Saturday, November 23, 2013

Óscar Romero statue unveiled in L.A.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gómez and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti were among the dignitaries on hand for the unveiling of a statue of the slain Archbishop Óscar A. Romero of El Salvador in L.A.’s McCarthur Park on Saturday, November 23, 2013.  I’m blessing a new memorial to the great martyr, Archbishop Óscar Romero,” Gómez had tweeted to 10,000 followers before the ceremony.  In the culminating moment of the unveiling, which featured speeches from local pols, Archbishop Gómez sprinkled holy water on the two meter bronze statue of a praying Romero before a large Saturday morning crowd (photo).  Mayor Garcetti told the crowd, “This is more than a monument of a man.  This is a monument that salutes courage.”
Gómez said in a statement that “Archbishop Romero filled the hearts of Salvadorans with faith and strength.  He reminded us that real peace is based on justice.  More than 30 years later, his testimony inspires all of us to build a better world, a world that promotes human dignity and the common good for the human family.”  As the leader of the most populous diocese in the United States, Archbishop Gómez is a leading figure of the U.S. Church and the most prominent Latino in the U.S. hierarchy.  He was ordained as a priest in Opus Dei.
Carlos Vaquerano, a leader of the local Salvadoran community responsible for erecting the monument told the Spanish language newspaper La Opinión that Archbishop Romero’s beatification process “exemplifies his work.  He was a man of faith, he was not a politician,” said Vaquerano.
Archbishop Romero is also being memorialized in his native country, where Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes announced that he will rename the state room in the presidential manor to honor Romero.  The designation would be the latest in a string of honors for Romero launched by the Funes government, the most prominent of which have been the naming of a central highway artery after Romero, the creation of a “Romero tour,” and the dedication of a mural of Romero at the international airport.

There are also efforts underway to erect a Romero statue in a park in Rome.

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