The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City will officially begin next month to gather information toward the cause for canonization of a local priest. If the archdiocese succeeds in its efforts, Fr. Stanley Rother would become the first Oklahoman to be canonized.
Guerrillas fatally shot the 46-year-old priest in July 1981, while he was serving as pastor of the Santiago Atitlan parish in Guatemala.
Bishop Eusebius Beltran said the process for Fr. Rother would formally begin Oct. 5 with the commissioning of a canonization committee, according to the Associated Press. The committee members will interview people who knew the priest and record possible miracles attributed to Fr. Rother’s intercession.
According to the paper for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Sooner Catholic, Fr. Rother began serving in Guatemala in 1968. Among his many accomplishments was the translation of the New Testament in the local Tzutuhil language.
Seven months before his death, Fr. Rother was accosted on the street in Guatemala City. He was told he was on the death list and should leave the country immediately. He did leave but returned shortly after because he believed he had to serve his people.
Prior to his assassination, more than 20 of the parishioners of Santiago Atitlan had been abducted and murdered or were missing.
Furthermore, the Guatemalan bishops in a statement had recently denounced “a carefully studied plan to intimidate the Church and silence its prophetic voice.”
The statement was read in 330 Guatemalan parishes. The bishops stated that the government had done nothing to investigate or prosecute the murders of nine priests and hundreds of catechists.