Servant of God

On This Date…

Father Stanley Rother

Father Stanley Rother

On July 28, 1981 Father Stanley Rother was shot to death in his rectory in his parish in Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala. He grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, was ordained a priest in 1963 at age 28. and volunteered to go to Guatemala in 1968. He attended to the spiritual needs of his people but also used his farming skills to help them make a living. On Sundays 3,500 people came to his parish for Mass.

Because of his work on behalf of the poor, his life was threatened. He returned to his home in Oklahoma in January 1981, but returned to Guatemala during Holy Week to celebrate the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. After his Funeral Mass in Guatemala, his body was returned to America for burial; his family allowed his heart to be buried in his parish church in Guatemala.

In 2015 the Holy See officially named him a “servant of God,” opening the way for his beatification. Father Rother said, “Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people.” That is the message Pope Francis gave today at the World Youth Day in Poland.

– Father McLaughlin