Alumni Bishops Reflect on their Formation

Bishop Robert VasaServing the Catholic Church has been UD's commitment since it was founded in 1956. Not only do alumni serve as chaplains, youth ministers, brothers, sisters and priests, but seven bishops claim UD as their alma mater.

Alumni like Bishop Daniel E. Flores '83 & '87 of the Diocese of Brownsville (Texas) mention the university's liberal arts education as being instrumental to their formation as clergy.

"I have always counted my time at the University of Dallas as one of the most formative experiences of my life and am grateful to God for the many gifts I received while there," said Bishop Flores.

Similarly, Bishop Robert Francis Vasa, '76, (left) who now leads the Diocese of Santa Rosa (Calif.), remembers becoming enthralled with the works of William Faulkner while studying theology at UD. "I found at the university an opportunity to engage this world of ideas, grapple with them and derive from them my own synthesis of philosophy, theology and world view," he said. "The exposure along the way to good secular and challenging literature became an integral part, for me, of that synthesis."

Our newest alumni bishop, Joseph Strickland '81, who was formally invested as bishop of the Diocese of Tyler (Texas) last November, looks back on his UD years fondly. "I truly believe the education I received at the University of Dallas is the foundation of all that I have done in 27 years of priesthood. I remember laughing with friends and family after I began to truly enter into the UD experience as I told them 'we even write reflection papers in math class'."

"UD offered me the wonders of the human endeavor as they have unfolded throughout history and encouraged me to reflect deeply on the meaning of these wonders. That deep reflection in the light of Christ has been basic to all of my work as a Catholic priest," said Strickland.

Other alumni bishops include Bishop Oscar Cantu '89, who serves the Diocese of Las Cruces (N.M.). Auxiliary bishops J. Douglas Deshotel '74 and Mark Seitz '76 serve the Diocese of Dallas. Bishop Michael Duca '74 & '78 serves the Diocese of Shreveport.

Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

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