Diocese of Tulsa to mourn 1921 Race Massacre


The Most Rev. David A. Konderla, Bishop of the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma, and Pastor Reverend Dr. Robert R.A. Turner, Pastor of Historic Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church in Tulsa, OK, will lead an ecumenical Vespers prayer service on May 30, 2021 at 7 p.m. to remember the centennial anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The service will be held at Holy Family Cathedral, 820 S. Boulder Ave., Tulsa.

“The prayer service will be a time to acknowledge a grave evil that took place and mourn the lives lost and destroyed as well as a time to celebrate the courage of those people who served as shining lights in that dark time to help the victims,” said Bishop Konderla.

In the midst of the violence, Father John Heiring, then the pastor of Holy Family Cathedral, opened the doors of the church to provide refugee and offer protection for those fleeing the violence. According to an article published by the Tulsa Tribune on June 6, 1921, the Cathedral’s nuns, its ladies of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and its Knights of Columbus provided food, clothing, and shelter to some 400 black victims of the riot.

“Every human being possesses an inherent dignity that can never be taken away,” said Father Gary Kastl, current pastor of Holy Family Cathedral. “This is the fundamental principle within the Catholic tradition that drives the mandatory respect not only for life but also for the diversity that exists within the human family due to culture, race, and ethnicity. When we come together seeking that which unites us, our faith and salvation in Christ, the diverse places from which we come help inform our understanding and appreciation that different cultures bring to a community.”


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