Posts Tagged ‘Santiago Atitlan’

Father Stanley Rother

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

For all who have been to Santiago Atitlan and visited the church there and know the story of Father Stanley Rother, the Catholic priest from Oklahoma who was assassinated during Guatemala’s armed conflict. Or if you know something about the history of Guatemala, or even if you do not: Pope Francis has recognized Padre Aplas (as he was known) as the first American-born martyr and approved him for beatification. Tears here because we have been to Santiago and stood in the room where his heart is buried, with the people he loved and served. And because we love Guatemala.

Among other places, I’ve written about Father Rother here and here.

Here’s the announcement on US Today.


Santiago Atitlan

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

We took a boat to Santiago Atitlan with adoptive family friends who had never been there. Friday is market day, and the town was filled with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meats, and dried fish. The design of Santiago’s huipil features embroidered birds, and my friend, an ardent bird-watcher, bought one. Some men in the town continue to wear traje, which you can see in one of the pictures.

We also visited the church, where Oklahoma missionary Father Stan Rother was pastor for many years before he was shot in the head and killed in July 1981 during Guatemala’s armed conflict. Plaques explaining the history of the conflict and its impact on Santiago and other villages line the church’s back walls.

Father Rother’s heart and blood are buried in a crypt and a large photo shows his image. Notice the word “Aplas” on the monument. That’s the name for “Francis” in the local dialect, Tzutujil. The people of Santiago had no word for Stanley so they called Father RotherĀ  “Padre Aplas.”


Father Stan Rother

Friday, June 26th, 2015

I’m writing this as a person who loves Guatemala, and as a practicing Catholic who has been praying for the canonization of Father Stan Rother, an Oklahoma missionary priest who was shot in the head and killed at his parish home in Santiago Atitlan in July 1981, during Guatemala’s armed conflict. Yesterday, the Associated Press announced that a commission in Rome has declared Rother a martyr, and efforts to canonize him a saint will go before a panel of 15 bishops and archbishops, in six months.

I read the news this morning on my Google alert, sitting in a chair in a village only a few miles away from Santiago Atitlan, where Father Rother was assassinated. I have visited his Santiago church, where his heart and blood are buried, and witnessed the deep and active faith of the parishioners there.

Father Stan Rother: American Martyr in Guatemala, written by John Rosengren, is a 2006 account of the events surrounding Rother’s death, the best I have found. Read it if you are interested in learning more about this good man.