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Deacon’s Corner

Sunday, 3 May 2020, is Good Sheperd Sunday!

It is a day when we pray for our shepherds, our pastors, who lead our Catholic communities.

These shepherds are our Deacons, Priests, Bishops and Popes who, as our shepherds, protect and assist us from going astray.

Shepherds have a very intimate relationship with their flock, spending all day with them.  Always a short distance away from the flock, watching them graze and being aware of the surroundings and any danger which may come about throughout the day.

If danger appeared, the shepherd would protect his flock, even to the point of injury or perhaps death.

 His passion for protection is since this flock of sheep is not only his livelihood, but they also become a part of him. 

A family of his – so to speak.

Blessed Stanley Rother was such a shepherd!  A shepherd of souls.  He was an ordinary priest who was brought to extraordinary feats through his faith.

Father Rother was born and reared in Okarche, OK, where his journey of faith began. He became a priest in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in 1963.  His spiritual journey eventually led him as a missionary to Guatemala starting in 1968 to attend to the spiritual needs of the Tz’utujil Indians in the Parish of Santiago Apostol. 

Due to political unrest between the government and anti-government rebels, and his name being on a death list, Father Rother was sent back to the OKC diocese.  After three months of being  home he realized that the Tz’utujil Indians needed their Shepherd.  Father Rother’s spiritual zeal for the love of the Tz’utujil Indians was like a spiritual magnet drawing him to return knowing that his life could be at risk.  He realized that the Shepherd did not run at the sign of danger.  Father Rother’s love, untiring work and unending faith led to his 1981 death by three unknown masked men within the rectory in the missionary in Guatemala. He was 46 years old.

Many times, we think of martyrs and saints to being of a time long ago.  In reality, there had been more martyrs for the Christian faith in the 20th Century than in any other.  Blessed Stanley Rother is not only from the 20th century but also right from Mid America.  Blessed Stanley Rother was beatified in a ceremony in Oklahoma City on 23 September 2017.  He is the first American Born Martyr in the United States. 

Blessed Stanley Rother, The Shepherd, who loved his sheep, and did not run!  For more information on Blessed Stanley Rother, I suggest the book, The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda. 

Blessings – Deacon Jim