Contents 2 Living Out Gratitude and Stewardship, During Thanksgiving and Beyond 3
“What’s in it For Us” May Surprise You
4 Sharing in Food and Fellowship at Our Community Picnic 6
New RCIA Coordinator Kim Barbour Reflects on Our RCIA Process “It’s Never Too Late” NOVEMBER 2020
Before the Latin Gate Roman Catholic Church
HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH MINISTRY:
An Opportunity to Grow Closer to God in Community
or Youth Director Cassie Rebeor, it’s been quite the exciting first year of serving the teens in our parish. From traveling and connecting with the broader Church to preparing for sacraments, to learning how to share the faith amid a global pandemic, it’s all been an adventure. “It has definitely been a first year for the record books,” Cassie says with a smile. “It may have been an odd year, but it was one filled with great moments.” Those great moments included all sorts of big events, from the Diocesan Discipleship Catholic Youth Conference and the March for Life, as well as sacraments — with people being confirmed during a pandemic and someone receiving their First Reconciliation at the March for life — to “Ask Fr. John” sessions and getting to meet a therapy dog and his handler. In the midst of it all, our young people have stepped up, leading prayer, games, and more. Currently, our Youth Ministry program is meeting in person, with the option of participating via Zoom for those unable to physically attend. High School Youth Group typically takes place on Wednesday evenings, in Fr. Lynch Hall’s Braymer Room, from 6:30-8 p.m. This year, we are focusing on the importance of Scripture — helping young people understand the story of our faith, and how it applies to their continued on back cover
Living Out Gratitude and Stewardship, During Thanksgiving and Beyond
very November, as the holiday season fast approaches, we are filled with a deep sense of sentimentality and gratefulness for all of our blessings. At the same time, we encounter many wonderful ways to give — to cheerfully share our own gifts — during this time of Thanksgiving. It is with this spirit of gratitude that we can truly live out the stewardship way of life. This Thanksgiving, there are plenty of opportunities to do this in a direct way. Is there a family member or friend you haven’t spoken to for a long time, or someone who might be spending the holiday alone? Drop them an email, pick up the phone and call, or even catch up with them via Zoom or FaceTime — even virtually, such connections at this time are essential! Perhaps you may volunteer at a soup kitchen, or you might donate a Thanksgiving meal to a family in need who wouldn’t have one otherwise. The day after Black Friday make it a point to donate old clothes that you or your family members no longer need. And as the winter draws closer,
you might participate in — or even organize — a coat drive, and then go out into the community to give the coats away to homeless shelters and those in need during the winter months. There are numerous opportunities to live in gratitude and thanksgiving — opportunities that go beyond just having a meal at home. Of course, we must remember that this spirit of thanksgiving does not end after Thanksgiving, nor does it end following Advent and Christmas. We must always consider how to give, even as the glow of the holiday season fades after the New Year. In January, if there is abundance in your closet, give away from that abundance. In February, if there are volunteers needed at the soup kitchen, give of your time. We need a renewed spirit of stewardship and thanksgiving that lasts the whole year so that our giving becomes habitual, and not just seasonal. This Thanksgiving, ask the Holy Spirit where He is calling you to give. And may the joy of the Thanksgiving season flow into our lives as good stewards, every day and throughout the entire year.
Of course, we must remember that this spirit of thanksgiving does not end after Thanksgiving, nor does it end following Advent and Christmas. We must always consider how to give, even as the glow of the holiday season fades after the New Year. In January, if there is abundance in your closet, give away from that abundance. In February, if there are volunteers needed at the soup kitchen, give of your time. We need a renewed spirit of stewardship and thanksgiving that lasts the whole year so that our giving becomes habitual, and not just seasonal.
