The 27th national collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious will be held December 13-14 in the Diocese of Tyler. The annual, parish-based appeal is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in Washington and benefits more than 35,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests.

Last year, the Diocese of Tyler contributed $36,499.56 to this collection. Women and men religious who serve or have served in the diocese but whose communities are based elsewhere may benefit from the Retirement Fund for Religious.

The Diocese of Tyler will welcome consecrated religious from the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima as part of a five-year grant from Catholic Extension aimed at creating a partnership for the Latin American congregations as well as the U.S. dioceses involved, Bishop Joseph Strickland has announced.

Catholic Extension, a papal society that has been supporting Catholics on the margins in America since 1905, announced the formal launch of its U.S.-Latin American Sisters Exchange Program, which was made possible through an initial $3 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The program will span a five-year period and involve 10 Latin American congregations sending more than 30 women religious to dioceses throughout the United States.

About 250 people from across the Diocese of Tyler attended Saturday’s Marian Conference on the campus of Bishop Gorman Schools in Tyler which focused on the Virgin Mary’s role in the family.

The day began with Solemn Mass and a Eucharistic Procession celebrated by Bishop Joseph Strickland at the Chapel of Sts. Peter & Paul.

In his homily, Bishop Strickland focused on Mary’s role as an example for families and alluded to the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, which highlights the Virgin Mary as the model for the Church. The document reads, in part:

As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ. ….And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Devoutly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her lofty type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. The Church, therefore, in her apostolic work too, rightly looks to her who gave birth to Christ, who was thus conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in order that through the Church he could be born and increase in the hearts of the faithful. In her life the Virgin has been a model of that motherly love with which all who join in the Church’s apostolic mission for the regeneration of mankind should be animated.

Calling the men before him to missionary discipleship and stressing their role in the New Evangelization, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, ordained 43 seminarians from the Pontifical North American College, including two from the Diocese of Tyler, to the Order of Deacon on Thursday morning at the Altar of the Chair at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

With their ordination, now-Deacons George Elliott and Josh Neu enter the final period of preparation for the priesthood for the Diocese of Tyler.

Bishop Joseph Strickland and at least six priests from the dioceses joined a large contingent of lay faithful from East Texas at the ordination and reception that followed.

Last Saturday in his keynote address at the Diocesan Liturgical Conference, Bishop Strickland warned about the danger of arrogance — certainly arrogance in regard to Church teachings and documents on the liturgy, but really any form of arrogance. The Bishop said that arrogance, that is, thinking I know best (and no one is going to tell me otherwise) is at the root of every sin. He emphasized that joy and humility go hand-in-hand. The readings for this 26th Sunday complement appropriately our shepherd’s message: Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5). St. Paul in the second reading is encouraging us to have the humility of Jesus Christ — not regarding ourselves as equal to God, but emptying ourselves (and our egos) for the sake of others. While the virtue of selflessness is generally admired by society, the humility to which we are being called is far greater than the worldly trait of unpretentiousness. We are being called to practice the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. This is something that the chief priests and elders could not understand in the gospel reading (Mt 21:28-32). In “The Parable of the Two Sons,” Jesus shows how tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before the religious leaders. And why? Because the sinners of Jesus’ day had true repentance for their sins and a willingness to ask for God’s mercy, which are signs of genuine humility before God.