The Diocese of Tyler is sponsoring a three-part series on the liturgy July 11, Aug. 1 and Sept. 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the chancery in Tyler, to help the faithful Joyfully Celebrate the Liturgy. The sessions will focus on music (July 11), the Roman Missal (Aug. 1) and environment and gestures (Sept. 12). All sessions will feature instruction from The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and the documents Sacrosanctum Concilium, Redemptionis Sacramentum and Sacramentum Caritatis.

Cost for each session is $10 for early registration and $15 at the door, and lunch is included. For more information or to register, contact Deacon John Ragland, 936-558-8708 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The diocesan Marriage and Family Life Office is sponsoring a marriage preparation day July 18, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the chancery in Tyler. Cost is $50 per couple and includes all materials, but not lunch. Marriage preparation days are daylong retreats designed to give couples time to focus on each other and their relationship. Topics covered include personality styles, family of origin, communication, conflict resolution, faith issues, finances, children and more. For more information, call the diocesan Marriage and Family Life Office at 903-534-1077, ext. 165 or 166, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Marriage preparation weekends will be Aug. 7-9 (Spanish) at Casa Betania Retreat Center in Tyler and Oct. 9-11 at Wellspring Retreat Center in Whitehouse. For more information, call the diocesan Marriage and Family Life Office at 903-534-1077, ext. 165 or 166, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Registration forms are available online at the diocesan website.

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..

Nominations are now open for the 2015 Bishop Charles E. Herzig Humanitarian Award. The award, named for the Diocese of Tyler’s founding bishop, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions within the diocese in seeking to promote human welfare, who demonstrate a great charitable love for the people of God and possess a life in the church marked by actions that have enabled individuals or families to receive basic human care. Nomination forms can be found on the diocesan website.

Registration is open for the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference, slated for July 24-26 at the Bishop T.K. Gorman Catholic School campus in Tyler and open to all graduated 8th-graders to 18-year-olds. All clergy are invited and encouraged to attend. Priests will be needed for confessions throughout the weekend. Registration is available through the diocesan youth office website.

The Tyler Catholic School Foundation has rescheduled the 23rd annual Milam Joseph Golf Tournament for June 22 at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler. Registration opens at 11 a.m., and tee-off is at 12:30 p.m. Registration includes a complimentary lunch, goody bags and prizes. Golf format is a six player team, with a shot gun start. Individual tickets are $150 and may be purchased the day of the tournament. A team of six is $900. For information, please contact Nickie Murchison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 214-701-7415 (cell) or 903-526- 5988 (office).


St. Mary Magdalene Church. Adoration is every Tuesday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Several hours are still available. To sign up, contact Connie Jessup, 903-574-3339 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Quest Scripture study for women meets Thursdays at 10 a.m. in the media room. Cost is $7 for the booklet, with additional materials covered.


Holy Family Church. The St. Aloysius Gonzaga Youth Group meets Fridays at 6 p.m. Follow the group on Instagram at Staloysiusgonzagayouthgroup.


St. Matthew Church. A teen ACTS Retreat will be held July 16-19. Registration deadline is June 9. Cost is $140. For information, contact Cyndi Starr, 903-720-3873, Kaitlyn Thornton, 903-238-4721, Andrew Thornton, 903-238-7271, or Sonya Pereira, 903-295-3890.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Have breakfast with the pastor! Father Mike will treat any and all who show up on time to any weekday morning Mass to breakfast.

Wacky Wednesday #1 for kids of all ages is June 17. Gather at the Seton Center at 11 a.m. for an activity and lunch, followed by an afternoon at the swimming pool until 3 p.m. Volunteers are always needed to supervise or provide food. This week we’re serving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a bag of chips and some fresh fruit. Wacky Wednesday #2 will be July 15.


St. Joseph Church. The Totus Tuus youth program will be June 21-25, 7:30 p.m.-9:40 p.m. for grades 7-12 and June 22-26, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for grades 2-6. All sessions will take place at the school, and cost is $15 per child. Children preparing to receive sacraments must attend all sessions. For information, contact Charlotte Smith, 903-935-2536.

Hot meals are served each Tuesday, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the parish hall.

Youth group meetings are held at St. Joseph “Chili’s” Youth House Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. for high school students, Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. for middle school students, and Sundays at 7 p.m. for college students.

Adult faith formation and fellowship groups meet on Sundays at 9 a.m., in the parish hall and school cafeteria (Spanish).

St. Joseph Catholic School is enrolling students in pre-K3-4 for the 2015-2016 school year. For information, see the school website,, or call the school at 903-935-5502.


St. Peter the Apostle Church. Catholic Summer University is June 22-26 and Totus Tuus youth program is July 5-10. Totus Tuus instructs youth in the basic tenets of the Catholic faith to cultivate both a firm intellectual growth and a solid relationship with Jesus.

