Pope to confirmands: Swim against the tide; it's good for your heart

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Administering the sacrament of confirmation to 44 people, including two teenagers from the United States and two from Ireland, Pope Francis encouraged them to "swim against the tide; it's good for the heart."

In a partially improvised homily at Mass April 28 in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis encouraged young people to hang on to their ideals and pursue them. "We Christians weren't chosen by the Lord to do little things," he said.

After making the sign of the cross with chrism oil on the foreheads of those being confirmed, Pope Francis rubbed the oil all over their foreheads, sealing them with the Holy Spirit. After wishing them peace, he gave each a quick kiss on the cheek.


We're called to sacrificial love, OKC vocations director says

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

All members of the Church — and parents, especially — have a responsibility to assist young people as they discern the particular vocational state to which the Lord calls them, two archdiocesan spokesmen said this month in advance of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

"The entire community of the faithful can and should encourage young people to think about what God may be calling them to do," said Father William Novak, vicar general and director of seminarians for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. "When one person follows the will of God, it becomes a witness to others to do the same."

Father Stephen Hamilton, who serves the archdiocese as director of the Office of Vocations, said all vocations -- whether to marriage, the priesthood or religious life -- are a call to sacrificial love.


Road to priesthood has many unique milestones

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

Talk about the ultimate "trip to the altar." For those who travel it, the road to the priesthood is just as fraught, intentional, meaningful and memorable -- if not more so -- than any couple's walk down the aisle.

Yet, the contours of the priestly route are often unfamiliar, even to lifelong Catholics.

Some of the same folks who grew up filling the pews and crowding the dance floors at Catholic weddings, for example, have never attended an ordination.

For those who have a call to marriage, the script is relatively clear, even in a confused society. "Will you go out with me?" leads to "Will you marry me?" An engagement ring leads to a wedding ring.

Planning a wedding is a culturally familiar process that commonly includes appointments with the officiant, the  church, the counselor, the caterer, the couturier and the florist, among others.

For those who have a call to priesthood, the script is less clear, especially in a confused society that mistakes celibacy for a joyless life and marriage for a means of self-gratification.

What's a young man who wants to explore the possibility of a priestly vocation to do?


Attendees reflect on meaning of "Come and See" weekend

Father Stephen Hamilton of Saint Monica's in Edmond and Father Joseph Irwin of Saint Francis Xavier's in Enid led 11 young men on a trip to Conception Seminary in Conception, Mo., the weekend of April 13 to April 15, 2013. Below, two attendees reflect on their experiences.

“After spending the weekend at Conception Seminary I have been thoroughly convinced that this is the place God is calling me to be.  The isolated location alone draws out a calm serenity that opens a door for the voice of God to be heard.  My conviction did not come from an individual informing me that I should attend Conception Seminary, but more from the divine aura of God's presence of love and joy radiated and expressed by the seminarians, priests and monks.  The fact that every man there is inclined to fulfill the will of God moved my heart to aspire to


Meet Our Seminarians: Cristobal De Loera

This is the first in a 24-part series to introduce the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to the people they will one day serve as priests.

Meet Cristobal De Loera

1. What is your home parish? Saint Charles Borromeo

2. What seminary do you attend? Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology

3. If it is God's will, what year will you be ordained a priest? In the year of our Lord, 2014

4. How old were you when you first thought that God might be calling you to the priesthood?  I was four years old when I told my mother that I wanted to become a priest.  My friends told me that the "boogeyman" was going to come at night and get me.  So I went running to my mother and I asked her: If I became a priest the "boogeyman" would not get me and I would go to heaven with God, right?  She told me, "That's right."  So I said, "OK, I want to be a priest forever."  Now that I look back, it was somewhat humorous, but that's how God planted the seed in me.  As the years passed and as I matured, I began to know myself better and learned I had lots of energy and an eagerness to serve.  I didn't know what to do with this, but I knew God had great plans for my life.  Another thing that attracted me to the priesthood was the example of many holy and committed priests who spent their lives in serving others and were joyful doing so.                                               


Prominent Oklahomans earn prestigious Rector's Award from Rome seminary

By Sooner Catholic Staff

The Pontifical North American College in Rome honored Karen and Ken Kenworthy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City with the prestigious Rector's Award at the 21st Annual Rector's Dinner at the College.
With the award, the seminary recognized the Kenworthys as "enthusiastic supporters of the College, priestly vocations and Catholic education," according to the NAC website.

