Commentary: First impressions; lasting impacts

A letter from the Executive Director of Catholic Charities Oklahoma City

It has now been almost a year since I first joined Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma. What a journey it has been! First, the warm reception from the talented and compassionate team, the tremendous legacy of excellence left by Tim O’Connor, and the opportunity to challenge the team in new ways were all wonderful first impressions. Let me share with you some impressions about your Catholic Charities that you may not have known.


Four decades of priesthood yield memories of God’s mercy and provision for Fathers Feehily, Vaught

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of four articles to profile the jubilarians of the archdiocese, those priests who are celebrating their 25th, 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of ordination to the priesthood. Read the first article in the series here. This article highlights the ministries of Father Jack Feehily, ordained Aug. 23, 1973, and Father Mike Vaught, ordained Aug. 17, 1973. Both celebrate 40 years of priesthood this year.


Catholic Charities reunites family separated by war

Each year, Catholic Charities helps refugee families find a safer place. Many arrive with few to no possessions, having left them in their home country or a refugee camp on their journey to the U.S. Some, however, leave something more precious behind: Family. For those separated by war, persecution and other dangerous situations, the wait to reconnect can take years, if it happens at all. For Hiba and her family, reunification came after several years, thousands of miles and special help from Catholic Charities.

A young mother, Hiba and her husband were living in Baghdad when U.S. troops invaded Iraq. As the war grew, her parents served as advisors to U.S. troops, hoping to help bridge communications between the Iraqi people and U.S. troops. Unfortunately, like others who worked with Americans, her parents faced scrutiny from neighbors and danger from insurgents in the area.


St. Joseph's Counseling expands to rural Oklahoma

By Connie Summers

Saint Joseph Counseling began providing outreach counseling services in Woodward, Okla., approximately one year ago.  After noticing the benefits of these services to the community of Woodward, Catholic Charities added an additional nine locations to Saint Joseph’s Counseling throughout the archdiocese. 

“Currently, counseling services are available in Ada, Ardmore, Clinton, Enid, Guymon, Ponca City and Woodward. We are actively working toward launching counseling services in Chickasha, Norman and Shawnee” said Jennifer Long, director of Saint Joseph’s Counseling.


OU campus minister on impact of FOCUS: Sacrament attendance is up

Impacted students: Relearning the faith is “so beautiful”

By Anamaría Scaperlanda Biddick

As another school year begins, FOCUS—Fellowship of Catholic University Students—returns to the University of Oklahoma.  This year will be the second year for the group to work with Campus Ministry at Saint Thomas More University Parish, where they expanded the outreach of the program. 


Organist celebrates 75 years at St. Anthony of Padua

by J.E. Helm

OKEENE, Okla. (Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013) – Betty  Osmus is no ordinary organist.  She has played at Saint Anthony parish in Okeene for 70 years this month, and she says she has “never had an organ lesson in (her) life.”  She says she can play chords and read “the top line” of the music.  She calls the notes “lollipops.” 

Her grandmother taught her to play the piano when Osmus was five years old, and she is essentially self-taught on the organ.


Rediscovered closeness motivates coordinators to share Marriage Encounter

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin

Bev and Rick Feller have been married for 42 years, but they hold hands with as much evident delight as high school sweethearts surreptitiously clasping hands in the hallway between classes.

As they climb the stairs of the Catholic Pastoral Center to attend a meeting on the second floor, Rick grasps the handrail and offers Bev the support of his arm – support she sweetly accepts.


Archdiocese to host Region 10 Catholic Youth Conference

By Sooner Catholic Staff

The Region 10 Catholic Youth Conference to be hosted in Oklahoma City Nov. 21 to Nov. 23, 201,4 was one of the topics discussed at a biannual planning meeting held Aug. 12 to Aug. 15 at the Catholic Pastoral Center. Members of the lead committee of Catholic youth ministers from dioceses in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas met with young people from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, inquiring about issues that are important to teens—a conversation that could lead to a theme for the conference.

Nancy Housh, director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said that they have been thinking about the idea of “hope,” especially in the face of adversity or tragedy. This would be significant for local youth since Catholics are the minority in Oklahoma.


Young adults invited to spend time with Archbishop Coakley

By Brianna Osborne

All young adults in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City are invited to pray and have dinner with Archbishop Paul Coakley on Sunday, Sept. 29.  It’s a tradition that began nine years ago, when Archbishop Eusebius Beltran welcomed young adults to the Catholic Pastoral Center for a Mass and cookout. The tradition continued when Archbishop Coakley came to Oklahoma City.

“It’s an opportunity to bring young adults together,” said Becky Jaime, associate director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and coordinator for the event. Young adults include teens that are out of high school and those in their 20s and 30s.


Review: Lives of the saints appeal especially to children in new, illustrated book series

“Saints and Me: North America” book series by Barbara Yoffie and Katherine Borgatti (Liguori, 2012-2013, $4.99 each)

Reviewed by Anamaría Scaperlanda Biddick

Four out of five stars