Website details the life of Father Stanley Rother, who will soon be beatified

Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese who was brutally murdered in 1981 in the Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor, is shown baptizing a child in this undated photo. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced the North American priest will be beatified on Sept. 23 in Oklahoma. (CNS) Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese who was brutally murdered in 1981 in the Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor, is shown baptizing a child in this undated photo. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced the North American priest will be beatified on Sept. 23 in Oklahoma. (CNS)

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has opened a website detailing the life, as well as steps toward sainthood, of Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma priest scheduled to be beatified in the fall.

"My office has been receiving so many wonderful prayers and interest from people across the country" about Father Rother, wrote Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, of Oklahoma City in a May 11 Facebook post. "As of today, we have a new website dedicated solely to Father Rother. Please take time to visit the site to learn more about his servant heart and to sign up to receive information about his beatification Mass on Sept. 23."

Advertisement

The stanleyrother.org website tells the story of the U.S. priest who worked in Guatemala for 14 years until he was murdered there in 1981. Although he was a diocesan priest for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Father Rother, who grew up on a farm, offered to serve in his diocese's mission in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, in 1968. He served a poor and indigenous community in the area, helping build a small hospital, a school and its first Catholic radio station. But he also helped the agricultural community with its crops and to build an irrigation system.

Many Guatemalans in his community were kidnapped, disappeared or murdered as the government accused them of sympathizing with rebels during the decades-long conflict that plagued the Central American nation from 1960s until the late 1990s. Father Stanley, known as Father Francisco because his name was hard for the locals to pronounce, was 46 when a group of men entered the rectory and fatally shot him. When Pope Francis recognized his martyrdom in December 2016, Father Rother became the first Catholic martyr born in the United States.

Along with details of his life and death, the website explains the canonization, or sainthood process, as well as the opening of the Father Stanley Rother Guild, which aims to teach about the priest's life, asks for donations to help with the canonization process as well as the upcoming beatification, but the website says the "first and foremost goal of the guild is to pray for the cause of Father Rother."

"Another important aspect is, when the person is in need of a miracle, the guild serves as a place where people can write to speak of the favors they are receiving through the intercession of the candidate. We are not at this stage as yet," writes the guild director, Father M. Price Oswalt, on the website.

After Father Rother is beatified, a miracle attributed to his intercession needs to take place, and verified, so that he is canonized, or declared an official saint by the Catholic Church.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Beth Cioffoletti
11 months 1 week ago

I wanted to know more about Fr. Rother, who he was, how he lived, what he believed ... so I went to the website.

"Eventually, Father Rother’s name appeared on the death list after a parishioner from an Oklahoma parish sent a complaint about Father Rother to the Guatemalan embassy, saying he was advocating for the overthrow of the government in his preaching by supporting his local residents."

This is what led to Fr. Rother being killed. I wonder what that parishioner thinks now.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The appointments are part of an ongoing effort to give a greater role to women in the work of the Roman Curia offices, the central administration of the Catholic church.
Gerard O’ConnellApril 21, 2018
Ivette Escobar, a student at Central American University in San Salvador, helps finish a rug in honor of the victims in the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the UCA campus, part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs in 2014. (CNS photo/Edgardo Ayala) 
A human rights attorney in the United States believes that the upcoming canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero in October has been a factor in a decision to revisit the 1989 Jesuit massacre at the University of Central America.
Kevin ClarkeApril 20, 2018
Journalists photograph the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In California, Catholic opponents of the death penalty are trying to protect the largest population of inmates awaiting execution in the Western Hemisphere.
Jim McDermottApril 20, 2018
Photo: the Hank Center at Loyola University Chicago
Bishop McElroy said that Catholics must embrace “the virtues of solidarity, compassion, integrity, hope and peace-building.”