Most Reverend Joseph Strickland, the Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, visited Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday, Sept. 9. He was here for an “Ask the Bishop” booth from 11-1 o’clock outside the Student Center where he would answer any questions that a student may have over the Catholic faith or even Christianity in general.
“I would say if [students] are looking for meaning in their life, it’s a great path to developing and to finding meaning and purpose,” Strickland said.
Many students did come up to ask Strickland questions over many things while I was interviewing him.
“The body is sacred but something that is in keeping with the sacred nature of the human body, I wouldn’t have a problem with", Strickland said in response to a question ever rather it would be okay to have a tattoo. “I wouldn’t say no tattoos at all but keep in mind that this is the vessel of the Holy Spirit.”
Born in Fredericksburg, Texas, young Joseph was born into a Catholic family on October 31, 1958. After graduating from the University of Dallas and Holy Trinity Seminary with a Bachelor of Philosophy in 1981. Three years later he was ordained into priesthood.
Bishop Strickland carries with him a very nice air and remained respectful throughout the whole interview. We even got carried away while talking about how we both like to run for recreation and the blog he started to track his running titled The Running Priest.
“It’s actually just a website now. Bishopstrickland.com,” Strickland said. “I started when we were building a chapel in Tyler and I started it as a fundraiser where people could pledge a certain amount per mile that I ran. Then I would tell them about my run each day. There was one point I did 30 days in a row.”
Pope Benedict XVI, on Sept. 29, 2012, announced the then Father Strickland would become the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler. A diocese is a geographical set of land that is watched over by a Bishop, similar to an American state.
“It actually comes from the way the Roman Empire was divided up,” Strickland said. “We have states, and they have diocese. You’ll find that a lot of things in the structure of the Roman Catholic Church come from Roman structures that they used.”
Undoubtedly busy, SFA is fortunate to have a visit from such an important member of the church. He will be visiting us again Oct. 31 for Spirit Brunch.
“It’s a pretty diverse, active campus. I like it.” Strickland said.
- by Devin Horton