As I head into my last week at Bishop Kelley and the transition to Stillwater comes closer, I’ve been asked a number of questions about what the next few weeks look like.
What’s the situation in Stillwater?
EXCITING! There are two Catholic churches in Stillwater. St. John University Parish (led by Fr. Kerry Wakulich as Pastor and Fr. Lawrence Nwachukwu as Associate Pastor) and St. Francis Xavier, where I’ll be. Fr. Ken Harder is currently the pastor at SFX. He’s coming to Tulsa to work in the diocesan marriage tribunal. He’s been very hospitable to me during the transition.
Several years ago, the people of St. Francis Xavier, with the approval of the diocese, moved forward with a plan to build a new church. The new St. Francis Xavier will be located on 20 acres at the corner of Country Club and McElroy west of Stillwater. The church will be completed in March 2018.
When the new church is finished, the missions of both Stillwater Catholic churches will be brought into greater focus. St. John University Parish will focus on the Oklahoma State University population. St. Francis Xavier will be the parish for the rest of the people of Stillwater.
Stillwater, OK is about 70 miles west of Tulsa. It’s located in Payne County. It has a population of about 50,000. Most notably, it’s home to Oklahoma State University (Go Pokes!)
When is your last day at Bishop Kelley?
My last day at BK will be Wednesday, December 20th.
When are you moving to Stillwater? When do you start at Saint Francis Xavier?
I will be moving to Stillwater on January 11th. My assignment officially begins on January 13th so my first weekend at Saint Francis Xavier will be the weekend of January 13-14th.
What’s the Confession and Mass schedule at St. Francis Xavier?
Confessions are on Saturdays from 3-4:30 and on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-6:30 and by appointment.
Weekend Masses are Saturday at 5pm and Sunday morning at 8 and 10 and Sunday afternoon at 1pm in Spanish.
Daily Mass is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 8am and Fridays at 12:10. There is Mass on the first Saturday of the month at 9am.
Yes. I studied Spanish 6-12th grade and again while in seminary. I spent the summer fo 2005 in Guadalajara taking classes and living with the Medina family (parents of Frs. David and Leonardo Medina). My Spanish definitely needs work but I’ll be celebrating Mass, preaching, hearing Confessions and doing all the other work of a parish priest in Spanish.
What will you be doing between finishing at BK and moving to Stillwater?
A few things. I’ll go see my family in Houston for a week including Christmas Mass at my home parish (11am at St. Martha’s!). I have a wedding in Mexico the first week of January and I’ll spend time packing and getting things organized for the move west.
For the first 18-24 months, I’ll live at the current Saint Francis Xavier rectory at 8th and Hester in Stillwater. It’s about two blocks from the current church which is located on 6th Street.
We are in the process of designing a rectory that will be built at the new Saint Francis Xavier campus at Country Club and McElroy west of Stillwater. It will house all of the priests assigned to the Stillwater Catholic Community. We’re building it to house four priests anticipating growth in the community and thus the need for more priests.
Will you live alone with other priests?
Alone initially until the new rectory is finished sometime in 2019.
Where will your office be?
Unknown. When I move in mid-January, I’ll be officing either at the current Saint Francis office on 6th Street or possibly at St. John the Evangelist. One of the best things about the new building will be that the entire SFX staff will be in one place. They are currently in three separate buildings.
What will happen to the current St. Francis Xavier church and property?
Unknown. Once I get there, I plan to work with the staff, parish pastoral council and the people of the parish to figure out what is best for the parish.
What are your first priorities when you get to Stillwater?
First I want to get to know the people. With a parish of what will be about 900 households that will take some time so I ask for everyone’s patience. I also look forward to getting know the larger Stillwater and Payne County communities and the other church leaders in the area.
We have some exciting things already in the works including a Lenten parish mission. I already have four weddings on the books for this summer and early Fall. The staff at SFX is tremendous and we’ve already begun to work together on several projects. It’s my hope that the people of St. Francis Xavier will get to know our patron saint. He was an awesome evangelist and missionary.
What is your new mailing address?
My new email will be email@example.com
Can I follow St. Francis Xavier on social media?
YES! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
YES! Leaving Bishop Kelley this week will be very hard. I love it here. I love the people I work with. I love the students. I love the campus. But I’ve had several months to get ready and start to get acclimated and start meeting people in Stillwater and I am excited to get there.
What questions did I miss?