Thursday, June 20, 2019


 Proud of Our Rich History of Faith and Heroism!

We Have Millions of Examples From Every Nation on Earth! 

Father Stanley Rother
The Church's First Recognized American Martyr
So that Rother could be in closer touch with his congregation, he set out to work to learn Spanish and the Tz’utujil language which was an unwritten and indigenous language that the missionary Ramón Carlín once recorded. He served in Santiago Atitlán from 1968 until his death. He supported a radio station located on the mission property which transmitted daily lessons in both language and mathematics. In 1973 he noted with pride in a letter: "I am now preaching in Tz'utuhil."[6] During that time, in addition to his pastoral duties he translated the New Testament into Tz'utujil and began the regular celebration of the Mass in Tz'utujil. In the late 1960s Rother founded in Panabaj a small hospital, dubbed as the "Hospitalito"; Father Carlín served as a collaborator in this project.[7]
By 1975, Rother had become the de facto leader of the Oklahoma-sponsored mission effort in Guatemala as other religious and lay supporters rotated out of the program.[8] He was a highly recognizable figure in the community, owing to his light complexion as well as his habit of smoking tobacco in a pipe.[5][6] Since there was not a Tz'utujil name equivalent to "Stanley," the people of Father Rother's mission affectionately called him "Padre Apla's," translated as "Father Francis," a nod to his middle name.[5]

Final months and murder[edit]

Within the last year of his life Rother saw the radio station smashed and its director murdered. His catechists and parishioners would disappear and later be found dead, with their bodies showing signs of having been beaten and tortured. Rother knew all this when he returned to Guatemala in May 1981. In December 1980 he had addressed a letter to the faithful in Oklahoma and wrote about the violent situation: "This is one of the reasons I have for staying in the face of physical harm. The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger."[5]
At the beginning of 1981 Rother was warned that his name was on a death list of the right-wing death squads (he was number eight on the list) and that he should leave Guatemala at once to remain alive.[9] Rother was reluctant but he nonetheless returned to Oklahoma in January and while home in Okarche, celebrated a mass served by Daniel Henry Mueggenborg, a college student who became inspired by Rother to pursue the priesthood,[10] though he later asked the archbishop for permission to return. Another reason for returning was that he wanted to celebrate Easter with them.[5] Rother went back to Santiago Atitlán in April and knew that he was being watched.[6][9]
On the morning of July 28, 1981, just after midnight, gunmen broke into the rectory of Rother's church and shot him twice in the head after a brief struggle. The killers forced the teenager Francisco Bocel (who was in the church at the time) to lead them to Rother's bedroom. The men threatened to kill Bocel if he did not show them Rother and so Bocel led them downstairs and knocked on a door near the staircase.[6] Rother opened the door and a struggle ensued as Bocel escaped.[6]
Rother was one of 10 priests murdered in Guatemala that year. His remains were flown back to Oklahoma and were buried in his hometown on August 3, 1981, in Holy Trinity Cemetery. At the request of his former Tz'utujil parishioners, his heart was removed and buried under the altar of the church where he had served.[6]
Three men were arrested on charges of murder within weeks of Rother's murder; another man and a women were sought for questioning at that stage as well. The three men arrested admitted to having entered the church in a robbery attempt, and also admitted to having shot Rother dead when the priest attempted to stop them.[11][12] Despite the confessions, many people familiar with the circumstances of the murder considered the three accused persons as innocent, and the prosecutions to be a cover-up of paramilitary involvement in the murder.[11][8] Convictions for all three men were later overturned by a Guatemalan appellate court, under pressure from U.S. authorities.[8] No other suspects have been prosecuted for the murder.

Father Thomas McSherry

Father McSherry was in the class behind me at Saint Meinrad. He died June 5, 2019 while visiting his family in South Dakota. I remember him well. He was a hero of mine for his service in the Central American missions. 

He was most known for his dedication as pastor of the Oklahoma mission in Guatemala, returning to the mission four years after Blessed Stanley Rother was martyred there. He served the people of the Diocese of Sololá for 17 years. Father McSherry was fluent in Spanish and Tz'utujil, the local dialect in Santiago, Atitlan. He was chosen to present the first-class relic of Blessed Stanley Rother at his Rite of Beatification in 2017. 

He may not be an official "martyr," but he bravely went to serve Blessed Stanley's parish in Guatemala four years after Father Rother's martyrdom. 

Ugandan Martyrs

Egyptian Martyrs

Korean Martyrs

Armenian Women Martyrs
An old American movie showed them crucified. Actually, their deaths were more brutal.
They were impaled on spikes until the spike gradually came out their mouths.

Chinese Martyrs

Japanese Martyrs

North American Martyrs

Salvadoran Martyrs

Polish Martyrs of Peru

Cistercian Martyrs of Algiers

Filipino Priest Martyrs

2,579 bishops, priests, monks and seminarians were imprisoned in Dachau alone.
1,034 died there. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019



In light of upcoming priest personnel changes, I want to share with you a “chain letter” that I received through the mail a few years ago.

It said, “A recent survey in America has compiled all the qualities that people expect from the perfect priest. These were fed into a computer and the results showed that the perfect priest was 28 years of age, tall, slim, athletic and handsome.

He preaches for exactly ten minutes. He frequently condemns sin and social evils, but never upsets anyone. He works tirelessly from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm and is also a janitor.

He earns $100 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car and gives about $50 a week to the poor.

He is a man of limitless patience, gentleness and kindness, but also strong, vigorous and a decisive leader.

He gives of himself completely to others, but never gets too close to anyone lest he be criticized.

He has a burning desire to work with teenagers, but spends all his time with senior citizens.

He spends his entire day in parish visitations, in comforting the sick and bereaved and in working in the schools, but is always in the office when anyone phones or calls.

He is a man of deep spirituality and wide learning, but of down-to-earth practicality, a capable administrator, a financial genius, a wise counselor, an architect and a builder.

If your priest does not measure up to these expectations, simply send this letter to six other parishes also tired of their priest. Then bundle up your priest and send him to the church at the top of the list. In one week you will receive 1,643 priests in return, and at least one of these should be perfect.

Have faith in this letter. One parish broke the chain and got their old priest back in less than three weeks!”

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Seriously, people, pray for your priests - active, retired and active-retired! 

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Celebrating 50 Years of Priesthood

Our grandmothers, on our fathers' side, were sisters. 
His  youngest brother and my youngest sister were (before her death) married to each other. 
We have three nephews in common. 
He was ordained a priest in 1969.
I was ordained a priest in 1970.  

Father Ray during his First Mass in 1969. I served as his Deacon.

At our Confirmations in 1956. 

Saint Theresa's 175 anniversary celebration

At our home parish, Saint Theresa, for its 200th anniversary celebration.


Celebrating his 50th anniversary Mass with deacon Greg Beaven

A full church of family and freinds. 

The parish presented him with a beautiful Paschal Candle

Some of the celebrating priests, deacons and women religious.