On the occasion of the third anniversary of his elevation to the episcopate, which occurred on November 28, 2012, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has offered this reflection.

As I celebrate my third anniversary as Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, I continue to be in awe of the call I have been given.  It goes without saying that I will never be worthy to be your apostle but I do take this call to heart in a powerful way.  I am deeply grateful for the wonderful support of the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of the diocese.  I believe we have taken some significant steps in regard to the mission of Our Lord among us, but of course there is always much more to be done.

As I speak of taking this daunting call to heart, my reflection moves to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart.  My earliest memories include images of the Sacred Heart and you may remember that I dedicated my episcopacy to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart if Mary.  I deeply believe that this dedication was inspired by the Holy Spirit and any good I have done in these three years has been inspired and guided by these Holy Hearts.

There are numerous writings regarding these Hearts, from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to several popes including Pope Leo XIII who consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart. These writings and mystical reflections are beautiful and valuable for deepening our faith.  I tend to go back to the image of Mary at the foot of the cross of her divine Son.  This scene depicts the Divine Heart of Christ and the sinless human heart of Mary engaged in the saving mystery of salvation that continues to reverberate through the world.  It is the scene of love, the greatest power in the world, offering hope to humanity for all time.

On a personal note, I want to share with you some simple prayers that have become part of the rhythm of my life:  “O Sacred Heart of Jesus I place my trust in thee.”  “O Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on me a sinner.” “Immaculate Heart of Mary I ask you pray for me”  I offer these simple prayers in the car, in the office, on a plane and on a run, basically anywhere I am.  I share them with you with the hope they might become a blessing for you as they have been for me.

Let us pray that these Holy Hearts will guide me as your bishop and guide the mission of the diocese for many years to come.

– Bishop Strickland

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

Joseph Edward Strickland
By the Grace of God and the Apostolic See
Bishop of Tyler


Jesus Christ, True Mercy

This Sunday we begin the holy season of Advent and with it our solemn preparations for Christmas when we welcome our Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnation and true face of the Father’s mercy. We also make ourselves ready to enter the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a time in the life of the Church declared by Pope Francis to encourage us to contemplate the mystery of mercy as a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. The Holy Year will begin on December 8, 2015 and conclude on November 20, 2016. Bearing in mind these two events, I would like to take a moment to share this reflection on mercy and how it is incorporated into our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ, and specifically as Catholics.

We live in the Age of Mercy because we live in the world after the saving work, the Paschal Mystery, of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  In this context I believe we can say that the Catholic Church, founded by Christ Himself, exists as an instrument of mercy, a house of mercy, and a place from which the mercy of God should always flow.  We see the foundation of mercy in the oft quoted and beautiful Gospel verse of John 3:16: the Father’s preeminent act of mercy was to share with humanity His only begotten Son.  Embedded in this profoundly loving act of the Father is an acknowledgment that humanity was broken and deeply in need of a savior, deeply in need of mercy.  The mercy which Jesus Christ offers to the world through His Church is hard-won, not only through his passion, death and resurrection, but truly through every moment of his time on earth as the God-Man.  I believe placing mercy in this context is essential if we desire to pursue true mercy in the way we live.

True mercy always flows from God’s love and directs us toward God’s will for us – that we share His gift of everlasting life.  This focus regarding mercy is essential because we are so easily tempted to move toward a superficial understanding and application of mercy that is actually not mercy at all.

In our modern culture, mercy is too often equated with “being nice” or “being soft.” Rather, if we return to the foundation of true mercy mentioned above, the mercy rooted in God’s will, which is love and mercy itself, we find that mercy is actually anything but soft.  Real mercy is strong and powerful because it does not shy away from our broken existence, but instead it stands face to face with the ugly and the broken and calls us to turn away from those things by bringing the healing balm of truth and genuine freedom to bear. True mercy is transformational! Ultimately mercy is bound up with facing the truth and being challenged to move from brokenness to wholeness. The denial of this is possibly at the very heart of our modern dilemma.  Too often mercy is interpreted as removing the challenge, being tolerant of the transgression and passing over the consequences of our broken reality, rather than facing it head on and being freed by that very confrontation.

