefit the church rebuilding fund.
St. Joseph Church. The Catholic Daughters of the Americas Christmas party is Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. in the parish hall. Bring a dish and a gift to exchange.
Everyone is invited to the Right to Life of East Texas annual Christmas banquet, Monday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. in the parish hall. Please bring a covered dish to share. For more information call Pamela Payne, 903-935- 5483.
The parish Secret Santa still has one child that needs sponsoring. Please call the church office if you would like to sponsor this child. #1A- Girl- Age 13, Shirt Jr. Large, Pants Jr. 3, Shoe 6 ½ women, Wants Jewelry, Needs Clothes. The community-wide Christmas dinner is Friday, Dec. 25, at St. Joseph. We will be delivering meals to shut-ins. Last year’s cost was $2,150.00. Thanks to everyone’s generosity the full cost of the meal was covered by donations. Any monetary contributions to help defray the cost of this year’s meal will be greatly appreciated. Sign-up sheets for volunteers can be found on the Baptismal Font.
St. Peter the Apostle Church. Christmas pageant practice has begun and will continue through Advent. Practices are held in the parish hall on Sundays, 11:25-11:55 a.m. Encourage your children to join! We will need angels, shepherds, three Kings, Mary and Joseph.
St. Mary Chapel, Stephen F. Austin State University. St. Mary’s students will be partnering with Family Missions Company to take a mission trip to General Cepeda, Mexico, during spring break. See the website or one of the campus ministers for information.
For many years, there have been plans for a new Catholic student center and chapel. We are now moving forward with Phase I, the student center. A building committee is raising funds and planning to commence construction in June 2016! For more information, and to help, please visit the New Student Center website.
Sacred Heart Church. LifeTeen for youth in grades 9-12 is held Wednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m.
Sacred Heart Church. The parish Advent penance service will be Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Middle and high school youth are invited for caroling Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Do you desire to perform all the Corporal Works of Mercy, but find yourself unable to “visit prisoners ? Perhaps you would consider becoming one of the Prison Correspondence Ministry Team, now forming at the Cathedral. Through exchange of letters with incarcerated individuals in the Texas Prisons, you can truly “visit prisoners through your words of hope and joy and trust in the Mercy of God. This Correspondence Ministry is beginning with the assistance of Father Tom Edelen, TDCJ Prison Chaplain in Rusk, who will provide training information and opportunities to minister to prisoners in this way. There are strict guidelines for letter writing – a number of do’s and don’ts. All letters are sent to and from the church address, not your personal address. Please consider ministering in this way to those who no longer have freedom of body, but whose spirit can be freed from fear and filled with joy by your kindness, faith-sharing, and listening ear. To learn more about this ministry, please contact Father Tom or Adriana Gonzalez, the parish secretary at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Office (903) 592-1617.
TYLER – Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will open the Year of Mercy, which will run through November, with the opening of the Door of Mercy at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, at 6 p.m. Mass will follow in the Cathedral.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated Dec. 8, is a holy day of obligation. Churches in the Diocese of Tyler have scheduled Masses to celebrate the feast. Please see your church’s bulletin or website for details.
The chancery will be closed for this holy day.
Churches and parish organizations throughout the Diocese of Tyler have scheduled services and events for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Among them are:
Tyler, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Dec. 8 with Masses at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. (All Schools Mass), 12:05 p.m. at the Cathedral and Chapel, 6 p.m. at the Cathedral and 7 p.m. (Spanish) at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul. At the 6 p.m. Mass, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will open the cathedral’s Holy Door to begin the Year of Mercy and will celebrate Mass for the feast day. The Cathedral and Chapel choirs will present Advent Lessons and Carols Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated Dec. 11-12 with a procession at 7 p.m. followed by prayer until the singing of las mañanitas at 5 a.m. Bishop Strickland will celebrate Mass at 10:30 a.m., followed by food and a fiesta. Michael Cumble will present an Advent parish mission Dec. 14-16 in the Cathedral at 7 p.m. each evening. St. Gregory Cathedral School students will present a Christmas concert with the Cathedral strings and choir Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. in the Cathedral. An Advent penance service will be held Dec. 16, with multiple priests available for confession. Posadas will be Dec. 16-23, beginning at 7 p.m. each evening, with a procession around the Cathedral campus while praying the rosary.
