Bishop Joseph Strickland on the COVID-19 Pandemic, Resuming Public Masses, by Jim Graves

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Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, speaks from the floor during the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore Nov. 11, 2019. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

“People have the impression that we priests are mere bachelors, living a simple life, doing our own thing.  But we want to be with our families, which is our parish communities.  It hit us hard not to be gathering with you.”

By Jim Graves, Catholic World Report, May 15, 2020

Jim Graves is a Catholic writer living in Newport Beach, California.

Bishop Joseph Strickland, 61, is Bishop of Tyler Texas.  He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Dallas in 1985, and was named Bishop of Tyler in 2012.  Despite being from a relatively small diocese, he is a high visibility bishop who is active on social media, maintaining a website and blog, and using a Twitter account that has 31,000 followers.

Tyler is located in the northeast corner of Texas, and is home to 68 Catholic parishes, 80 priests and 120,000 Catholics.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Strickland suspended public Masses and public devotions in his diocese on March 18, 2020, and also placed restrictions on the reception of the sacraments other than the Eucharist.  The sacrament of Penance, for example, could be offered, but “proper social distancing should be observed as much as possible.”  Funerals may be held, yet with limited numbers of asymptomatic immediate family members. ….


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