Catholic Daughters of America honor Lawton priests

By Jolene Schonchin
The Sooner Catholic

An array of homemade international cuisine lined the tables the evening of June 14 inside the Blessed Sacrament parish hall in Lawton as members of the Catholic Daughters of America Saint Jude Chapter, paid homage to local priests at the annual Priest Appreciation Dinner.

The Catholic Daughters, all dressed in white, scuttled through the kitchen, serving area, and dining area, making sure all was perfect. The Catholic Daughters made the homemade delicacies.

Receiving recognition at the event were Father Phil Seeton of Holy Family in Lawton; Father Brian Buettner of Blessed Sacrament in Lawton; Father Uci Iheke of Fort Sill; and Father Rayanna “Roy” Narisetti of Saint Ann in Elgin, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sterling, and Our Lady of Sorrow in Apache. Several deacons also were in attendance.

Opening the evening events with a prayer was Deacon Jim Coe. He spoke kind words about the Catholic Daughters of America Saint Jude Chapter, comparing them to a cedar tree, planting firm roots in the Catholic faith to bring forth strong branches of service and love to the community.

Victoria Stringer helped design the cake with a special image from Father Seeton’s ordination.

“The picture on the cake came from a card that was given to Father Phil when he was ordained. It reads ‘Shepherd, Teach and Sanctify my People,’ and shows Jesus and a priest. I took a picture of the card, and the person who made the cake drew the image by hand. The white buttercream rose symbolizes Saint John Paul II.”

“It is profoundly overwhelming,” said Father Uci. “It makes me count my blessings as a priest. You see the people who priests are blessed with. God told Abraham, if he sees 10 or 20 good people, he was going to save the land. I come in here, and I see all these faithful ladies, and it is proof of the Word of the Church. I see people who are practicing their faith. I am full of thanks to have the privilege to be in the midst of these holy women.”

Father Brian added,” I think one the things the Catholic Daughters do, not only here, but all over the United States, is to truly be able to manifest the deep desire to grow in holiness. For us to be thanked in this way reminds us that we are part of such a big family. The Catholic Daughters are an integral part of that family.”

“For Catholics, the priest is the most important, because the presence of the priest, brings the presence of the Christ,” Father Roy said. “This is very nice, because this is coming from the people to welcome the priest and appreciate all they do. It is a wonderful thing.”

“It was a great event,” Father Phil said. “The Catholic Daughters have been active in Lawton for 45 or 50 years, and they have done a lot of work for the parishes. It is good because both parishes are represented in the one court, instead of having separate ones. It brings people together.”

Gina Muse, regent for the Catholic Daughters’ Saint Jude Chapter, said she was happy with the outcome.

 “We always plan an annual Priest Appreciation Dinner a year in advance. We usually rotate between Blessed Sacrament and Holy Family. We try to give the priest a night off and make it fun for them. When we honor them, we have it to where they do not have to speak, so it is truly a night off for them.”

As the evening ended, goodie bags of food were given to the honorees, along with many hugs, smiles and laughter.

The Catholic Daughters of America Saint Jude Chapter, was established in 1977, and is the largest chapter in Oklahoma, with 58 members.

Jolene Schonchin is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.


The Catholic Daughters of America, St. Jude Chapter, also swore in new officers during their monthly meeting, June 16, at Blessed Sacrament in Lawton. The Saint Jude Chapter of the Catholic Daughter of America was established in 1977, through the late Fr. James Stafford.

Joan Libro is the last original member of the Catholic Daughters of America St. Jude Chapter.

New officers are Gina Muse, regent; Victoria Stringer, vice regent; Anna Pena, secretary; Thrish Little, finance secretary; and Maria Rodriquez, treasurer