Christmas Masses for the Cathedral are: Dec. 24, vigil Mass for the Nativity of Our Lord, 5 p.m., with Children’s Pageant; 7 p.m. (beginning with carols at 6:30 p.m.); 9 p.m. in Spanish; midnight (beginning with carols at 11:30 p.m.). Dec. 25, Mass for the Nativity of Our Lord, 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. in Spanish. Vigil for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. in Spanish. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, Jan. 1, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Spanish.
Christmas Masses for the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul: Dec. 24, 6 p.m., with Children’s Pageant; 9 p.m. Dec. 25, 9 a.m. Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Dec. 31 6 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, 9 a.m.
Athens, St. Edward Church. An Advent penance service will be held Dec. 15, 6-8 p.m. Christmas Eve Masses will be 6 p.m., 9 p.m. (Spanish) and midnight. A bilingual Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Christmas Day. The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be celebrated Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (Spanish). The Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Jan. 1 at 10:30 a.m.
Buffalo, St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church. Masses for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. (bilingual). The parish will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12 with las mañanitas at 8 a.m., a bilingual Mass at 9 a.m., and snacks and traditional danzas at 10 a.m.
Chireno, Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The parish Christmas party and auction will be Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. in the parish hall. The Christmas vigil Mass will be Dec. 24, with carols starting at 5:45 p.m. and Mass at 6:15 p.m. Christmas Day Mass will be celebrated at 8 a.m., with carols at 7:30 a.m. The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be Dec. 31 at 6:15 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be Jan. 1 at 8 a.m.
Emory, St. John the Evangelist Church. Masses for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Spanish). The parish will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12 with las mañanitas at 5:30 a.m., danzas at 1 p.m. and Mass at 2 p.m. An Advent penance service will be Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Students in faith formation classes will present The Nativity following the penance service. A Christmas novena will be prayed Dec. 16-24. The parish Christmas dinner will be Christmas Day at 2 p.m.
Frankston, St. Charles Borromeo Church. Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, will be Dec. 8 at 8 a.m. The Helping Hands Food Pantry will be open Dec. 10, 9-11:30 a.m., to distribute food and some clothing. An Advent penance service will be Dec. 16 at 6 p.m., with priests available for confessions in English and Spanish. Christmas Eve Mass will begin with a choir concert at 6:30 p.m. and Mass at 7 p.m. Christmas Day Mass will be at 9 a.m. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Jan. 1 at 9 a.m.
Hemphill, St. Pius I Church. Advent confessions are available Dec. 16, 5 p.m., for CCD students, and Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m. Christmas Eve Masses will be 5 p.m. and midnight. Christmas Day Mass is at 10:30 a.m. The vigil Mass for the Somenity of Mary the Mother of God will be Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be Jan. 1 at 10:30 a.m.
Jefferson, Immaculate Conception Church. Masses for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation and the parish feast day, will be celebrated at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. A potluck dinner in the parish hall will follow the 5:30 p.m. Mass. The church will be part of the Jefferson Candlelight Tours Dec. 10, 3-7 p.m., and Dec. 11, 5-9 p.m. The church and parish hall will be open. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated Dec. 12 with Mass at 10 a.m., followed by a Mexican brunch in the parish hall. The parish Advent penance service will be Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. The children’s Christmas program will be Dec. 20 at 10:30 a.m. in the social hall, followed by a potluck lunch. Christmas Eve Masses will be celebrated at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., with carols at 7:30 p.m. Christmas Day Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be celebrated Dec. 31 at 5:30 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Jan. 1 at 9 a.m., followed by benediction and adoration until 11 a.m. The parish Christmas fish fry will be Jan. 7, 5-6:30 p.m., followed by a parish-wide “Where We Are as a Parish” meeting at 7 p.m.
Lindale, Holy Family Church. Christmas Eve Masses are at 5 p.m. and midnight, with caroling at 11:15 p.m. Christmas Day Masses are at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (Spanish). The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (Spanish).
Longview, St. Mary Church. Mass will be celebrated for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, Dec. 8 at 7 a.m.; 8 a.m.; 12:05 p.m.; and 6:30 p.m. An Advent parish luncheon will be held Dec. 13 at 12:30 p.m. Bring unwrapped gifts to donate to the Adopt a Family program. The gifts and Knights of Columbus food boxes will be distributed to families in need Dec. 18 and 19. An Advent reconciliation service will be held Dec. 17, 6:30-8 p.m. Masses will be celebrated Christmas Eve at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and midnight. Mass will be celebrated Christmas Day at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Longview, St. Matthew Church. The VIP social and Christmas party is Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in the parish hall. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated all day Dec. 12, beginning with mariachis at 2 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. Posadas begin Dec. 16 after faith formation and run through Dec. 24. The Altar Society will decorate the church Dec. 18, beginning at 11 a.m. The children’s Christmas party is Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. in the St. John Paul II Center. Priests will be available for confessions by appointment Dec. 21-23. Christmas Eve Masses will be celebrated at 4 p.m. (children’s); 6 p.m. (youth); 8 p.m. (Spanish); midnight, with carols at 11:30 p.m. Christmas Day Masses will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (Spanish). Vigil Masses for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be celebrated Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Spanish), with benediction at 11:30 p.m. followed by Mass. The Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Jan. 1 with Masses at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish).
Madisonville, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, will be Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. The parish will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12 with a Spanish Mass and fiesta, beginning at 7:30 p.m. An Advent penance service will be Dec. 13, 4-6 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 p.m. Christmas Day Mass will be at 9:30 a.m. The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 1.
Marshall, St. Joseph Church. The celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will begin at 4 a.m. Dec. 12 with las mañanitas, followed by breakfast in the parish hall. Mass in Spanish will be at 7 p.m. The Catholic Daughters of the Americas Christmas party will be Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. The St. Joseph School Christmas program will be Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The Knights of Columbus Christmas party will be Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. in the KC Hall. Bring the kids to see Santa. Christmas Eve Mass times are 4:30 p.m., carols, followed by Mass at 5 p.m. Midnight Mass begins with carols at 11:30 p.m.. Christmas Day Masses are 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish). The parish will host the community-wide Christmas party Dec. 25, noon-2 p.m. The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish).
Moral, Immaculate Conception Church. Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, will be Dec. 8 at 6 p.m., followed by the parish Christmas party. The Christmas vigil Mass will be Dec. 24 at 4:15 p.m. Christmas Day Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be Dec. 31 at 4:15 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be Jan. 1 at 10:30 a.m.
San Augustine, St. Augustine Church. Confessions in Spanish will be Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated with Mass at 5 p.m. Dec. 12, followed by a procession to the rodeo arena. Confessions in English will be Dec. 18, 9-10 a.m. Christmas Eve Mass will be at 5 p.m. Christmas Day Masses will be at 8″30 a.m. and 10 a.m. (Spanish). The vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. (Spanish). Masses for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be Jan. 1 at 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Spanish).
Texarkana, Sacred Heart Church. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Dec. 8 with Mass at 12:05 p.m. and 6 p.m., with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, reconciliation and benediction at 8 p.m. The parish will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12 with las mañanitas at 5 a.m., followed by danzantes y desayuno, and a procession at 11:30 a.m., followed by Mass, a meal and matachine dancers. An Advent penance service will be Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m., with guest priests available for confessions. Carolers will go to the Whispering Pines Assisted Living Facility Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Middle and high school youth are invited to participate. Rehearsals for the children’s Nativity program will be Dec. 17 and 21 at 5:30 p.m. The children will present the program at 5 p.m. Mass Dec. 24. Midnight Mass will begin with sacred music at 11:30 p.m., and a reception will follow Mass in the parish center. Mass will be celebrated Christmas Day at 10:30 a.m., followed by a Christmas dinner at noon, and at 12:30 p.m. in Spanish. Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God will be celebrated Dec. 31 at 6 p.m., followed by a reception afterward. Bring your favorite hors d’oeuvre. Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a holy day of obligation, will be celebrated Jan. 1 with Mass at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in Spanish.
The Texas Catholic Bishops encourage all parties—including governmental leaders, political officials, and advocates—to avoid impulsive judgments in setting public policies regarding the placement of Syrian refugees. The horrors of modern terrorism are frightening, but they demand from us a strong renewal of our faith and our commitment to Christian teachings and the common good.
We firmly believe that it is possible to maintain security at home while also welcoming refugees. The Bible abounds with calls for us to demonstrate hospitality to those in need. In Romans 12:13, we are told that Christians should “extend hospitality to strangers.” Christ himself expressed praise and appreciation to those who expressed compassion, for “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:31-46).
Our Catholic refugee agencies will continue to resettle refugees in the United States in accordance with our existing agreements and federal law. All cases will be handled in the same manner in which they have been handled in the past, and in agreement with established guidelines, which include sharing information with state and local stakeholders.
At the same time, we remain open to working with government agencies to ensure strenuous measures that assure public safety and security to legitimate refugees needing assistance, but in a way that balances our concerns and commitments to mercy and compassion.
– Texas Catholic Conference