Monday, December 31, 2012

Wishing You All a Blessed New Year

I just wanted to take a few moments to wish you all a Blessed New Year and to promise my prayers. 

I finally got around to editing my profile.  People are still getting used to calling me bishop, as I am getting used to the title myself but at least it is a little less of a mouth full than bishop-elect!!! 

The great people at Group M7, the internet company that hosts our diocesan website, are working on a website that I can use personally.  It is still in the design phase but before too long I will be switch to that and ending my use of this blog.  Don’t worry!!!  I will offer you plenty of notice for the switch and I will be able to use the new website like a blog but with other great features also.  There will also be a link from the official website of the Diocese of Tyler, so in case you do miss the information on my blog you will always be able to catch up with me there.

I spoke to one of our seminarians this morning and when we were both hanging up and wishing each other a happy new year he laughed.  He explained that he was laughing because 2013 will be a VERY NEW YEAR for me and for the diocese.  His laughter was quite appropriate because each step along this new year will be a brand new experience for me as bishop of this family that I have come to love so deeply called the Diocese of Tyler.  Through the years I’ve often commented to newly weds and newly ordained priests that they have to realize how important their first year in their new vocation is.  Every experience is a first time event in their new role.  It dawned on me a couple of weeks after my ordination that I need to heed my own advice.  The coming months will bring many new experiences for me.

One of those brand new experiences has already passed.  Celebrating my first Christmas as bishop was a joyful and blessed event for me.  People have commented that I seem so comfortable in my new role and I have to say that their perception is accurate.  I know it is the Grace of God that allows me to enter into this new role so smoothly and I also appreciate the kindness and support of the people and so many who are assisting me directly with liturgies etc.  I feel everyone “pulling for me” and that is a great comfort.  I suppose it is just another manifestation of the blessing I feel in being called to be bishop of my family!!!

Speaking of family, I’ll share a picture of my niece Megan Schnurbusch.  You can probably guess that she is Cinderella in this picture.  You can see that she is enjoying her new role also!!!



Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Greetings

A Blessed Christmas to All-

As I celebrate my first Christmas as Bishop of Tyler I wanted to greet all of you and assure you of my prayers during this holy season. 
As you can imagine it is exciting to return to the Cathedral this evening for my first Midnight Mass as bishop.  I have celebrated many midnight masses at the Cathedral through the years, as an assistant priest, as rector of the Cathedral, concelebrating with Bishop Corrada and now as bishop.  The Cathedral is always beautiful for Christmas and I look forward to this wonderful liturgy.
Christmas is such a busy time for all of us that it is easy to forget what it is all about.  I pray that where ever you are this Christmas that you take the opportunity to go to mass and celebrate the birth of Our Lord.  I was always mystified as a kid by the reality that many believing Christians don’t go to church to celebrate Christmas.  The liturgical basis of our worship as Catholics helps us to stay rooted in the basic events of salvation that have unfolded for us all. 
I know that many of you have a tradition of inviting non-Catholics to join us for our Christmas masses especially for Midnight Mass.  I encourage you to continue that tradition.  There is no limit to what God can accomplish in all of our lives when we open our hearts to the truth of His saving plan.  Let us pray that all Christians, Catholic or not, may grow in a deeper contemplation of the wonders God has done for us as we celebrate Christmas 2012.

Sincerely in Christ’s Name,

+ Joseph

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Reflections and Calendar Update


This picture includes (seated on the front row, from the left) Bishop David Fellhauer, Bishop Edmond Carmody and Archbishop Michael Sheehan. All three of these men along with Bishop Herzig, Bishop Corrada and so many others have played significant roles in my formation.

It is a special blessing to me personally that Bishop Carmody, bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi has agreed to return to Tyler to serve as my Vicar General. I look forward to working with him and especially asking him to assist us in development for the future of the diocese. He and Bishop Corrada have placed the diocese on a firm foundation after Bishop Herzig began the diocese and formed the basic administrative offices. It is an exciting time to continue the work of these fine men and a special blessing that one of them will be working as my "right hand man" as the diocese continues to develop.  

