The Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Altus welcomed a new pries this past July, Father Cory D. Stanley. Since being in Altus, Stanley said that he loves Altus’ small town feeling.
Stanley explained that he fell in love with Jesus when he was in the Holy Spirit Catholic Church Youth Group in Mustang. In high school he played the trumpet for mass, made a lot of friends, and was very involved in church. “During my sophomore year, is when I began to understand how to follow God, and over time gained more confidence in my Catholic faith,” said Father Stanley. It was during this time, when his youth minister asked him if he had ever considered becoming a priest. The high school students answer was, “How much do priests get paid?” His youth minister grinned and he knew the seed was planted.
After a series of interviews by the Archbishop and several priests and sisters, he applied for the seminary. He was accepted to Conception Seminary College in northwest Missouri. There he graduated summa cum laude in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. In 2007 Archbishop Beltran assigned Father Stanley to attend the next level of seminary at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He then completed a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B) magna cum laude from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2010. On Oct. 7, 2010, Father Stanley was ordained a deacon in the Basilica of St. Peter, Vatican City, along with his seminary classmates. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Paul Coakley on July 8, 2011 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma City. After being ordained a priest, Father Stanley then completed a license in Sacred Theology (S.T.L) summa cum laude with a specialization in Liturgical Theology from the pontifical University of the Holy Cross in 2012.
During his studies in Rome, Father Stanley was only a seven to eight minute walk to St. Peters Basilica and remembers seeing glimpses of the Pope. A most honored moment of his time in Rome was in June of 2011 when Father Stanley was able to assist Pope Benedict at the alter during the ordination mass of Archbishop Coakley.
A week later he returned to Oklahoma and was ordained a priest. His first assignment was at Sacred Heart in Oklahoma City. He has also served at St. Monica’s in Edmond, and as a chaplain to 200 students at St. Mary’s High School. “I had a blast at the school working with the students,” said Father Stanley, “I would even run on the football field after praying with the team.” He also has been a priest in Alva, Wenoka and Cherokee.
Father Stanley has thoroughly enjoyed his travels and picks Rome as his favorite travel place. “There is so much of our Catholic history and faith present in Rome,” he said. “The apostles, Peter, Paul, Phillip, James the Lesser and Bartholomew are buried there, and you can see so many religious artifacts.” Father also fell deep in love with the Holy land and the Sea of Galilee. “Because most of Jesus ministry ,teachings and miracles all occurred there,” he said. “Knowing your present at the water Jesus walked on , and where he multiplied loaves of bread and fish, helps strengthen your faith, and bring you closer to God.”
He is very enthusiastic about Altus. “I am people person and look forward to learning all about Prince of Peace and meeting new families. Every parish and town has their own personality, yet we all come together to worship God and serve him better.”
During his free time, Father Stanley enjoys reading, studying languages and being outdoors. He likes to hike, ski and working on digital photo projects. He also makes time to meet with his seminarian friends and cherishes their friendships. They enjoy fellowship and share their visions on how to draw people closer to God.
“Being a priest has many blessings and glorious moments. A humbling incredible feeling I experience is to be invited to be a part of the families at significant moments in their lives, both good and bad, for every sacrament has its own beauty. My life as a priest privileges me to be a minister and instrument of Christ.”
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077