The 20th Anniversary
Prayer to Mother of Sorrows of the Dedication of
O Mother of Sorrows, with strength
from above, you stood by the cross
sharing in the suffering of Jesus, and with Our Lady of Sorrows
tender care, you bore Him in your arms,
morning and weeping.
April 3, 1986 - 2006
We praise you for your faith, which
accepted the life God planned for you.
We praise you for your hope, which
trusted that He would do great things
through you. We praise you for your love,
in bearing with Jesus the sorrows of His
Holy Mary, may we follow your
example and stand by all your children
who need comfort and love. Mother of
God, stand by us in our trials and care for
us in our many needs.
Pray for us now and at the hour of our
The many memories and blessing of watching all Parish
The first Catholic Church, in Chandler, was built at 10th & families working together every possible spare moment and sharing
Steele and Bishop Meerschaert dedicated the church on November each other’s talents to build the new church were endless. Saws and
11, 1894 to Our Lady of Seven Sorrows. sawdust inside our new church began to say we were heading
toward completion. Every Sunday afternoon while the men eagerly
The first resident pastor was Father E .V. Reynolds, who worked on the construction, the women would bring snacks and
lived in a room at the back of the church. lunch and drinks to share.
There are memories of being on top of a 50 foot tall scaffold
working on the ceiling of our church. The only moment that I still
feel so humble over was in watching Deacon Frank Beloncik and
Mark Melson, Sr. casually walking across the top of the new church
roof. I was so afraid…to follow n that steep roof!!!
One of our fondest memories was of our youngest son, Mike,
bringing in several of his high school friends, who weren’t even
catholic, but were very willing, able and eager to help by helping
with the sheet rock in the new church.
Suddenly it all came together, and with God’s grace and
blessings we had a new Parish Church that filled all with pride!
Our Parish threw a big pot luck dinner in our hall celebrating
the completion of the new church. (We will never forget Jasper, Fr.
Louis Vanderley’s favorite dog, jumping in the back of the
Fondren’s station wagon and stealing Joyce’s famous chocolate pie!
The gotcha expression on his face with all of the chocolate smeared
all over his doggie face gave him away and caused quite a stir.
The memories are vivid of tearing down the old church piece by
piece. What a furry of hammers and saws cutting and chopping to
tear it down! I still can visualize one of the windows being shoved
outwardly onto the ground and barely… missing Selma Inskeep. On March 30, 1897, a tornado destroyed the church.
Selma was so faithful daily to be there and prayerfully overseeing it
The memories of attending Masses at the Methodist Church for
approximately 6 to 8 months while we had no church of our own.
There were many fond memories of sharing and loving with the
Methodist family who had gladly come to our aid!! It felt like we
had established a true loving bond with our Methodist Christian
Then it suddenly began to happen and snowball! Just as the
story of Moses that God charged the responsibility to lead his people
through the barren desert and on to the new Promised Land. A huge,
tall man came forward in our parish who was approximately 6’6” tall,
with a long beard by the name of Don Collins. Don and his family
lived near Wellston, and he was an outstanding carpenter in the home
construction business. Don stepped forward and volunteered to lead
the charge in building the new Church. What a whirlwind he created
as the entire Parish Family seemed to eagerly fall in together. The
saws and sawdust began to fly! One of Don Collin’s greatest loves
was in finished woodworking. The beautifully carved wood furniture
we now have on the altar and in the chapel were Don’s personal
touches to our new Church.
Another two men of our Parish Family, Tommy Moore and Don
Fondren, jumped in and volunteered their expertise in electrical
wiring in our new church.
Finally as the new church began to take shape, it became a
realization that we had another major problem with much tile work to
be done and no one in the parish with the expertise in this field.
Suddenly another warrior stepped forward by the name of Bruce
Bendineli who was an excellent tile layer in the home construction
business and lived near Chandler. Bruce volunteered to lead the
charge to get all tile work finished in record time!
The parishioners immediately rebuilt the church on the same REFLECTIONS OF 31 YEARS AT
site. Most of the material to rebuild the church was contributed by OUR LADY OF SORROWS IN CHANDLER
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Moulin and family and the work was done by By Bill Hoover
Reflecting back through 31 years in Chandler brings back many
fond memories. The ones that seem to stand out most are the one
with our Christian Faith Family at “Our Lady of Sorrows” Parrish!
My first memories were with the small humble parish church
that had blonde brick and faced the east along Price Street. It seemed
only able to hold between 80 to 100 people and had no side aisles!!
What a time with all entering and leaving down the middle aisle! I
still remember the choir loft (more like a small crows’ nest).