A retreat for altar servers will be July 13-15 in Paris.


Sacred Heart Church. Vacation Bible School for children in pre-K-5th grade will be July 19-23 in the evenings. Young people in grades 6-12 are invited to volunteer. Dinner will be served each night before activities begin. Registration forms are available in the church office and narthex.

The Grapevine, the parish newsletter, is here. To subscribe, see the parish website.

Join Father Adams for summer movie night, Tuesday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. in the parish center. Watch Catholic-themed movies, and bring a covered dish to share.

Parish groups meeting during the summer include:

  • Rosary Makers, the third Wednesday of each month, 5 p.m.
  • St. Dymphna Support Group for caregivers, the third Thursday of each month, 6:30 p.m. in the parish hall
  • Summer Youth Group for students in grades 8-12, every other Wednesday, 6-8 p.m.
  • Exercise class, Mondays, 1:15 p.m.

The Latin Mass is celebrated every Thursday, 6 p.m.

The parish nursing office is open Wednesdays, 1 p.m.-6 p.m..

The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is July 16 and will be celebrated at the July 18-19 Masses with the blessing, investiture and distribution of the Brown Scapular.

Father Michael Adams will lead a 13-day tour to Italy Sept. 1-12, 2015. The cost is $3,699 (double occupancy), which covers airfare, overnight accommodations at a Roman religious house, all breakfasts and three regional dinners, papal audience, sightseeing and an excursion to Assisi. For more information, call the church office at 903-794-4444.


Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Adults 18 and over are invited for evenings of fellowship and games at Cathedral Game Nights July 11 and Aug. 8, 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m., in the JJ Saleh Building behind the cathedral of Front Street. Bring a light snack and your favorite game to share. Child care for ages 0-5 will be available at the Angel House, Please call Pennye Rhodes, 903-504-5312 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to reserve a place for child care.

St. Vincent de Paul is in need of volunteers for pickup coordinator, truck drivers, cashiers and sorters/pricers at the thrift store, food and clothing distribution and sorters at the St. Vincent de Paul Center. For information or to volunteer, call Kelly Jackman, 903-570-1800 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Inventory at St. Vincent de Paul is low. Please remember the thrift shop when doing spring cleaning. Donations are accepted at the shop at 500 S. Vine St., Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and the first Saturday of the month, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. To arrange pickup of large items, please call 903-707-1407, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Student volunteers are needed at St. Vincent de Paul this summer. Volunteer hours can be applied to students’ community service hours requirements. Students interested in volunteering at the SVdP Center or the thrift store should contact Kelly Jackman, 903-570-1800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All student volunteers are required to fill out a SVdP Student Volunteer Form and sign up online for days/times. Instructions for signing up online will be provided to students after they fill out the volunteer form.

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

Journey of Hope is a 13-week support program to help Catholics recover from the emotional pain of divorce or separation and to regain hope. With its uniquely Catholic prospective, Journey of Hope addresses the key challenges brought on by divorce and leads participants down the path to recovery by helping them more fully understand and live their faith. A new women-only class will begin on Thursday, August 27, 2015. To reserve your spot or for more information regarding this class, please contact Pennye Rhodes 806-441-2108 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Due to limited class size, all interested participants will need to register by August 10, 2015.

Today the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — popularly known as the Feast of Corpus Christi (not to be confused with the Texas coastal town). Jesus Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist is the very center of the life of the Church. For me personally, not only as a priest but also as a Christian, the Eucharist is the very heart of my life.

Many of you know from my biography that I am a convert to the Catholic faith. One quality of Catholicism that attracted me most was Catholic worship: the rite, the beauty, and the timelessness of the holy Mass. Growing up, I had received some classes in Sunday school at Baptist and Presbyterian communities in Tyler, but the Catholic notion of the Eucharist just made sense to me. Not only did Jesus want to feed us with His word, but also He wanted to feed us with Himself. This is why the Catholic Mass is composed of two major parts: the Liturgy of the Word (the readings from the Holy Bible and the homily); and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (the consecration of the Lord’s Body and Blood, and Holy Communion).

On the Feast of Corpus Christi, Mother Church asks us to reflect on the great mystery that is the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. At the hands of the priest, Jesus Christ takes ordinary bread and wine and transforms them into Himself. St. Thomas Aquinas called this change “transubstantiation,” a term that the Church still uses today (CCC 1376). This means that the bread and wine, while remaining such to our senses (sight, touch, taste, etc.), really change into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Savior. Later this summer (Year B), we will hear Sunday gospel readings of John 6 in which our Lord reveals in unambiguous language His plan to feed His disciples with His living Flesh and Blood. This will give me an opportunity to preach on the profound mystery of the Blessed Sacrament and also practical ways on how to pray the Mass and reverently receive Holy Communion.

