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Before the Latin Gate Roman Catholic Church

Contents 2 Building The Domestic Church Living Stewardship in Our Family as Pandemic Continues 3 “Coincidental” Stewardship 4 Sunday Morning Faith Formation Classes 6

Celebrating the Feast of the Archangels

7 St. John Catholic School Advisory Council: Working Together to Succeed in Our Mission


The Disciple Maker Index Results:

Another Great Tool for Our Parish


hen it comes to evangelizaST. JOHN NATIONAL tion and spreading the Gos94% 88% pel, Fr. John O’Neill says he wants WOULD RECOMMEND PARISH as many tools in his toolbelt as possible. That’s why he is so excit85% 84% ed to receive St. John Before the FEEL WELCOME/ACCEPTED Latin Gate’s results from the Disciple Maker Index survey, which 82% 71% was administered to parishioners THE PARISH HELPS FORM ME AS A DISCIPLE in the spring just before the COVID-19 outbreak. 87% 81% “This is an initiative that PARISH HELPS MY SPIRITUAL GROWTH was launched by the diocese to be done at every parish,” Fr. John says. “The survey was done through the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI), an organization that for over 25 years has been helping parishes and Catholic organizations improve their ability to serve the people of God. The Disciple Makers Index survey is meant to identify the overall effectiveness of the parish so that the leaders of the Church can know where the people of their parish are.” The 75-question survey is designed to provide bishops, pastors and parish leaders with an accurate picture of where their parish currently is and to help them create an intentional vision for moving forward. Though still in the early stages of reviewing continued on back cover

Building The Domestic Church Living Stewardship in Our Family as Pandemic Continues


s the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the question of how to strengthen our family faith and continue to live out stewardship while separated from the sacraments and parish life is being put to the test. Our priests and parish leaders already have found new ways to minister to our parish family from a distance. Now, it is our own time to shine within our own homes. It is our time to seize this opportunity and continue to build our own Domestic Church. What is the Domestic Church? Simply put, it is our family — the smallest body of gathered believers in Christ. The early Church fathers understood the home was fertile ground for discipleship, sanctification, and holiness. And the Domestic Church plays a key role in this as the primary place where we practice coming to intimately love others. Even before the pandemic, in recent years, our Holy Father Pope Francis placed great emphasis on the family, asking us as Catholics to explore the meaning and the theology of the Domestic Church. During his address at the World Meeting of Families during his 2015 apostolic visit to the United States, Pope Francis told us, “Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to grow in faith.” In his first Pastoral Letter, God Builds a House, Bishop David Konderla offers his first priority, “Strengthen the Family and Domestic Church.” Parishes around the Diocese are joining in efforts to do just that. Now, as the pandemic continues to distance us


from our parish and affects the way we live our faith and practice stewardship, it is now more important than ever to discern the unique role God has in mind for our lives, and the lives of our family members. If your family is committed to answering the call to live as intentional disciples of Christ, our response to this call starts in the home through stewardship. As Catholics, we often associate stewardship with sharing our time, talents and resources with our parish. We see it as volunteering and helping to build our parish community. Rarely, do we recognize the need for stewardship in our own homes. But what can you do to live out stewardship as a Domestic Church? You can set aside time each day for personal and family prayer. If you are still unable to attend Mass, you and your family can participate in the Sunday liturgy and daily Masses in your home via livestream. Read and reflect each day on the daily Mass readings, which are available online at www.usccb.org/bible. Do some online faith formation together. Other ideas include simply being kind to each other, doing something extra for your spouse or children, avoiding criticism, or working on being more patient with a family member who sometimes can be challenging to be around. Help a family member financially during these challenging times. Pray for our family members and each of their unique needs. Spend extra time with a child and our spouse — make that a priority worked into each week. The possibilities for living stewardship within our Domestic Churches are endless. How we treat each other in our homes is as important as praying together when living out stewardship. In a nutshell, live in your home with your faith-filled family celebrating your Catholic identity! Stewardship is not just something we do within the confines of our parish walls. It is meant to be lived 24/7, to be practiced anywhere and everywhere. And it begins with our Domestic Church — our families. By focusing on new ways to share our Time, Talent and Treasure together within our own homes — both during the pandemic and after the storm passes — we can make faith the source and center of our family lives and fulfill our mission as the Domestic Church.

