September 20, 2023
Dear Flock of the Diocese of Tyler,
I realize you may have heard information about me that is concerning and possibly confusing.
I thought it would be good for you to hear directly from me, hopefully I can alleviate some concerns and clarify any confusion. As you probably know there was an Apostolic Visitation of the diocese conducted the week of June 19-24. Bishop Kicanas, retired from Tuscan, Arizona and Bishop Sullivan, from Camden, New Jersey spent the week interviewing various people about the condition of the diocese and concluded by interviewing me.
I have not heard from any Church official from Rome since the visitation concluded on June 24. I was not given a reason for the visitation, and I have not received any report since.
Last week an article was published on a website called, “The Pillar”, and the article alleged that a meeting was held with Pope Francis where some of the members of the Congregation for Bishops recommended that I be encouraged to resign as Bishop of Tyler. Let me be clear that I have received no communication from Rome regarding this. At this point it is simply and article discussing supposed leaked information from the Vatican.
I have said publicly that I cannot resign as Bishop of Tyler because that would be me abandoning the flock that I was given charge of by Pope Benedict XVI. I have also said that I will respect the authority of Pope Francis if he removes me from office as Bishop of Tyler. I love Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church which He established. My only desire is to speak His Truth and live God’s Will to the best of my ability.
In closing let me share my profound gratitude for the support and prayers that so many of you have expressed to me. I continue to love serving as your shepherd and thankfully during all of this I have been able to visit many of your parishes and celebrate our Catholic faith with you.
I am blessed in my personal prayer in which I feel very close to the Lord and supported by the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints. Your prayers are a tremendous support as well. I am at peace with whatever the Lord’s call for me is, let us continue to pray for Pope Francis, the Church, and the Diocese of Tyler that we call home.
God bless you and all who are dear to you.
Sincerely in Christ’s Name,
Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler