Sacred Vows

The trend line is shifting as the Church shines a light on marriage and family

By Bill Brewer; Photography by Stephanie Richer

Marriage matters.

How can we tell in this day and time, when a quarter to half of all marriages end in divorce, younger single people are waiting longer than ever to marry — if they even do marry and the divorce rate among older adults is climbing? Read more…

  • ‘It’s about church’

    Chrism Mass brings together East Tennessee faithful

    By Dan McWilliams

    The 2019 Chrism Mass, No. 11 for Bishop Richard F. Stika, was a celebration of priestly fidelity, of the blessing of the oils used throughout the Church year, and of new and ongoing vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Read more…

    FOCUS on Sex Week: Theology of the Body is the alternative

    By Bill Brewer

    St. John Paul II was either ecstatic or mortified by being a part of Sex Week at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT). Maybe both.

    The Holy Father’s renowned work, Theology of the Body, was on full display April 2 as a young disciple studying for her Ph.D. in theology from Ave Maria University lectured on the saint’s insight into God’s true meaning for the body, the union of man and woman, and the sacrament of marriage. Read more…

    Diocese receives Vatican OK to exhume Fr. Ryan’s remains

    Servant of God’s body will be relocated to Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul as part of sainthood process

    By Bill Brewer

    The cause for sainthood for Father Patrick Ryan continues to move forward, with the Vatican giving its approval last month for the exhumation of Father Ryan’s remains and relocation to the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Chattanooga.

    Bishop Richard F. Stika announced the approval by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on March 22. Read more…

  • Impact of Notre Dame Cathedral fire felt in East Tennessee

    By Dan McWilliams

    The fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on April 15 had reverberations around the Christian world, and some of them touched the Diocese of Knoxville. Read more…

    A gift of the fullness of the priesthood

    Bishop Richard F. Stika marks a decade of his episcopate as he becomes the diocese’s longest-serving bishop

    By Bill Brewer

    In celebrating the 10th anniversary of his ordination and installation as the third bishop of Knoxville, Bishop Richard F. Stika recalled one of the first questions he was asked by the media when he was introduced in Knoxville in March 2009: what major initiative was he going to undertake as the new bishop of Knoxville? Read more…

    Incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney to be in Diocese of Knoxville

    The incorrupt heart of St. John (Jean) Vianney, a major relic of the patron saint of parish priests, is coming to the Diocese of Knoxville on May 23 as part of its pilgrimage to the United States.

    The Knights of Columbus, who are entrusted with the relic on its national tour, have worked with Bishop Richard F. Stika to bring the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney to the diocese. Read more…


He dwells among us: A life-changing consecration

Jesus knocks on the door of our heart and longs to enter our house, where Mary needs to be 

By Bishop Richard F. Stika

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” –Matthew 1:20 

The words spoken by the angel of the Lord to St. Joseph in a dream were not meant for him alone. They are for each of us to heed as well: Do not be afraid to take Mary into your home — into your heart. In May, when the Church celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary in a special way, I urge you to consider something that will forever change your relationship with Jesus and, thus, your very life — your consecration “to Jesus through the hands of Mary.”  Read more…

Praying for perspective: Thanking God that we’re not Him

He welcomes us all at Easter, which is why you get there early and squeeze toward the middle

By George Valadie

Sure enough, it happened again.

Seems to be the same every year. And I’ve been wanting to get it off my chest.

But first, let me just say I thank God we’re not God. I don’t think we’d be very good at it. At least I know I wouldn’t. Read more…

Marriage Enrichment: Call to Love conference spiritually uplifting

One participant says, ‘Our marriages are the fire, the warmth, and the light of God’s love in the world’

By Marian Christiana

Our first Call to Love Marriage Conference was held March 23 at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sixty-four couples participated in this bilingual event. There were both English and Spanish tracks, and all the participants ended their day at the 5 p.m. vigil Mass celebrated by Bishop Richard F. Stika in the cathedral.

At the end of Mass, Bishop Stika led the couples through a renewal of their marriage vows with Father Arthur Torres translating. I am happy to report that the day was very well received by all who attended. Read more…

Thoughts and Prayers for the Faithful: Let’s truly celebrate Easter

Whatever prayers you’ve taken on for Lent, continue them for Easter as acts of thanksgiving

By Bob Hunt

So, how’s your Lent going? We’re in early April now, so by this time our Lenten commitments, much like our New Year’s resolutions come the first week of February, have either proven the test of time or petered out long ago.

I’m holding up pretty well, though not perfectly. I’ve had to drop a couple of things I wanted to do. I’ve found that I can’t fast the way I used to. My blood sugar protests too loudly. Still, I’ve managed to keep up most of my commitments, having turned some years ago from an emphasis on giving up things to one of taking on extra activities: prayer, worship, giving, small sacrifices. Read more…