Tulsa diocese celebrates Year of Faith with rich variety

Tulsa, Okla., Nov 24, 2012 / 06:22 am (CNA).- The Diocese of Tulsa has big plans for the Year of Faith and is crowning its efforts with a “bucket list.”

“The idea of the bucket list is to encompass a lot of different aspects of the faith, as well as advertising some of the things our diocese has,” Erik Grayless, chairman of the diocesan committee on the Year of Faith, told CNA in an Oct. 2012 interview.

It is “a list of spiritual activities you will want to complete before the Year ends” on Nov. 24, 2013, according to a letter of Bishop Edward J. Slattery to the diocese.

Grayless, a layman and Tulsa's assistant district attorney, said that the purpose of the Year, called for by Pope Benedict, is two-fold: both a “re-affirmation and rediscovery of the faith for those who are Catholic” and that it is “intimately linked to the new evangelization.”

The bucket list activities are meant to appeal to both those active in their faith and for the person who is “just coming back and rediscovering their faith.” They can be both challenging, and simple.

Confession is one of the simpler things Catholics in eastern Oklahoma are being encouraged to do.

“Going to confession is one of those things that some Catholics unfortunately don't take advantage of. So you go to confession once, and you can check off on a list and see that you actually did this.”

Since confession is being promoted in Tulsa as part of the Year, Bishop Slattery has encouraged his priests to be ever more generous in their availability for hearing confessions.

While not yet decided, the diocese is considering having a particular period during Lent during which “there is confession every day at every church,” as a “more concerted push” to open up the sacrament of confession.

More unique opportunities are offered as well.

“Getting people in Tulsa to see Clear Creek Abbey as part of a pilgrimage, or seeing one of the local churches in the smaller towns” is something different that they might not have experienced.

This ties in with the plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith. It was announced Oct. 5 that one way to gain the indulgence is by making a pilgrimage to the cathedral or a location designated by the local bishop. The Tulsa diocese has four shrines, which will likely be among those designated locations in addition to Holy Family Cathedral.

Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey is a Benedictine abbey in Hulbert, Okla. Which celebrates the liturgy in Latin and according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

The bucket list contains 22 different spiritual activities in which to participate. The diocesan website announces that anyone in the diocese who completes at least 15 items and returns it to the diocese will receive “a complimentary gift of appreciation” memorializing their participation in the Year of Faith.

One of the diocese's major plans is to organize viewings of Father Robert Barron's “Catholicism” video series in the parishes. “We're having a diocesan trained individual, starting in January, going to each of the parishes and showing” the series, Grayless pointed out.

“It beautifully explores the faith; Fr. Barron goes around the world to different locations in the Church, showing how the faith is strong and beautiful.”

Planning for the Year of Faith in Tulsa has been a group effort, Grayless emphasized. “The priests have been very passionate about it, and they've been very receptive to things we've suggested.”

Father Kerry Wakulich, chaplain at the University of Tulsa's Newman Center, is among those passionate priests. He told CNA Oct. 10 that his plans for the Year of Faith include giving students the Magnificat “Year of Faith Companion”; pilgrimages to diocesan shrines; catechism classes; and in May, a 15-day pilgrimage to Poland “in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II.”

Grayless noted that Bishop Slattery intends for the fruits of the Year of Faith to extend beyond the year itself. He said that while the speakers, conferences, and viewings of the “Catholicism” videos are the “event,” but “the bishop has encouraged that this not be a one-time event, but that this carry on, because we are supposed to be preaching the Gospel always.”

There will be an outreach at the conclusion of the Year, in hopes that the Church in Tulsa will see a “sustainable bump in attendance.”

In his letter to the diocese, Bishop Slattery challenged “every Catholic in Eastern Oklahoma to reflect seriously on the Pontiff’s call for a renewed conversion to Christ. Together let us do what we must deepen our faith and show a greater confidence in the Gospel message of salvation.”

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