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By Martina Moyski, Church Militant, April 21, 2020 

Bishop aims to ‘light a fire’ through new media outreach

Bishop Joseph Strickland of the diocese of Tyler, Texas is renowned for his stalwart faith in the midst of brutal attacks on the Church, as well as his creativity and fidelity in responding to them.

One response to such attacks is the bishop’s St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization, an online resource center dedicated to teaching the Faith “with the fervor of first-century Christians … with reverence for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist” through essays, videos, podcasts and more.  

The institute is named after St. Philip, one of the evangelizers of the early Church. The Acts of the Apostles describes how an angel guided St. Philip to Gaza where he met an Ethiopian man sitting in a chariot reading the words of the prophet Isaiah. When Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading, the man replied: “How can I unless someone guides me?” (8:29–31). The Ethiopian man invited St. Philip into the chariot, and Philip shared the good news of Christ which resulted in the man being baptized and rejoicing in the salvation of Jesus.

In the interview below, Bp. Strickland explained to Church Militant how the St. Philip Institute is “growing by leaps and bounds” and how “in these dark times people need real hope and real joy,” something the center is providing.

“St. Philip” by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1611

Church Militant: What inspired you to create the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization?  

Bishop Strickland: The basic inspiration came from my lifelong recognition that, especially in East Texas where I grew up and the diocese is located, many people leave the Catholic faith without ever knowing what the Catholic faith actually teaches. It began there, and I realized we needed a new entity to transform the approach of the diocese, thus the institute.

Then we developed the Constitution on Teaching as the roadmap for the institute. This Constitution continues to be a very hands-on roadmap. It is getting wrinkled and creased with use like any good roadmap.

CM: What inspired you to name the institute after St. Philip the Evangelist?  ….

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