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Better Know A Parish: St. Andrew the Apostle, Moore, Oklahoma

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Parish Name: St. Andrew the Apostle

Location: Moore, Oklahoma

Founded: 1962

Diocese: Oklahoma City

Pastor: Fr. Jack Feehily

Number of Parishioners: 1,200 people at our weekend Masses


What makes your parish different from other parishes?

Our people are known for their hospitality. Truly all are welcome here. We are a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. We don’t just sing at Mass, but sing the Mass with gusto. Though our parish facilities have been spared a direct hit, our people have survived numerous tornados from the time of our founding. In the last 16 years, five violent storms have hit within six blocks of our parish. Many people have lost their homes and other possessions, but because of our strong faith we are not only surviving but thriving. This past spring an F5 tornado cut a wide swath through Moore, destroying or badly damaging a thousand homes and vehicles and claiming the lives of many, including children. Catholics around the country chose to send us about $450,000 and asked us to get it directly into the hands of those most impacted. We have successfully distributed about $420,000 to date. We have a strong youth ministry and a very solid catechetical program not just for children but for adults. We call our Adult Faith Formation program "Growing the Faith of Grownups" and it has been highly successful.

What’s the most distinguishing characteristic of your church building?

Lots of parishes have crosses, but we have an obelisk that has a cross cut into it. Visitors sometimes ask us about our "totem pole". Our place of worship is noted for its warmth. We have a distinctive 24/7/365 Blessed Sacrament chapel which features a tabernacle in which the Blessed Sacrament is perpetually exposed.

Who is your most interesting parishioner, and what makes them so interesting?

There are all kinds of interesting parishioners here, but we can single out our parish nurse, Caryl Prati. She came to St. Andrew's in 1999 with her husband just before the May 3 killer tornado. She volunteered to be our liaison with Catholic Charities and carefully identified every parish member who suffered losses. She contacted each one personally and took part in the process by which each could receive assistance from either the parish or Catholic Charities. She did the same thing this past spring with the May 20th tornado. She visits our infirm members and prays with them and brings them communion. 

What’s the most popular event, ministry, or holiday tradition at your parish?

Every fall, we make an earnest effort to help people choose to more intentionally celebrate the Advent and Christmas seasons. We put an evergreen tree in the sanctuary that serves as our Jesse Tree during Advent and our Christmas tree during Christmas. We also put up a "Giving Tree" in the Commons as the new church year begins. It contains "ornaments" representing gifts that people may purchase for three different groups in our community with special needs: Residents of a facility for adult developmentally disabled; the City Rescue Mission which provides services to the homeless; and to Birth Choice. We carefully encourage parents to discover ways to make the "Santa" story subordinate to the Greatest Story Ever Told. We speak openly of Jesus as God's Christmas present, and as the source of all good gifts. More and more people make an effort to make these seasons unlike the "Christmas as usual" season which lasts from October to December 25th.

If we asked parishioners what they love most about the parish, what would they say?

We love that all are welcome here, especially those who think of themselves as sinners or just ordinary Catholics.

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