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Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine dedicated in Oklahoma City

Jonah McKeown
Reporter, Catholic News Agency

Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine sanctuary

The sanctuary of the newly dedicated Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine in Oklahoma City. He was ordained from Mount St. Mary's Seminary in 1963.

Stanley Rother, born a simple Oklahoma farm boy, became a Catholic priest and volunteered to serve the poor as a missionary in Guatemala in 1968. Thirteen years later, a group of armed men shot him to death in his rectory.

Four decades on, with thousands in attendance and amid a resounding, angelic choir, the archbishop of Oklahoma City dedicated and opened a multimillion-dollar, 2,000-seat shrine built in Rother’s honor.

Rother, who was reinterred in a chapel at the shrine over the weekend, is on the path to sainthood (he was beatified in 2017).

“Yes, we honor Stanley Rother here. But none of this, ultimately, is about Blessed Stanley,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said in his homily to the faithful at the Feb. 17 Mass in Oklahoma City, portions of which were celebrated in Spanish, at the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine.

“It’s not about the beautiful art and architecture that speaks so eloquently of God’s goodness and mercy, and beauty. We gather here to honor the God who created all of this and the God who is glorified in his saints. We honor Blessed Stanley because we are giving glory to God. The life of each and every saint in the history of the Church manifests something of the perfection of Christ, reveals God’s beauty, his truth, and his goodness.”

Rother, a native of rural Oklahoma, is the first person born in the United States to be officially declared a martyr by the Catholic Church and the first priest born in the United States to be beatified, or declared “Blessed.”


Jonah McKeown
Reporter, Catholic News Agency