Father Philip Berning was our priest and our family seemed to
have landed in Chandler about the same time. He was so young and
youthful at that time. Then came getting on the Church Counsel for
the first time. It seemed immediately the challenge of building a new
church began. What a moment that was with the small parish of
approximately 50 families and very, very……. Little cash to work
Memories include praying together, asking for God’s guidance
and moving forward with only faith and trust in god to guide us. The
many memories of our parish families pulling together including
Mark Melson, Sr., Deacon Frank Beloncik, Lyle Hennessy and many
others. It seemed our biggest drive was to never let a dream die!!!
It was apparent that if this dream was to come true, we must do
it ourselves!!! So we set out like true Disciples of Christ with only
faith and trust in God to guide us!
Through the help of the Archdiocese, St. Gregory’s and several
other organizations, the dream rapidly became a reality.
It was Father Swift who promoted and arranged for the building
of the present church of Our Lady of Sorrows. To quote now from the
historical article in the 1955 jubilee edition of The Southwest On August 1, 1948, a new brick church and rectory was started
Courier, “On August 1, 1948, a new brick church and rectory were under the directions of Father W. J. Swift, on a two-acre plot
started on the two-acre plot donated by Mr. & Mrs. A. M. Jarvis. donated by A.M. & Edna Jarvis, located at 4th & Price.
Father W. J. Swift of Bristow was directing the project.” In June,
1949, Father John L. Walch moved into Chandler as resident pastor.
Also, at this pint Father Walch took over St. Michael’s of Meeker as
a mission. This latter had for nearly all of its years been a mission
taken care of by the Benedictine Fathers out of Sacred Heart or out of
St. Benedict’s Shawnee, or out of St. Gregory’s College, Shawnee,
after 1915. Father Walch recently stated (March, 1984) that he is
reasonably certain that Bishop Eugene J. McGuinness aided Father
Swift financially with the building of the new church and rectory in
Chandler. Father Walch thinks that some particular wealthy layman
in Oklahoma City helped out with these projects. Father Walch built
the parish hall.
Beginning with the era of Father Walch, from June, 1949, the
Chandler parish has at no time been without a resident pastor. Next
comes the name of Father Anthony R. Dockers, who replaced Father
Walch in 1953. Father Dockers yielded to Father Edwin A. Buxton
in 1957. The name of Father James A. Halpine begins to show in
August, 1960, and that of Father Joseph D. Dillon begins to appear in
January, 1964. Then came in order Fathers Frank Wrigley, Richard
J. Beckman, Michael Hughes and D.A. Dirkschneider. The latter’s
last entry in the baptismal registry was for June 1, 1975. During that
summer of 1975, Chandler, by an arrangement with the diocese,
returned to the Benedictine Fathers. The resigned abbot of St.
Gregory’s Abbot, Philip Berning, took over at that point. His term as
pastor continued until September 1983, at which time the present
incumbent, Father Bernard O’Rourke, O.S.B., returned from his
assignment in Montebello, California, to become pastor of Chandler.
The growth of the Chandler parish since Father Swift
completed the present church building in 1984 has been remarkable.
And Chandler, situated as it is in such an advantageous location
along the Turner Turnpike (also Interstate 44) shows great promise
of even much greater growth in the near future.
It is rather difficult to ascertain from the sacramental records
exactly which priests were in charge of the Chandler mission in its
Bishop McGuiness dedicated the new church on December 19, earlier years. The name of Father Joseph Anciaux occurs for
1949. considerable time in the 1890’s and early 1900’s. It appears that he
traveled out of Guthrie and Langston to a number of missions. Also,
the names of various Benedictine Fathers of Sacred Heart Abbey
appear fro some lengths of time. According to the account in The
Southwest Courier, jubilee edition of 1955, the first resident pastor of
Chandler was Father Edward v. Reynolds, “who lived in a room on
the back of the church.” Father Reynolds had the distinction of being
only the second priest to be ordained specifically for the vicariate of
Bishop Meerschaert. From the diocese of Coving, Kentucky, he was
ordained in 1893. Incidentally the first to be ordained for the
vicariate was Father William Ketchum, March, 1892. According to
Father James White’s Sole of the Just (1893) Father Reynold’s
residency in Chandler lasted from 1899 to 1908. The 1955 Southwest
Courier article states that Father William P. Trienekens was the
second resident pastor, known as “the motorcycle priest.” Father
White gives his dates in Chandler as 1908 to 1917 but indicates that
he had two terms there. But as the aforesaid article says, “After he
(Father Trienekens) left, the parish became a mission of Cushing and
then Bristow. And this it remained until Father John Walch showed
up to take up residency in June, 1949.
