The Padre Apla’s Leadership Program is dedicated to Blessed Stanley Rother, an American-born, missionary priest from Okarche, Oklahoma who selflessly served the Tz’utujil people of Guatemala for 13 years before he was martyred for the faith on July 28, 1981. 

The life of Father Rother, known as Padre Apla’s to the Tz’utujil, is a testament to the beautiful work God does with our lives when we open our hearts to his call.  Father Stan was an ordinary farm boy from Oklahoma.  He surprised many when he forewent farming, responding to the call of the priesthood, and choosing a life of service and ministry to a people suffering from poverty and oppression. 

Where Our Deep Gladness Meets the World’s Deep Hunger

The Padre Apla’s Program is an opportunity for young people in the Diocese of Crookston to grow as leaders in the Catholic Church.  Just as God stirred the heart of this ordinary man, Father Rother, for extraordinary service, The Padre Apla’s Program is designed awaken the hearts of young leaders to their God-given gifts and seek ways to apply those gifts to the great needs of their communities and world. 

The Program

The Padre Apla’s Program is divided into three phases: Formation, The Guatemala Experience & Guided Leadership Project.

  • Formation
    All participants will be required to attend two formation retreats throughout the year.  These retreats are focused on prayer, leadership development and a study of Catholic Social Teaching.
  • The Guatemala Experience
    The Guatemala Experience will take place August 1-9, 2019.  During this experience, students will continue their formation through a week of service, cross-cultural exchange, study, prayer and a pilgrimage to Santiago de Atitlan where Blessed Father Stanley Rother was martyred.
  • Leadership Project
    Following the Guatemala Experience, participants will discern a project that allows an opportunity to take on a greater role of leadership in their parish or diocese.  This leadership project will be rooted in one of the themes of Catholic Social Teaching.  

The 2019 Padre Aplas Program is currently full. Stay tuned for an August announcement regarding the 2020 Padre A’Plas Program. For more information about this program, please email program director Bob Noel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..