Bishop Joseph Strickland will open the Diocese of Tyler’s observance of the Year of Consecrated Life with solemn vespers and benediction on Friday, November 21 at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler.

Before the opening liturgy, clergy and religious from the diocese will attend a workshop focused on preparing for the Year and planning diocesan events.

Pope Francis proclaimed 2015 a Year of Consecrated Life, starting on the First Sunday of Advent, the weekend of November 29, 2014, and ending on February 2, 2016, the World Day of Consecrated life. The year also marks the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis, a decree on religious life, and Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Church. Its purpose, as stated by the Vatican is to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent past” while embracing “the future with hope.”

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.

From October 5-19, 2014, bishops from around the world will gather with Pope Francis in Extraordinary Synod in Rome to consider the pastoral challenges facing the family. A Synod is simply a gathering of bishops that advise the Holy Father by providing counsel on important issues facing the people of God.

By their very nature, the topics that will be discussed at this Synod – divorce, annulment, remarriage and others – rightly evoke passionate feelings among all people because they deal with the very fabric of the family and society. There will be extensive coverage in both the secular and Catholic press, some of which will be accurate and some of which will have an agenda behind it.

At the outset, bear in mind that this Extraordinary Synod is serving to prepare and formally set the agenda for the Ordinary Synod which will meet on the same topics in 2015. It is from this Ordinary Synod in 2015 that we will see the final recommendations to the Holy Father.

In light of this, the time is opportune for us to reflect on what we believe about the Sacrament of Marriage and the teaching authority of the Church.

Bishop Joseph Strickland will present the annual Bishop Charles E. Herzig Humanitarian Award on Sunday, Sept. 7, during the 10 a.m. Holy Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler.  

The award is named in honor of Herzig who led the diocese from its creation in 1987 until his death in 1991.

The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions within the Diocese of Tyler in seeking to promote human welfare. Those who receive the award demonstrate a great charitable love for the people of God and posses a life in the Church has been marked by actions that have enabled individuals or families to receive basic human care.

Bishop Joseph Strickland has issued a decree on the Diocese’s Safe Environment program to be effective for 2014-15.  The decree seeks to reinforce the Diocese of Tyler’s efforts to form a culture of awareness and prevention in which people of all ages know how to respond, prevent and seek out assistance for victims of abuse.