Guatemalans travel to Oklahoma to honor 1st US martyr
OKARCHE, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma-born priest killed during Guatemala’s civil war is set to be beatified and is 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, and died in 1981. He was one of several Roman Catholic priests slain during the war.
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.
Francis is the first Latin American pope. He has said priests killed during region’s right-wing dictatorships died out of hatred for their faith.