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Sat Sep 23, 2017, 09:28 PM Sep 2017

Stanley Rother, Oklahoma-born priest killed during Guatemala's civil war, is set to be beatified

Few religious pilgrimages lead down a dusty, unpaved Oklahoma roads. But the unusual destination of this trek from Central America to a rural farmhouse seems an appropriate honor for the Rev. Stanley Rother, a martyred Roman Catholic priest celebrated for his unassuming nature and hard work.

Rother was beatified Saturday at Mass in Oklahoma City, moving him one step closer to possible sainthood. Thousands of people attended the ceremony at a downtown convention center to honor the church's first U.S.-born martyr and the first priest from the United States to be beatified. This is only the second beatification ceremony held in the United States.

The native of Okarche was a 46-year-old missionary in Guatemala when he was killed in 1981, one of several priests slain during the country's civil war between a right-wing dictatorship and liberal guerrillas. His name first appeared on a death list, and then he was shot to death in his mission.

"I feel like his brother — that we lived together, that we share the bond of brotherhood," Juan Pablo Ixbalan said in Tzutuhil, which is spoken by a subgroup of Mayans, through an interpreter. "He became one of us. He learned the language."

Ixbalan, 63, was a young teen when he first met Rother at his church in Santiago Atitlan, situated on a lakeshore between two volcanoes in the Guatemalan highlands where he grew up.

Rother started a radio station, worked alongside farmers and pushed for locals to make and sell knitted clothing. In helping translate the New Testament, Rother is credited with helping start the written form of Tzutuhil. He helped install an irrigation system and brought in crops such as wheat and soybeans, dissuading farmers from using chemicals. He brought in tractors to till the land, and repaired vehicles when they broke down.

Rother was born in 1935, a descendent of German immigrants who homesteaded on the outskirts of Okarche, Oklahoma. While much of the state remains largely protestant, Okarche — population 1,300 — has held to its Catholic heritage. It's still home to the Holy Trinity Church and school Rother attended.

At: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/thousands-attend-beatification-mass-for-american-priest/ar-AAsn4gT

Father Stanley Rother, 1935-1981.
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Stanley Rother, Oklahoma-born priest killed during Guatemala's civil war, is set to be beatified (Original Post) sandensea Sep 2017 OP
Rest in peace shenmue Sep 2017 #1
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