Catholic Community of Bartlesville Newsletter — January 2022

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community of St. John & St. James The St. John School Gala:

Celebrating Catholic Education and Our Marvelous Accomplishments


he St. John School Gala, “The Roaring Twenties,” is set for the close of Catholic Schools Week! The event will be a celebration of all the marvelous things our school has accomplished under the vision of “Empowering Minds, Enriching the Spirit.” The Gala will be held on Feb. 5 in the school gym. The goal for the fundraiser is $120,000. We are excited that we Fourth-graders mark the progress for the have had the largest percentage of playground project on their chart. donations received before the Gala doors open. Funds raised will be earmarked for teacher salaries. Guests are encouraged to dress for the celebration in “flapper-era” style, or, if they prefer, in business casual. For the $75 ticket each, they will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, signature drinks, a DJ for dancing, and a photo booth. “This year, Fr. John wanted to change up the format to be more of a celebration,” says Elizabeth Thrash, Director of Development and Mission Advancement. “It will be all about the school.” Adding to the evening’s excitement will be a high-end raffle, featuring five to six top prizes. Guests can buy raffle tickets and then put their tickets in a container labeled for each item, in whatever combination they choose. “This is giving them a higher percentage chance of winning the drawing for those items,” Elizabeth says. There also will be an online auction for items donated by the classrooms continued on page 2

The St. John School Gala and their teachers. Some of the items are “experiences” donated by parents, while other items are those made by the students themselves. “We have experiences like a teacher offering a dinner with the teacher for a student and a friend, or lunch with a teacher for a student and a friend,” Elizabeth says. There are other opportunities to help with the Gala, such as being a sponsor. The levels are: BELIEVE $3,500+; LEARN $2,500+; GROW $1,500+; LOVE $750+; SUSTAINER $250+. Letters outlining the sponsor details are being mailed. Another opportunity is for guests to take advantage of the employer matching grant program for donations if their employers offer that capability. St. John School students will greet guests at the Gala after celebrating their school during the previous week. They will be the embodiment for guests to learn how St. John School offers students and parents a chance to “discover the difference” in Catholic education. “We have our STEAM class for first through fifth grades, and we have a writing program that includes Elementary Cursive Writing,” Elizabeth says. “We offer the Take Flight student program for dyslexia, accompanied by the Structured Literacy Instructions in the classroom. We offer a low student-to-teacher ratio and an emphasis on critical thinking. We also follow our Catholic faith with encouraging respect for others — and ourselves. We also really live in service, whether it’s for our church, school, or community.” Besides donating to the Gala, there are other ways parents and guests can help, such as assisting with the raffle on the day of the Gala or by decorating the gym. They also can help at the Gala at the check-in table.

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Eighth-grade students made a retreat with Fr. John.

St. John School students engage in service projects in the community. Here, a student helps sort items at the food pantry.

If you would like more information about the Gala, please visit this link on the school website: For information about assisting with the Gala, please call Elizabeth Thrash at 918-336-0607, or contact Cristel Miller, Principal, at


A Letter From Our Pastor

START 2022 WITH A Dear Parishioners,


e were all taught in school that the month of January gets its name from Janus, the ancient Roman god of doors and gates. His image was always carved or painted with two faces, one looking forward and the other backward. This reflected, of course, that you can go either out a door or in through one. From this very specific function, his role was generalized to include all beginnings and new endeavors. Because of Janus’ place in the Roman pantheon, it seemed natural to the Romans to name the first month of the civil year after him. (The Church year began back with the First Sunday of Advent, you’ll remember.) And although we no longer worship the pagan gods of the ancient Romans, the name has stuck through the centuries. But we’re not immune to the human instinct that moved the Romans to name the first month after Janus. His double countenance, facing forward and backward, reflects how we approach the coming of each new year. The last week of the old year finds the newspapers and TV programs giving a glance back at the past year (“the 10 best, or worst, movies of…” and such) along with predictions of what the new year will bring. I always find “the 10 worst predictions” for the year just ending an amusing read. We look back at our own successes

Clean Spiritual Slate

and failures, happy events, and sad ones, during the year just ending, and look forward to the new year as we prepare our resolutions. When we reflect back on the blessings we’ve received, our hearts should be filled with gratitude — and blessings there have been, no matter how difficult the year has been. But for most of us, there have been failures and failings, too. That calls for repentance, and perhaps a trip to the confessional — but God, who makes “all things new” (Rv 21:5), will then give

us a clean spiritual slate with which we may begin the new year. With the effects of the pandemic still present, it might be a challenge to look forward with hope - but we are a people of hope. I’d also like to challenge you to include your grateful response to God as you make your resolutions for the new year. You don’t have to wait until you fill out a commitment card to decide this is the year when you’re actually going to attend Mass once a week in addition to Sunday (or begin worshiping every Sunday if you haven’t been doing so) or to pray the Rosary every week or to begin regular prayers with your family. Include in your resolutions how you are going to get involved in some ministry or some service to the community, and then do so. Decide to become more faithful in your financial stewardship if your treasure commitment is less than it should be. Look forward to the new year and bring Christ and His Church to the center of your resolutions. Then see what a good year it will be, with God at the center! Have a happy, and holy, New Year. Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. John O’Neill Pastor




Thanking God for the Blessi

ou have to take care of yourself before you can take care of those you love. This rationale is difficult for many of us to accept. Mothers and fathers routinely place the needs of their children before their own; soldiers at war often throw their own safety to the wind in the interest of protecting their fellow soldiers. The story of Jesus also focuses on giving to others. If Christ calls us to imitate Him – to become completely selfless – then it would seem that focusing on ourselves might counteract our efforts as Christians. Nevertheless, as we enter into our annual Stewardship Renewal, Fr. John O’Neill is asking us all to focus a bit more on ourselves. No, he’s not encouraging self-centeredness; he’s asking us to examine our own lives and determine the areas that are in need of growth. Before the stewardship way of life can totally transform our parishes, it must begin in each of our hearts. As each individual’s spiritual life blossoms and grows, so will our parishes. Will you plant the seed of stewardship in your own heart?

Commitment Weekend is January 22-23. Don’t forget to bring your Commitment Card to Mass! How do I use my Commitment Card? Your commitment card allows you to make commitments to prayer, parish ministries, and offertory giving. It is designed to be used by the whole family. Time Section: Except for the ill and homebound, everyone should be able to check “Come to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.” Try to check at least a few other items. Daily prayer should be a priority for every person trying to grow closer to God. Talent Section: You can either sign up for new ministries or re-commit to your current ministries. Be sure to write your first name next to the ministry! This is especially important if the card is being used by more than one person. Treasure Section: Clearly print how much money you plan to give each week or month to the offertory. Try to take a step toward giving five percent of your income to your parish. 4

Is your prayer life in need of a tune-up? Honestly ask yourself, “How much time do I spend in prayer each week?” The answer is probably a bit embarrassing. Everyone wants to spend more time in prayer, but there’s just never enough time to do everything we want to do. Good intentions are just that: intentions. This year, as you’re discerning how you will offer your time to God, resolve to follow through with your commitments. Consider each moment you spend in prayer as nourishment for your soul. The spiritual health of our parish is only as strong as the sum of its parts (individual parishioners).


ings He has Bestowed on Us Is your level of parish involvement in need of a boost? We give our talents back to God when we get involved in ministries at St. John and St. James. And, with a host of ministries to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Sure, ministries give parishioners opportunities to serve others in the community, but they also benefit those in the ministry itself. Ask anyone who actively participates in a ministry at St. John or St. James, “Why do you enjoy serving in this way?” They’ll probably say, “I get more out of the ministry than the people I serve.” This year, as you’re discerning how you will offer your talents to God, consider signing up for a ministry that may benefit you, like a Bible study, prayer group, or retreat. Or, contribute to an outreach ministry where your good deeds not only help others in the community but also give you feelings of satisfaction and thankfulness. Do you give a percentage of your income to the offertory? It may be hard to see offertory giving as a way to “help yourself,” but when we approach the subject from a spiritual viewpoint, it can lead to individual spiritual growth and an increase in faith. Even the savviest businessperson worries about his or her personal finances from time to time. Adding a weekly offertory check to the list of monthly bills may seem crazy but, ultimately, sacrificial giving forces us to cut unnecessary spending, create a budget and have faith that God will help us make it through the month. All of these are good things for each of us, individually. After faithfully giving to the offertory for a few months, many Catholics find that it’s not only possible to give a weekly offering, but that the fruits of their gift far outweigh the expense. And why a percentage of income? First, because the tithe (10 percent) is a scriptural benchmark that the Church has honored for centuries (see Malachi 3:10). Secondly, we give a percentage of income because it is a common-sense standard by which everyone can equitably support their parish. Most of all, we give because we believe God comes first in everything, even finances.

As the impact of COVID begins to wane, we are eager to welcome everyone back to Mass and to get involved in our ministries. Now is the perfect time to take that step!

Every parish family will receive a special “Stewardship Package” in the mail that further explains our parish’s vision of stewardship. It includes a booklet that describes every ministry in the parish, as well as your commitment card.




New Year’s Resolutions

he New Year has arrived, and we have all been busy making — and trying to keep — our list of New Year’s resolutions. Many of us choose resolutions geared toward health and fitness. After all, possessing good overall health is critical to our well-being. Others may try to avoid a particularly bad habit. Maybe you need to quit smoking or stop swearing. Still, many of us plan things we have always wanted to do, but never get around to doing. As the days of January continue onward, however, many of us find the inspiration of keeping our goodintentioned resolutions to be fading fast. By the end of the month, most of us have given in to our temptations and returned to our old ways. We are only human, right? Discouraged by this yearly failure, many of us don’t even bother making New Year’s resolutions anymore, especially if we feel like we won’t succeed. Maybe our failures lie in both how we make our resolutions and what resolutions we actually choose. What we need to understand is the “root” of our resolution. For example, if you resolve to eat less candy to drop those recently added holiday pounds, is the “root” of your resolution a selfish one — wanting to look better since you overindulged? Or, are you genuinely seeking to stop giving in to each “sweet tooth” craving by practicing mortification — giving up of a personal pleasure to glorify God? If the “root” is a selfish one, only to benefit yourself, then it is


often difficult to keep in the long run. However, if we are trying to glorify God, our mission is much more important and worth keeping. Tying your New Year’s resolutions into the principles of stewardship — giving of your time, talent and treasure back to God — is a great way to ensure that the “root” of your resolution is right on track! For instance, resolving to pray each evening before going to bed glorifies God, brings you peace before slumber, and allows you to grow in your relationship with Christ. The “root” is pure. Your desire to keep it will be stronger and make it easier for you to keep. In the same way, resolving to return your talents to God by helping others in need is an excellent choice in creating a selfless resolution with the right “root.” Furthermore, resolving to re-evaluate your finances is also extremely important, and the beginning of a new year is a great time to do it. Are you giving back to God out of gratitude for all He has given you? Or are you merely dropping a few dollars in the collection basket just to feel good about yourself? If you are not where you would like to be as a good steward — either with sharing your time, talent or treasure — you can resolve to do better. The New Year is a perfect opportunity to start anew and become the good steward that God desires each of us to become. And when we choose selfless things that build His kingdom instead of ours, we are sure to not only stay on track, but to succeed!

Spiritual Motherhood for Priests: Praying for the Protection and Sanctification of Our Priests


The group prays a special Rosary together.

uring the Rite of Ordination, the bishop anoints the hands of the future priest and says, “The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.” When priests are ordained, they are taking on a huge responsibility. They face a life full of joy, but it doesn’t come without troubles and temptations. We need priests to lead lay people in the Catholic faith, so we must keep our priests in our prayers. In March 2009, Sandy Pickett took on this responsibility to pray for priests when she was consecrated with 30 other women of the Diocese of Tulsa under the apostolate of the Spiritual Motherhood for Priests. This is a lifelong commitment to pray and offer sacrifices for an anonymous priest from the diocese. At the time, this was coordinated through the Diocese of Tulsa. At her consecration, Sandy received a medal inscribed with the last part of the blessing of a priest’s hands, “Receive the power to offer sacrifice unto God.”

The Spiritual Motherhood group gathers every Thursday.

This apostolate was founded by an Ohio woman named Mary Anne Gronotte. In 2007, the Congregation of the Clergy approved the Spiritual Motherhood for Priests and invited laywomen to adopt priests as their sons and pray for them, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Sandy and the other women were led through formation for this apostolate by Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB. “Spiritual Motherhood is offering to God our lives, prayers, and sacrifices for the protection and sanctification of priests,” Sandy says. Over time, other women at the parish have joined Sandy to pray each Thursday morning following daily Mass. They gather at about 7:30 a.m. Although there is no longer a formation program for Spiritual Motherhood in the diocese, all are welcome to come pray a special Rosary, which was written by Fr. Kirby. The Rosary reflections cover the life of Christ as priest and victim. continued on back cover

“Although I don’t know who the priest is, God knows. I don’t know the impact those prayers have had, but God knows.” — SANDY PICKETT 7

Saint John Before the Latin Gate 715 S. Johnstone Ave. Bartlesville, OK 74003 (918) 336-4353 Saint James Catholic Church 5500 Douglas Ln. Bartlesville, OK 74006 (918) 335-0844

Spiritual Motherhood for Priests “These dear friends of mine wanted to join me in praying,” Sandy says. “Once they prayed this Rosary for the first time, they were hooked.” Throughout all of these years, Sandy has been praying for the same priest she was given at her consecration. She also prays for all priests. “Although I don’t know who the priest is, God knows,” Sandy says. “I don’t know the impact those prayers have had, but God knows.” Sandy invites anyone who feels a calling

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to pray for priests to join the group on Thursday mornings. She also asks all of us to pray for our priests and offer sacrifices for them. We need good, holy priests all over the world. “As Catholics, we have an obligation to pray for our priests,” Sandy says. “Our priests are constantly being attacked by Satan.” In addition to this rosary for priests, Sandy prays a morning offering for priests every day as well as the Office in the Liturgy of the Hours as part of her daily sacrifice for her priest-son.

Please join us at the Rosary for priests, after the Thursday 7 a.m. Mass each week.

Sandy Pickett received this Spiritual Motherhood medal at her consecration.

MASS & CONFESSION TIMES ST. JOHN: Masses: Saturday: 5 p.m. | Sunday: 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (en Español) | Tuesday: 7 a.m. | Wednesday: 5:15 p.m. Thursday: 7 a.m., 7 p.m. (en Español) | Friday: 8:15 a.m. (School Mass) Reconciliation: Saturday: 4-4:45 p.m. | Sunday: 12:30-1:15 p.m. ST. JAMES: Masses: Saturday: 5:30 p.m. | Sunday: 9:30 a.m. | Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. | Thursday: 8:30 a.m. | Saturday: 8:30 a.m. Reconciliation: Saturday: 4:30-5:15 p.m.