Plans in the works for multi-million-dollar shrine, church to honor Blessed Stanley Rother

OKLAHOMA CITY - Plans are in the works for a shrine and massive multi-million-dollar church to honor Blessed Stanley Rother.

Rother was martyred in 1981 in Guatemala. He was beatified in September of 2017.

Once complete, it will be the largest Catholic church in the state of Oklahoma.

It will be located at SE 89th & Shields, where Brookside Golf Course currently stands. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City purchased the land a few years back.

"It will attract people from near and far," said Archbishop Paul Coakley of the Archdiocese in Oklahoma City.

Coakley said it is a plan that has been in the works for a few years.

"We've been thinking about this, dreaming about this, planning for this for quite a long while now," he said.

The shrine will serve as Rother's final resting place and include a 2,000-seat church, a devotional prayer chapel, classrooms for religious education and ministry facilities.

Additionally, there will be a Blessed Stanley Rother Museum and Pilgrim Center. It will feature artifacts from his life, videos and testimony - all in hopes of keeping the life and legacy of the blessed alive for future generations.

"Their lesson for us is timeless," Coakley said. "There's something about their life that is universal."

Coakley said one of their main goals was ease of accessibility so a location near I-35 was ideal. However, there are some businesses that line the service road between the plot of land and the interstate.

"There will be some access points that we are acquiring to ease access into the property but no other major businesses," Coakley said.

The Archdiocese also preferred the location to serve the growing Latino community.

Coakley said even those he's talked to outside the Catholic church are excited for the upcoming project.

"They said, 'Archbishop, Blessed Stanley is not just for Catholics. He's for all Oklahomans. He's one of us. He's from Okarche; he was a farmboy. He's someone that we can all relate to, that we can all be inspired by and we can all learn from,'" he said.

So far, they are about $11 million away from a $65 million goal that includes the shrine and other projects. All funds are being raised through the Archdiocese's first-ever capital campaign.

They hope groundbreaking will be in spring of 2020.