The shrine of the first Catholic martyr of the United States is on schedule for its 2022 dedication.
The development of Oklahoma City’s Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine took a big step forward with the installation of the dome. On Thursday, August 12, construction crews lifted the 65,000-pound dome into place, marking one of the biggest milestones in the effort. There’s still a lot to do before the shrine opens in late 2022, but now it really looks like a church.
Father Kelly Edwards shows off the freshly positioned dome in the above video. Fr. Edwards said there were a few “dicey moments” while raising the 65,000-pound dome. Workers reported that the wind was just one mile per hour below the limit for operation of the crane. Still, the installation was completed without incident and now the dome stands at 103 feet above the ground.
Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City commented in a press release:
“This was a momentous moment in construction of the shrine that will become a visible beacon of faith for thousands of people from around the world. They will come to visit our state and city, and come to learn about our ordinary priest from Okarche who lived an extraordinary life. I am grateful for everyone who has played a part in this project and look forward to the dedication next year.”
Blessed Stanley Rother
Upon its completion, in 2022, the shrine will be dedicated to Blessed Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma farmer who became a priest. Ordained in 1963, Bl. Stanley Rother worked as a diocesan priest for five years before joining the Oklahoma diocese’s mission in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. There, he learned the language of the native Tz’utujil tribe, going so far as to help translate the New Testament into a Maya language.
Blessed Stanley Rother was present in Guatemala for their turbulent Civil War. In 1981, Blessed Stanley Rother was murdered in his rectory, a crime that has never been solved. Pope Francis recognized him as the first Catholic martyr from the United States in 2016. Blessed Stanley Rother was beatified in 2017 in Oklahoma City, making him the first priest born in the U.S. to be beatified.
The Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine is the signature element of the first-ever capital campaign, “One Church, Many Disciples,” for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. The $40 million project will create a 2,000 seat worship space, where Blessed Stanley Rother’s remains will be entombed. The building will also feature an education building, an event space and several areas designated for shrines and devotion.
When finished, this Spanish colonial-style church will be the largest Catholic Church in Oklahoma. Over time, they hope to develop the site further to include a museum and pilgrim center. The center will be equipped to welcome thousands of pilgrims each year and the museum will instruct on the life and witness of Blessed Stanley Rother.
Leif Arvidson, executive director of the shrine, said of the project in the press release:
“Now we’ve crowned this church. In this church, we endeavor to show Christ, to exalt Christ, and to manifest Christ to his people.”
Learn more about the development of the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine here.
Check out the video below to see a 3D rendering of the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine.