Catholic Community of Bartlesville Newsletter — Mar 2023

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community of St. John & St. James

Church Flowers and Décor

Walking Us Through the Liturgical Seasons in Splendor

Throughout the year, the Catholic Church passes through many different liturgical seasons. Each season can be identified by the different readings and Scripture passages that are proclaimed during Mass, the different color vestments that priests wear, the different types of music that are sung, and the different types of flowers and decorations that adorn the church.

Each of these essential elements helps to set the tone for the particular liturgical season into which the Church has entered, as well as helping to create an environment for spiritual growth and prayer throughout the year. Diane Leroux, who began leading the Flower Ministry at St. James in 2014, understands the importance that flowers play in creating a beautiful and prayerful environment.

“If a church is to provide a place to worship, we should provide the beauty that God intended,” Diane says. “It should be a true refuge for all.”

At St. James, the types of flowers used to decorate the church change depending on the Church Season. At Easter, you will see Easter lilies, hydrangeas, and azaleas. For Christmas, the altar is decorated with beautiful poinsettias.

The flowers for the St. James altar are provided through donations on behalf of the church community. Each month, one can sign up at the back of the church — for a donation of $50, the flowers can be donated in memory of a loved one or for a special intention. For Easter and Christmas celebrations, parishioners can donate $20-$25, and their names and intentions will be listed on a sheet in the bulletin. This is a great way for the community to be involved in decorating the church.

“This is such a special touch for our church community,” Diane says. “All of this is a tradition at St. James and we are all very proud of this tradition — flowers for the Glory of God.”

At St. John’s, the Catholic Women’s Ministry Flower Committee ensures that the plants and flowers in the church’s sanctuary and chapel are kept fresh and watered.

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“I am honored to do the flowers for Jesus and the Holy Mother. I feel her all the time.” — Dedicated in loving memory of Barbara Hiatt.

The Challenge of Discipleship

God calls us to give Him everything – our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole mind. This is the challenge of discipleship – a lifelong process of more fully placing our lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

The reason that God can ask such complete service from us is that He made us. Everything we have belongs to Him! This includes our intelligence, our physical ability, our artistic talent, our family, our finances, our government – anything we may typically think of as “ours.”

It takes courage to recognize that we are not the masters of our possessions or ourselves. Furthermore, as Christians, we believe that because everything we have is a gift from God, we are called to give Him thanks. We express our thanks by using our gifts to further His kingdom on earth. This is the basis for our understanding of stewardship.

We refer to “time,” “talent,” and “treasure” in order to differentiate between the various parts of our life that belong to God. “Time” is the duration of life that God has given us. “Talent” includes the special gifts or strengths God has nurtured in us. “Treasure” is what we have earned through our time and talent.

Even though we identify these three aspects of stewardship, they are still part of the same Gospel-based concept. And even when we focus separately on these parts,

it should not signal that one is more important than the other. Instead, focusing on each aspect one at a time helps us to better concentrate on that area in our lives.

Stewardship is, after all, an attitude. If our goal is to become better stewards, we must have a reason in our minds to do so. Here are the basics of a stewardship attitude:

“God made everything!”

A wholehearted trust that God made all things is essential to understanding stewardship. Recognizing God as the Creator is one of the most basic, profound beliefs of Christianity.

“I am truly blessed!”

It takes humility in order to truly acknowledge God’s goodness. Every great triumph and every little pleasure is a blessing from above, and every strong character trait we possess is a gift from God.

“I believe I am to use God’s gifts for His glory!”

What better way to thank God for His goodness than by using our personal gifts to glorify Him? We are not the owners of our time, talent, or treasure. But we are caretakers given the responsibility of spreading God’s kingdom on earth.


Reflections on Lent and Stewardship From Pope Benedict XVI

Withthe passing from this life of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Dec. 31, I found it fitting to share with you some of his teachings and reflections on Lent, as we have now embarked on our own Lenten journeys.

Pope Benedict was a lifelong scholar, a priest for 71 years, and pope from 2005 to 2013. Throughout his papacy, he offered us all a treasure trove of reflections, prayers, and advice for our Lenten journeys and constantly reminded and encouraged us during this 40-day journey to increase our faith and charity. In other words, through conversion of heart, we must intensify our commitment to stewardship with the sharing of our gifts during Lent.

In his final Lenten message as pope in 2013, he wrote: “The celebration of Lent… offers us a valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity: between believing in God — the God of Jesus Christ — and love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and others.”

While Lent is a time when we tend to ramp up our prayer lives, Pope Benedict always pushed us to do even more, and he encouraged us to take the next step as good and faithful stewards. He explained how faith leads to charity, which is a response to God’s love for us, thus urging us to use our renewed faith by sharing our time, talent, and treasure with others.

