Out Of The Way Places: St. Michael’s Chapel

23 09 2007

I had hoped to get some pictures from the inside of this chapel, as well as interview Father Howard Remski, who runs the place, but no one ever returned my calls, or answered my messages. That’s okay, wild speculation and conjecture are ever so much more fun.

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When I came across this little chapel in a suburban part of Oklahoma City called Bethany, I was immediately drawn to it. There’s no big marquee spouting some bumper sticker slogan, just a simple sign next to the door.

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The chapel is very small, and in a relatively remote area. My writer’s mind kicked in and I immediately began to wonder if it might be a cover for some darker, more sinister kind of worship, practiced by only a very few…and in secret. It isn’t, of course. My second thought was that some rich Catholic family might have had it built for their own private use, along with some of their friends. This doesn’t seem to be the case either, although, sans the interview, I can’t be certain.

A little online research turned up some interesting information, though. At this website for the Oklahoma City Latin Mass Community I learned that St. Michael’s serves the needs of a small community of Roman Catholics who prefer traditional Latin Mass. I do not have permission to post any of their pictures (probably a lot like the ones I would have taken myself, had I been able to tour the place), but I’ll provide the links to them here, here, here, and here.

I would like to know when this chapel was built, and by whom. Perhaps I will update this article if and when Father Remski decides to return my calls.

The area around St. Michael’s is every bit as beautiful as the chapel. Here’s a picture of a pond on the north side of the building…

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…the chapel is to your left, behind the trees, and the same pond, shot from a bench in a little grassy area about fifty yards from the front of the building…

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St. Michael’s Catholic Chapel turned out to be an interesting and slightly mysterious stop on my “Out Of The Way Places” tour. If I wasn’t worried that the nearby home-owners might mistake me for an intruder and start shooting at me, I’d lurk around this place late at night with my camera. Maybe the place is haunted…

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10 responses

16 07 2009
Anonymouse

The chapel was donated by a family for the purpose of having the Latin Mass and Sacraments. It is very popular, and many families – young and old – come here.

One of the reasons it is so hidden is that traditional Catholics are not looked upon kindly by other Oklahoma Catholics, who feel their ancient traditions are too backward. Most of these critics mind you have built churches that look like a barnyard shit out a steak house and feel they are progressive because they have book clubs. Go figure.

25 09 2009
Anonymous#2

Hi. The property, the parish and the home where Father Remski live are all owned by the man who lives on the north side of the pond. Father Remski is very busy as he is the only Priest serving at this parish

St. Michaels is currently raising funds to build a bigger parish further north of Oklahoma City by where the Old St. Patrick’s parish burned down many years ago. The old Catholic cemetery, St. Patricks, is still there. Hopefully, the paperwork will be signed in December, and then construction will begin on the new parish.

Because there are many Catholics desiring to return to the traditional Latin rite mass, the congregation of St. Michaels is outgrowing its location. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter rents this church, property and the Priest’s manse from the owner. It was felt by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City that it was time for St. Michaels to own their own land and church rather than rent it.

This parish began many years ago with several families desiring to continue the traditional Latin rite mass banded together with the owner of this property and started having mass. They met in an older building further back on the property until St. Michael’s was built. I’m not sure when the Priestly Fraternity came in and sent their Priests here to lead the mass. You can read the history of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. They have the blessing of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to hold the traditional Latin rite mass.

Father Remski is a wonderful Priest. Very kind, caring. He has a full schedule, and eventually he may return your call. I have a hard time getting in touch with him. Sometimes I drive to the parish and catch him that way.

God Bless you.

24 11 2010
Erin

According to the November 21, 2010 Sooner Catholic, “Saint Damien Catholic Church, located at 8 455 N.W. 234th St., Edmond, was recently blessed and dedicated for the regular schedule of Latin Masses in the extraordinary form. The schedule is:

Sautrday 8 a.m.
Sunday 8 a.m., Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m. Friday

The chapel of Saint Michael in Bethany is not associated with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and therefore not in full communion with the Catholic Church”

20 09 2011
LefebvreFollower

St. Michael’s Chapel is still okay to go to in order to fulfill your Sunday obligation. Technically, they are not in “Regulatory Status” with Rome, but they are having many discussions over it. Do some research, and please don’t post stuff that is not true and keeps people from going.
http://www.sspx.org

1 12 2010
sak6

Three years ago. My goodness. I have since moved away from that area to another very beautiful place…i.e. Denver, Colorado. But I still think about that little chapel, in it’s out of the way corner, from time to time. I really appreciate the extra info that you guys have provided. Thank you.

28 01 2011
Pax

I still keep coming across this page from time to time, and I enjoy the comments folks have left here. An update though… The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), which operated the St. Michael’s chapel when you took these pictures, has since been evicted, and built their own church north of Oklahoma City, called St. Damien (of Molokai) Catholic Church. Still the Traditional Latin Rite. Fr. Remski was with the church during the move, but has since been transferred to another FSSP Catholic Church in Florida.

As a side note, the St. Michael’s chapel is now inhabited by the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), which is a schismatic group, not under the Archbishop, or the Catholic Church in Rome, though they still call themselves “Catholic.” Kind of falls in with the photographer’s comments about the chapel maybe being “…a cover for some darker, more sinister kind of worship, practiced by only a very few…and in secret.” That’s exactly what it is now, and it is a terrible shame.

