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Thousands gather in Oklahoma City for Oklahoma priest’s beatification

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Thousands have gathered at the Cox Convention Center for the beatification of Father Stanley Francis Rother.

The Oklahoma priest, from Okarche, was killed in 1981 during Guatemala’s civil war after spending 13 years on a mission in that country.

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City opened Rother’s cause for beatification in 2007, at the request of his parishioners in Guatemala.

Pope Francis put the American priest on the path to possible sainthood by declaring him a martyr in December.

"There's never been a catholic parish priest in the United States beatified. There's never been a Catholic martyr from the United States,” Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, said.