A priest who led the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City's largest predominantly Hispanic parish has died.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said the Rev. Roberto Quant, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2706 S Shartel, died Monday. He was 52.
Tina Dzurisin, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Quant's cause of death was unknown. She said funeral arrangements have not been finalized.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said the archdiocese, particularly the parishioners of Sacred Heart, will miss Quant's “joyful presence.”
“Father Roberto Quant was such a joyful priest,” Coakley said. “He often mentioned to his friends that he considered it among his greatest blessings to have been called to the priesthood and to have had the opportunity to serve in that way — and he lived his vocation to the fullest.
“He leaves behind him a rich legacy. As a priest, a son, brother and friend, he enriched the lives of those around him with his delightfully animated intelligence and abiding good spirits. As the beloved pastor of Sacred Heart parish, he attended to the spiritual needs of more than 8,000 parishioners with generosity and a smile. As the judicial vicar in the provincial tribunal, he was an effective and amiable colleague.”
Quant was born Sept. 22, 1960, in Nicaragua. The Rev. Don Wolf, pastor of St. Benedict Catholic Church in Shawnee, said Quant and his parents moved from Nicaragua to Honduras during a period of conflict in his native country. He said Quant grew up in the church and attended Catholic schools. Quant eventually traveled to Alva to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Archdiocese leaders said Quant was ordained as an archdiocesan priest on June 1, 1991.
Wolf said he served on a seminarian board with Quant. He said Quant, whose native language was Spanish, identified with his parishioners, many of whom came to Oklahoma from Mexico.
“His experience of being displaced and their experience of being displaced helped him relate to them. I think it was one of the reasons he was most effective,” Wolf said.
Quant was preparing to leave Sacred Heart in June to become pastor of St. Eugene Catholic Church, 2400 W Hefner Road, as part of clergy reassignments authorized by the archbishop.
Wolf said most people saw Quant's jovial nature more often than his serious side. One of his Sacred Heart parishioners, Sandra Castillo McBroom, shared similar sentiments.
“He was a very happy person and he told a lot of jokes every time you saw him,” McBroom said.
She said she saw Quant on Sunday and spoke to him as he was enjoying tacos at a carnival event after Mass. She said he told her he was very happy at the church because it had been his dream to become a priest of a church linked to a school. McBroom said someone showed her a video of Quant dancing to mariachi music with students at Sacred Heart School.
“We will miss him,” she said.
The Rev. Rick Stansberry, pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church in Nichols Hills, said he attended seminary with Quant, who quickly became known as a practical joker.
Stansberry said he and Quant served on an archdiocesan tribunal for 15 years, and Quant “was a brilliant canon lawyer.”
“He was just a wonderful guy. There was a great deal of admiration for him around here,” Stansberry said. “It's just a sad deal.”