The Latin Mass has been celebrated in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) since 1993 when the FSSP began supplying priests. In 2009, the FSSP, seeking a permanent home for its apostolate, requested that the Archdiocese allow a church to be built for this purpose. The site chosen was the previous site of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, which burned down in the 1960's, and is located on a 20-acre rural site in northwestern Oklahoma County adjacent to St. Patrick's Cemetery.
The new church was completed in 2010 and was dedicated on October 1, 2010, by Archbishop Eusebius Beltran and given the name St. Damien of Molokai Catholic Church. Archbishop Beltran selected St. Damien of Molokai as the church's patron because of his own personal devotion to this Saint.
St. Damien of Molokai was born Jozef De Veuster on January 3, 1840, in Belgium. He became a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary religious order. He arrived on the Hawaiian island of Molokai on May 10, 1873, where he spent the rest of his life ministering to people quarantined on the island with leprosy. After 16 years of caring for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of those in the leper colony, he contracted and died of leprosy on April 15, 1889. He is considered a "martyr of charity" because he died through practicing Christian charity. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009.
The St. Damien church facility consists of 8,400 square feet including the chapel, a cry room, confessionals, classrooms and a commercial kitchen. Church furnishings, including the pews, holy water fonts, baptismal font, and an ornate, Italian marble altar were donated by a closed Catholic church in Amsterdam, New York. The beautiful wooden baldachino, altar rail, and confessionals were designed and built by parishioners that are also artisans in their craft.
The church building is finished in a Southwestern style with a stucco and stone exterior. Additional classroom space is provided by temporary buildings located behind the church. The rectory, playground and large bell can be seen at the front of the property.
Father Simon Zurita, FSSP
Pastor of St. Damien of Molokai Catholic Church
St. Damien Catholic Church is staffed by priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter who offer the Mass exclusively in the Extraordinary Form also known as the Traditional Latin Mass.
More information on the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) may be found at https://fssp.com/