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 contrast between the feast of All Saints and the memorial of All Souls is stark: On November 1, the liturgical colors are festive white and/or gold which is a sign of the rejoicing in the heroic lives of the saints; but on November 2, the standard color is purple or black signifying Christian grief and the need to pray for the souls of our beloved dead.

Why would the Church put these two commemorations so close together? It almost seems like too much of an emotional roller coaster. While we are indeed reminded on All Saints Day that there are some who already dwell in the heavenly abode, All Souls Day reminds us that there are still many who are being purified of their sinful or earthly attachments in order to enjoy fully the Beatific Vision, that is, perfect union with the Most Holy Trinity. All Souls Day reminds us that there is an intermediate state between earthly life and heavenly life.

On November 4, 2014, citizens of our great state will again head to the polls to make their choice for candidates to lead Texas and our nation into the future.

In the week before the election, the time is opportune for us to reflect on our beliefs and responsibilities as Catholic voters. By our baptism, Christians are committed to following Jesus Christ and to be “salt for the earth, light for the nations.”

While faithful Christians may in good conscience disagree on a variety of political matters, we must never forget that our very future as a society depends on our ability and courage to respect and defend the dignity of all human beings.

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.

I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. St. Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ and his hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises helps him to persevere in any circumstance: when things are going well and when they are going badly; when he has an abundance or when he is in want; when he has a full stomach or when he has to go hungry. This is the kind of perseverance to which we are being called in the holy gospel today. In “The Parable of the Marriage Feast” (in Matthew 22), Jesus contrasts those who were first invited by the king and those he invited secondarily. The Fathers of the Church interpreted the first group as the Israelites, the first People of God. But because of Israel’s indifference and hostility — their rejection of God’s loving call — God (the king) instead invites the Gentiles, that is, us, to His wedding feast. However, unless we respond faithfully to the call we have received, we will be cast “into outer darkness” (Mt 22:13).