Oklahoma's newest Catholic Church...
Marietta, Oklahoma is the site of the newest Catholic Church in the State of Oklahoma and the first Catholic Church in Love County!
Here's the story:
Marietta's Faithful Dedicate New Church
Story Courtesy: The Sooner Catholic
Author: Eileen Dugan
Photographer: Mauro Yanez
Marietta, Oklahoma — Faithful Catholics in the area crowded into the new Good Shepherd Church for its dedication and the consecration of its altar on Dec. 2. Many more waited outside for their chance to view the first Catholic church ever built in Love County. Archbishop Eusebius Beltran, in his dedication homily, told the congregation, “The presence of this church building in Marietta will be a sign of faith for all people of this area. You, the members of this parish, are living signs of faith. It is your obligation to go out and bring back fallen away or lapsed Catholics and to invite and welcome your neighbors and friends and all people. Bring them to your beautiful church where they can learn about God and His goodness and His love.”
A mission of Saint Mary’s Church in Ardmore, where Father O’Toole serves as pastor and Father Guerrero as associate pastor, Good Shepherd has been a dream for many for numerous years. Father Vrana and Father Lamb are former pastors of Saint Mary’s, but it was Father Ernest Flusche, another former pastor, most credit with planting the idea of a new church in Marietta. Father Flusche, unable to attend the dedication Mass, started the mission in 1993, because “there was nothing in Marietta for the Catholic people”.
Now with the dedication of the new church, Father Flusche said, “I think it is historic for the Church of Oklahoma that one more county has a significant Catholic presence in the community.”
The largely Hispanic congregation in Marietta, working along side Father Guerrero, was successful in raising much of the money needed to build the new church. Father Flusche also helped with the fundraising, writing letters to all the pastors in the Archdiocese and asking them to contribute.
Father Flusche’s solicitations and the money raised by Father Guerreo and Good Shepherd’s parishioners, together with that pledged by the Archdiocese, paid for the construction of the new Good Shepherd Church.
A Spanish-mission style, Good Shepherd is adorned with a number of exquisitely designed stained-glass windows. These amazing windows were originally part of the chapel in the Marland Mansion in Ponca City. Before the wrecking ball demolished the historic structure, these windows were carefully removed from their frames, loaded onto a truck, and driven to Marietta. There, they were stored until they could be reconstructed and worked into the walls of the new Good Shepherd Church.
The largest of these windows, “Jesus, the Resurrected Christ”, is positioned over the altar of the church. Along the north and south walls, 14 smaller windows of stained glass depict the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, seven on each side. Father Flusche said these windows appear more like mosaics than traditional stained-glass because of the faceted cut of the glass. The effect of the sunlight filtering through the unusually cut, colored glass is breathtaking.
The late Archbishop Charles A. Salatka had once suggested that when a Catholic church was eventually built in Marietta it might be dedicated to Mary, Mother of Divine Love because Marietta means “Little Mary” and the town of Marietta is in Love County.
Another beautiful stained-glassed window depicts the Blessed Virgin. It was created by J. Francisco Guerrero in Guadalajara, Mexico. He personally brought it from Mexico to Marietta as his gift to the Good Shepherd congregation. Guerrero also provided the initial plans for the church. Francisco Gurerrero is Father Guerrero’s brother.
Father Juan Guerrero, assigned to Marietta, celebrated his 25th anniversary to the priesthood on September 30 of this year. This important mile stone, plus the dedication of Good Shepherd Church have, for Father Guerrero, made 2006 “my best year from God”.
He described the enthusiasm of his congregation for the new church as “amazing. “There were tears of happiness on their faces, and they were very grateful to have a church,” Father Guerrero said. “Now we need to work hard to build the ‘Church Alive’.
“Our dream was to build a temple [church] to God’s glory where we could have our faith,” Father said. “Jesus’ dream is to make our people into the Church Alive. The Church is not only the material building; for Jesus, the Church is also the fraternity among the people.
“Everyone is doing all they can to get more people involved in the lay ministry of the Church: hospitality, lectors, altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, keeping up the church building, and helping the poor. We want to help Jesus’ dream come true, by serving the Church and each other. This is our faith, our commitment as Christians,” Father Guerrero said.
Father Guerrero said several years before the demolition of the Marland Mansion, from where the stained glassed windows came, he had had an opportunity to pray in the chapel there. “It was very awesome to see the stained-glass,” Father Guerrero said he recalls. “I was praying there and said to God, ‘If I build a church some day, I would like to have beautiful stained-glass in it like this.’”
Father Guerrero said he believes his prayer was answered. Apparently, so too were the prayers of many others in Love County.
Left: Fr. Guerrero (L) and Archbishop Beltran (R) pray at the altar of Good Shepherd Church.
Link: Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Thanks Be to God and Boomer Sooner!
11th day of Christmastide,
and Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton