Friday, September 04, 2015

Romero, the asteroid



At the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero on May 23rd of this year, Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, declared that “Blessed Romero is another shining star that burns in the American spiritual firmament.”  Now it turns out that statement was not entirely a metaphor, as a minor planet or asteroid has been named after the Salvadoran bishop and martyr.
Contacted by Super Martyrio, Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Coordinator for Public Relations at the Vatican Observatory, said he found the news “fascinating” but disavowed any involvement with the asteroid’s naming.  The Observatory is an astronomical research institution operated by the Vatican.
The naming of the celestial body, formerly known as “13703 (1998 OR13)” (based on the year of its discovery), for Romero was quietly announced at the end of last month by the Committee on Small Body Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union in a publication called a Minor Planet Circular, dated August 29.  A page on the website of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirms that 13703 Romero was named for Archbishop Romero.
Discovery of the Romero asteroid is attributed to Eric Walter Elst, a Belgian astronomer, at the La Silla Observatory in Chile on July 26, 1998.  The Romero asteroid’s current distance from the earth is 3.457 astronomical units (au) or approximately 321,348,225 miles.  (It would take a beam of light 28.75 minutes to travel to earth from the Romero asteroid.)  It is not considered an impact risk to our planet.

The “impact” of the one honored in the nomenclature appears to be much greater.

Romero, el asteroide



En la beatificación del arzobispo Oscar Romero, el 23 de mayo de este año, el cardenal Angelo Amato, Prefecto de la Congregación para las Causas de los Santos, declaró que “el Beato Romero es otra estrella luminosísima que se enciende en el firmamento espiritual americano.” Ahora resulta que esa declaración no era del todo una metáfora, ya que un planeta menor o asteroide ha sido nombrado por el obispo y mártir salvadoreño.
Contactado por Súper Martyrio, el Hno. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Coordinador de Relaciones Públicas en el Observatorio del Vaticano, dijo que la noticia le parece “fascinante”, pero descartó toda implicación con el nombramiento del asteroide. El Observatorio es una institución de investigación astronómica operada por el Vaticano.
El nombramiento del cuerpo celeste, antes conocido como “13703 (1998 OR13)” (basado en el año de su descubrimiento), por Romero se anunció sin fanfarrias a finales del mes pasado por el Comité de Nomenclatura de Cuerpos Pequeños de la Unión Astronómica Internacional en una publicación llamada Minor Planet Circulars, de fecha 29 de agosto.  Una página en el sitio web del Jet Propulsion Laboratory de la NASA confirma que 13703 Romero fue nombrado por Monseñor Romero.
El descubrimiento del asteroide Romero se le atribuye a Eric Walter Elst, un astrónomo belga, en el Observatorio La Silla, en Chile, el 26 de julio de 1998. La distancia actual del asteroide Romero de la tierra es de 3.457 unidades astronómicas (UA) o aproximadamente 517.159.837 kilómetros. (Un rayo de luz llevaría 28.75 minutos viajando a la tierra desde el asteroide Romero.) No se considera un riesgo de impacto para nuestro planeta.

Más grande parecería ser el “impacto” del homenajeado por el nombramiento.

Romero, l’asteroide



Alla beatificazione di monsignor Oscar Romero il 23 maggio di quest’anno, il cardinale Angelo Amato, Prefetto della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi, ha dichiarato che “Beato Romero è un’altra stella luminosa che si accende nel firmamento spirituale americano.” Ora si scopre questa affermazione non era del tutto una metafora, perché un asteroide è stato nominato per il vescovo e martire salvadoregno.
Contattato da Super Martyrio, Fr. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Coordinatore per le Relazioni Pubbliche presso la Specola Vaticana, ha descritto la notizia come “affascinante”, ma ha negato qualsiasi coinvolgimento con la denominazione dell’asteroide. La Specola è un istituto di ricerca astronomica gestito dal Vaticano.
La denominazione del corpo celeste, precedentemente conosciuto come “13703 (1998 OR13)” (in base all’anno della sua scoperta), per Romero ha stato tranquillamente annunciato alla fine del mese scorso dal Comitato per la Nomenclatura dei Corpi Piccoli (CSBN) dell’Unione Astronomica Internazionale in una pubblicazione chiamata Minor Planet Circulars, datata 29 agosto. Una pagina sul sito del Jet Propulsion Laboratory della NASA conferma che 13703 Romero è stato chiamato per l’arcivescovo Romero.
La scoperta dell’asteroide Romero è attribuito a Eric Walter Elst, astronomo belga, a La Silla in Cile il 26 luglio 1998. L’attuale distanza dell’asteroide Romero dalla terra è 3.457 unità astronomiche (UA) o circa 517.159,837 mila chilometri. (Ci vorrebbe un fascio di luce 28.75 minuti per viaggiare sulla terra dal l’asteroide Romero). Non è considerato un rischio d’impatto per il nostro pianeta.

L’“impatto” dell’uomo onorato nella nomenclatura sembra di essere maggiore.

Monday, August 31, 2015

S.O.S. El Salvador


“A Church incarnated in the problems of its People.”

Horrific news from El Salvador: reports are both alarming and disheartening.  This past August, the crime that plagues the country left more than 900 dead, setting a new record at levels not seen since the days of the Salvadoran civil war.  The toll hit members of the juvenile-delinquent groups or “maras” the hardest as they continued to eliminate each other in frightening episodes like the slaughter of 14 gang members in a prison in Quezaltepeque at the end of the month.  The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court recently categorized the maras—and their “collaborators” and “apologists”—as terrorists.  In support of this judgment, the magistrates cited gang activities such as attacks on police stations and military garrisons, a vast network of extortion that stifles commerce at a national level, and forces families from their homes and forces more and more students to drop out of school.

El Salvador is living through a desperate hour, and everything suggests that this terrible crisis requires a response that is equally extraordinary if not miraculous.  Archbishop Romero was the most dynamic leader in Salvadoran history and he was also an outstanding peacemaker.  He held off the start of the civil war through his sole and frantic efforts, so that his death unleashed all-out war.  Archbishop Romero was, according to the decree of beatification issued by Pope Francis, a “Heroic witness of the Kingdom of God—Kingdom of justice, brotherhood and peace.”  He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  But the peace of Archbishop Romero was not a romantic and sugary peace of strolling hand in hand down the boulevard.  The Brazilian poet bishop Dom Pedro Casaldáliga described him well when he called him “Romero of the almost impossible peace” in a land of conflict.  Romero himself speaks of “the peace that could have been and the peace that has been lost [and] will not be restored until there is justice.”

That is to say, Archbishop Romero specialized in hand-crafting peace when there was no raw material available to do so.  If anyone can teach us how to find peace when all roads seem to be closed off, he is the one that can give us the inspiration to find solutions and free ourselves from this impasse in which we find no exits.  Moreover, Archbishop Romero prophesied that we would find ourselves in this stretch at this time.  What’s coming is going to be terrible,” he told his brother, “no one can stop the war now.”  With a chilling vision of the future, he went on to say, “but the worst thing is what comes after the war.”  In a homily he explained the reasons: “The names for the violence will change, but there will always be violence as long as we do not change the roots that cause this violence and so many other horrible things that occur daily in our nation.”

To erect a Romero-like response to these challenges, we might think of the broad appeals to the various sectors that ​​Romero made, such as the ones at the end of the homily for March 16, 1980, intended to desperately keep the peace and avoid war.

