A Catholic prayer of power and comfort against the
I 40 Crosstown Freeway Project
in Oklahoma City

Jewish Version || Protestant Version

God of justice and judgment,
Redeemer who comes to us in the distressing disguises of the poor,
Holy Spirit of fire and conversion,

See how the wicked attack your holy poor.
They covet their houses and land.
They plot in the darkness to bring ruin upon the neighborhoods
of Walnut Grove and Riverside in Oklahoma City.

Rise up, Lord God, lift up your hands!
Do not forget the afflicted!
Confuse the planners so they make expensive mistakes.
Deny power to the politicians to carry out their schemes.
Take away from them the money they seek to pay for this crime and
give them evangelical poverty so they may learn solidarity.

Defend your holy poor from the evil which comes in the broad light of day.
Turn aside the bitter due process cup the State would force upon them.
Scatter the proud, and confound their plans.
Cast down the mighty, and raise up the lowly.
Give strength and voice to all who stand against this evil.

This we ask in the name of the One who himself was a victim of the plots of the wicked,
calling upon the intercession and prayers of Mary, our Most Holy Lady of Guadalupe,
and all the saints, known and unknown,
who have fought wickedness with love and fortitude and who lived in solidarity with the poor, especially,

Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador,
Father Stanley Rother of Okarche, Oklahoma and Santiago Atitlán in Guatamala,
the Four Churchwomen of El Salvador,
the Martyrs of Acteal in Chiapas
the Servants of God Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin of New York,
Saints Vincent de Paul and Louise Marillac of France,
St. Francis of Assisi, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta,

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our shield against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits which prowl
about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
help the helpless, strengthen the fearful,
comfort the sorrowful, bring justice to the poor, and peace to all nations.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

Hear our prayer, O Fountain of Grace,
incline thine ear to us and grant us your peace. Amen.

Background:

The State of Oklahoma, in league with Oklahoma City and County and the federal government, propose to rebuild several miles of the I 40 crosstown freeway, and relocate it several blocks south. This proposed route severely impacts two desperately poor neighborhoods: Walnut Grove, which is primarily African American, and Riverside, which is the historic heart of the Latino community in Oklahoma City. We know many people in this area, especially in Walnut Grove, and destroying these neighborhoods for this expensive and stoopid freeway reconstruction is an act of wickedness.

If truck traffic was rerouted around downtown Oklahoma City, on two existing multilane highways, there would be no need to rebuild this particular stretch of elevated freeway. Alternatively, it could be reconstructed at its present routing. Destroying these neighborhoods seems easier to the planners and politicians than doing the right thing by these folks.

The local politicians seem to think this is a done deal, but the fact is they only have the money necessary for the first phase, which includes buying the land and destroying the houses. So please join us in prayer that a miracle will happen and this evil will not be carried out in Oklahoma City.

Pass this prayer along to others who may be interested; people who are not Catholic should certainly feel free to adapt it to their personal religious practices or devotions. Thanks for your prayers, it's all we've got at this point, fortunately, it's a known fact that prayer works miracles. And as I often say, "do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

Robert Waldrop

Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City

May 13, 2002

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