The Eucharist is not merely a community meal or simple table fellowship. We as Catholics speak of the Mass as “sacrifice” (CCC 1365). In the gospel for this Sunday, we hear the institution narrative, “Take it; this is my body. . . This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many” (Mk 14:22, 24). Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice to redeem us from sin, the sacrifice of God for man. Therefore, it is essential to remember that the Mass is not an additional sacrifice, but the same sacrifice. It makes present what happened 2,000 years ago here and now. In the Mass, the sacrifice at Calvary is re-presented­ in an unbloody manner. And we are able to join our own humble sacrifices to Christ’s. This is why the priest after the offertory says, “Pray brethren that this, my sacrifice and yours, may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.” We should always be mindful of what our joys, difficulties, and crosses are, and prayerfully join these intentions at each and every Mass, so that the rest of our day and week will be an extension of the Mass — a joyful sacrifice of praise.

Reflection by Fr. Nolan Lowry, STL, pastor of St. Edward Parish in Athens, Texas.

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.

I am a pew-sitting Catholic.Supporting the Mass is something that other people do, for me.I have done a variety of jobs in the Church and volunteered for different things, but none of them have been liturgical.I sometimes wonder what it takes to do these very public ministries in the Church, and what sort of spiritual preparation it requires.I was able to travel to Texarkana to speak with Bill Cork, an instituted acolyte for the Diocese of Tyler, about his experience of serving the Mass and what it has meant for his faith life.

“I was an altar server when I was a boy, and I used to serve daily Mass every summer during my junior high years.It was at 7:30 in the morning and I dreaded it, it was like a chore I had to do,” Bill remembers.“I didn’t know what was really happening, I didn’t know what I was doing or why, but now that I know, I realize what a great gift that was, and how that was part of my own development.”

Bill is a confident person, a husband and father, and a successful businessman.He obviously knows the faith extremely well, and can speak about Catholicism with that same confidence.It was a surprise, then, when he told me about his own Catholic history.

“I fell away from the Church,” he said.“I was in the military, and then I went to college and studied philosophy, and those experiences shaped the way I thought and I fell away.”

Asked how he found his way back, he gives all credit to the Mother of God.

“I kept praying the Rosary,” Bill said.“Even when I wasn’t living as a Catholic, I was still praying, and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, she brought me back to the Church about 15 years ago.Since that time, I’ve become more and more deeply in love with my faith.”

Moving to Texarkana eight years ago was a watershed for Bill, and started his personal involvement in the liturgy.

“For the first few months, I was looking for a parish home, and I wound up in the chapel of St. Michael’s hospital sitting next to Sister Damien Murphy one morning.She grabbed me by the arm, handed me the Liturgy of the Hours and had me sing it with her.From there, she taught me to fall in love again with the liturgy.”

Morning prayer became a lifestyle for Bill.“For a period of years I went back every day and prayed with her,” he said.“From there I just had to be more involved in understanding and praying the liturgy, and that was what God led me to do.My love of praying the Liturgy of the Hours and attending daily Mass became an exploration of the history of the liturgy.”

“I started reading the early Church Fathers, the history of the Church, and the development and history of the liturgy.I really became connected to the Church tradition going back 2,000 years and what my place as a faithful lay person is in the Mass.” Bill recalled.

Eventually, Bill began to serve Mass at Sacred Heart parish.Asked whether learning to serve the Mass is difficult, he responded, “Not if you love doing it!If you really have a connection to your own personal theology and your own personal spirituality, it becomes an extension of what you are.Once I learned how to serve Mass, it became an opportunity to pray the Mass deeply and personally.When I’m kneeling at the altar at the consecration, I imagine myself with Jesus, dying to this world and being raised up.”

Bill explained how the experience of praying and serving at Mass affects his life outside the liturgy, “That’s what we’re called to do, to be Jesus to the world.To put ourselves into the spiritual dimension of the Mass, we have to offer up ourselves and be willing to die to this world.We have to live as Christ lived.”

“On Sunday, or at any Mass, we have to place ourselves at the cross, place ourselves at the tomb of Jesus when it’s opened, and think about the things the Blessed Mother experienced, and then a well of spiritual grace can be opened to us.”

I asked Bill whether this meant a huge amount of knowledge was necessary to really enter into the Mass.“No,” he said.“I think people who have never been in a Catholic church before can come to Mass and enter into that mystery if they will open their heart and mind to it.Catechesis and formation, however, is essential to fully draw all of the benefits Christ offers in this wellspring of grace.We can benefit no matter how we come, though, as long as we come with faith.”

“That’s what the world is missing, since in the world everything has to be so obvious and so direct.What Christ offers us in the Mass are these divine brushes with grace.It’s not so obvious.You have to come and actually participate in it to realize what it is.That’s the great gift of the Mass.”