May 2, 2019
Father Oby Zunmas, pastor of Holy Cross in Madill and Good Shepherd in Marietta, was presented the 2019 Blessed Stanley Rother Faithful Shepherd Award by his fellow priests April 16 during a ceremony before the Chrism Mass at The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
The faithful shepherd award is given each spring to a priest in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City who exemplifies Blessed Stanley Rother and his commitment to the priesthood and his people. It is an initiative of the Priests’ Council.
“This silent, manly approach to pastoral life was actually embodied in the example of Father Rother who spent his life generally in obscurity while the greatness of his life mostly escaped the notice of all of the rest of us while his very greatness was at its height,” said Father Don Wolf during the presentation of the award. “As we have come to confess, as we celebrate his life, his holiness and his great sanctity may have been most highly symbolized by his martyrdom, the foundation of his blessed life wasn’t the moment of his death but the content of his life, and that life was lived as the pastor of Santiago, Atitlan.”
In the nomination letter, a priest wrote: “Father Oby embodies the best of the memory of Father Stan Rother. His dedication to his people, his willingness to serve amidst the forgotten and the forlorn, his desire to make the best of his challenges, his vision for the future of his parish and the future of the archdiocese, the combination of his patient endurance and his impatient commitment, his focus on problem-solving and practical concerns and his overwhelming good spirits and open acceptance to make his parish assignment the source of hope for himself and for his people; all of these attributes celebrate Oby’s ministry and help us value Stan’s own legacy to us all.”
Father Oby was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on Feb. 8, 1962. After attending primary and secondary school in Nigeria, he began his degree work at El Reno Junior College and then-Central State University. After attending Saint Meinrad Seminary, Father Oby was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City on May 26, 2000.
Father Oby has served at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Duncan, Saint Charles Borromeo in Oklahoma City, Mount Saint Mary Catholic High School and Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.
From 2005-2007, Father Oby served in the Diocese of Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he stayed to study and master Spanish. When Father Oby returned to the archdiocese, he was assigned to the parishes of Madill and Marietta. During his time in Madill, he has been involved with building a new church, which was dedicated by Archbishop Coakley on May 4.
Photo: Fr. Don Wolf and Archbishop Coakley stand with Fr. Oby Zunmas at the Rother Faithful Shepherd Award presentation on April 16 at The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Photo Fr. Stephen Bird.