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A tribute to Bishop Edward J. Slattery

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley              May 15, 2016

On Sunday, May 8, I had the privilege of presiding at a Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Family
Cathedral in Tulsa in gratitude for Bishop Edward Slattery’s 50 years of priestly ministry. 

Father Slattery was ordained a priest on April 26, 1966, for the Archdiocese of Chicago where he
served in a variety of pastoral assignments, including many years as president of the Catholic
Extension Society. Late in 1993, he was named the third bishop of Tulsa and on the Solemnity of
the Epiphany of the Lord in January 1994, Pope (now Saint) John Paul II bestowed upon him his
episcopal ordination at Saint Peter’s Basilica.


“The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus”

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley          May 1, 2016

As we look forward to ordinations in the weeks ahead, I have been reflecting on the gift and mystery of the priesthood. I am grateful for each of our priests. They are as varied in their gifts, talents and backgrounds as one could possibly imagine! The common denominator in such a diverse group of men is simply that we are priests of Jesus Christ. 


Looking at “The Joy of Love”

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley          April 17, 2016

“The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia) is Pope Francis’s just released apostolic exhortation “On Love in the Family.” It serves as a fitting complement to his first apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium) released in 2013.

While both are characterized by their fresh approachable writing style and concreteness, this latest exhortation is much longer, and considerably more complex, dealing as it does with the many realities facing families and married couples around the world. “The Joy of Love” is the fruit of the deliberations of two recent Synods of Bishops on marriage and family that were held in 2014 and 2015.


Newness itself must be renewed

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley          April 3, 2016

“God of everlasting mercy,
who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast
kindle the faith of the people you have made your own,
increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed,
that all may grasp and rightly understand
in what font they have been washed, 
by whose Spirit they have been reborn,
by whose Blood they have been redeemed.”
(Collect of the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday)

Throughout the Easter season, the Church’s newest members continue to reflect upon the meaning of their experience at the Easter Vigil when they were fully initiated into the mystery of Christ and His Church through baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. The prayers of the Church’s liturgy during this paschal season express our praise and gratitude for the newness of life and redemption that we have celebrated during the Easter Triduum and that we renew constantly in the sacraments.


The sacrament of mercy

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley             March 20, 2016

On the First Sunday of Lent we heard that immediately after his baptism, “Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert” (Lk.4:1). For 40 days Jesus fasted, prayed and was tempted by the devil. Why was Jesus baptized in the first place? 

The baptism administered by John the Baptist was an act of repentance that began with a personal confession of sins (Mk.1:5). Those who went down to the Jordan to be baptized by John humbled themselves. Their action was accompanied by heartfelt prayer for pardon.


A journey of faith and solidarity

By Archbishop Paul S. Coakley                   March 6, 2016

As I sit to compose this column, my mind and memory are flooded with thoughts and images of the past 11 days when I traveled with Catholic Relief Services to two very different parts of the world.

The first leg of the journey was to the Middle East where we visited the work CRS is engaged in with its various partners in Lebanon and Jordan. Next, we traveled to Ghana at the invitation of the bishops of West Africa to participate in the plenary assembly of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa. CRS and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have been engaged in humanitarian and pastoral projects for many years in solidarity with the Church in Africa. What follows are somewhat random accounts of what I was privileged to witness and now feel compelled to share.


School choice, education savings accounts help children reach full potential

By Archbishop Paul S. Coakley                   Feb. 21, 2016

“Our generation will show that it can rise to the promise found in each young person when we know how to give them space. This means that we have to create the material and spiritual conditions for their full development; to give them a solid basis on which to build their lives; to guarantee their safety and their education to be everything they can be."  – Pope Francis 

Education, as Pope Francis says above, provides the solid basis on which our children build their lives. It is the way we seek to ensure our children achieve their full selves – academically, professionally, morally and spiritually.


Lent: A season of renewal

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley                    Feb. 7, 2016

Each year, the Church offers us the beautiful season of Lent as a time of repentance and renewal. We begin our Lenten journey this week on Ash Wednesday. As we are signed with ashes we are reminded of our own mortality; we come from dust and to dust we shall return. We are called to repent and believe the Good News.

From its beginnings, Lent was the final time of preparation and purification for the catechumens. These were the men and women preparing for Baptism and full initiation into the Church that they would celebrate during the sacred Easter Triduum.


Roe v. Wade: A national tragedy

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley                    Jan. 24, 2016

There are certain dates in our nation’s history that will “live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt once remarked. These dates are seared into our consciousness because they are forever tied to the memory of some unprecedented attack on innocent life and on the very fabric of our nation’s principles and values. On Dec. 7, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor triggered the United States’ entry into World War II, the costliest war in human history. Sept. 11, 2001, brought our nation face to face with a new kind of enemy, international terrorism in the form of Al Qaeda.

Jan. 22, 1973, marks one of these watershed moments in our history as well. On that date, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion on demand throughout the United States.


Why Catholic schools matter

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley                                             Jan. 10, 2016

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City recently completed a research study on our Catholic schools conducted by The Catholic University of America. The results of this comprehensive study will be unveiled in the coming months after we have had a chance to digest and prioritize the findings and recommendations. One thing is clear. In spite of the many challenges that our Catholic schools face, they are a sound investment. And, they are bearing good fruit. This issue of the Sooner Catholic provides an annual profile of our Catholic schools. We have a great story to tell and we ought not to shrink from telling it!