Obituary Sister Cecilia Casas

Sister Cecilia Casas, Sister of Mercy, died peacefully April 3, 2013, at Mercy Health Center Convent in Oklahoma City.  Sister was 79 years old.  Sister Cecilia entered the Sisters of Mercy 57 years ago and had professed her vows for 54 years.  All will remember Sister Cecilia as an inspired educator, vocations and associate mentor, as well as coordinator of parish social ministry.

Sister Cecilia retired to the convent in Oklahoma City in 2009.  She continued spreading her joyful spirit and enjoyed all people.  She loved attending the various hospital blessings and getting the opportunity to meet and talk with coworkers.  Her social nature was supportive of prayer, appreciation of music, spiritual thoughts and celebration of life.


Pizza con Padre

Official archdiocesan Spanish Facebook page creates vibrant online community

By Sooner Catholic Staff

When Father Scott Boeckman, pastor of Saint Peter's in Woodward, founded the Facebook page "Pizza con Padre" in October 2012, he had a simple goal in mind: He wanted to create an inviting and informative online space for Spanish-speaking Catholics in central and western Oklahoma.

With a friendly page title and a committed community manager, the new media zone immediately offered interested Catholics a nonthreatening opportunity to pose questions about the faith, pick up interesting theological tidbits and confirm a nascent sense of statewide camaraderie among Spanish speakers who have Facebook and Catholicism in common.


One meal can change your life: A review of "Babette's Feast"

By Brianna Osborne
The Sooner Catholic

Title: Babette's Feast
Year: 1987
Director: Gabriel Axel

In our last issue, we included a portion of an interview with Pope Francis from the book, "El Jesuita." This interview revealed that his favorite movie was 'Babette's Feast' "because it shows the transformation of a group of people who took denial too far and didn't know what happiness was." "The sumptuous meal helps free them from their fear of love," the pope said." Here is our own review of "Babette's Feast."

In a small Danish village, no one goes hungry. The nearby coast provides plenty of fish, the grocer keeps his shop stocked and Christians feed the poor and sick.


Oklahoma City to mark 18th anniversary of Murrah building bombing

By Sooner Catholic Staff

Officials and residents will mark the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing with a ceremony Friday, April 26, and the 13th annual Memorial Marathon Sunday, April 28.

After explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15 left three people dead and more than 175 wounded, Oklahoma state officials pledged increased security for the Oklahoma City marathon.

"We are working to ensure that events will go smoothly and will remain safe," Gov. Mary Fallin said, according to "The local law enforcement is taking steps to review and strengthen personnel and security precaution and protocols, including additional manpower."

"I do want to make it very clear that Oklahomans should not be afraid," Fallin continued. "We can't let acts like what happened in Boston deter us from carrying on our daily activities and living our lives, because that's what terrorists want us to do — live in fear."


Our Lady of Lebanon to host annual Lebanese festival

By Jocelyn Pederson

Our Lady of Lebanon will host the 2nd Annual Lebanese Heritage and Food Festival April 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the church located at 500 Alameda Street in Norman.

"Over the past two years, the Roman Catholics have really supported the events and activities at our church," Father Sami Chaaya, priest at Our Lady of Lebanon, said. "I'm certain they will come to this festival as well. Even Archbishop Coakley came last year. We're looking forward to another fun event."

Award-winning journalist Mike Boettcher will give a talk at 5 p.m. entitled "We were reporters once, and young." Boettcher knew slain journalist, Anthony Shadid, and the pair reported about the civil war in Lebanon in the 1980s.


RECLAiM co-founders share story of addiction, recovery with OKC coordinators

By Sooner Catholic Staff

When Jeannie Hannemann agreed to marry her husband, Bruce, she knew that he struggled with an addiction to pornography -- but she didn't know just what that would mean for their marriage.

"It's adultery," Jeannie says. "It strikes at the core of the heart of a spouse."

Bruce, who first encountered pornography at the age of nine, was determined to overcome the temptation it posed to him -- but determination wasn't enough. He completed 12-step and other secular programs -- and then reverted to the behaviors he desperately wanted to avoid.

For years, the couple suffered in silence -- Bruce feeling ashamed, Jeannie feeling betrayed.  They very easily could have succumbed to the temptation to divorce. In fact, "an obsessive interest in Internet pornography" is a significant factor in 56 percent of divorces in the United States.


Murder trial of abortionist exposes 'culture of death'

By Tina Korbe Dzurisin
The Sooner Catholic

Editor's note: This story contains graphic details that are essential to the reporting of the case.

Now in its sixth week, the nationally significant capital murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell continues. 
Gosnell, 72, faces charges of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of third-degree murder in the deaths of seven infants and an adult patient, Karnamaya Mongar, at his abortion clinic, Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia.

A 281-page grand jury report accuses Gosnell of shockingly gruesome practices at a clinic that trial observers have described as a "house of horrors" and "baby charnel house."

"He regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy -- and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors," the report states.

The prosecutors allege Gosnell murdered hundreds of babies in this way; investigators discovered documentary evidence to support seven first-degree murder charges.

According to the report, Gosnell operated in a fetid, unsanitary space in which cats were allowed to roam freely, furniture and blankets were stained with blood, and disposable medical instruments were used repeatedly.


Catholic press keeps Gosnell murder trial in public eye

By Sooner Catholic Staff

Catholic news outlets and commentators have given the story of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell significant attention, noting that the contraceptive and abortive "culture of death" is the milieu in which

Gosnell's abortion "house of horrors" escaped observation and justice for nearly two decades.

Gosnell faces charges of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of third-degree murder in the deaths of seven infants and an adult patient, Karnamaya Mongar, at his abortion clinic, Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia.

Catholic commentators have been sensitive to the numerous life issues at play in the case, including the issue at the other end of the spectrum -- whether Gosnell should be sentenced to death if convicted of the murders.


A reformed (and re-formed) College of Cardinals

By George Weigel

The recent papal interregnum and conclave underscored the importance of re-forming, and reforming, the College of Cardinals.

As configured on Feb. 28, 2013 (when Benedict XVI's abdication took effect), the College was a somewhat strange electorate, albeit one that produced a striking result. Almost 20 percent of its members were retired. Only eight cardinal-electors were under 65 (and half of the youngsters were Americans-Cardinals Burke, DiNardo, Dolan and Harvey). Neither the dean nor vice-dean of the College was eligible to vote, the dean being 85 and the vice-dean being 90; yet the 85-year-old dean presided over the daily General Congregations of cardinals that assessed the state of the world church before the conclave was enclosed.

There were other curiosities. India had more cardinal-electors than France (5-4) or Great Britain (5-nil, as they'd say in the Barclays Premier League). Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, emeritus major-archbishop of the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, missed the conclave by two days, having turned 80 on Feb. 26; the retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Walter Kasper, got in under the wire, for he turned 85 days after Benedict's abdication took effect.


Latino leaders: Growing presence demands more responsibility

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY —  The Catholic Church is reaching out and assigning greater responsibility to the growing Latino Catholic population, said a group of U.S. Catholic Latino leaders.
The March 13 election by the College of Cardinals of a pope from Latin America made that task even more evident, three top leaders of the Los Angeles-based Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL) told Catholic News Service.

Pope Francis' election "is a sign of the importance of Latinos and the people of 'the continent of hope' as the popes have called the American continent," said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles.

Having a pope from Buenos Aires, Argentina, also "really shows the maturity of the Catholic faith in the American continent," he said.

A Latino pope "will bring our community together; a lot of our Hispanic communities truly are going to identify more with the church and feel more connected," said Diana Vela, president and CEO of CALL.