When the Cathedral bells swung five minutes before Mass last weekend, they seemed to know. The Ave sung with the Rosary was so mournful, you’d think someone had died. A light went out in Tyler on Saturday.
The seat of the bishop is empty; the coat of arms will be replaced. We have all been dealt a blow that fails in justice, compassion, and charity. The loss of a bishop always hammers the people, but the loss is usually to death, which can still be celebrated. This loss is unmitigated.
Our Protestant friends in Tyler have been following the disturbing events since the Apostolic Visitation in June, and we all received calls and texts from them on Saturday. Bishop Strickland is honored in this mostly-Baptist town as a true follower of Jesus Christ.
One Protestant friend asked me what church I would be going to now; but we don’t roll that way. We can’t leave our Church; where else would we find the Bread of Life? Still, we are fed up and overflowing. We have no recourse for injustices committed at the highest level. Does anyone in the hierarchy actually care that we are serially battered and grieving and yet we still show up for Mass, choir, religious education, serving the destitute, and all the other things that keep a parish running?
Most of us who have moved to Tyler in the last three years have been here before. It’s the reason we packed up our U-Hauls and headed to this nondescript little city off Interstate 20: we’d already been betrayed by our local churches. We heard Bishop Strickland on the radio and saw the iconic photo of him processing with the Eucharist on the busiest streets of Tyler while everything else was shut down and denied to the faithful in 2020. He was all-in, and he was not about to let the Church go down on his watch. We recognized the voice of a shepherd; he spoke Christ.
Continue reading at Crisis Magazine
Local Catholics Respond to Bishop Strickland’s Ouster