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

The assignments are effective on the dates indicated below.

Effective October 15, 2015

Very Rev. Anthony McLAUGHLIN as pastor of Mary Queen of Heaven Parish, Malakoff (and continuing as Vicar General of the Diocese of Tyler).

Rev. Morgan WHITE as pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Marshall

The Diocese of Tyler Office of Finance will host two seminars to help parishes with year-end accounting and financial work.

The sessions will be held on Oct. 20 and Oct. 22 at the Diocesan Chancery in Tyler; parish representatives may attend either session.

There is no charge for the workshops and lunch will be provided.

Topics covered will include:

  • How to process 941 forms
  • How to process W-2’s
  • What information should be included on W-2’s
  • Who receives which form—1099 or W-2
  • Health Insurance
  • Reportable Health Care—Form 1095 (Filing Mandatory for Year End 2015)
  • Pension—Representative from Mutual of America

Registration is available online at:

Attendees can also print and fax the registration form (below).

For questions or more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jim Smith, who has served as finance officer for the Diocese of Tyler for the past 22 years, has announced his retirement.

Former Bishop Edmond Carmody named Smith, who worked in the insurance field in San Antonio before coming to Tyler, to the finance position in August of 1993.

“On behalf of all the clergy and people of the Diocese of Tyler, I sincerely thank Jim for his long service to the Church in East Texas,” Bishop Joseph E. Strickland said. “Jim’s tireless efforts were instrumental in helping our young diocese develop into a vibrant Christian community of almost 125,000.”

Chad Cleckler, who was named business manger for the diocese earlier this month, will oversee the finance office until a new finance officer is named.

TYLER – Bishop Joseph E. Strickland called the three newest priests of the Diocese of Tyler to listen to and care for the people of God “with great love, with great devotion, and with great strength in the Lord.”

See photos from the ordination>>>

Listen to Bishop Strickland’s homily>>>

Bishop Strickland presided over the ordinations of Deacons George Elliott, Nelson Muñoz and Joshua Neu to the priesthood June 27 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

More than 800 people packed into the cathedral, which seats around 500, to witness the ordination.

During the liturgy, Bishop Strickland called on the three men to stand up, turn around and look at the people filling nearly every space. He spoke of the words from the first reading (Numbers 11:11-24), when Moses, beset with and dispirited by the complaints from the people of Israel, asked God, “Why do you treat your servant so badly? Why are you so displeased with me that you burden me with all this people?”

“You heard those words of Moses from the first reading,” Bishop Strickland said. “Embrace those words. This is a portion of the people you are burdened with.”

As the congregation laughed, Bishop Strickland added, “And what a glorious burden that is, to be a priest of Jesus Christ for the people of God. That is your call.”

The bishop also referenced the responsorial psalm sung during the liturgy, Psalm 89, and its refrain, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”

“Those are fairly simple words,” Bishop Strickland said. “And I can imagine some in the world would say, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ But as a priest of Jesus Christ you are called to a great opera of the most profound and sublime singing of the goodness of the Lord. It is so much more than ‘nice.’

“You are called to perform the office of praising God,” he said. “This is not easy work, as your brother priests can tell you. Day in and day out,” he again indicated the people crowded into the cathedral, “they can be a cantankerous crowd. But they are family. They are our blood. We are their life, and they are ours.”

Bishop Strickland said “we desperately need that office (of praising God) in the world today. It was true at the time of Moses, true at the time of Paul, true at the time the Son of God walked the earth. We desperately need those who, in the words of John’s Gospel, ‘sanctify them in the truth.’”

The bishop called the three new priests to the commission from 1 Peter to “tend to the flock of God in your midst. Right here, in the Piney Woods, whether in Paris, in Hemphill, or in Gun Barrel City.

“Don’t you love Gun Barrel City?” he asked, eliciting more laughter from the congregation. “I’m sorry, visiting (priests) and deacons. Who else has a Gun Barrel City in their diocese?

