Archbishop Paul S. Coakley
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
April 19, 2015
Lord God, we lift our hearts in prayer and remembrance this beautiful day. We praise you for your faithfulness and love. We are standing on holy ground. This place has been consecrated and made forever sacred by the lives of your children who suffered and died here, and by the countless acts of kindness and service of so many who came to the aid of their neighbors, coworkers, friends and even strangers twenty years ago today.
In our darkest hour, you revealed your presence in countless ways as “Emmanuel,” “God with us.” You are with us still. You comforted us through the generous spirit that you inspired among our neighbors and so many people who took time to care and to comfort one another. It is a spirit of caring and kindness that has come to be known as the Oklahoma Standard. Jesus taught us, and we believe, that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do for you.
Lord, you are the God of mercy and compassion. We thank you for the gifts of healing so graciously bestowed on countless individuals and families in this community. We thank you for the many signs of recovery and rebirth in this great city that was brought to its knees by the violent events of April 19, 1995. We ask your continued grace to heal those who still suffer and grieve the loss of loved ones or other painful losses of health or innocence that day.
Lord, because we have experienced your faithfulness in our darkest hours, we turn to you in hope this day. Help us to cherish the memory of lost loved ones, but also to cherish the lessons we have learned about kindness and compassion and caring for one another. We pray that our city will continue to be a beacon of hope, of healing and reconciliation for all people. We pray that the Oklahoma Standard, and our faith and care for one another will keep us Oklahoma Strong. Lord, we pray especially that violence and hatred will never rule our hearts, but will always be overcome by mercy and forgiveness and compassion.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.