EDMOND — The Rev. Stephen Hamilton makes sure he tells his new parishioners to give him plenty of time to learn their names — because he's seeing lots of new faces these days.
The priest, recently appointed to lead St. Monica Catholic Church, has learned over the years how to familiarize himself with a new parish.
However, he said his new congregation is significantly larger than his previous church — so his learning curve on names and such is pretty steep.
“I never imagined being moved to the metro area and I never imagined it would be to a parish that is so significantly bigger — that part was a shock,” he said, smiling.
Hamilton, 39, said his previous parish, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Kingfisher, included about 265 families, while St. Monica in west Edmond includes between 1,200 and 1,500 parish families.
“The pace is significantly different,” he said.
Back to the metro
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley appointed Hamilton to serve St. Monica, 2001 N Western, in June.
Also, the Rev. Cory Stanley, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City's newest priest, was appointed as St. Monica's associate pastor.
Hamilton said Stanley's appointment marks the first time the Edmond church has had an associate clergyman, and he is grateful for it.
Hamilton's appointment brings him full circle in some ways because he has served for several years at parishes in outlying areas of the metro and state.
His new post brings him closer to the area where he grew up.
He said he was born in Missouri, but came to Oklahoma City as a third-grader in 1981 so he considers the metro “home.”
Hamilton said St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in near northwest Oklahoma City was his home parish and he attended the parish's school, Rosary School, and graduated from Bishop McGuinness High School in 1991.
For several years after he was ordained into the priesthood in July 1999, Hamilton served as associate pastor at several metro parishes, specifically Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church in west Oklahoma City from July to October 1999 and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in east Edmond from 2000 to 2002. The priest then traveled to Ponca City to serve at St. Mary Catholic Church for one year and to the Panhandle to serve two years at St. Peter Catholic Church in Guymon. In August 2005, Hamilton was appointed pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Kingfisher and he served there until his current appointment.