The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Friday a contractor has been selected to build the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine.

Archbishop Paul Coakley on Friday signed the contract with The Boldt Company of Oklahoma City to build the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine, which is scheduled for a Nov. 3 groundbreaking at the future site of the shrine, just off Interstate 35 in south Oklahoma City.

The shrine will honor Blessed Stanley Rother, the Okarche-born priest who was martyred in Guatemala in 1981 — the first martyr from the United States and the first U.S.-born priest ever beatified by the Catholic Church.

“The shrine will be a place of welcome, serving all people in our community and pilgrims from around the world,” Coakley said in an archdiocese press release. “The Boldt Company recognizes that this project is about much more than constructing a building; it is a labor of faith and devotion to honor one of our own. To better understand Blessed Stanley’s life and martyrdom, a representative from Boldt accompanied me to Guatemala this summer to walk where Blessed Stanley walked and to meet the people he loved and served. I am excited to include them in this celebration.”

Tony Yanda, Boldt director of operations, said the company was honored to be selected for the project.

“Boldt is humbled and blessed to be a part of something so sacred and inspirational that will honor Blessed Stanley and those he served," he said. "We look forward to our partnership with the archdiocese to ensure the shrine is built with excellence."

The $40 million shrine is funded by the “One Church, Many Disciples” capital campaign — the first-ever capital campaign in the archdiocese, according to the press release, drawing in donations from parishes across the state.

The site will include a 2,000-seat church, a chapel where Rother will be buried, an education building, an event space and several areas designated for shrines and devotion, according to the press release.

Along with the Spanish colonial-style church – which will be the largest Catholic Church in Oklahoma – the site also will include a museum and pilgrim center, which will cost an additional $5 million, according to the press release.

"The center will welcome thousands of visitors each year to an experience that leads them through the life, witness and martyrdom of Blessed Stanley," according to the press release.

The design architect for the project is Franck & Lohsen Architects of Washington, D.C., supported by Oklahoma architectural firm ADG.

The groundbreaking event will be 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 3, will include kid and family activities, and is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

To sign up for updates on the shrine, view a video tour or to give a gift to the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma’s Blessed Stanley Rother Endowment Fund, go online to archokc.org/shrine or call (405) 709-2745.

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I am a retired Naval Officer and small business owner, outside of my work at the News & Eagle. My wife Tammy and I enjoy serving together at church and attending Gaslight and ESO. We have two daughters, three dogs and little free time.

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