After volunteering for the Guatemala mission Santiago Atitlan, the priest learned Spanish. He even the local language of the Tz'utujil Mayan Indians so well that he could use it in his preaching.
He would spend 13 years of his life there, diligent in visiting newlyweds and baptizing and catechizing their children. He was vigorous in both religious and social formation, drawing on his experience to work the fields and repair broken trucks while also building a farmer's co-op, a school, a hospital and the area's first Catholic radio station.
Blessed Stanley even took action after a major earthquake in 1976.
"With courage he climbed the ravines in order to help the very poor, pulling the wounded out of the ruins and carrying them to safety on his shoulders," Cardinal Amato said.
Cardinal Amato recounted the civil conflict in Guatemala. From 1971 to 1981, there were numerous killings of journalists, farmers, catechists and priests, all accused falsely of communism.
"This was a real and true time of bloody persecution of the Church," the cardinal said. "Fr. Rother, aware of the imminent danger to his life, prepared himself for martyrdom, asking the Lord for the strength to face it without fear."
"He continued, however, to preach the gospel of love and non-violence."
Both the priest's mission and the aid he gave to the victims of violence were seen as subversive, explained the cardinal, who added: "a good shepherd cannot abandon his flock."
"In the face of kidnappings and violence Fr. Rother felt helpless because he did not succeed in changing the situation of reconciliation and forgiveness," Cardinal Amato continued. "He often cried in silence to a Carmelite nun who asked what to do if he were killed."
"Fr. Rother responded: 'Raise the standard of Christ Risen'."
Others spoke about Blessed Stanley. Oklahoma City Archbishop emeritus Eusebius Beltran voiced gratitude to God for the beatification of the first native-born priest and martyr of the United States.
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"His death was a tragedy for Oklahoma and for Guatemala. However, through his death, his saintly life has become known well beyond the boundaries of Guatemala and Oklahoma and the faith of all those who are now familiar with his life is greatly strengthened, and the Church continues to flourish," Archbishop Beltran said.
Archbishop Coakley said that the priest "chose to remain with his people" and "gave his life in solidarity."
"Pray that Church will experience a new Pentecost and abundant vocations, aided by the intercession of Bl. Stanley Rother," he said.
The Mass was multi-lingual, incorporating Spanish, Comanche and the Mayan language of the indigenous people Fr. Rother served.
The offertory was dedicated to the Guatemalan parishes where Blessed Stanley Rother served, in order to help meet their needs and sustain the faith there. The Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma is managing donations through the webpage http://stanleyrother.org/mass