Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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SOONER CATHOLIC

Since 1974 the official organ of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Sooner Catholic was preceded by a number of statewide Catholic publications. The first was the Indian Advocate, a quarterly published at Sacred Heart Abbey between 1890 and 1910. Next came the Orphan's Record, a monthly published from 1915 to 1921 at St. Joseph's Orphanage in Bethany.

In January 1922 Carmelite priests at Hartshorne, with the encouragement of Bishop Theophile Meerschaert, began publishing a weekly, the Catholic Home. As editor they hired Joseph J. Quinn. The Catholic Home soon moved to Oklahoma City, to be nearer to printing facilities. It was taken over by the Diocese of Oklahoma in 1924 and was renamed the Southwest Courier.

When Quinn retired in 1960, the paper was assigned to Father John Joyce, who rechristened it the Oklahoma Courier. It quickly gained a national readership among Catholics and others who were impressed by its liberal editorial policy. A reaction among state Catholics, however, caused the Courier to cease publication in 1969. Father Joyce, with newspaper ink in his veins, began his own paper, the Oklahoma Observer. A few years later, he sold it to veteran newspaperman Frosty Troy.

The diocesan newspaper was revived five years later, first as a newsletter and then in 1975 as a tabloid, the Sooner Catholic. The editor, Father David Monahan (1927-), and associate editor Sister Martha Mary McGaw, C.S.J. (1915-95), won wide admiration for their attention to state and national issues and for the excellence of their writing. Father Monahan retired in 1994 after twenty years as editor. At the end of the twentieth century Jeanne Devlin served as editor of the biweekly Sooner Catholic.

Oklahoma's second Catholic diocese, in Tulsa, has published its own newspaper, the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic, since 1975.

SEE ALSO: CATHOLIC CHURCH, PRINTING AND PUBLISHING INDUSTRY, RELIGION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Joseph J. Quinn, "Mightier Than the Sword!," The Southwest Courier, Diocesan (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Golden Jubilee Issue, October 8, 1955.

James D. White

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