It is stated in the baptismal register that Chandler’s records for
the period, May, 1928 to January 1, 1936, “are to be found in the
records of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Cushing, Oklahoma.” In fact
the register shows the continuous activity of Father Herman J.
Schafers, Cushing, at Chandler from 1925. Just prior to that a variety
of names occur, including those of Father William Hall and the
Benedictines, Father Benedict Ryan and Father Martin Mulcahy.
After Chandler became a mission of Bristow, the first baptismal
entry came on January 9, 1936. His last entry came on November 21,
1937. Then began the era of Father Bernard Collins whose baptismal
entries continue through September, 1941. Father Edmund VonElm
came next as pastor of Bristow and taking care of the mission of
Altar in the new church Chandler. The registers show his signature from early 1942 until
September, 1947. And then came Father William J. Swift. His first
entry in the chandler baptismal register was November 28, 1947, and
his entries continue through April, 1949.
BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF SORROWS
Father J. Walch took up residence in Chandler, with St. Michael CHURCH
in Meeker as a mission. Father Walch directed the building of the CHANDLER, OKLAHOMA
parish hall in 1952. April 3, 1986
Lincoln County, Oklahoma, of which Chandler is the County
Seat, was opened to white settlement in the Fall of 1891, and at that
point became a part of Oklahoma Territory, which became organized
the year before. The first indications of Catholic missionary activity
in the area of Lincoln County related to occasional missionary trips
out of Guthrie, capital of Oklahoma Territory, some forty or fifty
miles to the north and west. The Benedictine Father, Felix DeGrasse,
remained in Guthrie with the first Vicar Apostolic, Bishop
Meerschaert, who arrived in 1891. Father Felix continued to make
missionary trips out of Guthrie until his return to Sacred Heart
Mission, Pottawatomie County, in 1895. H variously visited the
Chandler, Meeker areas of Lincoln County during that time. The
Father Anthony R. Dockers became the resident priest in 1953 record in Bishop Meerschaert’s Diary for 1894 was that on
and the parish paid off the building debt in 1954 while he was pastor. November 11th he blessed a new church building in Chandler under
the patronage of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows. According to an article
In October 1984 the existing church was torn down to make room in The Southwest Courier, special Golden Jubilee edition of the
for the new church and Mass was held on Saturdays at the United diocese, 1955, “The pioneer Catholics of Chandler included the
Methodist Church. Ebers, Fryer, Gessmann, Fiegel, Hasse, Schegman, Moulin,
Rohlinger, Rooney, Bilous, Krueger and Cullens.”
On March 30, 1897, a tornado destroyed the Our Lady of Seven
Sorrows church building. But immediately after this disaster the
parishioners set to work to construct another. Not to quote from an
article in The Southwest Courier, March 7, 1942: “The parishioners
began to rebuild through the co-operative efforts of all members.
One of those parishioners, Charles Moulin, sawed the lumber at his
farm south of Warwick and Mrs. Moulin hauled it to Chandler in a
large wagon to the site of the present church on Tenth Street.” This
location was presumably the location of the first church, at Tenth and
Steele Streets. This church building of 1897 remained in continuous
use as the parochial church of Chandler until the present building
(1984) was constructed in 1948. The site of the old church is and has
been for a long time occupied by the Mileham Hospital.
In 1940 the Altar Society was organized under the supervision
of Rev. Bernard Collins. The first president was Mrs. Mary Dodrill.
This organization of women has been and is still a main stay of the
Parish. The duties of this organization are to purchase candles and
linens and in other ways to maintain the necessities of the Altar.
Before the organization of the group this work had been done by
various individuals who lived in Chandler, such as Mrs. L N.
Nichols, Misses Emelia and Rose Fonquet and Mrs. Anna Cull Guest.
The present Parish with its three brick and stone buildings is
debt free and a monument to the many hours of sacrifice and hard
work that have been put forth by the devout members.
In 1984 it was decided that more room was needed for class
rooms and also for church area. Plans were made for the new church.
The brick building was bulldozed the ground during the last week in
November 1984, to clear a space for one more than twice its size.
The new split-faced block church seats 300 now and can be expanded
to hold 500 in the future. The 8,100 square feet facility includes a
Eucharist Chapel, a reconciliation room, an office, rest rooms and
eight religious education classrooms.
From November 1984 through Juen, 1985, the congregation held
services at the Chandler United Methodist Church. This ecumenical
reaching out and sharing of Christianity will long be remembered by
Tracing the lineage of priests who served the church in Chandler
shows that many priests came through as missionaries during the
early days. The following priests have served Chandler since the
first two - Father Edwin Buxton, James Halpine, Dale Dirkschneider,
Philip Berning, and Bernard O’Rourke.
Father Bernard O’Rourke spent the last days of his life planning
the dream of the church as it stands today.
The Altar Society spearheaded an effort at Christmas of 1940 to
replace the old gas lights with electric lighting and als to repaper and
paint the upper part of the church interior. The work was completed
and the first Midnight Mass was celebrated in Chandler in Chandler
in many years.
On August 1, 1948, a new brick church and rectory were started
in Chandler on a two are plot donated by Mr. & Mrs. A.M. Jarvis.
Father William Swift, pastor at Bristow was in charge of the project.
Trustees at the time the building was being done were Mr. Henry
Gessman, Mr. Ralph Mehan, Mr. C. J. Coyle and Mr. A.M. Jarvis.
Later Mr. John Piepke was added. Mr. Gessman and Mr. Mehan
have served as trustees for over forty years. On December 19, 1949,
Bishop McGuinness dedicated the new modern design church, of buff
brick inside and outside. The rectory was later completed and Father
Walch was assigned as pastor of Chandler and Meeker.
In 1950 a Parish Hall was constructed. The members of the
parish had taken down the old church and moved the material to the
new location. All usable timbers were used in the construction of the
hall. Mr. Mueller of Oklahoma City, uncle of Father Walch, and his
sons laid the blocks and constructed the masonry in the hall. Mr.
Jarvis assisted with the plumbing and wiring.
All members helped wherever possible and Mr. Coyle worked
and supervised the work. After the rectory and hall were completed,
Mr. Coyle did the painting on all interiors and constructed the
cabinets in the kitchen from lumber that had been in the pews in the
old church. The ladies of the Altar Society papered the walls and
ceilings of the rectory and sanded the floors, also assisted in painting
the outside of the hall. All the furnishings in the rectory were
purchased by the Altar Society, also the chairs and original tables
(which Mr. Coyle made) in the hall. Later the men of the parish
organized the Holy Name Society and purchased the present tables.
HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF SORROWS CATHOLIC
Louis Vanderley, O.S.B. was assigned as pastor in December CHURCH
1984 and he finished the building of the new church. BY Edna Jarvis
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church was built in the early
Mass was moved to the parish hall on July 6, 1985 and held there 1890’s and was dedicated by Bishop Meershaert on November 11,
on Saturday evening and Sunday morning until the new church was 1894. The firs resident pastor was Father E. V. Reynolds, who lived
completed. in a room on the back of the church. Before the resident pastor came,
Father Felix DeGrasse attended both Meeker and Chandler areas. He
Prior to the church being completed, Christmas services were was stationed at Guthrie.
held in the new church in 1985. On March 30, 1897, a cyclone destroyed the Church at
Chandler, but the parishioners immediately began building another
The new church was dedicated on April 3, 1986 by Archbishop on the same site. (The corner where Wileham Hospital now stands).
Charles A. Salatka. The Charles Moulin family owned a saw mill on their farm southwest
of Chandler. Mr. Moulin and his boys would saw lumber and then
during the time they were rebuilding the Church (the men had to stay
in town while doing this as transportation in those days made it
impossible to commute) he would send work out by mail that they
needed more timber of native wood. Mrs. Moulin would take the
boys and bring in a load of whatever materials were needed. Other
helping with the construction of the church to replace the one
destroyed were: Fred Gessman, Sr., P.J. Rollinger and P.J. Rooney,
also member of the Cull family.
The pioneer Catholics of Chandler included the families of
Ebers, (Mrs. F. Haas) Fryers, (Mrs. Fred Moulin, Mrs. Chris
Osterman, Mr. John Piepke) Fiegel, Haase, Schegman, Moulin,
Rohlinger, Rooney, Bilous, Krueger and Cullens. Of the Fred
Gessman, Sr., we have the families of Mrs. Ralph Mehan, Mrs. Lena
Sweet, Mrs. Emmett Ficks and Mr. Henry Gessman. These
parishioners were visited by their pastor, who rode to their home
horseback. Later he was able to procure two horses and a buggy. It
was a happy occasion when the priest visited, for the boys in the
families were allowed to care for Father’s spotted ponies.
Father Trienekens, known as the motorcycle priest, was the
second resident pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church. After he left,
the parish became a mission of first Cushing and then Bristow.
