Archdiocese celebrates graduation of nearly 700 seniors

Catholic education prepares graduates for next phase of life


By The Sooner Catholic Staff

Nearly 700 Catholic students graduated from both Catholic and non-Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City this month -- and the religious education they've received at home, in classrooms and through parishes will ideally provide a foundation for future growth in the faith, Catholic educators said.

 "What we've tried to do is to make sure we hold true to what the intent of Catholic education has always been," said David Morton, principal of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, which graduated 158 seniors this year. "That intent is to do the best job we can teaching the core curriculum and arming the kids with the best knowledge they can possibly have, so they can have options no matter what direction they go."

The integrity of faith lived in service


Archdiocese mourns death of Father Roberto Quant

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 11, 2013) — Hundreds of people crowded the pews of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help for the funeral of Sacred Heart pastor and judicial vicar Father Roberto Quant, who died May 6.

Indeed, because so many family members, friends, clergy members and parishioners gathered to mourn, dozens of people had to be directed from the overflowing church to the adjacent Monsignor Connor Center to view the Mass of Christian Burial via closed circuit television.

Archbishop Paul Coakley presided at the Mass and delivered the homily.

"Father Roberto was deeply loved by the people he served so faithfully and with such a generous spirit of joy," the archbishop said. "He has been for us a loved brother. He has been a skilled canonist in the service of the Church. He was a dear, dear friend of so many. He kept us smiling; he kept us laughing."

Father Quant's life and sudden death bear witness both to the importance of joy and to the fragility of life, the archbishop stressed.

 "We find our joy ultimately in saying yes, submitting and surrendering to the God who loves us," he said. "Precisely when we realize we are not in control of our lives, we realize life is a gift. We give thanks for the gift Father Roberto has been to all of us, for his life and his ministry. Father Roberto's life reminds us that the one, unmistakable, authentic sign of Christian faith is joy. It is my hope that the witness of Father Roberto's life of faith and joyful priestly service will continue to inspire many, many young people to say 'yes' as Father Roberto did and to follow him in a life dedicated to joyful service."


"Faith-filled" Sister Betty retires from Catholic Charities

By Brianna Osborne
The Sooner Catholic

On Friday, May 17, Sister Betty Kehoe, CND, retired after 23 years of dedicated service to the Saint Joseph Counseling Center at Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City. The story of how Sister Betty became a counselor and moved to Oklahoma begins more than 50 years ago.

"I thought about the sisterhood seriously in high school; some friends entered the year before I joined," said Sister Betty. "I was so much in awe of religious life. The structure, the spirituality - it enticed me to look at the community, and what I saw, I liked."

She had found her first vocation. Sister Betty joined the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame in 1957. Years later, her vocation as a religious sister would help inspire her work as a counselor.

Sister Betty began working in education, as a teacher, and, eventually, a school administrator. Where she taught, on the south side of Chicago, there were 50 students to a class. In this busy environment, Sister Betty began to think about work in counseling.


Catholic Foundation honors "Catholic Nurse of the Year"

Winner reminisces about decades in the profession


OKLAHOMA CITY (May 8, 2013) — Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, Mercy Health Center, Saint Anthony Hospital and Saint Eugene Catholic Church and School sponsored a celebration of Catholic nurses with Mass and a reception May 8 at Saint Eugene Catholic Church.

The event featured a keynote speech from Patrick Raglow, executive director of Catholic Charities, as well as tributes from Archbishop Paul Coakley, Father Paul Zahler, Father Bill Ross and Father Joe Jacobi. Saint Gregory's University president Greg Main emceed.

At the reception, Barney Semtner of the Catholic Foundation presented the first "Catholic Nurse of the Year" award to Alveria Kopp of Epiphany parish.
Kopp said she was surprised and delighted to receive the award.


Priests' Nurse to remind clergy members of the importance of health

Leisure and rest are essential to effective ministry, vicar for priests says


By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

In October 2012, Mary Diane Steltenkamp, director of the Catholic Charities Faith Community Nursing Resource Center in Oklahoma City, announced plans to retire in May 2013.

This month, retire she will — for about three months.

In the fall, Steltenkamp will assume the newly created role of Priests' Nurse, a position designed to promote "a culture of wellness" among the priests of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Father Scott Boeckman, vicar for priests, first imagined such a position after he attended a conference in New Orleans and officially learned what he already suspected from experience: Priests are apt to ignore their own health as they minister to others.


Fortnight for Freedom to highlight ongoing challenges to religious liberty

The secular threat to religious liberty — and the corresponding need to defend that freedom — continues unabated, U.S. church leaders stressed this month.

Accordingly, preparations for the second national Fortnight for Freedom — slated for June 21 to July 4, 2013 — include plans for national and local efforts to educate Americans about the primacy and importance of religious liberty to free societies.

"The need for prayer, education and action in defense of religious liberty has never been greater," said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who chairs the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

"The Fortnight for Freedom exists to meet that need," Lori continued.

The Fortnight for Freedom will coincide with relevant decisions from both the Supreme Court and the administration.



1. Attend opening Mass on Friday, June 21, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
2. Pray for the nine Supreme Court justices and the federal administration to respect religious liberty; ask for the intercession of St. Thomas More, patron of religious liberty.
3. Read the USCCB statement Our First, Most Cherished Liberty, available at
4. Discuss the HHS mandate and impending marriage cases with family and friends.
5. Become a "fan" of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City on Facebook and share Fortnight-themed material.

Archbishop Coakley on tornadoes: "We will walk with the people of Oklahoma through their recovery"

“Our first concern is for the victims who have lost their lives or loved ones and suffered injury or loss of property,” Archbishop Coakley said. “We are moved by the efforts of the first responders who have put their own lives on hold to help in this time of need. We owe them a debt of gratitude and assure them of our prayers. As soon as possible, I will be on site in Moore to help support and offer comfort and consolation to anyone who might need or desire it. We draw hope in such times from Jesus’ invitation to the weary or troubled to come to Him and find rest.

Click here to read the full statement

Mustang youth serve Center of Family Love residents

By Justin Karpilo for the Sooner Catholic

Youth from Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mustang, Okla., spent part of their weekend serving and sharing a meal with the residents of the Center of Family Love in Okarche. Twenty members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church’s youth program traveled to Okarche Saturday, May 4, where they cooked and served lunch to 145 residents of the Center of Family Love. When they arrived, the youth received a guided tour of the Center and had the opportunity to meet several of the facility’s residents. After the tour, the youth grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and prepared a variety of side items and soft drinks, which were served to the Center’s residents.

“The youth know that there’s a need to serve and wanted an opportunity to help others who couldn't help themselves,” Holy Spirit youth coordinator Sam Moss said.


New outdoor areas at National Shrine provide additional space for prayer

By Sooner Catholic Staff

The National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague recently completed three outdoor areas that encourage visitors to spend time in reflection and prayer. Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, OSB, St. Gregory's Abbey and chairman of the Shrine Board, blessed all three areas Sunday, May 12.

The Stations of the Cross Garden on the north side of the church has been completely renovated, with new stations installed. A fountain depicting the 15th station (an empty tomb) is being custom-sculpted in Italy and should arrive in a few weeks.