He wrote:  “The entire Christian life is a response to God’s love. The first response is precisely faith as the acceptance, filled

with wonder and gratitude, of the unprecedented divine initiative that precedes us and summons us. And the ‘yes’ of faith marks the beginning of a radiant story of friendship with the Lord, which fills and gives full meaning to our whole life. But it is not enough for God that we simply accept his gratuitous love. Not only does he love us, but he wants to draw us to himself, to transform us in such a profound way as to bring us to say with Saint Paul: ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’” (cf. Gal 2:20).

Pope Benedict continued his 2013 Lenten message, saying:  “For its part, charity ushers us into the love of God manifested in Christ and joins us in a personal and existential way to the total and unconditional self-giving of Jesus to the Father and to his brothers and sisters. By filling our hearts with his love, the Holy Spirit makes us sharers in Jesus’ filial devotion to God and fraternal devotion to every man” (cf. Rom 5:5).

While we grieve that he is no longer with us here, I remain grateful to our Lord for Pope Benedict XVI and his ministry and invite you to reflect on his teachings and messages on Lent as you continue your own Lenten journeys with trust and joy.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Want to read more from Pope Benedict XVI on the Lenten journey? Pick up his 2006 book, Journey to Easter: Spiritual Reflections for the Lenten Season, and his 2012 book, Lent with Pope Benedict XVI: Meditations for Every Day.

Parishioners, A Letter From Our Pastor

Brian Kennedy was raised at St. John Before the Latin Gate and witnessed the service of many faithful parishioners over the years. It’s important to him to do the same and, in turn, serve as an example for the next generation.

“There were so many good role models to me when I was growing up,” he says. “Regina and I want to do our part in all of this. We want to do what they did.”

Currently serving as the Grand Knight for Knights of Columbus Council 1303, Brian enjoys the fundraisers,

Meet Brian and Regina Following the Blueprint for

workdays, and the cookouts for the school. These opportunities to give back mean a lot to him.

“The reality is, it’s all about hanging out with other Christian men who have the same values as you do,” Brian says. “It’s nice.”

He also appreciates that this council brings together the men of four parishes, which gives him a chance to meet other Catholic men. Brian is also a member of the parish Finance Council.

The Kennedys also serve on the Envisioning Team, through which they focus on strategic planning and stewardship. They also look at ways to build community.

Regina is active with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. She got involved after she served as a sponsor for a friend who was entering the Church.

“It’s really rewarding and fulfilling to walk with people as they enter the church,” she says.

In addition, Regina is in a women’s faith group that meets each week. She’s been meeting with this group for several years.

“It’s been good to become friends and grow in faith together,” Regina says.

Regina spends every Tuesday morning doing light cleaning at the rectory with Holly Adams. She’s been giving her time to this ministry for about eight years.

“It makes you feel even more a part of the parish when you are involved,” Regina says.

The Kennedys have four children, all of whom attended St. John Catholic School and received their sacraments here. The couple met many of their current friends through their involvement at the school when their children were young.

“It’s easier to practice your faith in community instead of thinking you are out there by yourself,” Brian says. “Some of our best friends, we met all those years ago through the school.”

Brian works as an insurance agent, and Regina spent many years as a stay-at-home mom and now is a self-proclaimed “professional volunteer.” Here in the Bartlesville community, she volunteers with Meals on Wheels.

Regina and Brian Kennedy enjoy living out stewardship in various ways throughout our parish community.

Regina Kennedy for Living Out Stewardship

For Brian, it’s hard to pick a favorite out of all the ministries in which he’s been involved. He certainly enjoys giving back of his time and talents through the Knights of Columbus.

“All of the ministries are important in their own way,” he says. “We all have strengths and weaknesses. We support each other and support our priests. We work to make our parish community the best it can be.”

In his free time, Brian enjoys hunting and fishing. Regina loves to walk, read and play mahjong with friends.

Church Flowers and Décor

Sabrina Gelado, Sharon Janda, and Barbara Hiatt have cared for the plants and flowers for a combined 10 years. They are also responsible for other décor that helps lead parishioners through the different liturgical seasons.

“I wanted to get involved in this ministry because I feel that plants and flowers add to the focus of Mass while drawing the eye to the most sacred space of the Mass — the altar,” Sharon says. “They also enhance the beauty of the sanctuary and change for the liturgical seasons.”

During Ordinary Time, the décor is simple with green plants and seasonal flower arrangements for feast days and memorial flowers that are requested by parishioners. As the Church journeys through Advent towards Christmas, it starts simple and ends with the nativity scene, trees, and poinsettias on Christmas. During Lent, the environment is kept bare. Palm arrangements are placed on the altar for Palm Sunday, and

more information, or to get involved, contact

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during Holy Week the statues are draped in purple. On Holy Saturday, the decorations are transitioned for Easter Sunday to create a scene for the Risen Lord with lots of fresh flowers and Easter lilies.

