‘Saints really do walk among us’
By Tess Wahlmeier
LINCOLN (SNR) - A relative of a priest-martyr will speak about his life and sacrifice at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln Feb. 4.
The talk about Servant of God Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma native and missionary martyred in Guatemala in 1981, will begin at 7 p.m. in the basement of the Cathedral, 3500 Sheridan Blvd. It will be presented by Nicole Barrett of St. John the Apostle Parish in Lincoln.
Father Justin Fulton, assistant pastor at the Cathedral, will also speak about the shared sacrificial call of all baptized persons, and what it means for Christians to be shepherds who do not leave their sheep.
“Nicole is a friend of mine,” Father Fulton said, “and she mentioned she was a relative of a Father Rother. I have a devotion to him and I couldn’t believe the providence involved here. I thought it would be wonderful for her to share Father Rother’s life with our parish.”
During Father Rother’s time as a missionary, Guatemala was in the midst of a civil war. Father Rother’s life was in danger, and he was brought back to Oklahoma for his safety. However, Barrett said, his motto was, “a shepherd does not leave his sheep,” so he went back to Guatemala to be with his flock, and was there martyred in his own rectory.
Father Rother’s official status is “Servant of God,” but this summer he was given a declaration of martyrdom by the Vatican, which allows for him to be directly beatified. His cause for canonization is being reviewed. There have been several miracles attributed to him, but none have yet been verified by the Vatican.
Over the past several years, Barrett has been researching Father Rother and following his story. She met his two living siblings this fall and was able to learn even more about their family and the life of Father Rother.
She will share video and radio clips of him, as well as other information, and will speak to his humanity and how God used him as a witness.
Barrett said Father Rother’s story is a beautiful meditation and preparation for the coming season of Lent.
“We can be inspired by Father Rother’s story and realize that saints really do walk among us,” she said.