Once again I cannot resist returning to the model of mercy that is the life of Jesus Christ.  In the ultimate act of mercy, He embraces the cross in order to open the floodgates of mercy. In the same way, any authentic mercy demands that we hold the cross close as well. If we ignore the only authentic model of mercy we are at risk of promoting a false mercy which leads us away from life and ultimately abandons us to death. The mercy that Christ shows the world through every act of His life here on earth, and especially in His crucifixion, is a mercy that faces down the power of sin by allowing the power of love to overcome the darkness. In this way, the grace of God not only covers our sins, but it transforms us in Christ’s image.

Through the intercession of the Mother of Mercy, I pray that this Jubilee Year may have a profound effect on the human family by allowing us to live more deeply in the Gospel message of the author and face of mercy, Jesus Christ.

Given at the Diocesan Chancery on November 21, 2015,
the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Joseph Edward Strickland
Por la Gracia de Dios y la Sede Apostólica
Obispo de Tyler


Jesucristo, Verdadera Misericordia

Este domingo comenzamos con el santo tiempo de Adviento y con él, nuestras preparaciones solemnes para la Navidad cuando le damos la bienvenida a nuestro Señor Jesucristo, la encarnación y el verdadero rostro de la misericordia del Padre. También nos disponemos a entrar al Jubileo Extraordinario de la Misericordia, un tiempo en la vida de la Iglesia decretado por el Papa Francisco para animarnos a contemplar el misterio de la misericordia como también el manantial de gozo, serenidad y paz. El Año Santo comenzará el 8 de diciembre de 2015 y concluirá el 20 de noviembre de 2016. Teniendo en cuenta estos dos eventos, me gustaría tomar un momento para compartir esta reflexión acerca de la misericordia y como es incorporada en nuestras vidas como discípulos de Jesucristo y específicamente como católicos.

Vivimos en la Era de la Misericordia porque vivimos en el mundo después de la obra salvadora—el Misterio Pascual—de Jesucristo, el Hijo de Dios. En este contexto creo que podemos decir que la Iglesia Católica, fundada por Cristo mismo, existe como un instrumento de misericordia, una casa de misericordia, y un lugar desde el cual la misericordia de Dios siempre debe fluir. Vemos el fundamento de la misericordia en el hermoso y frecuentemente citado versículo del Evangelio de Juan 3:16: el acto preeminente de la misericordia del Padre fue compartir con la humanidad su Hijo unigénito. Incrustado en este profundo acto de amor del Padre, está el reconocimiento de que la humanidad estaba quebrantada y en profunda necesidad de un salvador, en profunda necesidad de misericordia. La misericordia que Jesucristo ofrece al mundo a través de su Iglesia fue ganada a duras penas, no solo por su Pasión, Muerte y Resurrección, pero verdaderamente a través de cada momento de su tiempo en la tierra como el Dios-Hombre. Creo que colocar la misericordia en este contexto es esencial si deseamos seguir la senda de la verdadera misericordia en el modo en que vivimos.

La verdadera misericordia siempre fluye del amor de Dios y nos dirige hacia la voluntad de Dios para nosotros—que compartamos su regalo de vida eterna. Este enfoque acerca de la misericordia es esencial porque somos muy fácilmente tentados a aceptar un entendimiento y aplicación superficial de la misericordia que en verdad no es misericordia en absoluto.

En nuestra cultura moderna, la misericordia muy frecuentemente se iguala a ser amable (“nice”) o a ser blando. Pero si retornamos al fundamento de la verdadera misericordia mencionada arriba, la misericordia que está enraizada en la voluntad de Dios, que es amor y misericordia misma, nos damos cuenta que la misericordia es todo menos blanda. La verdadera misericordia es fuerte y poderosa porque no se acobarda de nuestra existencia quebrantada, más bien se para cara a cara con lo feo y lo quebrantado y nos llama a rechazar esas cosas trayendo el bálsamo sanador de la verdad y llevando la libertad genuina. ¡La verdadera misericordia es transformativa! A la larga, la misericordia no puede hacer otra cosa sino enfrentar la verdad y uno es desafiado a moverse del quebranto a la integridad. Posiblemente, la negación de esto posiblemente se encuentra en el corazón de nuestro dilema moderno. Con demasiada frecuencia la misericordia es interpretada como quitar los retos, ser tolerante de la transgresión e ignorar las consecuencias de nuestra realidad quebrantada, en vez de enfrentarla claramente y ser liberados por esa misma confrontación.