(St. James Flower Ministry)
918-914-0322 or
(St. John’s Catholic Women’s Ministry Flower Committee) at 918-766-0942.
Diane Leroux
at or Sharon Janda
The Easter flowers are arranged at St. James.
“All of the ministries are important in their own way. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We support each other and support our priests. We work to make our parish community the best it can be.”
Brian Kennedy was raised at St. John, and he and Regina strive to live out the stewardship example that has been passed down in the parish for generations.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Returning to the Father

Those of us who have children know what it’s like when they come to us apologetically after having done something they know is wrong. As parents, it melts our hearts, and we can’t help but forgive them freely, and take them into our arms — sometimes squeezing them with tears in our eyes! At times, we may even feel closer to them than we did before the event occurred.

This, we can assume, is how God feels, being our most clement Father. In His magnanimous love, He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to redeem the world, freeing it from the haunting grips of sin and death. Christ instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation through His Church to offer sinners forgiveness for the offenses they committed against God.

As church Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas writes so beautifully, “[The Sacrament of Confession is a] sacrament of healing and a sacrament of conversion, returning us to the Father after we have sinned. In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.”

As far as the details for the reception of this sacrament are concerned, three conditions are necessary – contrition, which is genuine sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any

Let us each take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, offered at St. John on Saturdays from 4- 4:45 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 - 1:15 p.m. At St. James it is offered on Saturdays from 4:30 -5:15 p.m. There will also be a special Lenten Penance Service on March 28 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at St. John.

omission; and satisfaction by means of good works. A priest is gravely bound to keep total confidentiality for all confessions they hear.

Church law requires Catholics to confess mortal sins – the most serious kind of sins – to a priest at least once per year, and to confess them before ever receiving Holy Communion, as well. However, this is by far the minimum; Catholics are encouraged to receive the sacrament freely and frequently since it is so extremely beneficial to the health of the mind, soul, and spiritual life in general.

To honor the Sacraments is to honor God and the entire Christian community. To receive the Sacraments is to live in God’s love and to strengthen our love for each other. Christ, our tenderhearted, Paschal Lamb, awaits us, His beloved children, to come to Him with all of our hearts.

Parish Community Stewardship: Serving Generously with Grateful Hearts

All it takes is one glance at all of the beautiful fruit that has blossomed from the Catholic community of Bartlesville to see that we believe in loving others “until it hurts.”

“I am so thankful to our people for their generosity and their involvement in the community,” says Fr. John O’Neill. “They are examples to the world of what it means to be a Christian. We have a very caring community of Catholics here in Bartlesville. We believe it is a great blessing to serve our parish as well as our local community.”

Thanks to the strong, faithful leadership of our priests, giving without “counting the cost” has become a way of life for many Catholics in our area.

“There are priests who have served in our town that have had a real heart for social justice and social concerns,” Fr. John says. “When a priest cares and invites others to care, it inspires others to do the same. I preach about it and try to live it. I ask my parishioners, ‘How are

you going to respond to what I said — how are you going to care for your neighbor? Jesus said that those who are saved are those who hear and do.’”

Indeed, Fr. John and the parishioners of St. James and St. John do respond to the Gospel’s call to love their neighbor in a wide variety of ways. For example, for the last couple of winters, Fr. John prayed the Benediction for the National Day of Prayer in Bartlesville. In addition, he and another parishioner are both on the board of governors for Catholic Charities, and another one of our parishioners serves on the board of directors for Concern, a local social outreach organization. Recently, the Knights of Columbus hosted a pancake breakfast in support of Hopestone Cancer Support Center. Further, the Knights donate to the Cottage, a non-profit, pro-life ministry that provides free pregnancy tests, mobile ultrasound clinics, mom/baby resources, and residential care for pregnant mothers in need. In addition to monetary donations to

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“The generosity of our Catholic community has been extraordinary, and it keeps growing every year. We are so blessed to have such amazing stewards among us. We have many parishioners who are glad to give to whichever charities we budget for.”

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

Parish Community Stewardship

the Lighthouse Mission, St. James also provides a meal for them once per month.

“We are very involved in the community and we are supportive of different charities,” Fr. John says. “We have many parishioners from both parishes who volunteer at various local organizations. I am glad that our community can see how invested we Catholics are in caring for others.”

According to Deacon Jerry Rutherford, a deacon at St. James Parish and the business manager for both of our parishes, the charitable attitude of our parish family is remarkable.

“The generosity of our Catholic community has been

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extraordinary, and it keeps growing every year,” he says. “We are so blessed to have such amazing stewards among us. We have many parishioners who are glad to give to whichever charities we budget for.”

Our parish community financially contributes to outreach organizations such as the Lighthouse Mission, Catholic Charities, Birthright, the Mary/Martha Outreach of Catholic Charities, Martha’s Task, Concern, and Habitat for Humanity. For many years, we supported Green Country Free Clinic, but we no longer do so because they have closed down.

For more information about stewardship efforts in our community, contact either Parish Office, St. John 918-336-4353; St. James — 918-335-0844


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
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.