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

Consistent with the command from the Spirit for St. Philip the Evangelist to teach the Ethiopian in the chariot, Bishop Joseph Strickland announced that the Diocese of Tyler would be "a teaching diocese." In his Constitution on Teaching the Catholic Faith, he founded the St. Philip Institute and charged it providing the parishes of the diocese with the materials, expertise, and support to perform the mission of teaching as outlined in this Constitution. "The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go and join up with that chariot.' Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' He replied, 'How can I, unless someone instructs me?' So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him." –Acts 8:29-31