See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop...Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.
Epistle of Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans 110 A.D.
Jesus Christ is the light shining in the darkness!
For 2,000 years, the Church has carried forward the mission to proclaim Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice on the cross won victory over sin and death. Truly, in God’s choosing to become man, grace has appeared (Titus 2:11). Jesus desires all men and women, including you, to know his love and the joy of being his disciple.
Through the ministry of the Church as founded upon the Apostles, Jesus Christ continues to offer us friendship, forgiveness, and salvation. The Church, through the sacraments, is a ministry of healing, bringing Jesus Christ to the broken-hearted, the downtrodden, and the sinner. The Faith of the Church has been handed on to us in an unbroken chain from the Apostles, who received it directly from Jesus Christ himself. The Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is as relevant and powerful today as ever!
Whether raised Catholic, of another denomination or religion or not even religious, take the time to rediscover how Christ speaks to every heart and desires all men to know him and come to the knowledge of the truth.
If you are from another faith tradition, were raised a Catholic but no longer attend a church, or are currently attending weekly Mass yet you wish to deepen your faith, you can learn more about the Church below or at the Catholics Come Home website.
Every year tens of thousands of people join the Catholic Church, usually on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. On that night, the church holds the most important celebration of the whole year: the Easter Vigil, on the day we call Holy Saturday.
Catholic parishes welcome these new members through a process of education, faith sharing, and rituals known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
Those who have already been baptized in a Christian church are called candidates; those who have not been baptized are known as catechumens.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) describes RCIA as a process in which participants “undergo . . . conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments . . . The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism.”
In many parishes, the RCIA program begins in the fall and includes a series of weekly meetings, often with members of the parish who are serving as sponsors (mentors for people who have already been baptized) or godparents (for those who have not been baptized).
For more information, call a nearby parish and ask to speak with the pastor or the person who coordinates the RCIA program. Taking part in RCIA will give you an opportunity to learn more: there is no obligation.
To read a series of questions and answers about RCIA, contact your local parish or visit the U.S. bishops’ website.
"Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works."---the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 198
Catholic belief is succinctly expressed in the profession of faith or credo called the Nicene Creed:
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
For specific Christian teachings that we have held for 2,000 years, visit this site to learn more.
Jesus wanted to ensure that the faith would be given to His people in its fullness and safeguarded from erroneous teaching. In a remarkable promise, he assured Peter, the head of the twelve apostles, that nothing would be able to destroy his Church: “…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
To accomplish this, he gave his apostles power and authority to teach and offer to men the good news of salvation (Matthew 28:16-20). To make sure that the faith would be passed on faithfully after their death, the apostles appointed successors to carry on their mission—Paul taught Timothy, "what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). A bishop is truly thus a successor of the apostles, appointed to serve the people of God by teaching the faith as handed down by the Church.
It is an amazing reality that each bishop can trace his lineage of succession back to Jesus Christ himself, who first appointed his twelve apostles to exercise the ministry of transmitting the faith, “to teach all nations and to preach the Gospel to every creature” (Lumen Gentium, 24). When they are ordained to the episcopacy, a bishop is given the sacred ministry of teaching, defending, and leading the flock, the people of God, in the specific area to which he has been given charge. And what a weighty task it is!
As one of his most important duties, the bishop of a diocese (a specific area over which a bishop has charge) is a preacher of the faith, as he “speaks in the name of Christ” to lead new disciples and form them in the truth of Jesus Christ. He also protects his flock from error and harm through his teaching, as well as building up the Church in holiness by “praying and laboring for the people” (LG, 26). This is precisely what the ministry of our bishop, Joseph Strickland, is - to teach, defend, and guide the flock of the Diocese of Tyler. Through the celebration of the sacraments, by his preaching, by his teaching, by his guidance, by his communion with his brother bishops and the Bishop of Rome, the bishop is called to lead the local Church by serving the people of God in Northeast Texas.
A Diocese is simply the territory or churches under to the jurisdiction of a bishop, generally centering upon a major city. In the central city, there is generally a Cathedral (from the word cathedra meaning chair) which is considered the chief church of the diocese. In every Cathedral, there is the Bishop’s chair which is a symbol of his leadership and teaching authority. A diocese is also called a “See.” The early Church had six major Sees, or churches: More than merely a territorial unit, though, a diocese is a living entity, truly the local Church. In the case of the Diocese of Tyler, the Bishop tends a flock which covers 33 counties! Learn more about our Diocese (link: Diocesan info)