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

GARLAND – Bishop Douglas Deshotel, auxiliary bishop of Dallas, will celebrate Mass of Christian Burial for Father John Fowler Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 10 a.m. in Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Garland.

Father Fowler, 89, died Jan. 22. He had served in Marshall and Tyler.

He was pastor of St. Joseph Church in Marshall from 1964-1967 and pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Tyler from 1968-1973. Under his tenure, Tyler Catholic High School was renamed Bishop T.K. Gorman Catholic High School for the former bishop of Dallas.

John William Fowler was born Dec. 17, 1926, in Dallas to John and Maria Redmond Fowler. He attended Sacred Heart Catholic School and North Dallas High School.

After serving in the army during World War II, he entered St. John Seminary in San Antonio and was ordained by Bishop Thomas Gorman at Sacred Heart Cathedral on May 30, 1953.

Father Fowler served in many parishes during his priestly ministry. He served as a parochial vicar at Christ the King, Dallas; St. Alice and St. George in Fort Worth; Sacred Heart in Texarkana; and St. Luke in Irving. He was pastor at St. Joseph in Marshall; Holy Name in Fort Worth; Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Immaculate Conception in Corsicana; St. Mary in Sherman, and St. Michael in Grand Prairie. He retired from active ministry in 1997 and continued to help out for many years on a part-time basis in several parishes in the Dallas area.

Surviving is a sister, Catherine Savage, and several nieces and nephews.

Interment will be in the Priests Circle in Calvary Hill Cemetery in Dallas.

VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) – In his 2016 Lenten message, Pope Francis called the faithful to place special emphasis on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy this Lent, taking into account the current Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn,” the Pope wrote in the short document, released Tuesday by the Vatican.

The spiritual and corporal works of mercy, the pontiff said, “remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them.”

“On such things will we be judged,” he said.

The title of this year’s message was drawn from the Gospel of Matthew: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,” and has the subtitle: “The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee.”

In the message, signed the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Oct. 4 2015, the Pope said those who are truly poor are the ones who believe themselves to be rich.

“This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars,” he said.

“The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow,” he said.

Pope Francis recounted the parable of the poor man Lazarus who would beg at the door of the rich man.

Lazarus represents Christ, the Pope said, and therefore “the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see.”

This blindness “is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence,” he observed.

Such an illusion can take “social and political forms,” he explained, citing as examples the “totalitarian systems of the twentieth century.”

In modern times, this illusion is seen in “the ideologies of monopolizing thought and technoscience, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited.”

The Pope went on to explain how the illusion can link back to the “idolatry of money,” leading to a lack of concern for the poor “on the part of wealthier individuals and societies.”

“They close their doors, refusing even to see the poor,” he said.

“For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy.”

Pope Francis stressed that “the corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated.”

“By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need,” he said.

“This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches.”

The Pope warned against constantly refusing “to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor,” as such consistent refusal on the part on the part of the “proud, rich and powerful” leads to condemnation.

This year’s Lent will begin Feb 10 with Ash Wednesday, when the Church will send out “Missionaries of Mercy” – priests with the faculties to pardon sins in cases otherwise reserved for the Holy See – as part of the Jubilee Year.

In the opening section of the message, Pope Francis centered his reflection on Mary as the image of the Church’s evangelization, “because she is evangelized.”

The Pope began by reiterating the call for mercy to be celebrated and experienced in a particular way this Lent, citing the Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand,” he said.

After receiving the “Good News” from the angel Gabriel, Mary proclaims the Magnificat in which she “prophetically sings of the mercy whereby God chose her,” the Pope recounts.

He describes Mary as the “perfect icon of the Church which evangelizes, for she was, and continues to be, evangelized by the Holy Spirit, who made her virginal womb fruitful.”

Pope Francis then reflected on the history of mercy as seen in the covenant between God and the people of Israel.

“God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth,” he said.

“Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride.”

“This love story culminates in the incarnation of God’s Son,” who the Father has made “mercy incarnate,” the Pope said, citing the Jubilee Bull of Induction.

“As the Son of God, he is the Bridegroom who does everything to win over the love of his bride, to whom he is bound by an unconditional love which becomes visible in the eternal wedding feast.”

Pope Francis reflected how it is through mercy that God restores his relationship with the sinner.

“In Jesus crucified, God shows his desire to draw near to sinners, however far they may have strayed from him. In this way he hopes to soften the hardened heart of his Bride.”

Pope Francis concluded the message by calling on Mary’s intercession during the upcoming Season of Lent.

“Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favourable a time for conversion!”

By Ann Schneible

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.

VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) – On Wednesday Pope Francis launched a new series of catechesis on mercy for his general audiences, telling pilgrims that the love and forgiveness of God can’t be overcome by anything, including our sin.

“In the Book of Exodus, God defines himself as the God of mercy.  This is his name, through which he reveals to us his face and his heart,” the Pope said in his Jan 13 general audience.

The description of God as being “steadfast in love and faithfulness” is beautiful, he said, adding that this description “says everything. Because God is great and powerful, but this greatness and power unfold in loving us, so little, so incapable.”

Used in this way, the word love indicates an attitude of affection, grace and goodness, he said, distinguishing this from the type of superficial love we see in soap operas.

It’s always love that “makes the first step, that doesn’t depend on human merits but gives an immense gratuity,” he said, adding that “nothing can stop divine solicitude, not even sin, because it knows how to go beyond sin, overcoming evil and forgiving it.”

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for his weekly general audience. This week he began a new series of catechesis dedicated to mercy according to the bible, a decision he said he made so that we can “learn mercy by listening to what God himself teaches us with his word.”

After listening to the day’s reading from Exodus, the Pope pointed to how God tells Moses that he is “the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

These words are echoed throughout the Old Testament, he said, noting that the same formula is found in other texts. Although the variations are different, “always the emphasis is put on mercy and on the love of God who never tires of forgiving.”

Francis said that when referring to God, the word “mercy” evokes an attitude of tenderness, much like the kind a mother shows toward her children.

“The image is that of a God who is moved and softens for us like a mother when she takes her child in her arms, desiring only to love, protect, help and is ready to give everything, even herself. A love, then, that can be defined in a good way as ‘visceral,’” he said.

He noted how God is also referred to as “compassionate,” and that it is out of this compassion that the Lord in his greatness “bends down to whoever is weak and poor, always ready to welcome, to understand and to forgive.”

Pope Francis then referred to the parable of the Prodigal Son. After the younger son took his inheritance and squandered it, the father never abandoned him or closed himself in resentment, but continued to wait for his return.

Once the younger son came back, the father ran to meet him and embraced him, Francis said, explaining that “so great was the love and joy for having found him again, (the father) didn’t even allow him to finish his confession – it’s like he covered his mouth.”

Then the father called the older son and invited him in to the celebration. Even though the older son is bitter, the father “tries to open his heart to love, because no one is excluded from the feast of mercy,” the Pope observed.

Francis noted how this same merciful God is described as being “slow to anger,” and is willing to wait patiently, like a wise farmer who waits for his crop, for the seeds of repentance to grow in our hearts.

“God is totally and always reliable. He is a solid and stable presence. This is the certainty of our faith.”

Pope Francis closed his address by praying that during the Jubilee of Mercy, all would entrust themselves entirely to the Lord, “and experience the joy of being loved by this God who is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and great in love and faithfulness.”

After greeting pilgrims present from various countries around the world, the Pope offered special prayers for the victims and families of yesterday’s suicide bombing near the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

At least 10 people were killed and several injured when a suicide bomber, identified as a Syrian, blew himself up in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, which is near the Blue Mosque. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In his comments, Pope Francis invited faithful to pray for the victims, and asked that the merciful God “give eternal peace to the deceased, comfort to the families, firm solidarity to society as a whole,” and that he “convert the hearts of the violent.”

By Elise Harris