25 03 2011
Lou

Fr. Daniel Theman is now the priest for St. Michael’s Chapel. He travels from St. Mary’s, KS each weekend to say Mass. To clarify, The Society of St. Pius X is not, and has never been a schismatic group. SSPX has always recognized the authority of the Pope. Disobedient, yes. But, that doesn’t amount to schism. Schism requires one not to recognize the authority of the Pope. I would suggest people to stop buying into the misinformation being tossed about and learn the facts before making such statements about schism. Fr. Theman would be happy to explain the Society’s position. Calling on Saturdays in the early afternoon is your best bet. One may also visit http://www.sspx.org for more info, including most, if not all Vatican positions about the SSPX.

Lastly, neither praying the Mass of all time, set in stone never to be changed or altered as commanded by Pope Pius V in his Quo Primum Decree, nor not adhering to the errors and novelties of Vatican II (which issued no new infallible decrees) can hardly be considered sinister, or secret. It’s called keeping the last 2000 years of Tradition (note the capital T) alive in a modernist world. St. Michael’s welcomes all and you may visit its website at: http://www.saintmichaelschapel.com for Mass times and other info. God bless.

8 06 2011
Molly

agreed

8 06 2011
Molly

Let us hope they return to the church before something happens.

10 06 2011
Brian McCall

A friend recently directed me to the comments on this website. Unlike the other commentators, I am happy to take full responsibility for my statements and have given my real name. I have attended St. Michael’s Chapel since 2006 and lived through the events described inaccurately by Mr. or Miss Pax. First, the Fraternity of St. Peter were not “evicted” from St. Michael’s. Father Howard Remski and Father Flood (in a written letter) announced publicly that the Fraternity would vacate the chapel. Father Remski announced on repeated occasions they would leave by Easter 2010 and the official diocesan newspaper the Sooner Catholic reported on February 21, 2010, that the FSSP would be in the new property by Easter 2010. The FSSP did not build their own Church. I was told personally by the FSSP district superior, Father Eric Flood, that all funds held in the chapel bank account were turned over to the Archdiocese and the property where St. Damien’s Church stands was purchased by the Archdiocese not the Fraternity of St. Peter. I have not received any new information to indicate the property has been transferred. The Society of St. Pius X graciously offered to send a priest to offer Mass on Sundays and Holy Days beginning with Easter 2010. The private non-profit corporation that owned the chapel at that time offered to permit Father Remski to continue living in a three bedroom house located on the chapel property after Easter if he needed since the priests sent by the Society would not be able to live there as under their statutes approved by the Vatican in the 1970s their priests must live in community at priories. Father Remski chose to depart without prior notice two weeks before the announced Easter departure.

The priests of the Society of St. Pius X do not offer “some darker, more sinister kind of worship, practiced by only a very few…and in secret” as calumniously suggested by Mr. or Miss Pax. They offer only the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Sacraments as done by all Catholic priests for two thousand years as well as teaching the Dogmas of the Faith as defined by the Church for two thousand years and as embodied in such reliable sources as the Catechism of the Council of Trent. There is absolutely nothing secret. All Masses and Catechism Classes are open to the public information about which can be found on the chapel website http://www.saintmichaelschapel.com. All Catholics or those seriously considering becoming Catholic are welcome at any time.

Finally as to the calumny of schism, I refer the reader to the following statements by Cardinal Hoyos who was entrusted with the Pontifical Commission having jurisdiction over relations with the Society of St. Pius X: In an interview in Mexico with Notimex, on March 17, 2007, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, then President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, affirmed that “They are not schismatics, the priests are under a suspension for illicit exercise.” In an interview with Italian journalist, Simone Ortolani, published on the same date the Cardinal repeated the statement that although a danger of schism arising may exist, no formal schism of the Society of St. Pius X exists. On February 8, 2007, in the German Die Tagespost, the same Cardinal stated “Please accept that I reject the term “ecumenism ad intra.” The bishops, priests and faithful of the Society of St Pius X are not schismatics.” On Italian television channel 5, on November 13, 2005, the same Cardinal publicly stated: “We are not confronted with a heresy. It cannot be said in correct, exact, and precise terms that there is a schism.” All of these statements were made prior to the nullification in January 2009 by the Vatican of the decree of the Congregation for Bishops claiming Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer and the four bishops consecrated by them had excommunicated themselves. The nullification of which clarifies this position even more. If a Catholic is not excommunicated (something never in fact alleged with respect to any cleric of the Society other than the bishops), he is Catholic. The Holy Father has stated that the Society as an institution lacks a legal standing and has an irregular canonical status. These are legal issues of canon law which should be left to the legal authorities to rectify some day. In the interim, the Vatican through the official Pontifical Commission has confirmed on numerous occasions that Catholics may attend Masses offered by the priests of the Society and may not be disciplined (excommunicated) for doing so or even for assisting with arrangements to make the Mass possible. In a letter dated January 18, 2003, the Commission stated that faithful could participate in such a Mass and “this would not be a sin.” The same letter further states: “It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified.” The same Commission confirmed this conclusion to the Archdiocese of Salzburg in 2006 and clarified that attending Masses offered by the SSPX is not “to be considered a delict punishable under canon law.” In 2008, in a letter to journalist Brian Mershon, the same Commission confirmed its prior advice and stated the faithful could rely upon its advice with docility and moral certitude. For more information on the Society of St. Pius X and more documentation of its history and status, you can visit http://www.sspx.org.

I close merely noting that I harbor no ill will toward Mr. or Miss Pax. As their identity is unknown I can only assume that he/she is merely repeating inaccurate information which he/she has heard through hearsay.

In Christ the King,
Associate Professor Brian M. McCall

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