Sunday, July 28, 2013

2 noteworthy anniversaries: Father Rother and my Michelle & Conor

At 1:30 am on July 28, 1981, three Spanish-speaking Ladino men (non indigenous) snuck into the rectory of Santiago Apostol (St. James) church in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.  They immediately went to the priest’s room, but he wasn’t there. They then seized and battered the 19-year-old brother of the associate pastor, whispering to the terrified young man that they would kill him if he did not take them directly to the pastor.

He led the attackers downstairs, knocked at the door of a utility room, and called out, “Father, they are looking for you.” Aware of the threat to the young man, Father Stanley Rother opened the door and let in his killers.

The young man fled, hearing Rother cry out moments later, “Kill me here!” There was a shot. Then another. Then silence.

46-year-old Oklahoma priest Stanley Francis Rother was one of 13 priests—and the first American priest—slain during Guatemala’s 36-year-guerrilla war, a tragedy that claimed an estimated 140,000 lives. On that fateful day in July, troops also killed 13 townspeople and wounded 24 others in this isolated village on the shores of the majestic Lake Atitlán.

No one has ever been prosecuted for his killing.

Writing a biography of Servant of God Stanley Rother is my current book project.  I’ve blogged about his story a few times, like here and here.

As we remember Father Stan’s death 32 years ago today, please join the Church of Oklahoma in praying that he be declared a saint by the universal Church.

Prayer for Father Stanley Rother’s cause for canonization:
Heavenly Father,source of all holiness,in every generation you raise upmen and women heroic in love and service. You have blessed your Churchwith the life of Stanley Rother,priest, missionary, and martyr.Through his prayer, his preaching,his presence, and his pastoral love,you revealed Your love and Your presencewith us as Shepherd. If it be Your will,may he be proclaimedby the universal Church 
as martyr and saint,living now in your presenceand interceding for us all.We ask this through Christ our Lord.Amen

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Today is also the FIRST anniversary of my youngest daughter Michelle & her Conor. Please join me in saying a prayer for this young couple? They're beautiful inside and out!