OKLAHOMA CITY (CNS) — The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has released a three-minute trailer to a forthcoming documentary on Father Stanley Rother, a U.S. priest who worked in Guatemala for 14 years until he was brutally murdered in 1981 and who will beatified in September.
The documentary is titled “The Shepherd Cannot Run: Father Rother’s Story.” According to the archdiocese, it will be shown immediately prior to his beatification Mass Sept. 23 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
(See the trailer)
Celebrating the Mass will be Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes and Pope Francis’ personal representative. The pope recognized Father Rother’s martyrdom last December, making him the first martyr born in the United States.
The trailer is in English and Spanish and can be viewed at http://stanleyrother.org/documentary. It was shown to the U.S. bishops during their spring assembly in Indianapolis June 14-15.
Father Rother, born in rural Oklahoma, was nearly expelled from the seminary because he had a hard time learning Latin, the language in which all classes were taught at that time. He transferred to another seminary, overcame his language difficulties and was ordained a priest in 1963 for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
He went to the archdiocesan mission in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, five years later and helped translate the Bible into Tz’utujil, one of more than 20 distinct Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala, and one that had previously not been put into writing.
From 1960 to 1996, the Guatemalan government led a military campaign against the country’s indigenous peoples, whom it considered as guerrillas. By some estimates, as many as 200,000 were killed — including a U.S. ambassador by rebel forces in 1968 — or disappeared.
Father Rother’s name appeared on a death list after a member of an Oklahoma parish complained about him to the Guatemalan Embassy, saying he was advocating for the overthrow of the government in his preaching and by supporting his local residents.
Although the priest returned to Oklahoma, it was only temporary. He flew back to Guatemala and was gunned down at age 46 in the rectory of his church in 1981 by three men believed to be from the Guatemalan military. Three men tried for the crime had their convictions overturned on appeal.
While his body was returned to Oklahoma, his family gave permission for his heart and some of his blood to be enshrined in the church of the people he loved and served. A memorial plaque marks the place.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103