Rev. Daniel Dower, STL, has been appointed Episcopal Vicar for Education for the Diocese of Tyler, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has announced.

As Vicar for Education, Father Dower will assist Bishop Strickland in promoting the Church’s commitment to high quality Catholic education and faith formation in the diocese, and provide overall coordination for those working in the field of education at all levels.

“Father Dower’s work will encompass all aspects of sharing the Catholic faith in the Diocese of Tyler,” said Bishop Strickland. “He will be working with the priests, deacons, and religious, as well as Catholic schools, faith formation, youth evangelization, and Christian initiation and adult formation in order to enhance our efforts to share the treasure of our Catholic Faith.”

Father Dower was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Worchester, Mass., in 1984 and came to the Diocese of Tyler in 2010. He holds a licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

“I am so very honored and excited to have to have been asked by Bishop Strickland to assist him as Vicar for Education,” said Father Dower. “After the celebration of the Sacraments, most especially the Eucharist, there is nothing we do as priests that is more important than proclaiming the Word of God and teaching our faith to both young and old alike. I look forward to the challenges ahead and helping to build upon the good work that has already begun across the Diocese of Tyler as we strive ever more faithfully to go forth and make disciples of all nations.”

As Vicar of Education, Father Dower will assist the bishop in his mandate as Teacher of the Catholic Faith by establishing a framework for fostering excellence in catechetical and academic education in the parishes and schools of the diocese.

“Father Dower’s efforts are inspired by the ‘Great Commission’ in the 28th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. I have asked that he begin with an initial assessment of where we are and where we need to go.  He will focus especially on developing ways for our Catholic schools and parish faith formation to collaborate more effectively,” Bishop Strickland said.

Father Dower will continue to serve as pastor of Christ the King Parish in Kilgore where he has been assigned since 2011.  He also serves on the Priests’ Pension Board and is Assistant Dean for the East Central Deanery.

The Diocese of Tyler is seeking applicants for the full-time position of Staff Accountant, Laura Williams, director of finance, has announced.

A bachelor’s  degree in accounting or related business area and three to five years of experience is required. Candidates must be familiar with processing and recording receipts and payables, and have experience with timekeeping, payroll preparation, payroll tax returns, and IRS requirements. Duties will include preparation of financial reports and statements and general ledger reconciliation. Applicants should also be familiar with internal controls and monitoring cash flow.

Excellent data entry and organizational skills are needed as well as the ability to deal with the public and be detailed oriented.  The successful candidate must be a self-starter, service oriented, and able to meet multiple deadlines.

For consideration, please send cover letter and resume along with confidential salary history and requirement to:

Staff Accountant Position
Attn: Diocese of Tyler
Human Resources Department
1015 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701

Using the occasion of the U.S. Bishop’s National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland announced that he is placing the Diocese of Tyler’s efforts to promote the sacredness of human life under the new title of “Sanctity of Life” and will be expanding the ministry to include a wider range of groups in the diocese.

Prior to the announcement, the diocesan Sanctity of Life Office had was called the Respect Life Office.

“I will be bringing together several apostolates that are already established to each be a piece in a mosaic more consciously witnessing to the sanctity of life.  This effort will include groups and ministries like Catholic Charities, our prison ministry, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Knights of Columbus, the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Gabriel Project, the permanent diaconate, and all of our pro-life efforts,” Bishop Strickland said.

At the first East Texas Sanctity of Life Banquet last October, Bishop Strickland reflected on the sacredness of human life in all stages and circumstances.  He brought attention to the many threats against the sacred dignity of the individual person’s life and conscience and called on the Church in East Texas must do more to witness the Gospel of Life.

In changing the name of the diocesan efforts from “Respect Life” to “Sanctity of Life,” Bishop Strickland hopes to promote closer collaboration between those involved in Church apostolates that specifically encourage the goodness and inviolability of every human life.

In reflecting on the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Bishop Strickland called on the people of the diocese to observe the day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting and giving alms.

“As we commemorate the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe vs. Wade decision, I am even more convinced that recognizing the concept of Sanctity of Life is fundamental for our great nation. Our Founding Fathers believed it was self-evident that our Creator endowed each person with unalienable rights,” Bishop Strickland said. “If there was any doubt in 1972 that an unborn child was human person, scientific study of DNA and ultrasound imaging show clearly each child is a unique human being.  We join with many believers and unbelievers alike who recognize this right given to the unborn by the Creator.  We pray that the fundamental right to life will be recognized by our society and protected in law and in fact.”

“There was a point in our nation’s history where slavery was judged by the Supreme Court to be a protected right.  Please join me in prayer that we will soon reach a point that abortion, like slavery, will be recognized as an evil that is fundamentally wrong,” Bishop Strickland said.

For more information, contact Father Gavin Vaverek, director of the Sanctity of Life Office, at (903) 534-1077.

TYLER – Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics has signed a letter of intent to become part of CHRISTUS Health, an international Catholic not-for-profit health system.

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.