A Century and Beyond 1993-2010

Most Reverend Eusebius J. Beltran was born in Ashley, Pennsylvania, in 1934, the fifth of eight children, to Joseph and Helen (Kozlowski) Beltran. His parents were devout Catholics and instilled their faith belief in their children, all of whom are practicing Catholics. Most of his growing up years were spent in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His family were members of a Polish Catholic parish and he attended Marymount School. He took the name "Joseph" as his confirmation name.

Following high school, he entered the seminary. His desire was to be a missionary. At that time the state of Georgia was considered mission territory so he followed his older brother's example and became a seminarian for the Diocese of Savannah. Archbishop Beltran's father, a Spanish immigrant who made a living as a coal miner, was without work when the mines in Pennsylvania were closed. One daughter was already living in Georgia and persuaded her parents and younger siblings to move to Georgia where Mr. Beltran found employment. However, at the age of 59, he died of black lung disease, a hazard of working in the coal mines for years. Helen Beltran lived to see her son ordained as Bishop of Tulsa and died shortly thereafter.

Archbishop Beltran studied for eight years at Saint Charles Seminary in Philadelphia. He was ordained a priest on May 14, 1960, in Atlanta's Cathedral of Christ the King. During his priestly formation years, Georgia was split into two dioceses and he was ordained for the Diocese of Atlanta by Most Reverend Francis Hyland. For eighteen years, Father Beltran, later Monsignor Beltran, would minister to the people in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, serving in several parishes and archdiocesan positions.

In the last parish he served as pastor, Monsignor Beltran took an inner-city parish that was falling victim to the white-flight mentality so prevalent in the United States during the 1970's and turned it into a viable community. He never shied away from controversy or his beliefs, proof of which can be seen in the fact that he marched in Selma during the race riots. While at Saint Anthony Church in Atlanta, he began a weekday food program and child care center and brought life back to the parish. His love of the people and his nurturing spirit is remembered to this day as he has been invited to return there in June 2003 to celebrate the parish's centennial.

His energy, his devotion to the Church and his pastoral approach are surely among the attributes which led to his appointment by Pope Paul VI as Bishop of Tulsa on February 28, 1978. He was ordained by Most Reverend Charles A. Salatka in Holy Family Cathedral on April 20,1978. He very quickly adopted Oklahoma as his home and for fifteen years he worked tirelessly to build up the various apostolates of the Catholic Church. Most notable were his efforts to assist the needy. He supported Catholic Charities and under that umbrella saw that there was help for unwed mothers, AIDS victims, homeless families and women who had just been released from prison. He lived the motto he chose when named Bishop of Tulsa: "We are one in Christ."

On November 24, 1992, Eusebius Joseph Beltran was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the third Archbishop of Oklahoma City to succeed retiring Archbishop Charles Salatka. He was installed on January 22, 1993. Archbishop Beltran's first official act, in his first week in his new position in Oklahoma City, was to organize opposition to a proposed law that would have stripped away all state and local regulations concerning abortion.

Thus, to this day, he strives to make life better for those in need. He has been responsible for increasing the apostolates overseen by Catholic Charities. He continues his commitment to the unborn. Contributions to the Archdiocesan Development Fund appeal have increased to include the building of a Catholic youth camp and an annual contribution to every Catholic school in the Archdiocese. He hopes that one day Catholic education will be affordable for all children through an education endowment.

On May 1, 2003, Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran, along with his family, friends both old and new and Catholics from across Oklahoma and elsewhere, will gather to celebrate his twenty-five years of serving God and His people as a bishop and archbishop. From his humble beginnings and the faith which was nurtured from his earliest age, he has touched the lives of so many people in so many memorable ways. There is no doubt that thou- sands of people have been touched through his spiritual guidance, his dedication to the struggle for justice and his love of humanity. His positive outlook, his devotion to the Eucharist and his prayerful life all set the tone and example for the flock which he shepherds.

On December 16, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Beltran’s replacement, Bishop Paul S. Coakley, of Salina, Kansas as the fourth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Archbishop Beltran served two years past the standard 75 year retirement age for Bishops.

Archbishop Beltran served the Oklahoma Catholics as Bishop of Tulsa and Archbishop of Oklahoma City for a total of 32 years. In his own words at the press conference of Archbishop-Elect Coakley, Archbishop Beltran thanked God for the blessing and opportunity to serve the people of Oklahoma all these years.

Archbishop Emeritus Beltran still resides in Oklahoma City and helps with Masses and liturgies as he is needed. He is enjoying his retirement and travels often.