A Letter From Our Pastor
“WHAT’S IN IT FOR US” MAY SURPRISE YOU Dear Parishioners,
ou already know that our parish is committed to living as intentional disciples of Christ through the holistic practice of stewardship. What you may not know is that one of our inspirations and mentors is the late Msgr. Thomas McGread of the Diocese of Wichita. Who was Msgr. McGread? Msgr. McGread was a humble, servant priest who created a model for how stewardship should be practiced — both here and in many Catholic parishes across the country. What began simply with Msgr. McGread applying his stewardship principles at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita — where he served as pastor for 31 years — has become a way of life for our parish family and for Catholics around the nation. With such an incredible blueprint from this visionary priest, how could we go wrong? We have truly embraced stewardship here at St. John Before the Latin Gate, and for that, I am blessed and grateful. From the beginning, however, the question “What’s in it for us?” had to be on our minds as our efforts to educate parishioners and promote the stewardship way of life were introduced. At first, “What’s in it for us?” seemed to center on what people were willing to do to give back to God as part of practicing their faith and living as disciples of Jesus Christ. While this is important, there is so much more to it. The truth is, “What’s in it for us?” is really about “What’s in it for you?” “What’s in it for you?” perhaps is best explained as one simple principle — cultivating a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. When Christ calls us to discipleship, He is also calling us to be faithful stewards of our time, talent and treasure. Our gratitude for these gifts is best expressed through giving a portion of each back to God. Thus, stewardship becomes a way of life that is also the way to holiness. Our
relationship with Christ is what we get in return. Our efforts as a parish to promote the spiritual benefits of active stewardship are designed to foster a deeper relationship with God for all of us. Membership in a parish family should encourage, support, and celebrate that relationship with the living God, first and foremost. Everything else flows from that. If we are not focused on our relationship with God, then what will define our spirituality? If we have embraced the blessings of stewardship as a practical way of being the disciples we are called to be, we will in turn know a deeper relationship with Christ. We celebrate Thanksgiving this month, which truly is a stewardship holiday since stewardship begins with an attitude of gratitude. I am truly thankful for all that is done here at St. John Before the Latin Gate, and for the many parishioners willing to do so much. In closing, let me share one final thought to help you realize the gift that our parish is to each and every one of us. Be grateful for all you have. Be generous in giving something back to God. Be faithful stewards, and you will have done both. That is what’s in it for you, and in turn, that is what’s in it for us! And don’t forget — God has been doing this for centuries. We’re just the latest and most fortunate recipients. Happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and your family. Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. John O’Neill Pastor 3
SHARING IN FOOD AND FELLOWS Thank you to everyone who came out for some great food, fun and fellowship at the Bartlesville Catholic Community picnic on Oct. 11. We extend a special thank you to all of our volunteers who made the picnic possible.
SHIP AT OUR COMMUNITY PICNIC
KIM BARBOUR REFLECTS I
RCIA Coordinator Kim Barbour at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which she visited with Fr. John and a group from our diocese when she was going through the RCIA process herself.
t’s never too late to find your way home to the Catholic Church. This great truth is something that our new Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) coordinator, Kim Barbour, knows from personal experience. Kim joined the Church through RCIA two years ago at St. John Before the Latin Gate. Although she had been a practicing Episcopalian for the first 50 years of her life, Kim came to a deeper understanding of Christ and His Church as a participant in RCIA. When Kim first enrolled in RCIA, she had no idea just how transformative the next nine months would be. “I thought I had it all going on,” Kim says. “I was very much a prayer warrior. I had parents who were very faithful and taught me Jesus’s message, and the Episcopal church was very reverent. But I had some questions about things.” The more she learned, the more Kim fell in love with the Catholic Church. “I was 50 years old when I felt like my eyes were opened up wide and it all made sense to me, the entire tradition from Genesis to Revelation,” she says. “I do believe in my heart that this is a faith that goes way back to the very beginning, and I love that. I love the apostolic tradition that the faith brings, and that has answered all of the questions and filled the blank spaces that I was feeling as I was moving through my adult years. That’s the background I bring to RCIA, and that informs this year’s program.” Thankful for her own experience in RCIA, Kim was thrilled to help Pat Netzer co-lead the program for 2019-20. This year, Kim has taken the lead while Pat continues to assist with the coordination of RCIA. Fr. John, Fr. Carlos, Deacon Dan, and Deacon Charlie lead the sessions, which are currently meeting in
ON OUR RCIA PROCESS
“It’s Never Too Late”
“It’s never too late. That is such a beautiful message of the Christian faith. Jesus is waiting for us and God is calling to us all the time. We only need to stop long enough to listen to what His will is for our lives, and maybe that means taking the time to look at the Catholic faith.” — KIM BARBOUR Fr. Lynch Hall to allow for social distancing. For Kim, one of the most important aspects of the RCIA process is that it meets participants wherever they may be on their faith journey — whether they are fallen-away Catholics, come from another faith background, or have no faith background at all. Likewise, anyone interested in learning more about the Catholic faith is welcome to begin attending sessions at any time — after all, Kim points out, “The Holy Spirit doesn’t always work on a school schedule!” Having experienced RCIA for herself and now in her second year working with the process, Kim loves watching the spiritual transformations that often take place in participants. “The part that is the most exciting is watching the light start to go on when the connections are made,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hearing a certain Scripture, learning about a rite and realizing they are going to be a part of something so much larger than themselves, or just seeing a path open up and seeing that it leads them to Jesus. It’s a slow process, with many lampposts along your path. Then the light goes on, and the world looks richer and brighter and there is someone to catch you,
and that’s a beautiful thing to see.” Stewardship — the sharing of one’s time, talent, and treasure — is also explored in the RCIA sessions and often becomes a natural result of the process. As candidates and catechumen prepare to enter our faith community, the parish strives to support them in every way. In turn, those who feel transformed by their RCIA journey are excited to find ways to share this blessing with their new parish family. Perhaps the most life-changing aspect of RCIA for Kim was the renewed lightness of heart she experienced as she learned to share her worries and anxieties with the Lord. She has noticed this same spiritual growth in others who go through the process as they realize that we don’t have to go through this life alone. Instead, Jesus is always there with open arms. “It’s never too late,” Kim says. “That is such a beautiful message of the Christian faith. Jesus is waiting for us and God is calling to us all the time. We only need to stop long enough to listen to what His will is for our lives, and maybe that means taking the time to look at the Catholic faith.”
Are you interested in learning more about the Catholic faith or helping with RCIA in any way? Parishioners are invited to serve as sponsors, help with hospitality, or simply come meet and welcome our RCIA participants. Sessions are held at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information about joining or helping with RCIA, please call the parish office at 918-336-4353, or contact Kim Barbour directly at 952-270-4665 or email@example.com.
715 S. Johnstone Ave. | Bartlesville, OK 74003 Office: (918) 336-4353 | www.stjohn-bartlesville.org
High School Youth Ministry lives. We will continue to have regular “Ask Fr. John” nights, as well as game/movie/study nights leading up to breaks and midterms. This month, our parish will also host one of the regional gatherings of Catholic young people within our diocese. This day-long event, which will take place on Nov. 7, will include prayer, Mass, keynote speakers, Confession, praise and worship, and a whole lot of fun. Adult volunteers are still needed to serve in our Youth Ministry, from leading a small group and preparing meals, to driving and chaperoning events. Cassie encourages parishioners to consider supporting our young people — and, in turn, growing in their own faith — by becoming involved. “If you are interested in serving in one of these ways or in a different way, please let me know,” Cassie says. “It’s hard not to grow in your faith when
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you walk by someone else in their journey. I am so thankful for the examples our volunteers set for each of our teens.” She also encourages young people to consider becoming involved in the Youth Ministry. During a time in which so many things are uncertain, taking time to deepen your relationship with God and build friendships with others in the community can be invaluable. “Jump into it!” Cassie says. “We will accept, love, and support you no matter what, following our Lord’s example. God is there for us in the good and bad. When times are tough, He puts people in our lives who want to walk with us on our journey, and that is exactly what you will find in the Braymer room on Wednesday nights — some fun-loving, Jesus-striving people to walk this journey of life with you.”
If you would like more information on becoming involved in our Youth Ministry program — either as a teen or adult volunteer — please contact Youth Director Cassie Rebeor at 918-336-4353, ext. 111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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., noon (vulnerable population),7 p.m. (en Español) Friday: 8:15 a.m. (School only Mass), St. James at 8:30 a.m., Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dewey at noon Reconciliation: Saturday: 4-4:45 p.m. | Sunday: 12:30-1:15 p.m.