Pope recognises martyrdom of Oklahoma priest killed in Guatemala
Pope Francis has recognised the martyrdom of Fr Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, making him the first martyr born in the United States.
The Vatican made the announcement on Friday 2nd December. The recognition of his martyrdom clears the way for his beatification.
Fr Rother, born March 27, 1935, on his family’s farm near Okarche, Oklahoma, was brutally murdered on 28th July 1981 in a Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor.
He went to Santiago Atitlan in 1968 on assignment from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He helped the people there build a small hospital, school and its first Catholic radio station. He was beloved by the locals, who called him ‘Padre Francisco’.
Many priests and religious in Guatemala became targets during the country’s 1960-1996 civil war as government forces cracked down on leftist rebels supported by the rural poor.
Picture: Pope Francis has recognised the martyrdom of Fr Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, making him the first martyr born in the United States. Fr Rother is pictured in an undated file photo. (CNS photo/Charlene Scott).Tags: Fr Rother, Fr Stanley Rother, Guatemala, martyrdom, Oklahoma, Pope, Pope Francis