By Eliana Tedrow
The Sooner Catholic
The day before the beatification of Blessed Stanley Rother, seminarians were busy preparing for their role in the ceremony. Standing on the floor of the Cox Convention Center before the adorned altar, they were asked how they felt about the ceremony to be held hours later.
"What are some synonyms for stoked?” the seminarians asked each other. One after another rattled off: “Excited!” “Enthused!” “Bursting!” “Pumped-up!” “Psyched!”
Seminarian Will Banowsky said he and his classmate, fellow seminarian Jerome Krug, believe the international impact of the story of America's first martyr has unified people within the United States and brought together people within the Catholic faith.
"At the seminary I'm at in Rome, we have seminarians from 100 different dioceses in the U.S. spread throughout," Banowsky said. "This is something that myself and Jerome got before coming back, a lot of well wishes from faculty and other students because they realize the importance of this and what it means to the Catholic Church and this country to have our first American martyr."
Oklahoma seminarians recognized the international buzz of excitement from the influence Father Rother's beatification made on unifying Catholics from around the world.
"We're sort of a teenager as a country when it comes to the rest of the world, so to finally have our martyr is something we're celebrating and rejoicing,” Krug said. “I got stopped at least three times before being able to leave for the airport just because so many people were excited for this and ready for this."
Banowsky said seminarians, clergy and lay people recognize how relatable this small-town farmer turned martyr is to the everyday person.
"We have a martyr now! And, who would have thought it would be from Oklahoma of all places.”
Eliana Tedrow is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.