Catholic Community of Bartlesville Newsletter — October 2022

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community of St. John & St. James Adult Faith Formation: W

A Space to Keep Learning and Growing in Faith

e know that Catholic churches have religious education programs and Sunday school for children and teens. But, there isn’t always an option for adults. In a 2012 address to local priests, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that adult faith formation is essential: “We must do everything possible for catechetical renewal in order for the faith to be known, God to be known, Christ to be known, the truth to be known, and for unity in the truth to grow.” Jim Fangmeier has been participating in adult faith formation at St. John since 1998. In recent years, he took over coordinating the program. A cradle Catholic, Jim noticed he didn’t have the opportunity to learn about the faith as Jim Fangmeier has been participating in adult faith formation at St. John since 1998. In recent he grew. He was educated in a Catholic school, years, he took over coordinating the program. but he hadn’t encountered other opportunities to learn more about the faith. He helped jump-start adult faith formation, along with a few other people, back in the early 1990s. “It’s really rewarding when the light bulb comes on for someone,” he says. “You can see they really get it, and that’s all the payment I need. That happens fairly often.” There are currently two options for adult faith formation — between the Sunday Masses and at 7 p.m. on Monday nights. Between the Sunday Masses at 9:15 a.m. in Conference Room 1, the group reviews the readings for the following Sunday. “This way, you can go to Mass having already heard the message,” Jim says. The Monday night group goes through a Bible study. This study started on Sept. 12, but people are still welcome to join. The group usually follows a workbook, watches a video, and has time for discussion. They’ve studied everything from Genesis to Revelation and many books in between. continued on back cover


What to do With a Windfall? A

businessman sells some property for a nice profit. A woman retires from a 20-year career at age 43. A high school student discovers he has an exceptional talent for playing the piano. What do they have in common? Each person has recently received a windfall — an unusually large gain of money, time, or talent. Now each must answer a question — what to do with this newfound gain? The businessman, already somewhat financially successful, finds that the profit from the sale of rental property is unexpectedly large. For the first time, he feels an urge not to save it, but to share it. The next Sunday, even though he already contributes to his parish, he puts a larger sum in the offertory basket. He also knows of a local charity that supports low-income mothers, and mails them a generous donation. After her retirement from the Air Force, a woman finds she has a large amount of time during the day. Her husband works full-time and her two children are in high school. She hears a quiet voice asking, “How can you give back for all that you have received?” She calls her pastor and explains that she has the time to play a significant role in a parish ministry. He asks her


to re-invigorate their newcomer’s ministry and visit each new family, to which she happily agrees. In his high school music class, a 10th-grader discovers an amazing talent to play piano. After encouragement from family and friends, he joins the ensemble at the Sunday morning Mass. He even volunteers to play at special functions at the parish when needed. In all three cases, the businessman, retiree and student have received something of value, and have made deliberate choices to share it with others, particularly within their parish. Of course, it could have been different. The businessman could have taken an especially extravagant vacation. The woman could have done any number of things with her free time (couldn’t we all?). The young pianist could have used his talent to form a band or make a recording. And the truth is that they can still do all those things. But having received such wonderful gifts, their gratitude compels them to share a portion of them. After all, what do they lose by sharing what was already a gift to them from God? We’re all gifted and are called to share on a daily basis. But when the big blessings come, let’s pray for the grace to be even more generous than ever.

A Letter From Our Pastor

If Not Stewards, Then What Are We? Dear Parishioners,


s stewardship parishes, it is important to ask how well we understand the message of stewardship that keeps surfacing in all we do in our personal life and the life of our parishes. If not stewards, then what are we? If not disciples of Jesus Christ, then what purpose do we serve as members of His Holy Catholic Church? Aren’t these intriguing questions for any believer? And if not, why aren’t they? God’s goodness and the gifts given to each of us shouldn’t be taken for granted and our lives should be motivated by our gratitude for all we have, including every opportunity that gives glory and honor to God. Those opportunities are given at each moment of each day. Wait for them and expect them to become obvious. The idea of being a steward of those gifts and opportunities isn’t new to the realm of believers in the Old Testament or the New Testament. And certainly, the Gospels of Jesus Christ make it quite clear that our Lord views us to be the stewards He expects us to be. His stories and parables confirm it. So, if you cannot or will not see yourself as “that” steward He invites you to be, then what are you? I am curious about those who reject being that steward. I am even