The College has hosted the Rector's Dinner every year since 1991. Alumni, esteemed guests from the United States, dignitaries from the Diplomatic Corps, the Vatican Curia, the Italian nobility, and prominent members of the American and European business worlds attend the festive event, which supports the mission of the College and the formational experience of the NAC's seminarians and priests.
Two seminarians from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City — Deacon Brian Buettner and Christopher Brashears — study at the NAC.


Catholic Charities celebrates 100 years at annual meeting

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

In its centennial year, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City served nearly 16,000 clients -- a fact the organization's supporters celebrated at an annual Mass and awards presentation April 11 at the architectural award-winning St. Patrick Church in Oklahoma City.

Approximately 125 people gathered to fete the staff and volunteers of Catholic Charities, first at Mass and then at a reception at the adjacent Villa Isenbart, an affordable housing development for senior citizens that is sponsored by Catholic Charities.

Archbishop Paul Coakley, who serves as the chairman of the board of Catholic Charities, presided at the Mass, during which he praised the efforts of the staff of Catholic Charities.

"The work of Catholic Charities is a work of justice, of mercy, of advocacy, of effort on behalf of those who often have no voice of their own," the archbishop said.


Women of Achievement luncheon highlights notable female contributors

By Sooner Catholic Staff
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 13, 2013) — The Central Region Council of Catholic Women hosted their annual Women of Achievement Luncheon Saturday, April 13, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Oklahoma City.  Father Charles Murphy and Father Bill Pruett celebrated Mass prior to the lunch of chicken, spinach crepes with a mushroom sauce, carrots, salad, rolls and dessert.  CRCCW president Pearl Sullens welcomed the attendees and introduced the CRCCW board members. Father Pruett, spiritual advisor for CRCCW, introduced the clergy in attendance then presented each Woman of Achievement recipient with a medal of "Our Lady of Good Counsel" that had been previously blessed by Archbishop Paul Coakley.  The CRCCW honored a total of 17 women with the award. Photos and brief bios of the winners are available online at www.soonercatholic.com.

Photo courtesy of John Williams

Youth and Young Adult Office aims to instill understanding of Christian discipleship

A Q-and-A with Nancy Housh, director of the Office of Youth and Young Adults

By Sooner Catholic Staff

The Youth and Young Adult Office provides extensive programming for young members of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. That responsibility keeps the office staff hopping all year long — but the summer camp season is an especially busy one. This month, we chatted with Director Nancy Housh about upcoming plans.

SC: How did you first become involved in youth and young adult ministry?
NH: I was asked to be a chaperone on a youth trip in my parish in my late twenties and remembered all of the great experiences that I had as a teenager by being involved in youth ministry and so I wanted to "give back."  I started working in my parish as a volunteer youth minister then later as a paid youth minister.  I worked in the parish for 10 years before coming to the archdiocesan office.


Obituary Deacon Raymond Roy Ellison

Raymond Roy Ellison, 65, of Guthrie, Okla., passed away Thursday, March 14, 2013, at Mercy Hospital in Guthrie. Roy was born February 2, 1948, in Crescent, Okla., to Raymond and Juanita (Fry) Ellison.

Roy married Susan Marie Griggs, of Guthrie, on August 26, 1968. Roy's life was one of service. He served our nation for four years in the United States Army, including on tour of duty in Vietnam. In 1992, Roy was ordained a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.  He then served his home parish of St. Mary's in Guthrie for 20 years.

Memorials may be made to St. Mary's Church Building Fund, 411 N. Elm, Guthrie, OK 73044.