Bernard James Francis Mutsaers


Very Rev. Bernard James Francis Mutsaers. By far the largest Catholic parish in Oklahoma is that surrounding and under the supervision of St. Joseph’s Cathedral at Oklahoma City. The pastor of the cathedral for the past ten years has been Rev. Bernard James Francis Mutsaers, who has accomplished a remarkable work in building up this parish and in keeping the institutions and functions of the church apace with the remarkable growth of the city itself. How well he has succeeded can be judged by the fact that the membership of his congregation now surpasses the 4,000 mark. . For sixteen years Rev. Fr. Mutsaers has been in America and practically all that time has been devoted to the work of the ministry in Oklahoma. He was born September 2, 1872, in Tilburg, Holland, in the Province of Noord Brabant. From the age of ten, from 1882 until 1897, he attended different institutions in Holland, and on June 12, 1897, was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church at Bois-Le-Duc in Holland by Bishop Van de Ven of the Diocese of ’s Hertogenbosch. After a short term as assistant priest at Heusden on the Meuse he went in the fall of 1897 to Rome, where he matriculated as a student of the Gregoriana, a papal university under the direction of the Jesuit Fathers. Chief of his professors were Bucceroni, Wernz, later general of the Jesuit Order, and Billot, now cardinal. He found a very valuable friend and tutor in Fr. William Van Rossum, C. SS. R., now cardinal, and the only Dutch cardinal in the last 400 years. After making various degrees he was finally made a Doctor of Sacred Theology on July 19, 1900, at which time the jubilee was celebrated in Rome under the auspices of Pope Leo XIII.
After this extensive preparation and service in the old country, and following a short stay with his relatives in Holland, Father Mutsaers set out for New York, and soon joined the Oklahoma Diocese, and was assigned to Kingfisher. In the spring of 1901 he was moved to St. John’s Indian School at Gray Horse, Oklahoma, and in the fall of the same year was made rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral at Guthrie, then the capital of the state. After five years of service at Guthrie Father Mutsaers in the summer of 1906 was promoted to be rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral of Oklahoma City, his present position. There he has lived and worked and has seen his work prosper and increase, for a period of ten years.
As a student, and later on occasional visits to Europe, Father Mutsaers traveled extensively over France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Greece, Egypt, Austria Hungary and Italy. In the spring of 1906 he spent a season in the Holy Land, visiting many of the places of interest. In 1911 he went to Cuba and from there sailed over the course probably followed by Columbus from Havana to Spain. He is a man of charming personality, has a great range of intellectual interests, and while devoted to his church and especially his parish, the esteem paid him in Oklahoma City is not confined within sectarian bounds.