1.  An appeal to the church.

To proclaim the “Kingdom of justice, brotherhood and peace.”  Imagine that Archbishop Romero were here to denounce every Sunday not only homicides, but also extortion, forced evictions, etc.  If the Christian base communities were capable of defying death squads, and courageous priests like Rutilio Grande were able to accompany their flocks amidst the repression of military dictatorships, the Church can walk shoulder to shoulder with the people to face and overcome this difficulty, and it has the obligation to join with other churches to achieve a wider and more effective reach.  I challenge the Church to proclaim during the Jubilee Year of mercy announced by Pope Francis a year of solidarity in El Salvador, to begin on November 21, Feast of the Queen of Peace, Patroness of El Salvador, to form the frame for these seven interpellations.

2.  An appeal to the gangs.

To obey God and respect the lives and rights of their neighbors.  No gang-member “is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to fulfill an immoral law. It is time to take back your consciences and to obey your consciences rather than the orders of sin.”  (March 23, 1980 Sermon.)  With particular forcefulness we can insist that “Before an order to kill that a man may give, God’s law must prevail: THOU SHALT NOT KILL!  And in the name of God and in the name of the people we can demand, ‘Stop the extortion!

3.  An appeal to young people.

To imitate the young Blessed Romero, who was a studious and hardworking young man.  Romero said that “The poor and young people constitute the wealth and the hope of the Church in Latin America.”  (February 17, 1980 Sermon.)  In the crisis that the country faced in the 80s, it was the poor who were at the center of the drama.  Today is the hour of youth, and the country needs much of its young people.  That they pray the prayer of Romero: “God help me, prepare me!  You are everything, I am nothing.  But with Your everything and my nothing, we can do a lot...  Romero devoted his youth to forming himself and he became the most important man of his day to redeem El Salvador, and every young Salvadoran should seek the same today.

4.  An appeal to the rulers.

To join together and overcome partisan and ideological interests to seek the common good.  Anyone who seeks to disregard the great need of the moment to favor their party or make their opponents look bad will be “performing a sad role of betrayal” of the people during “such an historic moment for the nation.” (March 16, 1980 Hom.)  The challenge for those in government is to live a year for the common good, setting aside all electioneering to seek joint solutions to this uniquely compelling set of problems.

5.  An appeal to law enforcement officials.

To not forget that the members of the criminal gangs were also created in the image of God, and that any authority entrusted to you should always be used in service and not to amass power or seek revenge or engage in social purges.

6.  An appeal to the Salvadoran people.

To reclaim their country, their culture and society.  Come back to the Church.  Soak in the healthy and correct doctrine and become protagonists of change in your family, in your neighborhood, in your work.  Retake the schools, the markets, the cultural spaces.  People who are unorganized are a mass and can be toyed with, but people who are organized and defend their values and justice are people who must be respected.”  (March 2, 1980 Sermon.)  They should also receive reformed gang members with open arms and the merciful love of parents.

7.  An appeal to friends of the Salvadoran people abroad.

To stand in solidarity with El Salvador, as did many Christians in times of Archbishop Romero.  Encourage the various sectors of Salvadoran society to seek the common good of the people.  Demand that your governments support policies seeking ways to solve the problems for the short and the long term.  Although travel to El Salvador is dangerous and any plans to visit El Salvador should be consulted in general and in their details with national and international security experts, El Salvador needs you more than ever.

 *        *        *

 'Coraggio' Archbishop Romero used to say in Italian. 'Courage!'.”  So Cardinal Amato reminded us during the beatification ceremony.  At the ceremony we had (albeit fleetingly) a model of the desired social harmony, when unity prevailed, the spirit of volunteerism reigned, and a large positivism permeated that historic event, which took place during a weekend without gang murders.  Romero shows us how to make it a lasting reality.

Archbishop Paglia invited us to convert the Romero episcopal motto, “feeling with the Church” to “feeling with Romero”, which means “walking together with him, distancing ourselves from all forms of violence and practicing love and peace.”  And if we do this we can be sure that “El Salvador and the world will change.”  I have faith that these seven points hold the keys for striving towards that transformation.

