Seven takeaways from Father Rother's Beatification Mass
Here are a few takeaways from Saturday's beatification ceremony for the Rev. Stanley Rother in downtown Oklahoma City.
-- Honor is bestowed. Before the ceremony, Rother was known as "Venerable Servant of God Father Stanley Rother." Now that he has been beatified by the Roman Catholic Church, he is to be referred to as "Blessed Stanley Rother."
-- Feast day is shared. Rother's feast day will be July 28, the date he was killed in 1981.
-- Diversity is celebrated. The beatification ceremony highlighted the diversity of the Catholic Church in a variety of ways. This seemed fitting since Rother embraced a culture much different from his own when he began serving in Guatemala. Several choirs sang throughout the event, including a 180-member liturgical choir made up of people from across the state. Other choirs included a Vietnamese choir, a Hispanic choir and a choir from Corpus Christi Catholic Church, a predominantly black parish in northeast Oklahoma City. A choir made up of seminarians from Rother's alma mater, Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, also performed. In one portion of the ceremony, prayers were spoken in Vietnamese, Filipino, Comanche, Tzutujil, Korean, English and Spanish. There were several bilingual aspects of the event, including the friendly and jubilant welcome by Pedro Moreno, director of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City's Office of Hispanic Ministry, which he gave in English and Spanish.
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-- A connection remains. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City's connection to Guatemala was evident. More than once during the ceremony, Oklahoma City archbishop Coakley mentioned the link between Oklahoma and Guatemala through the priest who loved them both and felt at home in both places. Coakley also thanked the Guatemalans who made the journey to Oklahoma for the historic occasion.
-- Film premieres. Many people were riveted to the documentary that was shown before the ceremony's processional. The film "An Ordinary Martyr" premiered at the ceremony and featured vivid images and video footage and candid interviews with Coakley; Oklahoma City Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius Beltran; the Rev. Don Wolf, Rother's cousin and pastor of St. Eugene Catholic Church; and Maria Scaperlanda Norman journalist and author of the book "The Shepherd Who Didn't Run." Guests at the beatification were visibly moved by the film. See it here: "An Ordinary Martyr"
-- Visual reminders. After the ceremony, guests received commemorative medallions featuring Rother's image with the mountains of Guatemala in the backdrop. The items serve as visual reminders of the day's events.
-- The countdown begins. The beatification is just one more step, the final step to canonization for Rother. Now the faithful await a miracle which will lead to his canonization as a saint.