History of Our Lady's Cathedral
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish was founded in 1919 by the first Bishop of Oklahoma, Theophile Meerschaert. Monsignor Albert Monnot was appointed Pastor, January 16, 1919 to a parish covering eighty square miles that would serve the northwest expansion of Oklahoma City. On May 15 and 16 of 1919, twelve men worked for two days to build a temporary wooden church building on property recently purchased by the Parish—the property now bounded by Northwest 31st Street and 32nd Street, and from Western to Lake Avenue. A groundbreaking ceremony for a permanent Church-school building was held the same year. The first classes at Our Lady’s School began September 29, 1919, taught by three Sisters of Mercy. Twelve grades were offered and ninety pupils enrolled the first year.
After four years with Masses celebrated in the school, construction began on the Church July 3, 1923. The last brick was laid February of 1924, completing the construction of the Cathedral. It was dedicated shortly thereafter.
A small wooden frame rectory was constructed in July of 1924, and a new wing was added to the growing school in 1930. In 1931, the re-organization of the diocese of Oklahoma became the diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, creating Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa and Our Lady’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City, thereby removing the seat of the bishop from downtown to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in this present location. Then, in 1932 the school name was changed to John Carroll, in honor of the first Catholic Bishop of the United States. A convent was constructed for the Sisters of Mercy in 1941. Today, it is called Mercy Center and used for a variety of events and parish activities. Since then, there have been many renovations to both the school and the Cathedral.
In order to escape the political unrest in their native country, Vietnamese refugees fled their country in the mid 1970s. By July 1975, Our Lady’s had become home to thirty Vietnamese families who were seeking refuge from religious as well as political persecution. With the arrival of more refugees, the ministry to the Vietnamese community expanded and has been a very important and integral part of the parish ever since.
With substantial renovations to all the buildings and a faithful parish family, Our Lady’s Cathedral continues to thrive as a beautiful “Romanesque” space of daily worship, as well as hosting most of the events of the Archdiocese.