Nuevamente, no puedo evitar regresar al modelo de misericordia que es la vida misma de Jesucristo. En su último acto de misericordia, él abrazó la cruz con el propósito de abrir las compuertas de la misericordia. De igual modo, cualquier autentica misericordia exige que nos abracemos a la cruz también. Si ignoramos el único modelo auténtico de misericordia nos arriesgamos a promover una misericordia falsa que nos conduce lejos de la vida y al final nos abandona a la muerte. La misericordia que Cristo le muestra al mundo a través de cada acto de su vida aquí en la tierra, y especialmente su Crucifixión, es una misericordia que confronta el poder del pecado haciendo que el poder del amor venza la oscuridad. De este modo, la gracia de Dios no solo cubre nuestros pecados, sino que nos transforma a la imagen de Cristo.

Por la intercesión de la Madre de la Misericordia, ruego que este Año Jubilar tenga un profundo efecto en la familia humana permitiéndonos vivir más profundamente en el mensaje evangélico del autor y rostro de la misericordia, Jesucristo.

Dado en la Cancillería Diocesana el 21 de noviembre de 2015,
Memoria de la Presentación de la Bendita Virgen María.

BALTIMORE CNA/EWTN News) – In a historic statement outlining the challenges pornography poses to the family and individuals as well as the tools available within the Church and society to combat its negative effects, the U.S. bishops say they have created a resource for healing and mercy.

Read the document “Create in Me a Clean Heart”>>>

“Our statement is not meant to just be a condemnation of pornography,” explained Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, N.Y., “but an outreach and a welcome in the spirit of Pope Francis’ call: that God is merciful.”

Bishop Malone serves as chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which created the document.

“The statement is really meant to raise the consciousness of our people both on the problems of pornography but also of the ways the Church offers for people to be healed of it. It’s our plan then to develop resources and make those known to people,” Bishop Malone elaborated.

The bishops passed the statement, “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” with 98 percent approval on Nov. 17, during the bishops’ annual November meeting in Baltimore. The document is the first formal statement the bishops have issued specifically addressing pornography use and production.

The document is available online in both Spanish and English, and addresses both the challenges pornography presents as well as suggested resources and practices to help families and individuals impacted by pornography use. The bishops also are investigating creating an abridged version that can be distributed as a pamphlet.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, who served on the committee that created the document, explained that the call to address the issue of pornography grew out of an increasing need they were finding in their dioceses.

“We, as priests and pastors are coming across it increasingly in the confessional, for example,” he explained, adding that many people “are dealing with a lot of guilt and they bring it to the confessional.” In addition, “pornography is breaking up marriages, breaking up relationships.”

Bishop Malone said that while technological advances like internet access and smartphones should not be condemned and are good in and of themselves, they “can also be an instrument for bad things like pornography.”

“It has just become so pervasive and so easily accessed by people, including children,” he continued.

Additionally, he said, “as Catholics we would say that the use and the production of pornography is seriously sinful, so there’s that aspects as well.”

However, the bishops’ statement does not only speak out on the effects of pornography on society and the soul but also tries “to see that there are ways to find healing and freedom.”

“Especially for us, as Christians, as Catholics, we see that in Christ there’s tremendous grace of freedom from pornography and from other bad things that catch hold of us, and healing.” Bishop Malone pointed specifically to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to address “the sinful dimension of it.”

“One of the ways the Church wants to reach out in mercy is to say that if you’re caught up in this use of pornography, God’s mercy is there for you, beckoning you to come and receive that mercy and become free,” he stated.

