Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Year of Father Rother, follow-up

Earlier this year, we told you about Father Stanley Rother, 46, an Oklahoma missionary to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, who was shot to death in his rectory early Tuesday morning, July 28, 1981. The 25-anniversary of that event was yesterday. Here is some background:
Father Rother was accosted on the street in Guatemala City, in January of 1981, and was told he was on the death list and should leave the country immediately, he knew this was good advice. One of his own catechists had been kidnapped from the rectory porch on January 3. More than 20 of the parishioners of Santiago Atitlan had been abducted and murdered or were missing from the time Guatemalan troops occupied the town on Oct. 22, 1980, until January. Some 27,000 Tzutuhil Indians, are the major part of the parish membership at Santiago Atitlan.

Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran of Oklahoma City has written:
In honor of one of our faithful priests and a great missionary, it seems right that we, the Catholic people of Oklahoma, should consider 2006, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Father Rother’s death as “The Year of Father Rother.”

Principally during this year, I would encourage all Catholic people of Oklahoma to pray for the canonization of Father Rother. Accordingly, prayer cards will be made available to distribute through the parishes. I also suggest, much as we did last year with the centennial prayer, that this prayer for Father Rother’s canonization be recited publicly at all Sunday Masses throughout 2006.

You can learn more here.