On Aug. 8, the 2017 Archbishop’s Dinner was held at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club.
Hosted by Archbishop Coakley and the board of directors of the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma, the nearly 300 attendees were able to visit with 17 seminarians, who are in formation for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
The beneficiary of the dinner was the Saint John Vianney Seminarian Education Endowment Fund at the Catholic Foundation. The endowment fund, with an initial founding gift of $50,000, will make annual grants to the seminarian education program in the archdiocese. The fund is named after the patron saint of parish priests, Saint John Vianney, a French priest who was internationally known for his spiritual transformation of the community of Ars, France, where he served.
The dinner was preceded by an Angel’s Reception with Archbishop Coakley for sponsors of the event. Tables were decorated with floral centerpieces created with the help of residents of The Center of Family Love.
The program included remarks from Archbishop Coakley; introduction of the seminarians by Director of Seminarians Father Joseph Irwin; a testimonial from the senior seminarian Deacon Vic Luong, who is scheduled to be ordained in June after his senior year at Saint Meinrad Seminary in Indiana; an update on vocations by Director of Vocations Father Brian Buettner; and a video of the recently held Quo Vadis Days (summer retreat for young men discerning for the priesthood).
Holy Cards of Saint John Vianney blessed by Archbishop Coakley at the conclusion of the dinner were distributed to all attendees.
"Some time ago, a friend asked me out of all the ministries and priories I have as a bishop, what is my greatest priority?” Archbishop Coakley said. “I must say that there are so many important ministries in our archdiocese. All of them are important. But, of everything I do as archbishop, my No. 1 priority is our priests. We must have good priests to have a thriving, vibrant, sacramental Church.”
“Your support for the formation and education of seminarians is absolutely critical. Each year, in the archdiocese, the single largest item in the budget for the archdiocese is the cost of our vocations and seminarian program. The Lord willing, and thanks to the great work of Father Buettner and others, I have every confidence that we will have increasing numbers of seminarians to prepare for priesthood. The new Saint John Vianney Fund will be a critical part of our ability to educate and form future generations of priests to serve in our parishes.”
Sponsors for the event included: Cherubim Level – Two anonymous gifts were received for the fund at this level.
Thrones Level – Mr. and Mrs. John Hefner, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Luetkemeyer, Parizek Farms, Dr. and Mrs. Roger Schultz.
Archangel Level – Mr. and Mrs. James L. Blevins, Christ the King Church, Mr. and Mrs. James Connelly, Mr. and Mrs. Doug Eason, Saint Thomas More University Parish, Mr. and Mrs. Danny Stith, Rick Jones Buick GMC, Mr. and Mrs. Darin Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mulligan, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh O'Hara, Saint John the Baptist Church, PDC Productions, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Aneshansley/Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Smail, First National Bank of Oklahoma, Aurora R. Nalagan, M.D. in memory of Edwin C. Nalagan, M.D., Mr. and Mrs. Craig Crowder/Mr. and Mrs. Larry Downey, Mrs. Cathey Cooper/Mrs. Shirley Miller, Saint Mary Church, Ponca City.
To make a donation to the St. John Vianney Seminarian Education Endowment Fund, mail your gift to the Catholic Foundation at P.O. Box 32180, Oklahoma City 73123, or go online at www.cfook.org/vianneyfund.
If you have questions about the fund or making a legacy gift to the fund, call the foundation office at (405) 721-4115.