SOS El Salvador


“Una Iglesia encarnada en los problemas de su Pueblo”.
Horripilantes son las noticias desde El Salvador: alarmantes y desalentadoras.  Este pasado mes de agosto, la criminalidad que azota al país dejó más de 900 homicidios, estableciendo un nuevo record en niveles no vistos desde los días de la guerra civil salvadoreña.  Los crímenes golpean con mayor intensidad a los miembros de los grupos delincuenciales juveniles—las “maras”—que continúan eliminándose en pavorosos episodios como la masacre de 14 “mareros” en una cárcel en Quezaltepeque a finales del mes.  La Sala de lo Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia recién calificó a las maras—y también a sus “colaboradores” y “apologistas”—de ser terroristas. Para fundamentar este juicio, los magistrados señalaron actividades de las pandillas como ataques contra delegaciones policiales y militares, una vasta red de extorsiones que sofoca el comercio nacional, y el desalojo forzado de familias de sus viviendas y estudiantes de sus escuelas.
Es una hora desesperada que vive El Salvador, y hace pensar que esta crisis espantosa requiere una respuesta fuera de serie y milagrosa.  Monseñor Romero ha sido el líder más dinámico en la historia salvadoreña y fue también un pacificador extraordinario.  Él detuvo el inicio de la guerra civil por medio de su único y frenético esfuerzo, de tal camera que su muerte desató la guerra desenfrenada.  Monseñor Romero fue, según el decreto de beatificación emitido por el Papa Francisco, un “Testigo heroico del Reino de Dios, reino de justicia, fraternidad  y paz”.  Ha sido nominado al Premio Nobel de la Paz.  Pero la paz de Monseñor Romero no fue una paz romántica y azucarada de pasear agarrados de las manos por las calles.  Bien lo describe el obispo poeta brasileño Dom Pedro Casaldáliga cuando lo llama “Romero de la paz casi imposible” de una tierra estremecida del conflicto.  Y el mismo Romero habla de “la paz que podría haber, que se ha perdido, no puede venir si no hay justicia”.
Es decir, Monseñor Romero se especializó en edificar artesanalmente la paz cuando no había materia prima para hacerlo.  Si alguien puede enseñarnos a encontrar la paz cuando todas las vías parecen estar tapadas, él es el que puede darnos la inspiración para encontrar soluciones y liberarnos de este callejón sin salidas en que nos encontramos.  Es más, Monseñor Romero profetizó que vendría este momento y este tramo del camino.  Lo que viene va a ser terrible”, le dijo a su hermano, “la guerra no la detienen ya”.  Con una visión de futuro escalofriante, pasó a decir: “pero lo más terrible es lo que vendrá después de la guerra”.  En una homilía explicaba las razones: “Las violencias seguirán cambiando de nombre, pero habrá siempre violencia, mientras no se cambie la raíz de donde están brotando, como de una fuente fecunda, todas estas cosas tan horrorosas de nuestro ambiente”.
Para erigir una respuesta “Romerista” ante estos desafíos, podríamos pensar en los amplios llamados a los varios sectores que hacía Monseñor Romero, como los que hizo al final de la homilía del 16 de marzo de 1980 para conservar desesperadamente la paz y evitar la guerra.
1.  Un llamamiento a la Iglesia.
A proclamar el “reino de justicia, fraternidad  y paz”.  Imagínense cómo sería esta realidad si Mons. Romero estuviera insistentemente denunciando cada domingo no solo los homicidios, sino también las extorsiones, los desalojos forzados, etc.  Si las comunidades eclesiales de base pudieron desafiar escuadrones de la muerte, y sacerdotes valientes como Rutilio Grande pudieron acompañar a sus feligreses ante la represión de dictaduras militares, la Iglesia puede caminar codo a codo con el pueblo para enfrentar y superar esta dificultad, y tiene la obligación de unirse con otras iglesias para lograr el alcance más amplio y eficaz. Reto a la Iglesia a declarar durante el año jubilar de la misericordia proclamado por el Papa Francisco un año de la solidaridad en El Salvador, que empiece el 21 de noviembre, fiesta de la Reina de la Paz, patrona de El Salvador para formar el marco de estas siete interpelaciones.
2.  Un llamamiento a las maras.
