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Oklahoman could be canonized a saint

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EDMOND, Okla. -- On Good Friday we have a story of faith involving an Oklahoma priest that has been unfolding now for decades.

There is some promising news from the Vatican involving a beloved member of the clergy who many believe should be canonized for sainthood.

Archbishop Paul Coakley said, "We think it's a wonderful story that needs to be told. It's a great story for Oklahomans, all Oklahomans."

Father Stanley Rother could be not only the first Oklahoman but also the first U.S. priest to become a saint in the Catholic Church.

The man from Okarche was ordained in 1963 and five years later went to Guatemala to serve the people there.

He died in Guatemala in 1981.

Many say he was killed for sharing his beliefs.

Archbishop Coakley said, "The people immediately venerated him as a saint, as a martyr."

After several years, the process started to make sainthood official with the church.

Now there is good news about the effort after Archbishop Coakley's recent visit to the Vatican.

He said, "Everything that has been done up to now here in Oklahoma, the investigations, the interviews, the depositions, all of the volumes of material that have been gathered have been received now in Rome, have been examined and everything is in order."

It's a big step in the process.

Tom Rother said of the news about his brother, "It really caught me by surprise. I didn't expect that yet. I was just flabbergasted, but I think it's awesome. I'm so proud for him and for the rest of the family."

Archbishop Coakley said, "The priesthood in the United States has been under a lot of scrutiny because of the terrible scandals of recent years. To have someone held up for their heroic witness, their heroic virtue and as having lived and died as a martyr for the faith would be a great blessing for the church and the United States and the world."

If Father Rother is declared a martyr the church will not have to attribute any miracles to him and the process for him to become a saint speeds up.

It could even be complete in the next five years.

The thought thrills Tom Rother who would love to see his brother become a saint in his lifetime.

He said, "Just keep saying that prayer that he will be canonized and we'll all be happy."