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Martyrdom for Oklahoma native approved by Vatican commission

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Efforts to canonize an Oklahoma native as a saint are one step closer to success.

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said Thursday that a special Theological Commission at the Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Rome has voted to formally recognize Father Stanley Rother as a martyr.

Rother was shot in the head and killed in July 1981 in Guatemala where he served as pastor of the parish of Santiago Atitlan. Rother had left Guatemala earlier that year after receiving death threats, but had returned.

Rother was born in Okarche and became a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City before becoming a missionary in Guatemala.

The effort to canonize Rother now goes to a panel of 15 cardinals and archbishops, which is expected to meet in six months.

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