The Oblate General Administration in Rome announced today (September 15, 2023) that Fr. Raymond Cook, OMI has been appointed the Next Provincial of the U.S. Province. Fr. Cook will be installed on October 23, 2023 in Washington, DC, along with the as yet, unnamed provincial council. Fr. Cook will succeed Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, who has served two terms as provincial.
Fr. Cook was born in 1968 in the state of Connecticut. His life experiences include spending 3 years studying culinary arts back in the 80s and working in the local theatre acting, stage managing, and eventually directing a variety of plays and musicals. Prior to entering religious formation, he also spent 15 years as an Instructor and Course Developer for various Network, Microsoft, and Medical Software Applications.
He entered religious life in 2004 at the Oblate prenovitiate in Buffalo, NY and received his BA in philosophy from D’Youville College. He entered the novitiate in Godfrey, Il in 2006 and professed first vows in 2007. After vows he moved to Texas and received his Masters of Divinity from Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and his STB through St. Paul’s University in Ottawa. Fr. Ray professed his Final Vows in 2011, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2012. During his formation years he also received his certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Mercy Center. His first assignment after ordination was at King’s House Retreat and Renewal Center in Belleville, IL.
In 2014, Fr. Cook became Director of the Newman Center and the Chaplain and Administrator of St. Mary’s Chapel at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He remained at Rice until the end of 2022. In January of 2023, he took a position on staff at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio where he taught courses related to preaching ministry.
When asked how he felt when he heard the news Fr. Cook said, “First I was very surprised and happy to get the call from Fr. General, at the same time a bit nervous and humble.”