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A true compass

February 19, 2017

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley

A few weeks ago, I “shared” a Facebook post. It was a brief pastoral statement issued by the president and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez offered a joint message as bishops in response to President Trump’s recent executive order on refugees. The Facebook comments were so harsh and divisive that I quickly removed the post. It was painful to be reminded of how difficult it often is to engage in civil discourse without resorting to name calling and imputing motives to others.

The joint message of these two bishops was not subversive, except in the way that the Gospel is subversive to conventional thinking. Speaking about the experience of the millions of refugees fleeing their homes in the Middle East and other troubled parts of the world they said, “Our desire is not to enter the political arena, but rather to proclaim Christ alive in the world today. In the very moment a family abandons their home under the threat of death, Jesus is present. And he says to each of us, ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Mt 25:40).” These are truths of our faith. These are truths of which we need to be reminded.


La luz de Dios brilla a través de nosotros

Reverendísimo Pablo S. Coakley
5 de febrero, 2017

Como pueden ver, gran parte de este número de la publicación "Sooner Catholic" está dedicada a nuestra Campaña Católica Anual. Espero que usted lea cada sección y considere como "La Luz de Dios Brilla a Través de Nosotros" de manera tan bella cuando actuamos juntos como miembros del único Cuerpo de Cristo.

A estas alturas, cada uno de ustedes debería haber recibido información sobre la solicitud de este año y los muchos ministerios y servicios vitales que este compromiso anual hace posible a través de las 108 parroquias y misiones que componen la Arquidiócesis de Oklahoma City. ¡Estamos todos unidos en esto!


God’s light shines through us

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley              February 5, 2017

As you see, much of this current issue of the Sooner Catholic is dedicated to our Annual Catholic Appeal. I hope you will read each feature and consider how beautifully “God’s Light Shines Through Us” when we act together as members of the one Body of Christ.

By now, each of you should have received information about this year’s appeal and the many life-affirming ministries and services that this annual commitment makes possible across all 108 parishes and missions that comprise the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. We are all in this together!


A homily for the annual MLK observance

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         January 22, 2017

Delivered at Corpus Christi Church
Jan. 14, 2017

This Sunday marks the return of the liturgical season we call Ordinary Time. In today’s Gospel (Jn. 1:29-34), we are introduced to John the Baptist. In the Fourth Gospel, John’s primary mission is to give testimony to Jesus: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” “He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

A witness testifies to the truth based on personal experiences of that truth. In some mysterious fashion, God had revealed to John that the one upon whom he saw the Spirit descend is God’s chosen and anointed One. The very reason John was sent to baptize with water was ultimately to make known to Israel the One that God would send to baptize with the Holy Spirit. And, so he bears witness: “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”


Catholic Schools: Communities of faith, knowledge and service

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         January 8, 2017

If you periodically scan my calendar in the Sooner Catholic, you might notice that I spend a lot of time visiting our Catholic schools. It’s a priority for me. Every year, I make it a point to travel to each of our 21 Catholic elementary and secondary schools around the archdiocese.

Among these, we have two high schools, 18 elementary schools and one school for children on the autistic spectrum. I am proud of each of these institutions. Each represents a shared commitment among parents, pastors, administrators, faculty and staff, the parishes and the archdiocese. In the fall, we will welcome another Catholic high school, Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School. Though not part of the archdiocesan system, it will provide a unique opportunity for more families to experience the benefit of Catholic secondary education.


My Christmas letter

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         December 25, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As I write this message, we are drawing very near to the beautiful feast of Christ’s birth. I want to take this opportunity to wish each of you a very blessed Christmas season.

This time of year is filled with many celebrations and customs, which we observe with family, friends and loved ones. It is an especially rich time of year to celebrate with fellow believers. The liturgical celebrations of Christmas help us gaze more deeply into the wonder and mystery of the Incarnation.


Father Stanley Francis Rother, martyr

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley                       Dec. 11, 2016 

On Friday, Dec. 2, we received the long awaited news that Pope Francis had declared Father Stanley Rother, Oklahoma priest and missionary, a martyr of the Catholic Church. This official announcement paves the way for his eventual beatification, sometime in 2017, after which he will be known as Blessed Stanley Francis Rother. Once beatified, his name will be included in the Roman martyrology, the official list of saints and blesseds of the Catholic Church.

Though this news surely has been received with tremendous rejoicing here in Oklahoma, it is a gift and blessing for our whole country and for the universal Church.

Born in Okarche in 1935, ordained a priest in Oklahoma City in 1963, Father Rother eventually volunteered to serve the Oklahoma mission in Guatemala. He spent the remainder of his life, from 1968 until his death in 1981, ministering to his flock in the remote villages of Santiago Atitlan and Cerro de Oro along the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan. Father Rother, or Padre Aplas as he was known to his Mayan parishioners, was murdered in his rectory at the parish church of Santiago Apostol on the night of July 28, 1981. 


A time to heal

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         November 27, 2016

This is not the column I expected to write this week. Truth be told I expected to be writing about the prospects and challenges of a Clinton presidency. It would have been a notable first for the country had we elected our first woman president. That will have to wait. On the other hand, there would certainly have been many very serious concerns: the HHS mandate, same-sex marriage and transgenderism would have secured another powerful and influential advocate in the White House. Foremost in my mind was concern for the type of Supreme Court nominees that a President Hillary Clinton would almost certainly have proposed to the Senate. There would be little or no hope of turning back the expansion of abortion access for the next few decades.


Mercy and the four last things

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         November 13, 2016

We are drawing near the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Divine mercy offers the best context for meditating on what the Church calls the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. 

During the month of November, the Church’s liturgy and popular devotion turn our attention to these matters of ultimate concern. This is no morbid fascination, but a sober reminder of the transitory nature of this world and a bold summons to Christian hope. We began the month celebrating the saints in glory on All Saints Day. On Nov. 2, we observed the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day), and later in the month, on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the triumphant Solemnity of Christ the King.


Voting is a moral act

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         October 30, 2016

The presidential debates are now behind us and Election Day is looming large. One of the most common reactions to the astonishing developments of this election cycle is a troubling question: how did we get here? Are these really the best candidates that our nation has to choose from in electing the next president of the United States?