New Church Began July 25, 1948
The history of the new church began to be written when the Rt.
Rev. Msgr. D.C. Fletcher, dean of Tulsa deanery and pastor of Christ
the King Church there blessed the ground and turned the first shovel
of earth on Sunday, July 25, 1948.
From that date construction moved forward until new church rose
and was ready for this dedication.
The pastor’s home will house the resident pastor. Information as
to who the resident priest will be is not known by the members at this
time. The local priest will housed in the new home, built by the
church, which will be as completely modern a seven room home as
any in the vicinity.
Dinner Served Guests
At 6:00 p.m. at the Legion Hut, with approximately 200 present.
During the banquet which was prepared by the Catholic Church
ladies, Father Swift, Bishop McGuinness and Monsignieur James A.
Fletcher gave short talks.
Former priest of the Chandler church were seated with the
distinguished guests at the head table.
The hut was decorated by a huge Christmas tree full of Christmas
lights and covered with candy canes which were distributed to the
children after the dinner. The many tables were centered with cedar
boughs and Christmas tree ball arrangements, dotted with candles.
There were thirty-two visiting priest present, some coming great
distances. One priest was from Poland, and one from Dominion of
Canada. For the most part the visitors were from Oklahoma parishes.
Yes, the little church would to be no morel, but it would always
and forever be held dear to the hearts of many, and the new church
was welcoming the members and friends with its open doors and it
Lincoln News - December 23, 1948
In September 1994, the parish was no longer under the Chandler Catholic Church
Benedictines at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee when Rev. Dominic Hung Held Dedication Services Sun.
Hoang became pastor.
Sunday Full Day For Catholics in Chandler Vicinity
Rev. David Lafferty became pastor in July 1997. On Sunday, December 19 at 4:00 p.m. Bishop Eugene
McGuinness started the dedication ceremonies before a large crowd
The building debt was paid off, while Father Lafferty was pastor, of members and friends. The First part of the services was the
on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15, 2002 with a blessing of the grounds and the outside of the church. After these
Mass celebrated by Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran, Archbishop of brief ceremonies, the lay of the cornerstone of the church was
Oklahoma City Archdiocese. accomplished.
Immediately afterwards the group entered the church and
Rev. James Mickus became pastor in September 2003. blessed first the altar and then the church interior. During the
blessing of the church, two assistants placed the altar cloth and
************************* candles in place.
Bishop McGuinness then thanked Mr. And Mrs. C. A. Breitung
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES REGARDING THE CATHOLIC of Tulsa, for their generous donations which made the Chandler
CHURCH IN CHANDLER church possible for Chandler years ahead of plans. Thanks were also
given to Mr. And Mrs. A. M. Jarvis for the donation of the land upon
Chandler News-December 16, 1948 which the church was built. Hopes were expressed for a catholic
school in the near future, also at this location.
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church Confirmation exercises were then conducted for twenty-four
persons. They were Charles Haase, Frances Nelson, William Jarvis,
Bishop Eugene J. McGuinness of the diocese of James Jarvis, James Trotter, Patricia Haase, James Woody, Doria
Oklahoma City and Tulsa, will dedicate the new Our Lady of Woody, Rena Mae Horton, Patricia Guessman, Mrs. Fred Guessman,
Sorrows Catholic church at 420 Price on Sunday, December 19 at 4 Marvin Simons, Robert Simons, Willard Ballard Jr., Mary Rose
p.m. Simons, Frieda Cletus Pritchett, Roger Pritchett, Henry Simons,
About forty priests from all over Oklahoma will be Donald Guessman, Joseph Pritchett, Mary Bell Ficke, Willard
present for the ceremony. After the dedication, the bishop will Ballard Sr., and A.E. Rickstrew.
administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to twenty children and Awaiting with the choir during confirmation service was Sister
three adults. Sunday mass will be held at the old church at 7:45 a.m. Teresita, Philomena and Antotnette from Bristow. Other sisters were
At 6:00, a dinner will be held in the American Legion hut. present from Oklahoma City and from Cushing.
The public is cordially invited to attend the services and dinner. Regular Mass in Morning
Tickets fro the dinner may be obtained from Mrs. L. B. At 7:45 a.m. mass was conducted by Father Swift at the little old
Nichols, Mrs. A. M. Jarvis, Mrs. C. C. Curry, Mrs. W. J. Ballard or church. There was a little wrench in the feelings of the older
Mrs. Wendell Tucker. members as they realized that this was their last service in their little
old church, because immediately following the regular mass the
morning of December 19, the fixtures of the little church were moved
to the new church on Price street.