Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saint Oscar Romero de las Américas

I’m in El Salvador for the beatification of Archbishop Romero on Saturday, May 23. San Romero has been proclaimed a saint for many years by the people of Latin America. The Vatican is slowly catching up. He will be proclaimed blessed Saturday.

My first surprise was at the border between Honduras and El Salvador. In the Salvadoran migration office there was a picture of Archbishop Romero prominently displayed on the wall. A mere picture of him would have made one a suspect by the Salvadoran military in the 1980s.

Today I went into the city of San Salvador to buy some books and other materials. It was a marvel to see the images of Romero on the streets of the capital.

I also got to the UCA – Universidad Centro Americana - the Jesuit university, and visited the site of the 1989 martyrdom of the Jesuits.

I passed near the site of the beatification near the Monumento Divino Salvador and took a few pictures.

I also got the tomb of Romero where a group of campesinos was gathered to hear several testimonies and a song in honor of Romero.

A good day.

Tomorrow night there is an all night vigil which I’m still not sure if I’ll attend. Then there’s the beatification ceremony on Saturday.

But for me one of the most significant moments was meeting with Padre Pedro Cortes, a priest who is really committed to the poor and knew Romero. He was the priest I worked with during the two months in 1987, which were my first pastoral experience in Latin America.

When I got back to Suchitoto, where I’m staying, I had pupusas with several sisters, one of who is here. During dinner she noted that the sculpture over Romero’s tomb is solid metal, as if some were trying to keep Romero from escaping from the tomb. But today Romero is escaping in the lives and in the memories of so many people who have come to honor him.


Photos from my visit here will be found in this album.

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