Chad Cleckler has joined the Diocese of Tyler as Business Manager, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has announced.

“The diocese is fortunate to have someone of Chad’s ability and experience with us at the Chancery to coordinate long-range growth and development for the Diocese of Tyler,” Bishop Strickland said. “His oversight of our business operations will help the diocese as we continue to implement sound business and management practices that benefit our parishes and missions.”

Cleckler, who has worked in a similar position at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler since 2003, will oversee diocesan facilities, purchasing and Chancery operations. He will also provide support for insurance services for the diocese.

“I am excited about this opportunity to serve Bishop Strickland and the people of the Diocese of Tyler,” Cleckler said. “I look forward to working with the chancery staff and the clergy as the Church in Northeast Texas continues to grow.”

Chad and his wife Chris live in Whitehouse. They have two teenage children, Sarah and Daniel.

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has announced the following assignments for priests of the Diocese of Tyler.

“I am grateful to all of these priests for their service and we wish them well in their new assignments,” Bishop Strickland said.

The assignments are effective on the dates indicated below.

Effective June 1

Reverend Matthew STEHLING as adminstrator of St. Leo the Great, Centerville, and priest in charge of St. Thomas More, Hilltop Lakes.

Reverend Nolan LOWRY as pastor of St. Edward, Athens.

Reverend Pancras SAVARIMTHU as temporary priest in residence at St. Jude, Gun Barrel City.

Effective July 3

Reverend Christian ZELAYA as priest-in-residence at St. Matthew, Longivew.

Reverend Cyriac JOHN as administrator of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Fairfield, and St. Mary, Teague.

Reverend John Mary BOWLIN as administrator of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Buffalo.

Reverend Ambrose CHINNAPPA as pastor of St. Joseph, Clarksville

Reverend Luis ARROYAVE as parochial vicar of Christ the King, Kilgore.

Reverend Jose Roberto GOMEZ as administrator of Sacred Heart, Mt. Vernon.

Reverend Denzil VITHANAGE as campus minister of St. Mary Chapel and Stephen F. Austin Catholic Campus Ministry, Nacogdoches.

Reverend Anthony McLAUGHLIN as pastor of St. Joseph, Marshall.

Reverend James ROWLAND to study Canon Law at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Reverend Mathias RAJAINSEBASTIAN as administrator of Sacred Heart, Palestine.

Reverend Monsignor Zach KUNNAKKATTHTHARA as coordinator of ministry to the incarcerated for the Diocese of Tyler.

Reverend Eugene TILLEKERATNE as administrator of Our Lady of Grace, Hallsville.

Reverend Roger APPUHAMY to return to Sri Lanka.

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will ordain Jonathon Frels to the transitional diaconate May 30 at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Frels, 41, is a native of Corpus Christi and a son of Dan and Susan Frels, both deceased. He has a younger brother, Matthew.

He has a bachelor of science in chemistry from Southwest Texas State University and a PhD in chemistry from Texas A&M. He is a seminarian at Pope John XXIII National Seminary in Boston, Mass.

Frels has lived in East Texas since 2002, when he moved to Longview to work at Eastman Chemical Company there.  It was while working there that he began discerning his call to the priesthood.

“I was in my early 30s when I first started considering the priesthood,” he said. “I had finally woken up to my faith and had begun to be active at the parish. I started helping with faith formation, attending some classes, and participating in adoration.

“As I got more involved, the idea of priesthood seemed to keep recurring,” he said. “I began to notice that I was more fulfilled when I was volunteering at the church than when I was working at my job. It didn’t happen overnight, but I eventually decided that if helping out part-time was good, then perhaps full-time work would be better.”

Frels said science and his faith fit easily together.

“I think the tension between faith and science is mostly artificial,” he said. “There is a perception of conflict because the methods, language and style are different.

“Faith and science are also focused on different things. Science is focused on the natural world, while faith is more concerned with the supernatural world.  The natural and supernatural are connected, but we study them in different ways.

“It would be nice if more people could appreciate how both science and faith can complement and assist each other,” Frels said. “Science can help clearly define the issues, and theology and faith can help apply that knowledge according to the law of love.”

Frels has been serving his pastoral year at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler.

The Galveston-Houston Province of the National Council of Catholic Women will hold its winter meeting this Saturday in Tyler, Cynthia McCoy, province director, has announced.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Cathedral Center at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.  The Province will conduct its business meeting at 9 a.m., followed by the keynote presentation.  The lunch portion of the meeting also features a silent auction.

Mother Susan Catherine, foundress of the Daughters of Divine Hope, will deliver the keynote address, discussing the family as the heart of the New Evangelization.

A training session for all interested in participating in the annual Texas Catholic Conference Advocacy Day is scheduled for Feb. 28 at the Cathedral Center in Tyler, Fr. Nolan Lowry has announced.

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 event 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.