Austin priest is now the bishop of Tulsa
By Shelley Metcalf
Catholic Spirit Staff
Bishop David Konderla beamed with joy throughout his ordination and installation as the fourth bishop of Tulsa on June 29 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center Arena on the campus of the University of Tulsa.
Pope Francis appointed Bishop Konderla as bishop of Tulsa on May 13, and in the six weeks between the appointment and his ordination, the Brazos Valley native made his own crosier, packed up his woodshop and moved to a new state.
The new bishop and his 11 brothers and sisters were born and raised in Bryan. Bishop Konderla was ordained a priest by Bishop John McCarthy on June 3, 1995. He served at parishes in Austin, Temple and College Station before becoming the diocese’s first full-time director of vocations in 2001. For the last 11 years, Bishop Konderla served as the pastor of St. Mary Catholic Center at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley presided at the Ordination Mass, along with Bishop Joe Vásquez and Bishop Edward Slattery, the third bishop of Tulsa whom Bishop Konderla replaced. Also present were many of the Texas bishops as well as the priests of the Tulsa Diocese and many priests from the Austin Diocese.
Bishop Konderla’s father as well as his 11 brothers and sisters, extended family and many of his Aggie parishioners were in the congregation, too, as was evident by the Aggie whoops throughout the Mass.
“We are thankful that Bishop Konderla’s family and not to mention his beloved Aggie family accompanied him across the Red River … this is a day of rejoicing for the whole church,” Archbishop Coakley said to much applause.
“Keep watch, be vigilant over the whole flock which the Holy Spirit appoints you to govern the church of God … in the name of the Father, whose image you represent in the church; and in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, whose office of teacher, priest and shepherd you will discharge; and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the church of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Coakley said during his homily.
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio who serves as Pope Francis’ representative to the U.S., read the official appointment letter from Pope Francis. This was Archbishop Pierre’s first U.S. ordination; Pope Francis appointed him papal nuncio in April.
After the Rite of Ordination and Installation, Bishop Konderla celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist and then he walked throughout the crowd extending his blessing to all present.
During his brief remarks before Mass concluded, Bishop Konderla said he looks forward to years ahead.
He reflected on how we are clay vessels who have been given the “priceless gift of the Holy Spirit,” which is a fire of God’s love that burns within us.
“It is our task as people who are on a journey … to each day rekindle that fire, to take that flame and give it to others,” Bishop Konderla said. “I look forward to the many years ahead as we move forward on this journey.”