Many people have commented on the abundant blessings our diocese has received with the three fine men of Christ and His Church who have shepherded the diocese since it began. Herzig, Carmody and Corrada will be names that will always be remembered as a triumvirate of strength in the Catholic faith.  I am humbled to realize that it is my charge to take up their yoke and continue their fine work.  I know that I will rely on the prayers and support of all in the diocese and beyond.   

Midnight mass for Christmas 2012 will be a very blessed celebration for me.  Please know that all of you will be in my prayers in a special way at that mass.  I ask that you also pray for me and the Diocese of Tyler, by the grace of God may the coming years also be blessed as we seek to live and proclaim Jesus Christ more abundantly in north east Texas.




December 26-  No public mass

December 27-  No public mass 

December 28-  8:00 AM Mass at the Bishop’s Chapel in the Chancery 

December 29-  5:30 PM Mass at the Cathedral 

December 30-  9:00 AM Mass at the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul

                        11:00 AM Mass at the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul 

December 31-  6:00 PM Mass at the Cathedral 

January 1, 2013-  10:00 AM at the Cathedral 

January 2- No public mass 

January 3-  8:00 AM Mass at the Bishop’s Chapel in the Chancery 

January 4-  No public mass 

January 5-  5:00 PM Mass at St. Joseph’s in Marshall 

January 6-  9:30 AM Mass at Holy Spirit Church in Holly Lake, Texas 

January 7-  11-  Bishop’s Retreat in San Antonio 

January 12-  5:00 PM Confirmation Mass at St. Augustine Church, St. Augustine, Texas 

January 13-  1:00 PM Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tyler

Saturday, December 8, 2012

More Pictures

These pictures are from 10:00 Mass at the Cathedral on December 2, when I officially took possession of the Cathedral.

The other pictures are from the Gala celebration of the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart getting a little exercise and learning how to do heart surgery.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Calendar Revision

Wouldn't you know..........I get it posted and the calendar changes.........for now just one change!

December 20-  Remove-  7:40 Mass at Gorman School Chapel
                          Add-  8:15 Mass at St. Gregory Cathedral School at the Cathedral

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Few Pictures

 Yep that's me in the miter!!

 A great partnership Bishop and Vincent Meinzer

 Bishop and Archbishop Sheehan

 Bishop Corrada laying on of hands

 Bishop Carmody, Archbishop Sheehan
                         (first row)

 Me with Dennis, Stephen, Barbara, Katherine and Megan Schnurbusch (my baby sister and her family)

 Archbishop Sheehan and ski buddies from New Mexico, Fr. Dennis Garcia, Fr. Larry Brieto, Archbishop, Fr. Francis Malley

 Me with my sister Ann and family,  Julie Smith McManus, Beth Smith, Michael Smith and Macy McManus

Calendar December 8 to December 25

December 8-  5:30 PM Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Jefferson, Texas

December 9-  6:30 AM Mass at the Cathedral
                       2:00 PM Guadalupe Mass in Athens

December 10-  No public mass

December 11-  No public mass

December 12-  7:00 PM Confirmation Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Tyler

December 13-  No public mass

December 14-  7:40 AM Mass at the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul

December 15-  10:00 AM Mass for Deacon Candidates in Marshall- Ministry of Lector
                           5:30 PM Confirmation Mass in Hallsville

December 16-  8:30 AM Mass at St. Augustine
                         Spending time in South East Deanery

December 17-  Visiting South East Deanery

December 18-  7:40 AM Mass at Bishop Gorman School Chapel

December 19-  8:00 AM Mass in Bishop's Chapel at Chancery

December 20-  7:40 AM Mass at Bishop Gorman School Chapel

December 21-  9:40 AM Bishop Gorman School Mass to close semester at the Chapel of Saints Peter  and Paul

December 22-  No public mass

December 23-  Masses at St. Matthew's in Longview

December 24-  10:00 PM Mass at the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul- Christmas Eve
                         12:00 AM Midnight Mass at the Cathedral

December 25-  8:00 AM Mass at the Cathedral

A Tremendous Week

As I try to share a few reflections about the most awesome week in the life of this kid from Atlanta, Texas; I realize that there is no way I can capture everything.  Acknowledging that my reflections will be inadequate I will go ahead and make a stab at it.