The bishop also noted other resources such as counseling and “support groups for people who struggle with pornographic addictions” as ways for individuals and families to seek healing from pornography’s effects.

The document also offers other practical solutions for “parents and others to protect our kids” from pornography use and involvement with the industry, Archbishop Wenski added. He suggested that because parents “can’t presume the children are protected,” they should monitor children’s computer use and other activities.

In focusing on what can be done to address pornography use, the Church offers a plan of action and a way forward Archbishop Wenski said. “I think our statement is also trying to be a message of hope, saying ‘listen, let’s get better and treat ourselves.’”

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, a Texarkana native and Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Fe, N.M., will be the featured speaker at the Dec. 6 dinner benefitting Catholic Charities of East Texas. The dinner, at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler, begins at 6 p.m. and will include a silent auction.

The Wellspring Center for Spirituality will offer an Advent retreat Dec. 5, 9 a.m.-noon. In the midst of this hectic and busy season, take a much-needed break to prepare for the coming of our Lord. This is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and spiritual significance of Advent.  Father Gus Tharappel will guide the retreat.  Registration is not necessary.  All are welcome.  For more information about Wellspring programs and retreats, call 903-839-1280 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The diocesan Office of Family Life has announced its schedule for marriage prep days and weekends for 2016. Click on the brochure link next to set of dates to learn more. Marriage Prep Days in English: January 23 and June 16 (brochure); Marriage Prep Weekends in English: April 8-10 and September 23-25 (brochure); Marriage Prep Days in Spanish: January 23 and August 6 (brochure); Marriage Prep Weekends in Spanish:  April 9-10 and November 5-6 (brochure).

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.

The Daughters of Divine Hope invite all to an open house Nov. 21. Please join us in celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life, the Daughters of Divine Hope’s fifth birthday in giving thanks to God for the good work he has begun in this new community of consecrated life. The St. John Neumann Convent is at 625 S. Vine St., Tyler, TX 75701.

The Diocese of Tyler Office of Faith Formation is holding a series of workshops focused on assisting parishes and families to develop practices and programs for those with special needs. Sessions are scheduled for Nov. 14 at St. Patrick in Lufkin, and Nov. 21 at St. Francis of the Tejas in Crockett. Topics to be covered include formation and awareness, making parishes accessible and inclusive, providing tools and resources, understanding disabilities, and adaptive Finding God Program. The sessions are intended for catechists, parish leaders, clergy, caregivers for this with special needs, and educators. To register or for more information, contact the diocesan Office for Faith Formation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 903-266-2146. Cost for each session is $10.

The Diocesan Liturgical Commission will present a Liturgical Music Study Day on Nov. 21, 2015, at the Cathedral Center, Tyler, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Lunch will be provided.  Presentations are in English. This is for all Music Ministers, Musicians, Parish Liturgical Coordinators, and interested members of the Parish Liturgical Commissions, Priests and Deacons.

The Maria Goretti Network, a peer ministry group for survivors of abuse and their families, meets the third Sunday of every month in the Cathedral office Meeting Room (not the Cathedral Center) at 7 p.m. For information, call Peggy Hammett, 903-592-1617, ext. 19, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

To speak with a priest about a possible vocation, call Father Justin Braun at the chancery, 903-534-1077, ext. 171, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To speak with a nun, contact Sister Angelica Orozco, EFMS, at the chancery, 903-534-1077, ext. 145, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you are not sending your parish bulletin to Catholic East Texas, please do so. Bulletins are our best source for information about your parish events. Email electronic versions (PDF or Word documents) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and mail paper versions to Susan De Matteo, Catholic East Texas, 1015 ESE Loop 323, Tyler, TX 75701.

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. The Athens Community Service of Thanksgiving will be Nov. 18 at 12:15 p.m. on the west side of the courthouse. Worship leaders from all Athens churches will be present.

Young people in grades 7-12 are invited to Movie Night Tuesday, Nov. 17. Mass is at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., and the movie starts at 7:30 p.m. Don’t forget to bring pillows and blankets and goodies to share.

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.

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 Children’s St. Nicholas Party/Domingo Familial will be Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m.

