The best way to describe the mission of St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M’s is found in our tagline:
“Forming apostles for the Church and the world!”
Once again, we have truly formed an Apostle in Bishop-elect David Konderla, our Pastor, who Pope Francis named as the next Bishop of Tulsa, OK this morning. As news traveled around, we all felt a sense of shock, sadness, excitement, and anxiousness in the unknown future of his successor. Knowing that God’s plan is better than our own, we are sure the next Bishop of Tulsa will be a great one.
A simple man of God.
Bishop-elect David is not a complex man. In fact, he would agree if you called him simple. He is simple in his faith, which is very deep. He simply loves Jesus. He simply loves being a priest. He simply loves Mary and the Church. He is simple in that respect. But, he is also a very good man, to the core. As a pastor of a huge (and growing) campus ministry, he has been given a lot of burdens and he has handled them with grace and hard work. He respects those both in authority above himself as well as those he leads.
As a leader, he delegates many things. He entrusts those of us who are his helpers. He is introverted and is sometimes hard to get to know well, but for those of us who do know him, he reveals a depth of prayer that is rarely found and faith that I have never seen waver. He likes to spend time re-charging at his small piece of land in Central Texas. In fact, he had a desire to be a hermit for a while, because he need his “David time”.
Bishop-elect David is known for his woodworking. In fact, he has fashioned several other Bishops’ crossiers, so the joke around St. Mary’s this morning was asking the question – who will make his? My guess is that he will! But, what some don’t know is that Fr. David finds his woodworking to be an extension of his interior life – just as God creates something beautiful out of all things, so we too can participate in the creative process when we express our gifts artistically.
As a preacher, there are few better. Rarely working off of notes, Fr. David will preach challenging (and generally quickly to the point) homilies that also usually involve some joke. As staff who have worked with him will point out, he has a folksy-charm and a sense of humor that is fun to be around. He will frequently make a joke, rarely get stressed out, and is about an even-keel of a man as you will ever meet.
As a pastor he works hard. He rises early to pray and do his woodworking, so that the rest of his day can be in service to his flock. He is an amazing confessor, merciful and forgiving as a pastor, and good with all kinds of people. His Spanish is very good and he is comfortable around many different kinds of people. He is also genuinely humble. In fact, his humility is a natural outgrowth of his faith. As we have commonly stated – St. Mary’s is right in “the heart of the Church” which means he doesn’t like to play political games and will let the Church’s teachings speak for themselves, but with a gentleness that appreciates each person.
If there is anything we can do, it is pray. I can assure you he didn’t want to be a Bishop, which will help make him a good one. But, he will go to whatever mission-field God calls him to. So, he still very much needs your prayers.
Pray also for his beloved Aggie Catholics. He spent the majority of his priesthood here at St. Mary’s and we will miss him greatly. We do love Fr. David, his corny jokes, his simple and faithful outlook of life, and his smile. He stood on the shoulders of the giants who came before him (e.g., Bishop Mike Sis) but he did his part in returning to God something better than what he was given in his time here. We need your prayers, as does his successor as pastor here, who will have a monumental undertaking in leading St. Mary’s Catholic Center into making even more apostles for the Church and the world!
Gig ’em Bishop-elect David Konderla!
The shortest homily he has ever given was 12 words – while the air conditioner in the church was out one hot summer day:
“It’s hot in here, but it’s hotter in hell. So, shape up!”
- Catholic News Agency
- The Eagle
- Whispers in the Loggia
- FOX 23
- Tulsa World
Video of greeting at Tulsa Cathedral: