First Chrism Mass celebrated in new cathedral

‘The Lord has anointed us,’ Bishop Stika declares as 1,000 gather for diocesan Holy Week service

By Dan McWilliams

The still-sparkling new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus hosted its first Chrism Mass on March 27 as Bishop Richard F. Stika and more than 60 priests joined some 1,000 of the faithful for the annual Holy Week celebration.

The priests renewed their vows before the bishop and the people, and Bishop Stika blessed the holy oils that will be used in the Church throughout the year. Read more…

  • Family life center at the heart of future plans for St. Mary-Gatlinburg

    Despite setbacks from wildfires, Sevier County parish is outgrowing present space for activities

    By Bill Brewer

    Unlike the proverbial phoenix, St. Mary Parish in Gatlinburg hasn’t had to rise from the ashes, though that possibility was a sobering thought for Father Antony Punnackal on Nov. 28, 2016.

    Still, Father Punnackal, CMI, has construction on his mind. As many of his Gatlinburg neighbors rebuild from the devastating wildfires 17 months ago, Father Punnackal and his parishioners are making plans to expand St. Mary, which was spared in the firestorm. Read more…

    Diocese of Knoxville parishioners take part in Regional Encuentro

    East Tennessee delegates gather in Miami with peers from 29 Southeast dioceses to plan for National Encuentro

    By Brittany Garcia

    Some people have heard much about the V Encuentro (the 5th National Encounter of Hispanic/Latino Ministry). Others, perhaps, have not heard so much.

    But the V Encuentro is an exciting, four-year process of evangelization, accompaniment, and consultation to shed light on the Latino/Hispanic community within the U.S. Catholic Church and the real issues its faces in this day and age. Read more…

    Old cathedral hosts its final rites of election

    More than 200 catechumens and candidates take part in the first-weekend-of-Lent ceremonies this year

    By Dan McWilliams

    Bishop Richard F. Stika presided as the final rites of election were held in the old Sacred Heart Cathedral in February.

    This year’s rites of election were held Saturday, Feb. 17, for the Chattanooga and Five Rivers deaneries and Sunday, Feb. 18, for the Cumberland Mountain and Smoky Mountain deaneries. Read more…

    A Temple of Your Glory

    Dedication of the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is historic day in the life of the Church in East Tennessee

    By Dan McWilliams
    Photos by Stephanie Richer Photography, Deacon Patrick Murphy-Racey, and Stephen Golder

    What a day for the Diocese of Knoxville.

    In a ceremony 30 years in the making, Bishop Richard F. Stika dedicated and consecrated the sparkling new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on March 3. A gathering of more than 1,000 witnessed the historic Mass that capped a three-year construction project and a three-decade- long dream. Read more…

  • Christ’s Passion relived in Living Stations of the Cross

    All Saints, Holy Ghost among several Diocese of Knoxville parishes to re-enact the crucifixion, resurrection on Good Friday

    The Diocese of Knoxville’s Office of Hispanic Ministry invited parishioners around the diocese to accompany Jesus through his Passion and death in the Living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, March 30, that were held at several parishes throughout the diocese. Read more…

    KCHS, Notre Dame students make statements on school safety

    Campus activities follow recent shootings in other states as parents, faculties share concerns about disturbing trend

    By Emily Booker

    Today’s high school students were born after Columbine—a word that has become synonymous with student shootings.

    These students have always known lockdown drills and breaking news of gun violence in schools. They are young, but not too young to address the tragedy and the danger of violence in their hallways. Read more…

    Catholic veterans post helps vets with ‘anything’

    Post 1973 at Our Lady of Fatima assists vets in a variety of projects, including food drives and flag-retirement ceremonies

    By Bill Brewer

    Deacon Ken Long spends each Tuesday giving Communion to a small group of men he barely knows but shares much in common.

    He’s a veteran helping other Catholic veterans remain strong in their faith. Read more…

    Scouting dinner sees changing of the guard

    Longtime diocesan Scouting committee chair George LeCrone Sr. passes the torch to new leader Chris Manning

    By Dan McWilliams

    The annual diocesan Scouting Mass and dinner March 17 saw a changing of the guard along with the presentation of youth and adult awards.

    The Mass was the first Scouting liturgy to be held in the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    At the dinner, George LeCrone Sr., chairman of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, formally handed over the reins of that job to Chris Manning, who sits on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America Great Smoky Mountain Council. Mr. LeCrone had served as chairman of the committee since 1989. During the dinner, he received an award naming him chairman emeritus, effective April 1. Read more…


He dwells among us: Do not be afraid of God’s mercy

Ensure that the suffering Jesus underwent in His Passion has its Easter triumph in our hearts

By Bishop Richard F. Stika

Easter is so special that the Church celebrates it over eight days—an octave—culminating on the following Sunday, which we call “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

To understand why this second Sunday of Easter is so important to our octave celebration, we need only reflect upon the image that Jesus commanded a Polish nun, St. Faustina Kowalska, to have painted of Him with the prayer, “Jesus, I trust in you,” inscribed on it.

St. Faustina lived but a short life of 33 years, dying in 1938, but so significant is her life and the message of God’s mercy described in her diary that the Church extols her as the “Apostle of Mercy.” Read more…

Living the readings: Our cathedral: the mission begins

The new Sacred Heart Cathedral joins all that came before it

By Father Joseph Brando

What is the function of the Church? One answer may be that the Church exists to make our Risen Lord present in every corner of the world and in every human soul. That job is daunting, if not impossible. Like any great challenge, that job description needs to be broken down into “doable” pieces. As the Church has come to know our Lord better throughout the ages, we can look at our risen Savior as priest, prophet, and king. Read more…

Praying for perspective: Seeing oneself more like Joseph of Arimathea

When thinking about what Joseph wrestled with on that long-ago Good Friday, the question comes: Can we do more?

By George Valadie

Take a minute, think back, it wasn’t that long ago really— try to recall where you were at noon on Good Friday?

Though some were lucky enough to have the day off, my guess is that most were likely at work, doing what you do, doing what needs to be done for the people who count on you.

Sacrificing in some way—small or large—for the loved ones who get to live and love because you are faithful to your job.

Two thousand years ago, that’s exactly what He was doing.

Working. Doing the job He had been sent to do. Doing what needed to be done. A lot more sacrifice than yours or mine to be sure, but, like you, faithful to the ones He loved so they could live … forever. Read more…

Marriage Enrichment: Giving up procrastinating ends up helping marriage

A timely Lenten goal has an unexpected benefit, and longest-married couples can teach the same lesson

By Marian Christiana

Happy Easter season! I hope you all had a very fulfilling Lenten season and are rejoicing in the Risen Lord. I have to admit that my Lenten journey was a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. I was trying to give up my favorite pastime of procrastinating. Conventional wisdom says that it takes 40 days to create a habit, so I thought Lent would be a great opportunity to try and change a lifelong habit of putting things off (as stated above, procrastinating!) and offering up the effort it was going to take to make this change for a special intention. I figured it could be a win-win situation for me. To help me be successful in this effort I decided to try and figure out why I was like that in the first place. Read more…