Guatemalans travel to Oklahoma to honor 1st US martyr

An American priest killed during Guatemala’s civil war is set to be beatified in his home state of Oklahoma, and he’s on the path to possible sainthood.

Thousands of people are expected to attend a beatification mass Saturday for the Rev. Stanley Rother (ROW-THUR) in Oklahoma City. Pope Francis declared Rother the first U.S.-born martyr in December.

Rother was born in Okarche, Oklahoma. He died in 1981, one of several Roman Catholic priests slain during the war.

Francis, the first Latin American pope, has said priests killed during region’s right-wing dictatorships died out of hatred for their faith.

Regular candidates for beatification need a Vatican-certified miracle attributed to their intercession, but the church has made an exception for martyrs. A miracle is still necessary to be declared a saint.


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