Homemade crosier, ring go with Konderla to Tulsa

By Mary P. Walker
Senior Correspondent

Bishop David Konderla, a master wood worker, hand crafted his own crosier in the weeks before his ordination and installation as bishop of Tulsa on June 29. His brother Chuck, a jeweler, also crafted his bishop’s ring, which was created to honor the vocation of marriage and family life. As the second of 12 children, Bishop Konderla experienced many blessings from the happy, faith-filled marriage of his parents, David and the late Ann. 
When any member of the large Konderla clan speaks of the ring, many emotions and memories come forth. The gold came from the wedding band of their mother through the generosity of their sister, Nita Wilson, who inherited the ring.
Also giving credit to his team, Chuck said, “This is the most poignant piece of jewelry I’ve ever made.” He explained that even the melting process that transformed the wedding ring into gold for the bishop’s ring was filled with the symbolism of vocation. When gold is melted, the form collapses. As this was happening, Chuck reflected that his parents’ gift of themselves in the vocation to marriage cooperated with God in bringing forth his brother’s vocation. 
A great admirer of St. John Paul II, Bishop Konderla used the late pontiff’s fisherman ring for inspiration, adding features that honored his own parents. The front of the ring has a gold Sacred Heart of Jesus. Within this heart is a red triangular garnet, representing the Trinity. On one side of the ring is the Chi-Rho, a symbol of Christ that has been passed down from the early Christians. On the other side is a gold mystic rose, to symbolize the Virgin Mary, our spiritual mother. 
Inside the ring is a tribute to his parents’ vocation and their trust in God. Along with their birthstones is the engraving “Jesus I trust in you.” This prayer was a favorite of the bishop’s mother, especially during her final illness. With great faith in the communion of saints, the family believes that Ann Konderla is rejoicing and praying with them for her son, now a successor to the apostles.