About Our Parish

Humble Beginnings

Holy Angels parish, on the near northwest side of OKC, was divided from St Joseph’s in October 1926. Bishop Francis Kelley, then beginning his long episcopate in Oklahoma, believed every priest with an appointment to diocesan-wide responsibilities should also have charge of a congregation.  He had just appointed Father James A. Garvey to be the first director of Catholic Charities, and he asked him to move to a house on property that the diocese owned at Third and Blackwelder. Father Garvey was to organize a small parish on what then was almost the outskirts of the city.

The first Mass was in an old frame building that had been a barn and was later transformed into a community hall. A brick building, to serve at fist as a church and then a school, was begun in March 1927. When the parish was started there were about 45 Catholic families, many of them elderly and poor, living within its limits.

Father James Garvey’s nephew, Father John Garvey, was ordained in 1933, and the next year he became assistant to his uncle at both Catholic Charities and at Holy Angels. In 1940 he succeeded to the parish as pastor. In 1949 Father James Garvey, by now a monsignor, died, and was succeeded by Father A.A. Isenbart. Later, when the younger Father Garvey retired, Father Isenbart also became pastor. Father Isenbart built the present Holy Angels Church in 1950, but his responsibilities at Catholic Charities had by then grown to the point that he could not administer these and the parish as well.

 

Growing Through Change

In the 1960’s the neighborhood around Holy Angels began to change for the worse. By this time Father John Walch, noted Oklahoma artist, was living in the former convent. The school had recently closed and he established the St John Damascene School of Liturgical Art there. Father Walch served as pastor at Holy Angels until retirement in 1989.

Archbishop Charles Salatka had come to see the need for an additional parish to serve the need of the Hispanics in Oklahoma City, Father Donald Wolf was appointed pastor, and Deacon Lucio Nieto began working full time for the parish. The Missionary Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa came from Mexico to establish a convent in the parish. They have been in residence at Holy Angels Parish for thirty-two years. The parish has continued to grow. The church was fully renovated and consecrated in 1997. 

 

Looking to the Future

There were 250 families in 2004, of whom 218 were from Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Argentina and Colombia. Today the parish has 1,125 registered families from Hispanic, Laotian, and American heritage.  A new church building is in the early planing stages in order to serve our increasing Catholic population.

 

The individual’s act of faith finds its place within a community, within the common "we" of the people who, in faith, are like a single person — "my first-born son", as God would describe all of Israel (cf. Ex 4:22). Here mediation is not an obstacle, but an opening: through our encounter with others, our gaze rises to a truth greater than ourselves. (6/29/13, Pope Francis)