It seems especially significant that Bishop Gorman School was highlighted in the Bull (mandate) from the Holy Father Pope Benedict naming me as the 4th Bishop of Tyler.  That is one element of awesomeness that Bishop Gorman School was actually mentioned in the Bull.  It reflects all the wonderful people in my school family who have been a part of this tremendous week and truly a part of my entire journey.  Although St. Gregory Cathedral School was not mentioned directly I hope that those who are part of that wonderful “branch” of my family realize that they really were in the message also.  St. Gregory and Bishop Gorman are sister schools and they BOTH did a tremendous job for me personally and for the diocese of adding a WHOLE LOT OF AWESOMENESS to this past week.  I could go on for a very long time mentioning the behind the scenes and “in the spotlight” contributions that Bishop Gorman administration, staff, faculty and students made to the event of my ordination.  I can say DITTO for all that the administration, staff, faculty and students of St. Gregory offered as well.  I suppose what this expresses for me is that as children and families have been so much a part of my journey it is especially appropriate that the children and families of our schools have been right at the middle of my ordination.

I know that all of our Catholic schools contributed in beautiful ways to my ordination and in addition to Bishop Gorman and St. Gregory I want to especially thank St. Mary’s, St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s.  Even though I haven’t had as much interaction with these schools they stepped up beautifully to participate,  send wishes of congratulations and add materially to the celebration in wonderful ways.  I look forward to embracing all of these kids into my growing family also.

I commented on a couple of the posts of a fellow blogger in regard to my election and ordination as the 4th Bishop of Tyler and stated that his words were “over the top”.  Somehow that may be a good description of the wonders that God has done among us after all.  The Lord has been truly “over the top” in the grace that He has offered me.  The event of my ordination was a blessing to me in a deeply personal way; the same can be said for my family and my wonderful extended family that encompasses the Cathedral and the whole diocese.  It was a blessing for the visiting bishops who had nothing but praise for ALL the elements of the two days that many of them spent with us. 

I wish that I could take the time to publically and personally thank each and every person involved but I know if I made the attempt I would leave some dear people off the list and I’m afraid I’d be accused of neglecting my pastoral duties.  We do have some celebrations in the works to say thank you to key groups in a small way.  My expressions of gratitude will forever be inadequate expressions of thanks for the wonderful people who have done so much but maybe realizing that makes it all the more important that I at least try.

I’m reading a book on spiritual leadership these days and I loved a quote from a Chinese monk from centuries before Christ that said, a true leader is one who can accomplish a great work and leave the people saying “we did this”.  In reality my ordination isn’t a good example because I really had very little to do with it but I rejoice that the feeling I do get is that all of you who have worked so hard do come away from this week with exactly that feeling, “WE DID SOMETHING GREAT BY THE GRACE OF GOD”.  I feel my prayers is already being answered in wondrous ways that your hard work will reap tremendous benefits now and for a long time to come.

We all love Bishop Carmody, (the 2nd Bishop of Tyler) and he has often told us after various efforts in the diocese, “You done good”.  It was such a beautiful moment when Bishop Corrada greeted us as his fellow East Texans, the response of the congregation symbolized the significance of his warm statement for all of us.   It seems to be most fitting that I close and thank you in true East Texas style.  GOD BLESS YOU DIOCESAN FAMILY, YOU DONE GOOD!!!!!!