An update on the cause of Father Stanley Rother

In August 2010, I wrote a story about Oklahoma archdiocesan priest Stanley Rother, who was murdered in Guatemala in 1981.

The Associated Press has done a story updating the status of Father Rother's cause for canonization:

The path to sainthood in the Catholic Church is long, but supporters of a murdered Oklahoma priest hope he will one day be recognized as a saint.

Father Stanley Rother was 46 when he was killed in July 1981 while serving in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. He had been ministering to the Catholic community there for 13 years, including during the tumultuous years of political strife in the 1970s and into 1981.

Rother knew the dangers. Other priests had been killed. But he refused to abandon his flock, writing in a 1980 letter, "The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger."

Although Rother was an Oklahoma priest, his cause for canonization has ties to Arkansas. Anthony Taylor, bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, served as the episcopal delegate for the cause while working in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City before he was named bishop in Arkansas. He continued working with the committee while in Arkansas.

The Diocese of Little Rock is part of the same ecclesiastical province as Oklahoma, with the archdiocese serving as the head.

As the episcopal delegate, Taylor was charged with investigating Rother's death and interviewing witnesses and members of his community in Guatemala. He made several trips to the country, conducting about 50 interviews.

"I conducted all the Spanish language interviews and investigations in Guatemala and some of the English ones in the United States," Taylor said. "Once I became bishop my successor finished the English ones."

The committee for the cause of canonization began working on the 25th anniversary of Rother's death, and this year for the 30th anniversary a group from Arkansas and Oklahoma made a pilgrimage to Santiago Atitlan.

The work of the committee, the so-called discovery phase, was passed on to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. The future of the cause of canonization will be decided by this group.

If Rother is canonized, he will be the first American born male saint.

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