The Saint Forge Youth Group meets Tuesday evenings. Meetings begin with Mass.


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.


St. Francis of the Tejas Church. The parish turkey and canned food drive is this month. Please remember those in need and be generous.

Family faith formation is every Sunday at 10:15 a.m. We will be reviewing basic Catholic traditions and doctrines, such as the Trinity and who made me.

Sunday Mass can be viewed Sunday at 5 p.m. on KIVY, local channel 16.

Daily Mass can be seen online at www.stfranciscrockett.org.


St. Mary Magdalene Church. The annual Belles Bake Sale will be Nov. 14-15 after all Masses in Peaches Hall.


St. Charles Borromeo Church. There will be no Mass on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The Ladies of St. Charles are taking pre-orders for tamales. Proceeds will benefit the scholarship fund. To order, contact Gail Eubank, 903-876-7319 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Joyce Lestina.

Join David Etheridge at the Frankston Nursing Home for sing-

ing and visiting with the residents this Saturday, November 21st, beginning at 10:30 AM. It’s a great way to spread God’s love to others.

St. Charles is host to the first Families Anonymous chapter in the Diocese of Tyler. Families Anonymous is primarily for those who have known a feeling of desperation concerning the destructive behavior of someone very near to them, whether caused by drugs, alcohol, or related behavioral problems. When you come into this room you are no longer alone, but among friends.  St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Frankston will host a meeting the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. For information, call Kathy Brockington, 817-319-9843.

Our next food pantry will be Dec. 10th. Please consider donating time and/or money to help us feed the hungry in our area.

Gun Barrel City

St. Jude Church. The parish youth group is hosting a soccer tournament Nov. 21 at 8 a.m. at the church for children ages 14 and up. Registration is $60 for a team of seven. Any additional players are $5 per person. The last day to register is Nov. 15. For more information, contact Hugo Murrillo, 903-880-4480.

The Knights of Columbus potluck is Nov. 19 at the Foundation Building.

There will be no daily Masses Dec. 8-11.

A bilingual Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception will be celebrated Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. This is a holy day of obligation.

Hilltop Lakes

St. Thomas More Church. The fall fish fry will be held Friday, Nov. 13, 3-7 p.m. on the church grounds. Should it rain again, the fish fry will be held in the Community Center on Lodge Drive.


Immaculate Conception Church. The parish Thanksgiving dinner will be Nov. 26 at noon in the parish hall.

The church will be part of this year’s Jefferson Candlelight Tours. The church and hall will be open Thursdays, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, 3-7 p.m., and Fridays, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, 5-9 p.m.

The parish feast day and opening of the Year of Mercy will be celebrated Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with Mass at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. A potluck dinner will follow the 5:30 p.m. Mass in the parish hall.

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 reconciliation service will be Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.


Holy Family Church. There will be an AARP Driver Safety Class in the parish hall Saturday, Nov. 21, noon-4 p.m. The cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. The class is open to all drivers with a valid driver’s license but is geared to participants over 50. After completion of the class you may be eligible for a discount on your automobile insurance premium. Contact Harry H. Rayner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 903-768-2032 or 713-252-9496, for information or to register.

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. The St. Nicholas Bazaar is Dec. 5. There will be plenty of fun for the whole family, including meeting Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a traveling St. Nicholas display, the St. Nicholas Express, a general store, cake walk, food and more. Vendors, including gift-wrapping, will be present. The bazaar will include a silent auction, raffle, and gift baskets for sale. We still need donations of items for that baskets and paper goods for the café. Items may be placed in the donation box in the church office. For more information, call Pat Smith, 903-240-1635.

The Adoration Chapel is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are openings Wednesdays, 3-4 p.m., Thursdays, 3-4 p.m., and Fridays, 1-2 a.m. Can you spend an hour with Our Lord? For information or to volunteer, contact Sharon Milam, 903-753-9527, or Sheila Hargrave, 903-295-1728.

Remember the troops and their service dogs. There are still service members overseas this Christmas. Brighten up their days during the holidays with a gift of candy, magazines, snacks, powdered drink mixes, and snacks. Their service animals would love a doggie treat, too! Please put any items in the box in the usher’s room or drop by the church office. For more information, call Barbara Ratcliff, 903-234-9195.

Do you know someone who needs help this Christmas? We are now accepting referrals for Adopt-a-Family for this coming Christmas. Please pick up a form from the foyer table and return to the church office as soon as possible. Funds are limited; this is on a “first-come, first-served�? basis. We focus on children whose families would otherwise be unable to provide a special Christmas for them, but are also open to assisting the elderly, particularly those with no family to celebrate Christmas. For more information, call the church office, 903-757-5855.

Our Sunday morning faith for­mation program needs your help as Catechists, helpers, office help, clean up or nursery. Please consider volunteering your time to help with the formation of our community. Den. Blue at the church, 903-757-5855, ext. 305.

St. Matthew Church. Our Lady’s Guild will meet on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Hallsville. All ladies of the parish are invited to attend. We will be playing Bingo & preparing bags for the homeless. Please bring any toiletries, snacks, socks, gloves, etc. that you would like to donate for the homeless bags. Baby-sitting will be provided at St. Mary’s Rosary Room. If you would like to carpool, meet at St. Mary’s parking lot at 9:00 a.m. For more info, contact Pat Smith at 903-240-1635.

All choir members and their families are invited to a Choir Appreciation Dinner in honor of St. Cecilia, the patroness of music. Monday, November 23, at 6:30 pm at the Saint John Paul Family Center. Please RSVP to the church office by Nov. 18. We appreciate your commitment to sing for the Lord.

All high school youth are invited to LifeTeen nights on Sundays, beginning with Mass at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and LifeNight until 8:30 p.m. Watch the bulletin for a schedule of events.


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. The annual parish Thanksgiving dinner will be Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. in the new parish hall. Turkey, dressing, gravy and desserts will be provided. Please bring side dishes, enough to serve 12. Put your name on your dishes and utensils to make sure they go home with you.

Green envelopes are available in the red sleigh at the church entrance for donations to the annual St. Andrew’s Gala. If you can’t provide hands-on help this year, please consider a financial donation.

RCIA weekly sessions are under way. Anyone interested in participating in the program or assisting the RCIA team should contact Elaine Jackson, 936-632-5914 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

St. Andrew’s has also begun renting the Education Building and Parish Hall to non-parishioners. If your company is looking for a location for a holiday party or event, please call the parish office to reserve the space.

St. Patrick Church. The Ladies of the Rosary meet Tuesdays at 10 a.m. in the parish office to make rosaries. Come join us in this mission!

All high school students are invited to come to SPYG. We meet each Wednesday in the parish office from 6-8 p.m. Join us for fellowship, Bible study, games, and refreshments. For more information contact Rosie Pool at 936-675-0713.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Lectors and those who would like to share in this ministry are asked to plan now for the annual meeting. Be prepared to stay after Mass Sunday, Nov. 22. We’ll be meeting in the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, distributing the new workbooks and planning the 2016 schedule.

The religious goods counter has purple and rose candle sets for Advent for $10 while supplies last. Browse through the catalogues for Christmas gifts.

Each year during the month of November our church helps to restock the shelves of the Son-Shine Center. Please use your coupons and check for extra savings and discounts so that we can fill the grocery cart with food staples and toiletry items.

Bible study is held Mondays at 6:30 p.m.


St. Joseph Church. Volunteers are needed to work the food pantry Nov. 17-19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. To volunteer, contact Cathy Lay, 903-934-4668. Help us feed the hungry in our area.

This year, we are collecting the following items for the food bank: sweet potatoes, corn, peas, rice, beans, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, cooking oil, flour, sugar. Please drop off your donations at the church office before Nov. 20. Our goal is enough items for 125 families.

The Hispanic community will be selling tamales the weekend of Nov. 14-15. Cost is $10 a dozen.


