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Holy Family Cathedral » Rector » Fr. Jovita Okonkwo is the Cathedral Rector

Fr. Jovita Okonkwo is the Cathedral Rector

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    Bishop Edward Slattery celebrated Mass in a packed Holy Family Cathedral as hundreds of the Faithful came to see the new Rector of the Cathedral. Very Reverend Jovita Okonkwo became the Rector at the 10:00 Mass on the First Sunday of Advent, November 30. The Mass of Installation was followed by a Reception provided by the Cathedral Women’s Club.


This is a reprint of Fr. Jovita’s words at the end of that Mass.



    IMGP6342On this First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year, my heart is full of thanks to God who gave me the gift of the priesthood. I thank him for sustaining my vocation for the 17 years I have been a priest. When I became a priest I knew that I had become, like the prophet Isaiah said, clay in the Potter’s hand. All I desire is that He molds me as He wills.

I thank Bishop Slattery for the trust, privilege and honor of choosing me to be the rector of his cathedral. I promise with the help of God to give it my all.

I thank Monsignor Gier for his priestly witness and for his 17 years of service to the cathedral which saw several improvements to the cathedral and the spiritual lives of the people who call Holy Family their home. I found that the same month and year I became a priest coincided with the month and year that Gier became the rector of the cathedral. When I came to Tulsa in 2004 and had the honor of serving under him, he was called the Mon-junior while Halpine was the Mon-senior. After 17 years of service he thoroughly deserves to be a Mon-senior, and to me a father and “a seat of wisdom” from which to draw the necessary advice and help to serve as the new rector of the cathedral. I’m enamored by his ability of using humor to attend to even the most difficult tasks and humor is his everyday language. Monsignor Gier, thank you for your service!

I thank the parishioners of Holy Family and all who have made Holy Family one of the most glorious cathedrals in the United States. I have been asked about my aspiration for this parish, and it needs to be re-stated. I desire that under our pastor, Bishop Slattery, we would grow to be more intentional about our Catholic faith and as members of Jesus’ holy family.

Fr Jovita prays at reception after Installation I thank all of you who have come here today to grace this occasion. I want to mention particularly my former parishioners from Sacred Heart Sapulpa and St. Pius in Tulsa who have continued to support me through my journey. I want to thank family and friends here today to support me. Permit me to mention in a special way my professor, Dr. Steinheider who has been very helpful in my academic pursuit. My brother, Dr. Vitalis flew in from Florida because he didn’t want to miss this occasion. My American Mom and dad, Mary and John Knecht and the entire Knecht family are here today to support me. Thank you for your love and everything you are to me!

Bishop and Fr Jovita priestly promises    Finally, I dedicate this day and my priestly service to Holy Family Cathedral to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Grace; and borrowing the words of Archbishop Sheen, I pray that as the celestial temptress and with loyal deceit, she might betray me and the flock of this parish to her Son, as uncaught captives of Divine love! Thank you all, and God bless you!

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