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Citizen Potawatomi on hand to celebrate Sacred Heart centennial

 On Sun., June 14, 2015 Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Konawa, Oklahoma celebrated its centennial with a Mass and potluck reception.

Sacred Heart Mission and the associated school has a history in Pottawatomie County that dates back to 1876, when Fr. Isodore Robot, a French Benedictine arranged with the Potawatomi to establish a Catholic presence among them in Indian Territory.

The present-day church building was dedicated on June 11, 1915 by Bishop Rt. Rev. Theophile Meerchaert. I was honored to attend the celebration because my family, like many Potawatomi, has a historical tie to Sacred Heart. My great-grandfather, Oliver Kelly Weld, attended Sacred Heart School along with his two sisters.

He learned masonry at Sacred Heart and worked as a mason for the rest of his life. I also wanted to attend the celebration to support three young tribal members, Anna Brimm, Abby Brimm and Jaylin Whitley, who hand drummed and sang three traditional Potawatomi songs during the celebration. These girls are members of Potawatomi families that have lived in the south Pottawatomie County area and been parishioners of Sacred Heart for many generations.