Blessed Stanley Rother's influence remains strong in Guatemala

Catholic News Agency | 7/30/2019 | Staff
jenn1020 (Posted by) Level 3
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Sololá, Guatemala, Jul 30, 2019 / 03:20 pm (CNA).- There’s a black and white photo that holds a special meaning for those familiar with Blessed Stanley Rother— the farm-raised Oklahoma priest who gave his life for the faith 38 years ago while serving the poor in Central America.

The picture shows the tall, bearded priest standing on the steps of his mission church in Guatemala, holding the hand of an indigenous girl, probably four or five years old, who is gazing up at him.

Statue - Photograph - Archbishop - Paul - Coakley

“There's actually a statue that was made based upon that photograph,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City told CNA.

“No one really knew who that young girl was, but in recent months she has been identified and we had a chance to meet her [on Sunday].”

Coakley - Group - Pilgrims - Diocese - Trip

Coakley led a group of 53 pilgrims, most from his diocese, on a trip to Guatemala to celebrate Father Rother’s July 28 feast day in the parish where he served.

“She was there with her mother,” Coakley continued. “This woman is now in her 40s, her mother must be in her 60s or 70s, but we had a chance to meet her, greet her, and that was a beautiful moment because I'm very familiar with the photograph and the image.”

Stanley - Rother - Town - Okarche - Oklahoma

Blessed Stanley Rother was from the small town of Okarche, Oklahoma, about 40 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. He was born in 1935 and attended Holy Trinity Catholic Church and School his entire life before joining the seminary, where he struggled at first, but he eventually graduated from Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa in 1963.

While Rother was in seminary, St. John XXIII asked the Churches of North America to send assistance to and establish missions in Central America.

Oklahoma - Diocese

Soon after, the Oklahoma diocese...
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