2022 Bishop Gorman Catholic School Founders Day Convocation Address

Written by Father Justin Wylie and delivered by Bishop Joseph Strickland
McCallum Stadium | October 5, 2022

Good morning, fellow Crusaders!

I’m very touched by your Texan hospitality, which sees this newest guy in town invited to give the Founder’s Day keynote address. Now that’s welcoming!

I couldn’t be more excited to be in a place than here at Bishop Gorman Catholic School, nor more honored by your invitation to visit with you for a few moments this afternoon.

Who is this new guy? If I sound funny because I’m an African; which is funny, because it is something I think you can hear more than see! At least in my case.

It’s my joy to be instructing students in philosophy in their sophomore year, and as an elective for juniors and seniors – it really is a window into your world to spend this precious time in your sons’ and daughters’ development and formation.

I am a product of Catholic education, myself – all the way through primary, secondary and tertiary – and I started out in a school very much like Gorman, St. Benedict’s College in Johannesburg, also founded in 1958.

I went on to pursue a career in law, specializing in international law at the University of Notre Dame, and working in the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in The Hague.

I also served as a State Advocate or Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General in South Africa, before discerning a vocation to the priesthood in my late 20s.

I received all my priestly formation in Rome, earning three degrees in philosophy, theology and canon law at the Jesuit flagship, the Gregorian University.

I was seconded into the diplomatic service of the Church at UN HQ in New York City, which was a unique blend of my legal and priestly formation and experience.

I transferred to the States out of a desire to be closer to my siblings and their children, and before coming to Tyler, served in the Diocese of Lincoln for the past 5 years as Rector of its Cathedral and grade school, as well as Church history teacher in its Catholic High School.

I’ve lived and worked in many places, but like the wine at the Wedding of Cana, the Lord definitely saved the best for last, in calling me to be associated with the energy and initiative I see coming from the Diocese of Tyler and Bishop Gorman Catholic High School, in particular. It is a very exciting place to be and a very exciting time to be here. Your children are very lucky. This is a moment for all of us to seize upon.