Ask Deacon Kevin

Do you have an idea for this blog by Deacon Kevin Sartorius, CEO of Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma? Click here.

A run on the banks...

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Each day I read the paper and today the Tulsa World cartoon hit home for those we serve at Catholic Charities. As the largest provider of food to individuals in need in the state of Oklahoma, I can attest that the lines are long and the amount of food is dwindling. 

Due to a number of factors, the amount of donated food is down but the number of people we serve has increased. This creates long lines and rationing. 

Those who suffer most are the elderly who are pinched by inflation, children who cannot learn when they lack nutrition, and every one of us when our fellow man goes without. Please pray for the poor and remember them as you consider end-of-year gifts.

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Let us always acknowledge

Friday, August 26, 2022

Tomorrow is my oldest sons 20th birthday, so I went by the bank on 21st and Lewis to get some cash for him as a gift. It’s a nice area of town.

Pulling into the parking lot, I spotted this soul. 

  • Is this a man or a woman?
  • Black, white, or native American?
  • Young or old?
  • Drunk, stoned or depressed?
  • A felon or a victim of domestic violence?

I don’t know the answers, but I do know that this is a child of God. 

Today, I was not the Good Samaritan, I was the Levite who passed by on the other side leaving this person to live or die alone.

I do not know what we are called to do, but I do know that we are called. 

Let us always acknowledge that we are uncomfortable. Let us struggle. Let us discern the will of God in all things. 

Do you have to be Catholic to receive help?

Friday, August 5, 2022

Catholic Charities in Eastern Oklahoma serves everyone in our community. So often that comes as a surprise to people. Yet we know that all are made in the image and likeness of God and are equally worthy of our love and support. The dignity of the human person is universal and flows not from our recognition but is inherent and given by God. 

This means that we welcome people who aren’t Catholic (think Afghan Muslims). It means that we love people of all races – all were fashioned in the image of God. Any attribute you could ascribe to a person is secondary to their dignity. They can be a felon, young or old, legal or illegal (undocumented), gay or straight, thin or fat --- you name it. Those attributes do not diminish God’s love for them or our responsibility to them. 

If we were to think of the Lords directive in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry or give drink to the thirsty, we would have to ask ourselves if he would have left anyone out. Would he give water to a Samaritan woman who had led a difficult life? John 4 shows us that he went much further giving her “living water”. He loved her beyond anything we could ever imagine. 

At Catholic Charities, we are challenged to do likewise. We are not called to serve Catholics, we are called to serve because we are Catholic. 

Why is there a red brick in the courtyard?

Friday, July 1, 2022

If you were to walk into the courtyard at Catholic Charities near the chapel, you would see a red brick integrated into a sea of tan bricks in our building. It stands out as a silent monument to the history of Catholic Charities. That brick guides us today and as we look to the future of our mission. A dozen years ago as our building at 739 North Denver began to fall in around us, we knew it was time to move and we left behind everything – building, furniture, everything – except that brick and the memories it represents.

As a Catholic people, we understand that we stand outside of time. We are present on Calvary at the crucifixion at each Mass. We are surrounded by the communion of the saints, who over the centuries intercede on behalf of those in need. And at Catholic Charities, we stand on the shoulders of the many donors and volunteers who helped to create the organization we have today.

We strive to be as creative, dynamic, and forward thinking as they were when they created St. Joseph Residence for those affected by HIV and AIDS. We choose to take risks and reach out into the margins, just as those before us did with the Maria Goretti House which never really could get off the ground. 

The red brick challenges us to build a legacy in our time that we can pass on to the next generation who come to Eastern Oklahoma. I invite you to be a part of that legacy. Volunteer, donate, leave a legacy through your estate plan. Know that tomorrow there will be those who stand on our shoulders as they strive to be Christ’s merciful love to those who suffer.

Any thoughts on the overturn of Roe v. Wade?

Friday, June 24, 2022

For nearly 50 years, we have prayed that our country would choose life and stand by the most vulnerable. We now have a tremendous responsibility to stand in solidarity with those who will carry a child to term in crisis pregnancy. They need the Catholic people to take responsibility for a culture of life. Ending abortion is right and just, but it is not the end; it is only the beginning of a new chapter of grace and mercy that must flow from the Church out into the world helping all those who are in need of Christ’s merciful love.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” - Matthew 11:28