A Letter From Our Pastor

“Coincidental” Stewardship Dear Parishioners,


he famous author G.K. Chesterton once said, “Coincidences are God’s way of staying anonymous.” Since fully embracing the stewardship way of life, coincidences have become cherished experiences for which I thank God — and rightly so! While God stays anonymous, coincidences are His way of interacting with the world He created. Importantly, as we have been continually impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with many of our circumstances changing day to day, we can be grateful for His “coincidental” intervention. As I continue to witness the grace-filled effects of the stewardship way of life on our parish, and in my own life, it is definitely God’s hand at work in our lives of faith. If some identify a coincidence as a “Holy surprise” that lifts the spirits and draws one closer to gratefulness to God, we cannot deny that in those circumstances that God is giving us the grace to live and celebrate our faith. So, let’s celebrate the coincidences! Celebrate the coincidence that Chesterton himself converted to Catholicism late in his life, yet wrote book after book affirming and defending the Catholic faith long before his conversion. Four years after Chesterton joined the Catholic Church, he wrote a phenomenal book called The Catholic Church and Conversion. It is one of the best works on conversion to Catholicism, as well as a wonderful description of conversion to the stewardship way of life. The same experiences, or “coincidences,” apply when we find ourselves drawn into the understanding, practice and expression of discipleship, known to us as “stewardship.” Chesterton describes conversion in three steps. “The convert takes his first step rather

unwittingly when he decides he’s going to be fair to the Catholic Church,” he wrote. The convert to stewardship must also dispel the “myths of stewardship” and give it a chance. This first step of conversion then leads to a long and enjoyable second step, which is the utter fascination of learning what the Catholic Church really does teach. Chesterton says, “It is like discovering a new continent full of strange flowers and fantastic animals, which is at once wild and hospitable.” For the stewardship convert, it is recognizing that stewardship is a practical way of living the Gospel. It makes sense, and others are doing it with joy and passion. What they have, the convert also wants. Then, the convert to Catholicism suddenly realizes with a shock that he can no longer be detached and impartial about the Catholic Church. The convert to the stewardship way of life realizes this is the way he or she wants to live — and makes the commitment to do so. If this were not true of what Christ has called us to be, I would not be writing this today. If this were not true of our commitment to stewardship, you may not be reading this today. And, if this were not true of a stewardship parish such as ours, we would not be the faithful stewards we are today. Wouldn’t you also agree it is a “coincidence” to thank God for each day of our lives? Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. John O’Neill, Pastor 3



Sunday Morning Fa


or many who have grown up in the Church, after years of Catholic school or religious education classes, Confirmation may unfortunately be regarded a “graduation” of sorts, at least when it comes to actively learning about our beliefs and teachings. For many “cradle Catholics,” our practice of the faith may easily slip into being more of a routine or habit, rather than a deep and meaningful relationship with Christ and His Church. However, as Catholics, we believe that our journey of faith is one that lasts our entire lives, with each day being an opportunity to grow closer to God and deepen our understanding of the faith that He has given us. With this in mind, here at St. John Before the Latin Gate, we hope to encourage our adult parishioners to continue to strengthen their faith, especially by learning more about it. For the past 30 years, parishioner Hank Hankinson has worked tirelessly to help his fellow parishioners come to understand the riches of Catholic teaching and Church history. Raised in Protestant churches, Hank and his wife, L yla became Catholic in 1975, after discovering the beauty of the faith, and there has been no turning back. Although his background and career is in engineering, Hank’s love of reading turned to a love of learning about the Church and sharing his discoveries with others. Taking various forms over the years, Hank has offered many classes to fellow Catholics wanting to go deeper in their understanding of the faith. “I’ve always enjoyed doing it because I felt it was really important for people to have a broad background of the faith,” Hank says. In recent years, the classes have been offered on Sundays, from 9:15-10:15 a.m., in between Masses. They have covered a variety of topics, from the early Church, to the Crusades, to Christology and Scripture, and much more. 4

Parishioner Hank Hankinson has offered faith formation opportunities for adults in the parish for the past 30 years.

Hank’s criteria for the classes, which typically run in 10-to-12-session series, is that they are topics that people have requested to learn about. They consist of short video presentations with time for discussion and questions, and there is always plenty of coffee! “I believe that with any kind of learning, you have to ingest it into your heart and mind — it can’t just be given to you, you memorize it and walk away,” Hank says. “People have questions and I think it’s often the unanswered questions that drive people from the Church. “The Church offers good answers to almost any question, but not if people don’t ask them,”


aith Formation Classes

he says. “I hate the idea of someone sitting in their home and steaming about something they see in the paper, and then dropping out of the Church. I think in any educational situation, you have to give people a chance to think, to question, to discuss. Those are very important criteria.” Hank hopes to provide an opportunity for Catholics who may not have received a vigorous education in Catholic theology and history to learn about the teachings of the Church, as well as for those who love their faith to go deeper in their understanding. He hopes that inviting people to deeper knowledge of Christ and His Church will lead them to greater devotion. “I would hate for the Catholic Church to just become a cultural activity and not a belief activity,” Hank says. “You see where 65 percent of Catholics do not believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist — that’s a travesty.

“But it’s not their fault,” he adds, “They were never taught that, they never heard the stories. I can’t change to world, but I can hopefully change the world around me by instilling in people a love of the Church, the Church’s theology, the Church’s history.” Although the Sunday morning faith formation classes are currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hank hopes that they will be able to return in the future, as he’d like to offer his final series before “retirement,” featuring the work of his patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas. “Things are winding down, but I wanted to go out, talking about my patron saint,” Hank says with a smile. “I love the Catholic Church,” he adds. “And I realize more and more every year, that if I had not become Catholic in 1975, I would not be a Christian today.”

“I believe that with any kind of learning, you have to ingest it into your heart and mind — it can’t just be given to you, you memorize it and walk away. People have questions and I think it’s often the unanswered questions that drive people from the Church.” — Hank Hankinson If you would like more information on this Sunday morning faith formation series, please contact Hank Hankinson at rwhankin@swbell.net or 918-333-0616. 5








very Sept. 29, the Church celebrates the feast day of the Archangels — St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. We are blessed to be inspired by these “servants and messengers of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 329). The term “archangels” has its Scriptural basis in the New Testament (1 Thes 4:16, Jude 1:9), indicating a chief or leading angel. “Archangel” generally refers to St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, as they are the three angels most frequently mentioned throughout Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The fact that these three angels are mentioned by name on multiple occasions indicates the significance of their roles in the history of salvation. It is because of these important roles that we take pause to celebrate on Sept. 29. St. Michael is mentioned by name on several occasions in Sacred Scripture (Dn 10:13, Rev 12:7), and his role in the Tradition of the Church has been extensively documented. He has been widely referred to as the “great prince,” and is most often associated with the apocalypse — the final battle against Satan. Christian Tradition gives St. Michael four different roles, but he has primarily been regarded as the patron and protector of the Church. St. Gabriel is mentioned by name in Scripture (Lk 1:19), and Tradition has also assigned him implicit roles within Scripture where he is not specifically mentioned. Most important, however, is St. Gabriel’s role as the messenger of God, delivering to Mary the announcement of the birth of Our Savior (Lk 1:26). St. Raphael is mentioned by name only in the Book of Tobit, where he is responsible for healing Tobias. Raphael means “God has healed” and thus, he has also often been associated with the “angel of the Lord” (Jn 5:4). The feast day on Sept. 29 gives each of us the opportunity to consider our own role in the Church, as we gratefully commemorate the Archangels responsible for carrying out their roles of defender, messenger and healer.


Working Together to Succeed in Our Mission


sk anyone who is affiliated with St. John Catholic School, and they will tell you that it’s a special place — where students from prekindergarten to eighth grade can learn not just reading and math, but about the Christian faith and God’s love. In addition to the teachers and staff, there is a special group of people who help us achieve the school’s mission, and that is the 10-member School Advisory Council, or SAC. The SAC assists with governance of the school, and chairs committees on policies, planning, facilities, development, public relations and finance. “We are a good group from a variety of backgrounds coming together for a common goal — to help St. John’s succeed,” says outgoing SAC President Ed Burke. The SAC meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month in the school’s art room. Meetings may also be accessed through the Zoom online conferencing platform. Anyone from the parish or school can attend in-person or via Zoom. Members serve a two-year term with a maximum of six years. “SAC members can be anyone from the parishes we serve who wish to help our school,” Ed says. “However, most members have children currently attending or graduated from St. John’s.” The SAC members are looking forward to the 2020-21 school year. Having celebrated the retirement of Principal Mrs. Lexie Radebaugh after the last school year, they are excited to welcome Mrs. Cristel Miller. “Mrs. Miller is well educated and has children enrolled in St. John, so she is highly motivated to help our school succeed,” Ed says. The SAC applauds the staff for their work

The SAC members met recently via the Zoom video conferencing platform.

in implementing COVID-19 precautions — SAC members recognize this will be a challenge for teachers, staff, students and families in the coming school year. In addition, SAC members recently instituted a five-year strategic plan to set goals for continuous improvement at the school. “The plan is designed to be evergreen and updated annually as projects and goals are reached or if they must be pushed out further,” Ed says. SAC members also want to reach out to families to invite them to join the school. In particular, Ed wants all parents to know there are options for financial assistance to attend St. John’s. Currently, there are openings on the SAC as we begin to implement our five-year strategic plan. “While a few of the committee chairs require some outside experience, most SAC positions only require someone who wishes to help St. John Catholic School continue serving its students,” Ed says. Ed says new members learn “on the job.” Most positions only require about one to two hours per month.

If you would like more information on the SAC, please contact Mike Young at mike_young3@hotmail.com. SAC openings are posted in the church bulletin and at www.stjohn-bartlesville.org. 7

715 S. Johnstone Ave. | Bartlesville, OK 74003 ​ Office: (918) 336-4353 | www.stjohn-bartlesville.org

The Disciple Maker Index Results continued from front cover data, Fr. John says he has already seen both areas of encouragement and future improvement. “As a parish, we’re basically right at or above the national average percentages, which is comforting on one level,” Fr. John says. “So now the question is, how do we take the information from the index and use it to enhance the experience of living the Catholic faith for our people?” Fr. John says the next step is taking this information and creating a generalized report that can be shared with the faith community. He’ll also be working with the parish’s Envisioning Team to create a comprehensive strategic plan from that data. “The Envisioning Team is the body within our parish that helps me in looking and planning forward strategically,” Fr. John says. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve never really had a strategic plan at St. John’s. We’ve just kind of taken it year by

year. But that is something that I feel we really need moving forward. I want our Catholic community to thrive. That means that current and future parishioners are fed, are growing spiritually, are supporting one another through gifts of time, talent and treasure, and are going out into the community and sharing the Good News of Christ with others.” Though still early in the planning process, Fr. John is hopeful for the future. He feels the Disciple Maker Index coupled with our Stewardship Renewal are great resources in increasing active discipleship at our parish. This, in turn, will help reinvigorate the community around us, bringing others into the light of Christ. “There are so many positives looking at the information both on the diocesan and parish level,” Fr. John says. “This is just another great tool to assist us in fulfilling our mission as the Church.”

LITURGY SCHEDULE 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.

Profile for Catholic Stewardship Consultants

St. John Before the Latin Gate Catholic Parish Newsletter — September 2020  

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