From The Oklahoman:
Another chapter in the remarkable story of an Oklahoma priest will begin with the dedication of a Roman Catholic shrine bearing his name.
The dedication Mass for the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine, set for at 11 a.m. Feb. 17, is expected to draw Catholic leaders and laity from across the country — and some from as far away as Guatemala, the Vatican and other places around the world. The completion and opening of the shrine at 700 SE 89 has been anticipated from its beginnings on an architect’s drawing table and a jubilant groundbreaking ceremony in 2019. The huge, Spanish colonial-style church and grounds are currently visible from Interstate 35.
The shrine will help share the life and legacy of Blessed Stanley Rother with the world. Over the years, thousands of pilgrims from across the globe are expected to visit the huge shrine church and campus named for Rother, who is on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood. Pope Francis proclaimed him a martyr for the faith in 2016. He’s the first martyr from the United States and the first U.S.-born priest to be beatified.
Related: Blessed Stanley Rother, pray for us
The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said the development and construction of the shrine has been a massive project, costing in excess of $40 million. The project built on 60 acres that were once home to a golf course. The shrine campus includes a Spanish colonial-style church, with seating for about 2,000, will be the largest Catholic church in Oklahoma. It will be the church home of the merged predominantly Hispanic Sacred Heart and Holy Angels parishes. A pilgrimage center and museum are also part of the shrine campus, along with a replica of Tepeyac Hill and a chapel (with seating for about 140) where Rother will be entombed.
There were some challenges along the way to completion, including some delays caused by weather and supply chain issues, but Coakley said he and his team are now ready to welcome the faithful and the general public to the much-anticipated shrine dedication.
“It’s a huge undertaking, but it’s been such a joy to see it finally coming together after so many months and years of preparation and planning, fundraising and building,” he said. “It’s a very happy time, right now. It’s been a labor of love.”
Learn more at the website for the shrine.