Several shrine events open to the public
OKLAHOMA CITY – Archbishop Paul Coakley and Shrine Executive Director Leif Arvidson announced Tuesday the dedication date for the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine. The shrine will be dedicated during a public Mass on Friday, Nov. 4. The dedication will be the centerpiece of a week-long celebration.
“The shrine will be a beautiful place of prayer, reflection and pilgrimage for people from all over the world who come to Oklahoma City to learn about our native son and seek his intercession,” said Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City. “The dedication of the shrine will be a significant moment in the life of the Catholic Church in Oklahoma and for the broader community. Built to honor Blessed Stanley Rother, the first U.S.-born priest and martyr ever beatified, the shrine will be his final resting place. It will be a place of welcome, serving all people.”
The shrine is named for Blessed Stanley Rother (ROW-THER), an Okarche farmer who in 1963 became a priest of what was then the Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa and served as a missionary in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. In 1981, Father Rother was murdered in his rectory during a violent civil war. The perpetrators have never been caught. In 2016, Pope Francis declared him a martyr for the faith – the first recognized Catholic martyr from the United States. He was beatified in 2017 in Oklahoma City.
The $40 million shrine is the signature element of the first-ever capital campaign for the archdiocese – One Church, Many Disciples. The site eventually will include the 2,000-seat church, a chapel where Blessed Stanley will be entombed, an education building, an event space and several areas designated for shrines and devotion. The site will be developed over time.
“This amazing church will serve as a beacon for anyone who passes by or visits or worships here. In this church, we endeavor to show Christ, to exalt Christ, and to manifest Christ to his people. The dedication will be an exciting event for the Catholic faithful and for the people of Oklahoma,” said Leif Arvidson, executive director of the shrine.
Along with the Spanish colonial-style church – which will be the largest Catholic Church in Oklahoma – additional elements at the shrine site will be a Tepeyac Hill and a museum and pilgrim center. Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City is where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego in 1531. Statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego will be placed on top of the hill. The pilgrim center and museum will welcome thousands of visitors each year to an experience that leads them through the life, witness and martyrdom of Blessed Stanley.
The church will host many large diocesan events and will help accommodate the growing Hispanic population whose parishes are significantly overcrowded.
The design architect for the project is Franck & Lohsen Architects in Washington D.C. They are supported by local architectural firm ADG. The general contractor is The Boldt Company in Oklahoma City with Cooper Project Advisors serving as the owner’s representative.
For more details and updates on dedication events, visit archokc.org/shrinededication. For more information about the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine, visit rothershrine.org.