A obedecer a Dios y a respetar la vida y los derechos de sus prójimos.  Ningún pandillero “está obligado a obedecer una orden contra la Ley de Dios. Una ley inmoral, nadie tiene que cumplirla. Ya es tiempo de que recuperen su conciencia y que obedezcan antes a su conciencia que a la orden del pecado”. (Homilía del 23 de marzo de 1980.)  Con especial contundencia podemos reclamar que “ante una orden de matar que dé un hombre”, siempre “debe de prevalecer la Ley de Dios que dice: NO MATAR”.  Y en nombre de Dios y del pueblo podemos exigir, ‘¡Cese la extorsión!’
3.  Un llamamiento a los jóvenes.
A imitar al joven Beato Romero, que fue un muchacho estudioso y trabajador.  Monseñor Romero decía que “Los pobres y los jóvenes constituyen la riqueza y la esperanza de la Iglesia en América Latina”. (Homilía del 17 de febrero de 1980.)  En la crisis que el país enfrentó en los años 80, fueron los pobres los que estuvieron al centro del drama.  Hoy es la hora de los jóvenes, y la patria necesita mucho de sus jóvenes.  Oren la oración del joven Romero: “Dios mío, ayúdame, ¡prepárame! Tu eres todo, yo soy nada. Pero con Tu Todo y con mi nada haremos mucho …  Romero dedicó su juventud a formarse y llegó a ser un día el hombre más importante para redimir El Salvador, y lo mismo debe buscar hoy todo joven salvadoreño.
4.  Un llamamiento a los gobernantes.
A unir criterios y superar intereses partidistas e ideológicos para buscar el bien común.  El que busque desatender la gran necesidad del momento para favorecer su partido o hacer quedar mal a su opositor estará “en una hora tan histórica de la patria … haciendo un papel tristísimo de traición” a todo el pueblo (Hom. 16 marzo 1980).  Les reto a vivir un año del bien común dejando a un lado todo proyecto electorero para buscar soluciones conjuntas a esta situación tan singularmente apremiante.
5.  Un llamamiento a los funcionarios del orden público.
A no olvidarse que los integrantes de las bandas delincuenciales han estado creados a la imagen de Dios, y que cualquier potestad que se les ha confiado debe ser utilizada siempre en servicio y no para acumular el poder o caer en el revanchismo o la purga social.
6.  Un llamamiento al pueblo salvadoreño.
A reclamar su país, su cultura y sociedad. Regresen a la Iglesia.  Empápense de la doctrina sana y correcta y conviértanse en protagonistas de cambio en su familia, en su vecindario, en sus trabajos.  Retomen las escuelas, los mercados, los espacios culturales.  Porque un pueblo desorganizado es una masa con la que se puede jugar, pero un pueblo que se organiza y defiende sus valores, su justicia, es un pueblo que se hace respetar”. (Homilía del 2 de marzo de 1980.)  También reciban a los pandilleros reformados con brazos abiertos y el amor de padres misericordiosos.
7.  Un llamamiento a los amigos del pueblo salvadoreño en el exterior.
A solidarizarse con El Salvador, como lo hicieron tantos cristianos en tiempos de Mons. Romero.  Alienten a los sectores salvadoreños a buscar el bien común del pueblo.  Exijan a sus gobiernos apoyar estos caminos con políticas que busquen solventar los problemas de corto y largo plazo.  Aunque viajar a El Salvador es peligroso y todo plan de visitar El Salvador debe ser consultado en general y en sus pormenores con expertos de seguridad nacionales e internacionales, El Salvador los necesita más que nunca.
*           *           *
'Coraggio', decía en italiano Mons. Romero: '¡Ánimo! '.”  Así nos recordaba el Cardenal Amato durante la ceremonia de beatificación.  En aquella ceremonia tuvimos un modelo (aunque fugaz) de la anhelada convivencia social, cuando prevalecieron la unidad, el espíritu del voluntariado, y un gran positivismo por aquel histórico evento, entre un fin de semana sin asesinatos de las maras.  Romero nos indica cómo hacerla una realidad duradera.
Mons. Paglia nos invitaba a convertir el lema episcopal de Romero, “Sentir con la Iglesia” a “Sentir con Romero”, lo que implica “caminar juntos con él, alejándonos de toda violencia y ensayando el amor y la paz”.  Y si hacemos esto podemos estar seguros que “El Salvador y el mundo cambiarán”.  Tengo fe que estos siete puntos llevan las claves para encaminarnos a la trasformación.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Daily Theology blog partnership





