In 2006, canonization efforts commenced after the 25th anniversary of Rother’s assassination. Four years later, thousands of documents arrived at the Vatican for consideration.
The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, says the process is making progress. After a recent private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, Coakley talked with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to express support for Rother’s cause, according to the Sooner Catholic.
“The Congregation had just affirmed the ‘juridic validity’ of the case,” Coakley wrote in the Sooner Catholic. “This is the first, but very significant, affirmation by Congregation in the continuing process that we hope will lead ultimately to the canonization of Father Stanley Rother.”
Coakley wrote that the next step is developing a “positio,” a formal presentation of evidence to demonstrate that he died a faithful martyr. The positio could take a couple of years before it is presented, eventually, to the pope. If Rother is affirmed as a martyr at that stage, permission for his beatification will be granted immediately. (Beatification is the third of four canonization steps in which a person is given the “blessed” title.)
Coakley wrote that a miracle received through the slain priest’s intercession will not be required for beatification if Rother is judged to have died a martyr. However, a post-beatification miracle would be necessary for him to be canonized as a saint. The archbishop asked for prayers to facilitate the process.Oklahoman Stanley Rother first traveled to Guatemala in 1968 to serve the Tzutujil people. By 1975, he was the only member of the clergy remaining at the Church's mission. Rother was shot in the church rectory on July 28, 1981. Rother was one of ten priests killed in 1981.
Journeyman Pictures has a twenty-five minute video of his life and death. Here's the trailer.