By Diane Clay
The Sooner Catholic
On July 28, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City will celebrate the first feast day for Blessed Stanley Rother – priest, missionary and martyr.
Blessed Stanley was killed on July 28, 1981, in his rectory at Saint James the Apostle Catholic Church in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, where he served in the Oklahoma mission. In September, he became the first U.S.-born priest to be beatified and the country’s first declared martyr during a Beatification Mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato in Oklahoma City.
“It is one of the special prerogatives of the saints and blesseds that they be honored in the Church’s public prayer. These holy men and women are given to us for our veneration and imitation so that through their example and intercession we might find assistance in responding to our own call to holiness,” Archbishop Coakley said.
“Though we rejoice in this official recognition, … we have not yet come to the end of this journey. We continue to pray for his canonization and for the day when we can honor him as Saint Stanley Rother!”
Permission for the liturgical observance of the “optional memorial” was granted exclusively to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Since then, the bishops of the dioceses of Tulsa, Little Rock and Santiago Atitlan have petitioned and have been granted permission for the observance in those dioceses as well.
The Church commemorates the memorial days of saints throughout the liturgical year. With few exceptions, they are celebrated on the date of the saint’s death – their birth into eternal life.
To learn more about Blessed Stanley and to find the prayers for his canonization and intercession, visit blessedstanleyrother.org.
Diane Clay is editor of the Sooner Catholic.