Google Translate:
Super Martyrio is proud to announce that it has become a ‘blog partner’ of Daily Theology.  In practical terms, this means we will occasionally repost one another’s posts or will simultaneously post things in both blogs.  In a deeper sense, this partnering is a recognition of our mutual interest in exploring theological issues in relation to human experience—in this case, the life of Oscar Romero and the poor—to approach topics through various theological disciplines, and to promote good blogging practices in research, writing, and reporting.

For the readers of both blogs, I hope the partnership will translate into a seamless but real improvement in the depth and perspective brought to bear on what we cover.  For the bloggers, I hope the partnership will expand our ability to provide broader perspectives and “team coverage” to relevant issues, including the impact of Blessed Romero on the Church and the culture, and the annual commemorations of his anniversary-feast day.  During the beatification of Archbishop Romero in May, Daily Theology had three of its contributors on scene in San Salvador.  I was there too.  I hope that at the canonization, we will be there together.

Finally, this partnership continues the fine tradition of joining with others in pursuit of common objectives. Blessed Oscar Romero took up and gave strength to this tradition.  Among the important principles that formed his ministry were communion, accompaniment, solidarity.  If we want to follow the path of goodness then we must enter into solidarity with Christ to uproot from our hearts those evil instincts that lead us to violence and crime,” he said.  Then he added: “We must also enter into solidarity with those who share these same ideals concerning life and love and peace.”  (November 14, 1977 sermon.)  When we can, we should work together.

Here’s to the blog partners!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Romero birthday a chance to take stock


Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador: pilgrims overrun the town where Blessed Oscar Romero was born.  More pictures here.
Google Translate:

If there was such a thing as a follow-up on how well a beatification was taking after a holy person was formally raised to the altars by the Church, this past weekend’s commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero of El Salvador, beatified this past May, could be the model.  For Blessed Romero, the diagnosis is excellent, with numerous indicators all pointing to a widespread recognition and acceptance, albeit not with entirely universal acclaim (though this is no surprise, as even St. John Paul II has his detractors).

Three things stand out about the way Archbishop Romero was recalled for his 98th birthday.  First, his beatification is being quickly incorporated into the popular devotional practices of his native El Salvador.  Second, his memory is also being easily assimilated into the calendar of the universal church.  And third, this past weekend’s 98th birthday celebrations indicate that the upcoming centennial of his birth in 2017 is likely to shape up as a significant Catholic event.

Recapping commemorative events this week, although commemorations were widespread, the events organized in three particular cities stand out: (1) in Ciudad Barrios, where Blessed Romero was born on August 15, 1917; (2) in San Salvador, where he served as Archbishop from 1977-1980 and where he died a martyr on March 24, 1980; and (3) finally and, perhaps, unexpectedly, in London, England, where he has acquired a following in no small part due to the work of the Romero Trust.
San Salvador: faithful pack the San Salvador Cathedral for a Saturday noon Mass.  More pictures here.

