The Year of Faith in the eyes of Pope Francis

A short selection from his letter as Archbishop of Buenos Aires

Among the strongest experiences of recent decades is to find locked doors. The growing insecurity has been leading us, little by little, to lock doors, use surveillance methods, security cameras and to distrust the stranger that knocks at our door. However, there are still some open doors in some of our towns. The closed door is a symbol of our present day. It's more than just a sociological fact; it is an existential reality that marks a lifestyle, a way to stand up to reality, to others, to the future. The closed door of my house, which is the place of my privacy, my dreams, my hopes and my sufferings as well as my joys, is closed for others. And it's not just my physical house; it is also the home to my life and my heart. Each time there are fewer and fewer people capable of crossing that threshold. The armored security doors guard the insecurity of a life that is made more fragile and less permeable to the riches of life and love from others.

Read more...

Archdiocese to host Year of Faith film contest

Q and A with Father William Novak, Vicar General

 

By Sooner Catholic Staff

Amid all the excitement surrounding the papal transition, the Year of Faith continues. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is hosting a film contest to celebrate the Year of Faith. Father William Novak, Vicar General for the Archdiocese, told us a little more about it.

SC: What is the theme of this film contest?
FN: It revolves around the Year of Faith. The theme is "Living your faith in word and in deed." In your short film, we'd like you to show us what your faith means to you and how you demonstrate it to the world. Gather your friends and family and start filming! You can use any means available to you in creating a video that tells how you live your faith.

Read more...

"Come and See" weekend previews life of seminarians

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic
Click here for Cristobal's full story.

When Cristobal Deloera was a senior in high school in 2004 and 2005, he had no real picture of the life of a seminarian.

"I only knew seminarians were out in the middle of nowhere, miles and miles away from the city," Deloera said in a written reflection on the discernment of his vocation to the priesthood.

In the winter of that year, though, two mentors from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City - Sister Margarita Vasquez and Father Joseph Michael Irwin - pointedly asked him whether he had ever considered the priesthood.

Read more...

St. Monica's choir returns from Italy

EDMOND — On March 11, the choir of St. Monica's in Edmond returned from a trip to Italy. They gave concerts at the Festival of Peace and Brotherhood in the Castelli Romani region. After auditioning, they were accepted to sing the liturgy for Mass at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. Next, they traveled to Florence to sing at the Duomo. The choir members also "flashmobbed" (a surprise concert planned ahead of time) sacred music outside of Castel Gandalfo, while Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was in residence.

Because of preparations for the conclave, the choir was unable to sing Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on March 6, as previously planned. However, they attended a public rosary and vespers with the College of Cardinals.

Read more...

Catholic Foundation scholarships lessen stress, enable recipients to focus attention on academics

By Sooner Catholic Staff

In his four years at Oklahoma State University, Catholic senior and engineering major Jeff Biggerstaff has so far managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA -- and he cites a scholarship from the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma as one reason for that accomplishment.

"I have been able to dedicate much of my time to my studies because I have had the financial support of scholarships," Biggerstaff said. "Without (the) support (of the Catholic Foundation), my college career would not have been what it was."

After graduation, Biggerstaff -- who is a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Medford -- said he hopes to utilize his degree in biosystems and agricultural engineering as an environmental engineer for an energy company.

Read more...

Aquinas Ministry Formation program equips laity for role in the Church

By Sooner Catholic Staff

As sharers in the role of Christ, members of the laity have an active role to play in the life and activity of the Church, reiterated the bishops in the Second Vatican Council.

To equip the local laity for that role, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City offers the Aquinas Ministry Formation program.

This Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry degree program has as its primary purpose the preparation of a cohort of men and women for leadership in a variety of pastoral ministries in the local Church, according to a news release.

Read more...

St. Gregory's blesses start of Benedictine Hall restoration

SHAWNEE (March 11, 2013) — St. Gregory's University kicked off its multi-million dollar Benedictine Hall Centennial Restoration Project with a blessing ceremony presided over by St. Gregory's Abbey's Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, O.S.B.

The ceremony took place on the steps of the main entrance to Benedictine Hall, which lost its four iconic towers to a 2011 earthquake.

"The week before Spring begins, we gather for a very happy, happy occasion," said Abbot Lawrence. "We are about to begin a good work. Let us pray for God's help through this celebration that God will bring this construction to successful completion, and that His protection will keep those who work on it safe from injury."

Read more...

A statue sheds light on the mission of Pope Francis

By Brianna Joyce
The Sooner Catholic

Across the piazza from the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, or St. John Lateran, in Rome stands a statue. A robed man is poised atop a rough stone dais, his arms raised toward the figures of Christ and the apostles on top of the Basilica. From behind the statue, it appears that his hands are holding up the church. This is the great preacher St. Francis of Assisi, and the legend behind the statue might have significance for the papacy of Pope Francis.

In the year 1207, Pope Innocent III had a dream. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's  excellent book, Great Teachers, tells the story: "In it, he saw the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the mother of all churches, collapsing and one small and insignificant religious brother supporting the church on his shoulders to prevent it from falling." When St. Francis arrived in Rome, the Holy Father recognized him as that "insignificant" man. Pope
Innocent made Francis and his disciples into an official Order, and, ever since, the Franciscans have preached the Gospel from the Holy Land to the New World.

Read more...

After more than a decade, thank you

By Ray Dyer
The Sooner Catholic

Dear Oklahoma Catholics,
This will be my last issue as editor of your Sooner Catholic. Thank you for putting up with me for the past 12 years.

When now Archbishop Emeritus Beltran first hired me to serve as editor of the Sooner Catholic I never dreamed I would still be in the position more than a decade later. This alone must be proof the Church is forgiving and very patient.

Read more...

New Spanish-speaking priests to arrive this summer

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

Three priests from a religious community in Mexico will arrive in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City this summer to assume pastoral care of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Archbishop Paul Coakley announced this month.
"We have both an opportunity and a responsibility to strengthen our pastoral care of Spanish-speaking Catholics, who represent the fastest-growing segment of our Catholic population in Oklahoma," said the archbishop.

"The invitation to welcome three priests from the Priestly Confraternity of Workers of the Kingdom of Christ into the archdiocese -- and to entrust Sacred Heart parish to their care -- is one element of what is going to be a more comprehensive pastoral response," he said.

The priests - whose names the archbishop has not yet received - will likely arrive on or near July 1. All will be native Spanish speakers and at least one will be fluent in English, according to the terms of the agreement between the archdiocese and the confraternity.

Read more...