Tulsa bishop says Mass with shooting victims' families: 'We should not fear'

Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa. Courtesy of the Diocese of Tulsa. Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa. Courtesy of the Diocese of Tulsa.

Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa celebrated a memorial Mass at St. Francis Hospital Thursday following a mass shooting on the hospital’s campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Today we gather to comfort one another and to support one another in prayer as a family, even as we have some of the family members of the deceased here with us,” Konderla said at the June 2 Mass for the St. Francis Health System and those affected by the shooting.

Tulsa police confirmed five casualties of the shooting, including the shooter, which took place June 1 at the Natalie Building, on the south side of the hospital’s campus.

The Prayer of the Faithful during Mass remembered the four deceased: Dr. Preston Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, Amanda Glenn, and William Love. The gunman targeted Phillips as the surgeon whom he blamed for ongoing pain after a back surgery.

“And in obedience to the command of the Lord, we pray for the man who perpetrated this evil,” Konderla added.

During his homily, the bishop stressed hope in the midst of pain.

“In the days and weeks ahead, this family — this St. Francis family — will have many difficult times. The grief that is on our hearts is heavy,” he said. “The event that happened was an evil in our midst, and yet it does not have the power to overwhelm the love that resides in the hearts of everyone connected to this hospital system, for the people of this community who need the care that you provide.”

He added: “So even as we face the grief that will come, we can ourselves again and again return to the promise of the Lord: In the world we will experience trouble, but that we should not fear because he has overcome the world.”

Throughout the Mass, Konderla prayed for the victims — and their families.

“Show us, Lord, the immense power of your goodness, that as we weep for our brothers and sisters taken from us by a sudden death, we may be confident that they have passed over into your eternal company,” he said. 

He also prayed for “healing and comfort to those who mourn.”

The bishop outlined the Church’s involvement in upcoming events. On Friday, the St. Francis community has invited everyone to pray a rosary 3 p.m. CT, he said. 

“We will instruct our parishes to also offer a rosary as available in the parishes at 3pm tomorrow,” he added.

The hospital’s education center is also providing resources to those affected, including counselors and people to talk and pray with, he said, and on Saturday, at 7pm CT, Holy Family Cathedral will hold a “community and ecumenical prayer service.”

The bishop concluded, “On behalf of the diocese, again our condolences to all of you who have lost your comrades and an assurance of our continued prayers.”

The bishop is also asking that a prayer be said at all Masses this weekend, Adam Minihan, communications director for the diocese of Tulsa, told CNA.

That prayer reads: “Loving Father, in the month of June we entrust the hurt and grief of our community to the loving presence of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. May all those harmed by the evil shooting at the hospital in Tulsa be consoled.”

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Immediately following the shooting, Konderla, along with several priests and the Religious Sisters of Mercy, were “on site to offer pastoral support to those affected,” Minihan previously told CNA.

Saint Francis Hospital is the anchor of Saint Francis Health System, which describes itself as a “Catholic, not-for-profit health system wholly governed and operated in Tulsa, Oklahoma whose mission is to extend the presence and healing ministry of Christ to all who seek its services.”

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