more curious about what they believe are the other options. I am still in awe of the first line in the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, that boldly states: “Once one has decided to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, stewardship is not an option.” They were so convinced that the stewardship way of life is a disciple’s way of life. And yet, that is what we are and have always been. “If not stewards, then what?” remains a challenging statement to invite us to reflect on what our Catholic faith is calling us to experience and participate in for the time we are given on this earth. It challenges us to face our reflection in the mirror of this life given to us by God and see what our Lord sees in us, and then embrace the opportunities being handed to us each day of our lives. Blessings and challenges await us, and no matter what the balance may be from day to day, our God equips us with all we need. He created us and sees us as stewards. Why would we dare resist seeing ourselves in the way our God sees us? Connecting stewardship and discipleship is inevitable in my book. For that matter, it is inevitable in the “Good Book,” which we identify and recognize as the Word of God. It matters to our God what we do with the gifts He so generously gives to each of us. Why would it not matter to us? I ask you to take some time to refocus, reevaluate and re-commit yourself to the faithfulness of the life, the time, the talent, and the treasure you have been given. We are the stewards of those precious gifts. What are we doing with them? Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. John O’Neill Pastor 3



s our youngest parishioners are being formed in their faith, they are also growing in independence, responsibility, and the leadership skills that will make them assets to the Catholic Church and our community in the future. If you have a young person, between kindergarten and fifth grade, Cub Scouts might be the place for them to grow and flourish. St. John has had a Cub Scout pack for almost 70 years. David Bierschenk was a scout when he was young, so it was natural for him and his son, James, to get involved. David served as a den leader for four years and this year will be serving as Cubmaster. This year comes with another change — girls are welcome to join Cub Scouts. “This is the first year that girls are able to participate,” David says. “We’re excited about the new opportunity and adventure ahead.” Adventure is certainly the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about Cub Scouts. Camping and hiking are a big part of the scouting experience — so many

skills can be developed and friendships strengthened. Spending time in nature can offer more than that though. “Camping, hiking, and spending time outdoors with the pack is fun and chaotic,” David says. “But it also provides chances for solitude and an opportunity to encounter God in nature.” Scouting shows young people how to contribute to their communities. By participating in Scouts at the parish, they become involved and active members of our community. With parents actively involved, sharing skills, or participating in outdoor activities, Scouts learn by example and the community grows stronger. “The mission of scouting is to prepare youth to become moral, responsible, participating citizens,” David says. “Through scouting, youth learn about citizenship, faith, nature, and leadership.” Each month, small groups called dens meet and work on their rank requirements. The scouts might learn first aid skills, how to tie knots, how to set up a campsite or

Scouts learn how to play cricket at a pack outing.

Pack 5 celebrates Scout Sunday with Troop 5.


Pack 5 fishes at Camp McClintock.

cout Pack

LEARN ABOUT CITIZENSHIP, NATURE AND MORE work on a building project. Built into these rank requirements is a Duty to God requirement that encourages the scouts to explore and apply their faith. Later in the month, the whole pack gathers, often for a special event such as the Pinewood Derby, Rocket Derby, or Raingutter Regatta. Cub Scouts is open to boys and girls from both St. John and St. James. The Cub Scout year begins with the school year, but families are welcome to get involved at any time. Parents who help don’t need to have experience with outdoor activities. Popcorn sales are a major fundraiser to support the activities of the pack and help families participate. Scouts are eager to learn from parishioners, as well. “If you have any special skills or experiences you can share with the scouts, we’d love to have you lead a meeting or organize an outing,” David says. The fun doesn’t end with Cub Scouts. Scouts have the option to continue with Boy Scouts where they will continue to grow in skills, leadership, and faith. Scouts learn how to climb a rock wall at Camp McClintock.

Pack 5 learns how to operate police car sirens.

Pack 5 was proud to clean up litter at Sooner Park.

If you would like to learn more about Cub Scouts at St. John and St. James, or to get involved, please contact David Bierschenk at




ne of the most beautiful things about the Catholic faith is how it is truly universal, reaching out to all communities, languages, and cultures. Here in Bartlesville, the Hispanic Ministry brings the Spanish-speaking members of our community together, both to practice their faith and to share their culture and traditions with the wider parish community. “It’s important for the Hispanic community to identify with their roots and culture,” says ministry coordinator Everardo Ramirez Aguiñaga. “Through the activities we host, we hope that they can pass that along to their children, as well as the faith. The Hispanic Ministry helps



each member to grow in their faith through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. It also gives them spiritual support through retreats, and an opportunity to celebrate some of our popular religious cultural traditions, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe and Las Posadas. It’s also a way to continue to grow as a parish community, creating bonds of fellowship and working together to strengthen the community.” First organized in 2004, the Hispanic Ministry provides various resources for the Hispanic community throughout the year. St. John has a Spanish Mass every Sunday at 1:30 p.m., as well as every Thursday at 7 p.m. — the Spanish choir sings at each of these Masses. Additionally, the ministry hosts Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Thursday of each month, following the weekly 7 p.m. Mass in Spanish. The ministry also offers Spanish language religious education classes (CRE) for children in kindergarten through eighth grade, a teen youth group, and an adult faith formation group, all taking place on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. On the fourth Sunday of each month, the Spanish Mass is prepared by CRE students, who participate in the choir, take up the collection, and serve as lectors. Throughout the year, the Hispanic Ministry hosts various activities and events both for the Spanish-speaking community, as well as the entire parish. At the end of this month, on Oct. 29 and 30, the ministry will host its Family Retreat, which welcomes entire families to participate. “We split up the adults, teens, and children into different groups and have them discuss different topics,” Everardo says. “There are also other parts of the retreat where the whole family listens to a talk and participate in games and activities together.” The ministry will also soon celebrate Día de Muertos, a traditional Mexican celebration that commemorates the faithful deceased. The community prepares an altar for the dead, and everyone brings a photo of their loved ones who have passed to place on the altar. This is followed by a Mass, which will be held this year on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m., as well as a blessing of the altar and a fellowship gathering.



In December, the ministry will continue its annual celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, starting with a novena of prayer and Masses from Dec. 3 through Dec. 11. On Dec. 11, Bishop David Konderla will preside at the Mass, which will follow a procession including horseback riders, a Matachines dance group, a Tamborazo band, and entire families walking. All are invited to attend the dinner in the school gymnasium that will wind up the festivities. From Dec. 16 through Dec. 23, the ministry will celebrate Las Posadas, a Mexican tradition commemorating Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn in Bethlehem. Each day of the celebration will start with a Rosary at 6:30 p.m. Afterward, one boy and one girl from the community dress up as Joseph and Mary, along with another child dressed as an angel, and go around “pidiendo posada,” or asking for a place to stay. A different family sponsors each day of the celebration and provides food for all, as well as

candy for the children. Other ministry activities hosted throughout the rest of the year include a Hispanic Festival to celebrate Mexico’s independence day every September; Noche Bohemia, a day to celebrate love and friendship with an evening of music in February; Stations of the Cross in Spanish during Lent; and First Communion for the Hispanic community, which will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at noon. “The ministry is important because we are one community and one Church,” Everardo says. “We need to continue to grow together in faith. This will help to strengthen our community and help us to continue growing day by day. “English-speaking parishioners can help the Hispanic Ministry by joining in our celebrations,” he adds. “This will help them to become more familiar with how we live out our faith as Hispanics. They can also help support us through their talents and ideas.”

Volunteers are needed for the Spanish altar server ministry, as well as lectors and choir members for the Spanish Masses. If you would like more information, or to get involved, please contact Everardo Ramirez Aguiñaga at 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

Adult Faith Formation “I’ve loved studying so much of the Bible,” Jim says. “The Old Testament takes you forward to Jesus, and the New Testament takes you backwards to Jesus. They both come together in the sacrifice of the Mass.” Going through these studies has helped Jim learn so much more about the faith. Being allowed to teach has also allowed him to learn more. “This has made the Mass and Bible come alive for me,” he says.

continued from front cover Jim realizes people are busy, and not everyone has the time to attend a Bible study. However, he wants all to know they are welcome. Jim feels blessed to be able to share the faith in this way. The days that stand out most are the ones where one question sparks a deep conversation — Jim sees the Lord working through everyone on those days. “I feel it’s a special privilege to offer faith formation to others,” he says.

“I’ve loved studying so much of the Bible. The Old Testament takes you forward to Jesus, and the New Testament takes you backwards to Jesus. They both come together in the sacrifice of the Mass.” — JIM FANGMEIER Join either adult faith formation opportunity — between the Masses on Sundays in Room 1 or at 7 p.m. on Monday nights in Room 1.

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.