St. Peter the Apostle Church. Applications for the Angel Tree will be accepted through Nov. 16. The church office must have all applications ready by Nov. 23. Gifts are due by Dec. 7, and the spending limit per person is $30. Requests for electronics and high-tech gadgets will not be accepted. Contact the church office for more information.

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.


Sacred Heart Church. The Ladies Auxiliary will hold their annual Turkey Bingo fundraiser Nov. 18, 6:30 pm, at the KC Hall. The evening will include bingo, an auction, door prizes and fun. A raffle will feature two handmade quilts and other items. Bingo tickets are available from any member of the Ladies Auxiliary or at the door. Bingo tickets are $7 each; raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5. Food will be available as early as 6 p.m. Bingo will begin at 6:30 p.m. Join us and make this a successful fundraiser.

St. Vincent de Paul Society invites you to participate in our Holiday Food Baskets Ministry, as we will provide 100 families with a Thanksgiving Food Basket and a different 100 families with a Christmas Food Basket. You can donate any of the following: green beans, corn, stuffing mix, instant potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cornbread mix, cranberry sauce. Items can be left in the vestibule of the church, in the church office or at the SVDP office. If you would like to donate money, we will use that money to purchase items that are needed to complete the baskets. Please be generous in your giving, for it is in giving that we receive.

The annual parish Thanksgiving Dinner will be Nov. 15 at noon.

LifeTeen for youth in grades 9-12 is held Wednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m.


Sacred Heart Church. Basic, intermediate and advanced Spanish classes are available at the church, Fridays at 1 p.m. in the parish center. Cost is $10 per lesson. For information, contact Betty Rodriguez, 903-691-7931.

Middle and high school youth are invited to Barn Bash, a fall fun day on the farm, Nov. 15.


Wellspring Spirituality Center. A Rosary Retreat will be held at Wellspring in Whitehouse Wednesday, Nov. 18. The retreat begins at noon in the Mother of Compassion Shrine. The rosary will be prayed, and Mass will also be celebrated. A brief meeting of the Rosary Society will follow. All are welcome. Wellspring is at 16828 FM 2964 (Rhones Quarter Rd. off Grande Blvd.). For more information, contact Susan Mills, 903-780-2935 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or see the Wellspring website, wellspringcommunity.net. A $5 donation to Wellspring is requested.

An Advent retreat will be held Dec. 5, 9 a.m.-noon. In the midst of this hectic and busy season, take a much-needed break to prepare for the coming of our Lord. Make this an Advent to remember!  This is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and spiritual significance of Advent.  Fr. Gus will guide the retreat. Registration is not necessary. All are welcome. For more information about our programs and retreats, contact us at 903-839-1280 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The annual St. Vincent de Paul Christmas Store will be Nov. 13, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., and Nov. 14, 7 a.m.-noon, in the Cathedral Center. The larger sale this year will feature everything needed to decorate a home for Christmas, plus many specialty items including clothes and toys. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the St. Vincent de Paul Center.

SVdP needs two drivers for pickups of donated items. Each driver would only be needed one day each week. No special driver’s license is required. Please give consideration to this very important ministry that helps the needy throughout our area.

The Catholic Daughters of the Americas Memorial Ceremony and meeting will be Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Cathedral Center.

A Rosary Holy Hour is held weekly on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. in the Adoration Chapel in the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul. The hour is open to all. For more information, contact Susan Mills 903-780-2935, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bishop Gorman needs volunteer or paid bus drivers for field trips and other school events, CDL preferred, required for larger bus drivers. If interested or for more information, please contact Steve Chenevert at 903.561.2424.

St. Gregory Cathedral School invites everyone to tune into students’ morning program, Good Morning St. Gregory. The program features students in starring roles as they present news of the day. View the programs here.

Family catechesis is in need of volunteers. Currently we have 230 families with a total of 399 children attending classes on Wednesday nights. We do not want to ever have to turn a family away because we do not have enough volunteers to help teach and guide and keep all safe during our programs. Please as we approach this year of Mercy consider helping in some way our Faith Formation Department. Certification in Ethics and Integrity training is required. For more information or to volunteer, contact Peggy Hammett, 903-592-1617, ext. 19, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..