Dreams of erecting a statue of the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar A. Romero in the Eternal City came one step closer to reality this week, when the government of Taiwan made a $38,000 donation to the Romero Foundation in San Salvador, which is spearheading the project. Msgr. Ricardo Urioste, foundation president, said he hoped that erecting the statue in Rome would “speed up” Romero’s beatification.
According to an article in Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, the plan to bring the Romero statue to “Giardino El Salvador” (El Salvador Gardens) in the EUR district of the City, is supported by the Salvadoran community, which numbers 50,000 expatriates, concentrated in various Italian cities, of which Milan is especially prominent. The City of Rome is also backing the project, together with various Italian parliamentarians who earlier this year received the speaker of the Salvadoran Congress to promote the project. Organizers hope to unveil the work, by Salvadoran sculptor Guillermo Perdomo, in October.
Separately, other tributes to Romero have also been announced:
- A new book by Rachele Zaza Padula entitled “Oscar Arnulfo Romero” and described as “a tragedy in two acts” will be presented in Potenza, Italy, this week. The presentation will include a panel featuring academics and a local priest.
- Also in Italy, a second book entitled “Compagni di strada, in cammino nella Chiesa della Speranza” (Travel Companions on the Road to the Church of Hope) by Pierluigi di Piazza will be presented in Villa San Giovanni. The book contains profiles of inspirational figures including Romero, and the presentation will feature a large panel discussion featuring academics and community leaders.
- Finally, in El Salvador, the Salvadoran postal service has released postage stamps commemorating the name change of the national airport to “Aeropuerto Internacional Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez.” The name change was announced earlier in the year by former president Mauricio Funes.
Following a spate of rumors that turned out to be without basis, there now appears to be no new movement on the canonization front.