In chronological order, things started off in London, where a commemorative/thanksgiving Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor.  The cardinal donned the special vestments used at the May 23th, 2015 beatification ceremony in San Salvador to celebrate Mass at St. George’s Cathedral/Southwark.  Following the Mass, the faithful venerated Romero relics kept at the Cathedral since 2013.  A reception, complete with a birthday cake, followed the service, and was attended, among others, by Bishop John Rawsthorne (Retired), Romero Trust Chairman Julian Filochowski, and Curator Jan Graffius of Stonybrook College, who preserved Romero’s relics, including the ones used in his beatification.

The largest celebrations, not surprisingly, were in San Salvador, where Archbishop Romero was feted with a morning serenade at his graveside in the Cathedral Crypt on Saturday, August 15.  This was followed by a packed noon Mass at the Cathedral, and by a concert and ecumenical service at a central San Salvador plaza.  The Salvadoran Church also announced the promulgation of a new directive, requiring Blessed Romero to be invoked during the Eucharistic Prayers during the Canon of the Mass.  The government human rights onbudsman issued a decree certifying Blessed Romero as the “Premier Human Right Champion in El Salvador” (he explained in a Tweet that “Archbishop Oscar Romero has been the most important defender of human rights in the history of El Salvador”).  Additionally, Romero’s relics continued to tour the country, while two San Salvador parishes unveiled Romero mosaics.  On Sunday, there was another Mass, in Romero’s Crypt, which included another cake-cutting.

In Ciudad Barrios, in eastern San Salvador, where Romero was born 98 years ago, there were droves of pilgrims, exhibits, and another commemorative Mass, led by the Papal Nuncio to El Salvador, Archbishop Leon Kalenga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Surviving Romero brother Tiberio appeared at an event at the Romero Museum there, while younger brother Gaspar appeared in a San Salvador church.

Finally, on the Twittersphere, numerous messages were published observing the anniversary of Romero’s birthday, including countless retweets.  Among the most significant, were those by the President of El Salvador: “Archbishop Romero unites Salvadoran society; he always fought for peace, he is a light, he is a hope to work for tranquility in our country.”  The immediate past president tweeted: “Today we mark 98 years from the birth of Archbishop Romero.  I join the celebration the people make in honor of his memory.”  Countless Catholic tweets correlated Romero’s milestone to the Bicentenary of St. John Bosco, to the anniversary of the immolation of St. Maximilian Kolbe and, of course, to the Feast of the Assumption.
London, England: Thanksgiving Mass at St. George's Cathedral.  More pictures here.

The incorporation of Romero’s beatification into popular Salvadoran practices continues apace. The San Salvador Archdiocese directive to invoke Blessed Romero during the Canon of the Mass is being welcome by the faithful, and the nationwide tours of Blessed Romero’s relic is continually exposing the faithful to the spirituality of Blessed Romero, and every indication seems to be that they are reacting with profound fervor.  That devotion was seen when Romero’s relics were incorporated into the national celebration of the Transfiguration of the Lord earlier in the month, and with the reverence with which the relics are being received around the country.

The accommodation of Romero’s birthday in the global church calendar also has been striking.  Romero’s birthday had already been a prominent feature of Romero commemorations in his native El Salvador—especially in Ciudad Barrios, the town in which he was born.  It was here that Romero’s birth was first commemorated, quite apart from his March death.  However, to see Romero’s birth universally recalled is striking, as is the correlation of his birth with other Catholic commemorations, such as Don Bosco, the Assumption and Maximillian Kolbe.

Finally, the 98th birthday celebrations point up the importance of the upcoming centennial celebrations in 2017.  In El Salvador, a countdown to the centennial began in 2014, kicking off a three-year Triennium to the 100 anniversary of his birth: 2014-2015 commemorated “Romero, Man of God;” 2015-2016 commemorates “Romero, Man of the Church;” and 2016-2017 will commemorate “Romero, Man of the Poor.”  The centennial, once thought to present an opportunity to revive the then-floundering beatification cause will, post-beatification, present the next great opportunity to take stock of Romero, the man, the saint, and the legend of his sainthood.