“It is this people you are called to serve,” he told the new priests. “Tend the flock of God in your midst, this people. Listen to them. Care for them. Bring the universal reaches of our Catholic faith to these people, with great love and great devotion and great strength in the Lord.

Bishop Strickland also took a few moments to acknowledge the parents, both living and deceased, of the ordinands.

“Thank you,” he said, “for giving your sons, for cooperating with the Spirit in your life and allowing them to join the opera in singing the goodness of the Lord, in this place, in this time.”

The ordination coincided with the 34th wedding anniversary of Father Elliott’s parents.

“I don’t believe this was just happenstance,” Bishop Strickland said. “It’s yet another sign from God that we must celebrate God’s truth with marriage, with holy orders, with all the challenges and the glory that the Word of God brings us. We cannot abandon that truth, no matter what court speaks the falsehoods of the day.”

He said it is a great gift “to be reminded that we have the blessing of holy orders because of young men and older men formed in a family with a marriage. Your lives haven’t been perfect, but the Spirit has worked through your sacraments to bring a sacrament of service to the flock of the Lord. Thank you, and we celebrate you for the good parents you are.”

He reminded the three new priests of the great challenge they are undertaking.

“We hear in the Word of God of a ‘spotless victim,’” Bishop Strickland said. “We will hear it again in the Eucharistic Prayer. You are to embrace daily and ever more deeply the life of the spotless victim, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

That comes “through prayer,” he said, “through service to (Christ’s) people, through answering that phone in the rectory at 2 a.m., getting up for that early Mass and staying up for that late one. When someone asks, ‘Father, will you hear my confession?’ you are to say, without hesitation, ‘Yes!’

“That is priesthood,” he said, “that is serving the people. In so many ways it is an impossible task. I don’t live up to it, these men don’t live up to it, you certainly won’t live up to it. But with the grace of God and the goodness of the people, you will.

“Yes, they can be cantankerous,” the bishop said. “But there is goodness in them. Always remember that, always believe that. In every person you encounter, there is goodness. Call them to deepen that goodness and call them away from sin.”

Bishop Strickland then called upon the congregation to pray for the new priests that they might celebrate the sacraments of the church, “and that they might do so with abundant joy.”

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


On the morning of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 5-4 decision establishing the legal right of two individuals of the same sex to legally marry in all 50 states. By doing so, the Court has acted in contradiction to their duty to promote the common good, especially what is good for families. I join with the Bishops of the United States in calling this decision a “tragic error.”

Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it. In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family. Regardless of this decision, what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.

Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings. Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.

While taking a strong stand for marriage is the duty of all who call themselves Christian, every type of unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies should be avoided. We must treat these individuals with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons. Christ rejects no one, but he calls all of us to be converted from our sinful inclinations and follow the truth He has revealed to us. Nevertheless, our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.

While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction, and there are even some who are members of our local churches, this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.

We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience, thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.

Given this and recognizing my responsibility and moral authority as the shepherd of this Church of Tyler, I will shortly issue a decree in this Diocese establishing, as particular law, that no member of the clergy or any person acting as employee of the Church may in any way participate in the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages, and that no Catholic facilities or properties, including churches, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or any places dedicated or consecrated, or use for Catholic worship, may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.

Finally, I call on the Catholic faithful of the Diocese to turn in prayer to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, asking their intercession for our nation that all of us may come to a greater understanding of the beauty, truth and goodness that is found in marriage as revealed to us by our Savior.

I instruct that this letter is to be publicly read by the priest-celebrant following the proclamation of the Gospel at all Masses of obligation in the parishes, missions and chapels of Diocese of Tyler on the weekend of July 4-5, 2015. *

Given at the Diocesan Chancery
On the 26th day of June
Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen

Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler

Read this Letter in Spanish (Español) – Translation Revised 4 July 15

* Bishop Strickland has further instructed the clergy of the Diocese of Tyler that this letter is more suited for personal reflection and that printed copies should be made available to the faithful at all parishes of the diocese throughout the month of July, and that it is no longer required to be read publicly at Holy Masses on July 4-5.