History At the outbreak of World War II, two percent, or less, of the population of Mayes County in northeast Oklahoma were Catholic. Those faithful members drove to Tulsa or Claremore to attend Mass. That began to change when the U.S. Government authorized the opening of a new powder plant, south of Pryor. The new plant brought an influx of Catholic families into the area. Father Ben Forner, a Skiatook priest and missionary, saw the great need for a Pryor church and petitioned the Diocese of Oklahoma Ciy and Tulsa to build a church in Pryor. In early 1942, he received permission from Most Reverend Francis Kelley to purchase land at First and Rowe and build a church, at a cost not to exceed $5,000. Originally, Father Forner wanted to call the church St. William's, but Bishop Kelley sent a letter in July of that year stating, "the church has to be called Our Lady of Perpetual Help." Meeting in a nearby house until the church was completed, the church had a year of firsts. Robert Joseph Arko, a son of longtime Mayes County faithful Joe and Ann Arko, was the first name recorded in the Baptism Registry on February 14, 1942. The First Communion class was on July 26 of that year, and Francis and Alice Schulz, children of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Schulz, also longtime residents, were the two communicants.