On the fifth anniversary of his ordination and installation as the Diocese of Knoxville’s third shepherd, Bishop Richard F. Stika celebrated Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on March 19, which also is the feast day for St. Joseph.
Joined by parishioners, Chancery staff, Religious Sisters of Mercy and Dominican sisters, as well as priests and deacons, Bishop Stika delivered a homily praising St. Joseph for his quiet, solid strength in the face of many challenges as an extraordinary husband to Mary and father to Jesus.
“Betrothed to Mary, he was chosen by God to teach Jesus to be human and to become a man,” Bishop Stika said. “Five years ago, I was introduced to the diocese and I was asked what my goal was as bishop. Basically, I said it was just to teach Jesus to the diocese.”
Continuing a theme very close to him, Bishop Stika said it is so important for all of us to be the hands, feet and voices of Christ.
“And to be the heart of Jesus. It’s the heart that brings it all together,” the bishop said.
Bishop Stika thanked the priests and deacons as well as the Religious Sisters of Mercy and Dominicans for their service. He also thanked people in the diocese for their support and prayers. He appealed to all of them to continue praying for him and the diocese.
“We are all friends and co-workers in Christ. We are the face and hands, feet and heart of Jesus. I need your prayers and I will pray for you,” he said. “This is truly a very special place. I am very privileged to serve here.