Pope says there are no part-time Christians; faith is a full-time job

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics can't put their faith on a part-time schedule or rely on it just for the moments they choose; being Christian is a full-time occupation, Pope Francis said.

If people don't open their hearts to the Holy Spirit to let God purify and enlighten them, then "our being Christian will be superficial," the pope said May 15 at his weekly general audience.

Knowing and doing what God wants is not possible with mere human effort -- it takes the transformative action of the Holy Spirit, he said.


Father Roberto Quant, 1960-2013

Born: September 22, 1960

Ordained: June 1, 1991

Died: May 6, 2013


Archbishop Coakley on Father Roberto: “We will feel his absence deeply”

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 7, 2013) – The Reverend Roberto Quant, a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and pastor of Sacred Heart parish at Shartel Ave. and SW 26th St., died unexpectedly May 6.

The Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, said the members of the archdiocese – and most especially the parishioners of Sacred Heart parish – will miss his joyful presence.


Catholic Charities plans reunion for Orphanage

Former residents reminisce in anticipation of event


By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

More than a century ago, in 1910 and for just $3,000, Bishop Theophile Meerschaert, the first shepherd of what is now the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, purchased 27.5 acres at Stop 12 on the newly constructed Interurban streetcar line in Bethany, Okla.

The site became St. Joseph's Orphanage, the first outreach of what is now Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

From its official founding in 1912 through a reincarnation as Saint Joseph's Children's Home in Oklahoma City in 1965 to its closing in 1990, Saint Joseph's served as many Oklahoma orphans as it could house.

Three generations of children grew up under the watchful eyes of the various directors and volunteers -- from Father P.P. Schaeffer and three Sisters of Mercy to Monsignor James A. Garvey and 11 Benedictine nuns to Father Anthony Isenbart and lay staffers — who operated the orphanage, which at one time boasted an elementary school, vegetable gardens, several cows and even a chicken coop.

The routine of life at Saint Joseph's — at least as one former resident, Lewis Dale Adkins, describes it — was distinctly religious -- morning and evening prayer, Friday confession, Saturday benediction, Sunday Mass.

That's not to say, of course, the children never misbehaved.

Robert Streets, who lived at Saint Joseph's for a year when he was 14, tells of one "ornery" adventure in the book A Century of Service.

"One time three or four of us boys snuck out and went about a block or two east to an old abandoned cotton gin building," Streets writes. "The building still had the old soda-water fire extinguishers hanging on the walls. We boys emptied every one of them all over the building."

Adkins, who lived in the orphanage from 1935 to 1949, said he and his friends would sneak pigeons back to their dormitory to raise them.

"There was a bell tower out at the orphanage next to the church," he said. "That bell tower was closed in with an iron gate — 10 feet by 12 feet square — and we were told that a priest was buried there back in the 1920s and that was the reason for the gate. So, we were not allowed to go into that area. Of course, when we were 10 or 12, we'd climb that gate, climb up into the bell tower, get the pigeons out of their nests and take them back to the dormitory."

Today, he said, a prayer chapel sits atop that plot of land.

"Whether a priest was really buried there or that was told to us boys to keep us from going in there and stealing those pigeons, God only knows," he said.

Even in the midst of the Great Depression — which was "rough going," Adkins said — he experienced unexpected luxuries at the orphanage.

At the end of each day, the orphans filed one by one past the kitchen door to their respective dormitories to go to bed.

"One day, as I walked by the kitchen, I heard this 'psst' and I looked around and I thought, 'What in the world was that?'" Adkins relates. "The next night, the same thing happened. I turned this time and the whitest, smoothest, creamiest little hand stuck out of that screen door — and it had something in it — and this little, soft voice said, 'Louie.'"
Adkins took what was in the girl's hand — a note and two cookies.

"I obviously ate those cookies before I read the note," he said.

The note read something along the lines of this: "Louie, my name is Carolyn and I like you."

From then on, he says, it was always the same — two cookies thrust through a screen door as he filed past the kitchen.

The Benedictine nuns who ran the orphanage at the time ensured the little boys and girls lived separately — Adkins wasn't even allowed to associate with his sisters — but he met "the first love of his life" at Saint Joseph's nevertheless.

Today, Adkins is married with three grown children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. He also happens to be the most published living artist in the United States.

Little Louie grew up to attend Oklahoma City university and to have a career in illustration and fine art as Dale Adkins, the illustrator of Louis L'Amour novels and a contributor to the most popular magazines of the 1960s and 1970s, including Look, Life and the Saturday Evening Post.

Yet, he still remembers Carolyn — a “beautiful, blue-eyed blonde."

"Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to her," he said.

Adkins is among several former residents who suggested a reunion of  those who lived or worked at Saint Joseph's — a suggestion Catholic Charities has adopted.

The reunion is slated for noon Saturday, June 1, at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Oklahoma City. Lunch and social hour in the parish hall will be followed by a drive to the grounds of the old orphanage. Father Charles Murphy, who grew up at the orphanage, will celebrate Mass at 5 p.m. to conclude the event.

"The reunion gives us an opportunity to reconnect with people who have experienced what Catholic Charities has to offer and means," said Sonny Wilkinson, Catholic Charities associate director for mission advancement. "It helps us continue Catholic Charities' belief in the whole person."

About 20 former residents have said they're planning to attend, along with their families, Wilkinson said.

Adkins is one of them.

"We're going to have a great time at this reunion; I'm convinced of it," he said.

Tina Korbe Dzurisin is the director of communications for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.


Sacraments strengthen relationship with Christ

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

This spring, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City will welcome hundreds of young members into a deeper relationship with Christ and His Church through the sacraments of first Communion and Confirmation.

