Oklahoma seminarians reflect on life of Fr. Rother

By Eliana Tedrow
The Sooner Catholic

Jerome Krug
Pontifical North American College, Rome

Krug grew up listening to stories about saints who were always from other parts of the world. One day, while sitting in religion class at Mount Saint Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City, Krug heard the story of Father Stanley Rother, a fellow Oklahoman who was on his way to gaining martyrdom.

For Krug, the reality that Father Rother grew up a mere 30-40 minutes from where he lived, and was called to serve the people of Oklahoma, was another affirmation that the priesthood was God’s chosen vocation for his life.

Going into his seventh year of seminary, Krug said, “As I get closer to being ordained a priest, I get more confident this is what God is calling me to do, but I also get more and more of a holy fear of what I’m being entrusted with as a priest.”

Krug said Father Rother’s story helps to relieve the pressure and gives him comfort.

“I realize I just have to say ‘yes’ to God in my life, however simple, average or normal it might be. God can and will use that just like he did with Father Rother.”

For Krug, God is not looking for a big, fantastic, movie script kind of “yes,” but rather the “simple, every day ‘yes.’ This ‘yes,’ may not be glamorous or make us stand out, but can ultimately make us a saint, like it did for Father Rother.”

 

 

William Banowsky
Pontifical North American College, Rome

Fellow seminarian, Will Banowsky, reflected on Father Rother’s life, admitting one of the things that makes Father Rother a great role model is that he wasn’t the best student. Banowsky said when he feels inadequate or wonders how he will handle a situation, he remembers the example of Father Rother.

“He flunked out of his first seminary because of Latin,” Banowsky said, “and now he’s going to be Blessed. It’s a constant reminder to not let the little things hinder you and trust the bigger picture.”

Banowsky said he has been told his entire life he was going to make a great father to children one day. Banowsky now realizes God was indeed calling him to be a father, and one day he will use this skill set to be a great priest.

 

 

Zachary Boazman
Saint John Vianney Seminary, Denver

Boazman said it’s astounding and inspiring to see the universal call to holiness we receive at baptism, lived out fully in a man more than 35 years ago.

“It’s so cool to hear his story and how, throughout the years, I’ve prayed for his intercession,” Boazman said. “I feel like I couldn’t have made it through all these years of seminary without his help and prayers. Now, it’s really an amazing blessing and a great feeling to see his cause come to this point with the beatification.”

Father Rother recognized that honor and glory come from glorifying God and doing His will, Boazman said.

“In following God’s will and in serving people not from his own diocese and not in any special honorific assignment for him, is an inspiration.”

Eliana Tedrow is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.