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The Breezeway

The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run

Reese Holder

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On Saturday, Sept. 23, the Catholic Church celebrated the Beatification of Bl. Stanley Rother. Stanley Rother is an Oklahoma born priest, who was martyred on July 28th, 1981.

Father Rother was assigned to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. After several years of serving his people, his name appeared on a death list.  After this, his bishop brought him back home to Oklahoma City in January 1981.  Father Rother was so moved to to be with his people, he told the bishop that a shepherd doesn’t run at the first sign of danger.  Following his heart, he returned to celebrate Holy Week with his people in Guatemala, after which, he stayed to be with them in their time of need.  Late in July, right-wing death squads entered the church and killed Rother.  The Catholic Church determined that he was killed “in hatred of the faith,” opening the door to be declared a martyr and possibly a saint.  

For the nine days preceding the Beatification the morning prayers were about Stanley Rother.  Students and staff learned about his life, studies, mission, sacrifice, and martyrdom. These prayers were part of a novena, in preparation for the Beatification.

The Beatification was beautiful. It started with a video biography of Rother’s life, then they started the Mass.  The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Amato, alongside 30 Bishops.  And that isn’t including the hundreds of priests in attendance. The Mass had within it the Rite of Beatification.  

The Rite of Beatification consists of the reading of the apostolic letter, the unveiling of the banner, and the incensing of the relics. After being beatified, the next step is canonization. Canonization would mean that he would officially be called a saint, Saint Stanley Rother. For canonization, one miracle needs to be attributed to him.  Usually, to be canonized you would need three miracles to be attributed to you.  But, since Father Rother was a martyr, he only needs one.  That is, for lack of a better word, one of the perks of being a martyr.

Many students made the trip down to Oklahoma City to watch this historical event. One of those students was junior Becca Niles.

“The whole thing was so breathtaking, so stunning, so amazing. I wanted to take several pictures, but I forgot to take my phone out because I was so enamored the whole time,” Niles said.

Others, unfortunately, did not get the same experience due to the size of the crowds.

“It was so packed! I got there at what I thought was an early time, but they told us that the seating was full, and I had to go sit in an overflow room and watch the whole thing on a TV screen.  It was still a cool experience, nonetheless,” said senior Monif Habib.

The spirit of Father Rother will forever live on in the Catholic church, as a light and an inspiration to many.

“As someone who is discerning the seminary, Father Rother is a huge inspiration to me,” junior Ryan Cruice said. “I hope that if I am called to be a priest, I can be half as holy as him.”

The Catholic world is thankful for the life and witness of Blessed Stanley Rother, The Shepherd who did not run!


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Keeping You Covered : Bishop Kelley High School
The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run