In the 2011 to 2012 school year, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 2,500 children received first Holy Communion and 975 youth received Confirmation through archdiocesan parish religious education programs.

This year, directors and catechists expect a comparable number of children and youth to complete sacramental preparation programs and receive the sacraments.

If June is commonly considered the unofficial "wedding season," then, in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, May might aptly be considered the unofficial "first Communion and Confirmation season."

It seems apt, though, to celebrate these occasions during the month of Mary. Mary, after all, says, "Do whatever (Jesus) tells you" (Jn 2:5) and Jesus tells his followers to "take and eat" the Eucharist (Mt 26:26).
 "This is my body," he says (Mt 26:26).


Four to be ordained transitional deacons

Ordinands express gratitude for support during formation

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

In a little less than a month, on the morning of June 1, Archbishop Paul Coakley will ordain four archdiocesan seminarians to the Order of Deacon in a much-anticipated, multilingual Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

"The upcoming ordination of four transitional deacons is a great blessing for the Archdiocese," Archbishop Coakley said. "I am looking forward to welcoming them into diaconal ministry, and even more into priestly ministry sometime next year."

"What a boost to our presbyterate and people to have these fine men so close to ordination!" he continued. "My prayer is that their example of faith and generosity will inspire many more young men to respond to

God's call to the priesthood here in Oklahoma."


New icons blessed at St. Mary's school

Editor's note: Icons are "written," rather than "drawn" or "painted." Icons use traditional symbols to convey a message about the portrayed saint.

Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius Beltran blessed the Icons of Our Lady of Akita of the Snows, Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Fatima at the school Mass at St. Mary's in Lawton April 24.

These icons, written by Holy Family parishioner Beverly Layton, will become the patronesses of each of the academic teams at St. Mary's Catholic School. The hall that houses the pre-kindergarten to second grade classrooms will become the House of Akita, the hall for third to fifth grades is now the House of Fatima, the middle school is the House of Lourdes and the new virtual high school in cooperation with CSK12 of the  Archdiocese of Miami is the House of Guadalupe. Archbishop Coakley blessed the Our Lady of Guadalupe icon last year on her feast day, Dec. 12.


Christ the King parish honors fortitude of altar servers

By Brianna Osborne
The Sooner Catholic

Last month, Christ the King parish in Oklahoma City announced that 19 young men and women have been altar servers through their senior year of high school. At Christ the King, boys and girls can begin to serve in the fifth grade.

"I've never seen so many kids serve all the way through high school," said Father Rick Stansberry, pastor of Christ the King. "So many of them quit when they reach that age."

Father Stansberry expressed his appreciation for these students from the class of 2013 with a dinner at the rectory on  April 28.


Take me out to the ballpark...

Catholic Family Day at the Ballpark promotes faith, fellowship


By Sooner Catholic Staff

 More than 600 people — or more than double the number in past years — purchased tickets to the third annual Catholic Family Day at the Ballpark, organizers said.
The April 28 event offered families an opportunity to watch the Oklahoma City RedHawks defeat the New Orleans Zephyrs 5 to 3 — alongside fellow Catholic families and from "the best seats in the house" (field seating with friends!).

 "This event is a wholesome way to spend a Sunday afternoon connected by faith and values," said Nancy Housh, director of the archdiocesan Office of Youth and Young Adults. "The weather was beautiful and there was a feeling of joy in the air."

George Rigazzi, director of the archdiocesan Office of Family Life, threw out the first pitch and the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton choir from Edmond sang the national anthem.

Archbishop Paul Coakley, who has pitched the first ball of the game in the past, also attended the event.

"Spending an afternoon at the ballpark with family and a group of Catholic friends is simply good fun!" Archbishop Coakley said. "It provides time for conversation and enjoyment of a sport that used to be fondly regarded as the American pastime."

The game was also a reunion of sorts for the many young members of the archdiocese who belong to different parishes but know each other though camp, retreats and youth conferences, Housh said.

Becky Jaime, associate director of the Youth and Young Adult Office, said Catholic Family Day at the Ballpark builds community.

"Choosing to attend a Catholic Family Day at the Ballpark is making an intentional choice to spend an afternoon of fun together with people you may (or may not) know, especially with the same faith," she said. "You are building community with those you live, work, go to school and worship in the same pews with. You have shared common ground."

"There is a saying that 'we are what we eat,' but we are also made up of who we hang around," Jaime continued. "Parents are always looking for good, positive events to let their children attend. At an event like this one, even though you may end up sitting next to a stranger or someone you have not formally been introduced to, you already have something in common with those people around you, something that is understood without being spoken — your faith. There is comfort and camaraderie in knowing you are rooting for the same team, with the underlying knowledge of rooting for the same team with Christ."


Catholic cemetery conference illumines faith in the resurrection of the body

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

More than 80 members of an organization to promote the upkeep of Catholic cemeteries gathered in Oklahoma City April 22 to April 26 to exchange best practices and to reflect upon the meaning of their work.
The Catholic Cemeteries of the West annual convention attendees met at the Skirvin Hilton in downtown Oklahoma City for six tip-sharing sessions and other networking events.

One way to witness
On the final day of the convention, Archbishop Paul Coakley presided at a Mass to celebrate the work of the cemeterians, as the CCW members call themselves.

"The heart of what it means to be a Christian is to believe in the Resurrection," Archbishop Coakley said in his homily. "We believe Jesus Christ became man, lived, died and rose from the dead. Our cemeteries are an essential part of our Catholic witness. Certainly, they bear witness to our belief in the resurrection of the body."