The Diocese of Tulsa – her priests and deacons, her religious and her lay faithful – give thanks to God and rejoice that His Holiness Pope Francis has named Father David Konderla, 55, as the fourth Bishop of Tulsa. Bishop-Elect Konderla is the second of twelve children, the son of David and the late Ann Konderla. He grew up in Bryan, Texas; graduated from Bryan High School in 1978 and worked for several years as a machinist before entering the seminary in 1985. He was ordained on June 3, 1995, after graduating from the University of Dallas in 1989 and having earned a Masters of Divinity from the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary’s Seminary, in Houston. Father Konderla served at St. Louis Parish in Austin and St. Luke’s Parish in Temple before his assignment as associate pastor of St. Mary’s in College Station. After four years there, he was named the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Austin, where he served the diocese another four years returning to St. Mary’s as pastor and Director of Campus Ministry in August 2005. Other diocesan assignments include: member, priests’ personnel board, 2004-2011; member, vocations team, 2006; member, presbyteral council (2008-present) and interim presbyteral council (2010); member, College of Consultors, Austin, Texas. Tentative plans call for the ordination and installation of Bishop-Elect Konderla at the end of June, at which time he will replace Bishop Edward Slattery, who turned 75 last August 11. Of his successor Bishop Slattery said: “Today with the announcement of my successor as the Bishop of Tulsa, Bishop-Elect David Konderla, my heart turns to Christ with sentiments of gratitude and joy for his constant Presence in my life and in the life of the Church. My prayer of petition to God the Father is for the good health and spiritual strength of the new Bishop. I know our people have been praying that Pope Francis would send us an energetic and prayerful man to be our shepherd, and I believe God has heard our prayer.”
It’s become no secret that one of US Catholicism’s most vibrant centers of life and vitality is found deep in the heart of Texas. While that’s now come to apply to the whole state – where, late in the last decade, Catholics surpassed Southern Baptists to comprise the largest religious group – in a particular way, among the Lone Star church’s brightest spots is the Catholic Center at Texas A&M: a place that routinely leads the country in numbers of graduates entering seminary and religious life, and where the standing-room only crowds for weekday Mass would easily pass for Sundays (if not Christmas or Ash Wednesday) most anywhere else. …The Tulsa pick is just the latest of several Francis has given to priests who’ve been college chaplains at some point in their ministry, clearly seeing that experience as a critically important mission-field for the church’s future on these shores.
Regarding vocations, this is truly amazing:
Because our students have many opportunities to come to know Jesus and then grow in prayer, they are able to hear the voice of God calling them to their vocation in life. Many are called to priesthood or religious life.
Aggie Catholic Clergy/Religious Vocations Update:
154 Aggie Catholic bishops, priests, deacons and religious (who have taken permanent vows), that we know of. Broken down, this is 122 diocesan clergy + 32 religious men/women in final vows.
72 Aggie Catholics are currently in formation for religious life and priesthood.
This year we had 13 men/women enter formation/seminary. There is the possibility of more later this year.
Broken down, this is 33 men in diocesan seminary + 38 men/women in formation for religious communities + 1 in diaconate formation.
Over the past 20 years or so we have averaged almost 10 young men/women who enter formation/seminary annually.
People who think there’s only one way to seed religious vocations need to see what the Aggies are doing.
What kind of bishop will Tulsa be getting? The announcement of his appointment concludes:
Bishop-Elect Konderla will be at Catholic Charities Padre Pio Helping Center, 2450 North Harvard Avenue, Tulsa, assisting in the distribution of food from 11:40 a.m. A press conference with questions and answers will follow at 12 noon.
God love him. Ad multos annos! And congratulations, Tulsa.