As we draw to the close of the Year of Saint Joseph, we give thanks for all of the graces and inspirations we have received. Although the Year of Saint Joseph closes officially on December 8, 2021, we will of course continue to be inspired by his model of manly faith. Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus the Son of God and Patron of the Universal Church, continues to strengthen our faith as we journey through life.

It is with great joy that I now proclaim that beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2021, we will enter into a Year of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and the Eucharist. My hope in sharing this spiritual focus for the coming liturgical year is to help us all grow in devotion to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, a deeper relationship with his mother always draws us closer to Jesus. During the coming year, we will focus on the tremendous attributes of the Blessed Virgin Mary, woman of faith. In addition, as we continue to prepare for our Eucharistic Congress in June of 2022, this Year of Mary and the Eucharist will help us to be inspired to deepen our faith in Jesus especially as he is with us “until the end of the age” in his real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

I also want to share my plan as your shepherd to focus on the seven sacraments of our faith for the coming seven years. We will begin with the Eucharist this Advent 2021 and continue with Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, and Holy Orders in subsequent years culminating in Advent 2027. I pray that this will allow us to embrace more deeply these seven signs of faith that, along with Sacred Scripture, are at the very heart of our Catholic faith. The Saint Philip Institute collaborating with our clergy and our diocesan staff will be developing materials for individuals, families, parishes, missions, and organizations that will help all to delve more deeply into these treasures.

Given at Tyler on November 5, 2021.

+ Joseph Edward Strickland

By Bishop Joseph E. Strickland

Bishop Strickland was born the sixth child of Raymond and Monica Strickland in 1958. He grew up near Atlanta, Texas, where the Strickland’s were founding members of St. Catherine of Siena Church. On June 1, 1985, Strickland was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Dallas by Bishop Thomas Tschoepe at St. Monica Catholic Church. Upon the creation of the Diocese of Tyler in 1987, Father Strickland joined the presbyterate of the new diocese and was named the first vocation director in March of 1987 by Bishop Charles Herzig. In August of 1992, he was assigned to study canon law at Catholic University of America. After completing his licentiate (JCL) in canon law in May of 1994, Father Strickland was assigned by Bishop Edmond Carmody as pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler. He was appointed judicial vicar for the diocese in 1995 and was named a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1996. In September of 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Strickland as the fourth Bishop of Tyler. He was consecrated as bishop on November 28, 2012 by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.